Spider-Man, Storm & Power Man
Marvel Comics/American Cancer Society (1982)
This is the part where I give you the credits but there aren’t any. This was one of those free giveaway PSA comics.
Peter Parker is taking pictures of a city wide teen track team coached by Luke Cage. One of the runners, Brett, has only not been screwing up his training, but also smoking and his grades have been slipping, too. Is it his girlfriend, Carol, or the new guys he’s been hanging around it. When Spider-Man and Power Man learn those new guys are bad guys, Storm of the X-Men agrees to investigate and runs into their boss, Smokescreen, who hopes to trick Brett into losing thanks to smoking but when Storm finds him he decides to force Brett to lose on purpose to prop his illegal betting operation. Spidey and Power Man rescue Brett and Carol but only after Storm escapes do they learn about Smokescreen’s plan to buy the mobs. Brett trains hard but still only makes second place while the heroes bust Smokescreen’s operation.
As an anti-smoking PSA comic, this is rather limited. It’s not just smoking that causes Brett’s problems. He stays out late, he doesn’t pay attention in school, and he’s gotten a big ego thanks to his many wins. As a warning to athletes to stick to their training it isn’t bad. However, the American Cancer Society wanted this to be about the dangers of smoking and so little is attributed to this problem alone and when it is they treat it like the source of Brett’s issues as if smoking alone will cause him to lose the race and a huge win for Smokescreen’s operation. Although one also questions why a city-wide track race would have enough people betting on it for Smokescreen’s gang to clean up enough to buy all of the illegal operations.
That said, the art is good (I wish I knew who did it) and grading on an 80’s PSA comic curve it’s fun, if not for the right reasons. At best a curiosity nowadays and back then more a lesson about taking care of yourself as an athlete rather than just a comic against smoking. However, avoid the 90’s remake that kept most of the script and has terrible artwork. Linkara once reviewed that one and I’ll stick to the one I have.