Spider-Man & Power Pack
Marvel Comics/National Committee For Prevention Of Child AbuseEDITOR: Jim Salicrup Spider-Man: “Secrets” ORIGINAL IDEA: Nancy Allen WRITER: Jim Salicrup PENCILER: Jim Mooney INKER: Mike Esposito COLORIST: Ken Feduniewicz LETTERER: L. P. Gregory EDITOR IN CHIEF: Jim Shooter Power Pack: “Runaway” WRITER: Louise Simonson LAYOUTS: June Brigman PENCILER: Mary Wilshire FINISHER: Bob Wiacek COLORIST: Glynis Wein LETTERER: Joe Rosen
I saw an ad for this comic in every Marvel comic from around this time but never ordered it. I saw it in a bargain bin so I picked it up. As you can guess from the credits, this features two stories centered around alerting kids to the issue of child abuse. I find it a little harder to review in the normal layout so this is just some general thoughts.
The Spider-Man story has become famous in the comic blogging community because it actually add (if considered canon) to Spidey’s history. Thanks to the thin walls of his apartment Peter hears a neighbor being molested by his babysitter. As Spider-Man he scares the girl off (just by showing up) and the boy admits that she was trying to touch him in places she shouldn’t be touching him. To convince him it wasn’t his fault, Spidey opens up that he was once molested by an older boy he had made friends with as a kid. This gives the boy the courage he needs to tell his parents. It’s interesting that with all the female heroes who are raped and tortured that before that happened as often as it does we had this story to show how sexual abuse SHOULD be used in a story, as a preventative measure. Also it’s a story for kids, which few if any superhero comics are anymore. According to the text epilogue on the back cover, the boys’ parents tell hers and she agrees to get help, and no longer does those things.
The Power Pack also deal with child sexual abuse. This time it’s the father of one of the kids’ classmates. She told her mom but that just led to more arguing as the father denied it, so the girl runs away. Power Pack eventually finds her and she tells them what happened. They convince her to tell their parents who believe her. In the epilogue we’re told that he also agrees to seek treatment and moves in with his brother while the girl and mother go to consoling. I guess they wanted the happier ending in both stories, that the abuser gets help, but sadly that isn’t always the case, which is why we have the sex offender registry today (which they didn’t back then).
It’s too bad superhero comics ignore kids today because as snarky as some reviewers and bloggers may be about PSA comics, ones like this and the Teen Titans anti-drug comic are a good idea. I think they could have combined these two tales, with Spider-Man overhearing a kid telling Power Pack what happened and then telling them all that story, then going to the parents. However, the two individual stories has something for both boys and girls so I don’t have a problem with it. Buying this comic today (it’s out of print for free so that’s the only way you’d get it now) would only make sense as a curiosity (considering the addition to Peter’s history) or if you actually know a child being sexually abused, since it’s not terribly dated and while Power Pack isn’t around anymore Spider-Man is still popular with the kiddies. (Although I don’t know if the numbers and addresses are still valid in 2014, so maybe look into that first.)