The Amazing Spider-Man Vs. the Prodigy!
Published by Planned Parenthood and © by Marvel, 1976
Title: “Pull of the Prodigy”
Synopsis: Spider-Man battles the Prodigy, an alien villain who is promoting misinformation to trap America’s teens with unplanned pregnancies.
Writer: Ann Robinson
Penciler: Ross Andru
Inker: Mike Esposito
Review: Evaluated purely as a comic book, this issue is overwritten and its art just adequate. There are better Spider-Man stories and worse. But, given how politically charged the topic of reproductive health is today, the interesting thing here is how apolitical this team up between Marvel and Planned Parenthood reads in hindsight. It advocates for abstinence first then for access to reliable information about sexual-health choices, recommending kids talk to parents, doctors and churches. That such a message would be controversial today says far less about this comic’s effectiveness than it does about the frayed state of our national discourse.
Cool factor: A digest-sized, Spider-Man comic from the Bronze Age promoting Planned Parenthood and sexual health. That’s too weird not to be cool.
Character quotable: “I’m no Marcus Welby, but there’s gotta be some way these kids can get the right info.” – Spider-Man, concerned citizen
Editor’s note: This review was written Aug. 30, 2022.