Back from a trip to the Netherlands and a brush with death by plague, I had to blog about something I love and had already planned out a little in advance. Dan Slott and Ty Templeton collaborated on one of the best Marvel superhero comics it has been my pleasure to read. Ever. Spider-Man & Human Torch: I'm With Stupid is a celebration of the history of Marvel set in 5 different time periods from the frenemy-ship of Johnny Storm and Peter Parker. If I was doing the perfect panel project on this I'd have loads to choose from. Like Aunt May innocently introducing Johnny to Peter (though Johnny is too self-involved to remember they've already met twice). Actually, I just enjoyed the same gag on the DVD of Frasier Season 1, where Niles is too conceited to remember repeatedly meeting Roz. I'm over the moon about different art styles from Ty in this book: the 1960's space-adventure stuff looks like Kirby (who was REALLY good at freaky cosmic spacey-stuff by-the-by), the She-Hulk dressed up as a French maid captured the style of 1980's Byrne, the stories from the early and late 70's were perfectly of their time and place, too. A chronologically obsessive man would be able to tell you what issues and what MONTH of the seventies these stories were taking place in. Obviously a labor of love from both Dan and Ty. I dig the story with the role-reversal, where Johnny tackles local crime while Spidey tags along in space with the remainder of the FF and ruins Reed's experiments. Spidey's more of a rookie to space travel and gave me a chortle in the panel below. "It's called Thursday." LOVE IT! Oh, Ben Grimm. There's an adventure in guy bonding over a souped-up Spider-Mobile, wild driving culminating in an awesome battle with the commie Red Ghost and his Super-Apes. It would spoil the story to tell you about the hostess fruit pies (a very ubiquitous advert from '70s Marvel which make a hilarious appearance in this story). There's hijinks with the Black Cat and her theivery, there's Johnny's extra-fast dispatch of the recurring Spidey villain Vulture ('You're just an old man with fake wings, right?' Wings go up in smoke, Vulture plummets). There's a page devoted to Spidey versus Johnny's nemesis 'Paste Pot Pete', wherein Spidey can't even stop ROFLing at the guy's name long enough to fight him. And there's the reference to why they DIDN'T have a flashback story set in the mid-nineties: because that whole period had Spidey's CLONE instead of Spidey. "Better to just skip over that whole period, then," advises Johnny to the whole readership beyond the fouth wall. I have not laughed so much out loud at a comic since Giffen and DeMatteis' 'I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League'. This comic spent equal time on my funny bone and my nostalgia button, and then went on to massage my Guy Love. Seriously, the best part of this comic is the buddy movie stuff. Written by buds, about buds, for buds. It reeks of Guy Love and I swear to you, that's no bad thing. As somebody who's glad to have a BFF, I appreciated the tenderness and the banter of a couple of long-time pals. Here's to another 40 years of Marvel heroes, and another 40 with my real-world friends, too.