Check Out Those Ads! – Spider-Man #4

Spider-Man 4 Feature

Spider-Man was never my favorite superhero. The idea of a teenage superhero dealing with teenage issues didn’t appeal to me. I had my own teenage issues to deal with, I didn’t need to read about someone else’s. Maybe they thought a teenage superhero would attract teenage readers, I don’t know, but it wasn’t for me.

That all changed in August 1990 when Spider-Man #1 hit the shelves. The man behind the new incarnation of Spider-Man was Todd McFarlane; his writing and fantastic drawing made Spider-Man a standout comic. The first issue sold over 2.5 million copies! Of course that was in large part to the multiple covers offered, six covers in all. I own five of them! I was never able to find the coveted platinum cover.

Spider-Man 4 cover

McFarlane was in full control of Spider-Man, he was the only artist on the book; serving as writer, artist, inker, everything. I enjoyed McFarlane’s take on the web-slinger. I especially enjoyed the dark tone of the comic. McFarlane’s dark themes caused numerous clashes with the editors and after constant censorship of his work he left Spider-Man and Marvel after Issue #16.

I stuck around with Spider-Man for awhile after McFarlane left, the new artist, Erik Larsen was a good replacement. Larsen wrote a six part story arc called “Revenge of the Sinister Six” then he left Spider-Man and ultimately left Marvel too.

After Larsen left Spider-Man I slowly lost interest in the comic. Soon the stories were the same as before, light-hearted and aimed at a younger crowd. I made it to issue #33 before I left for good.

McFarlane, Larsen and a few other artists formed their own company, Image Comics in 1992. It featured McFarlane’s Spawn, Larsen’s Savage Dragon and one comic everyone knows about, but might not know it was a comic… The Walking Dead.

Back to the issue at hand, Spider-Man #4, published in November 1990, was the penultimate issue in the ‘Torment’ storyline. In ‘Torment’ The Lizard started a murdering spree across the city and Spider-Man set out to stop him. In the end Spider-Man discovers Calypso is controlling The Lizard and defeats them both.

The story is good and the artwork is excellent, but how are the ads? Let’s take a look.

Spider-Man 4 Black Manta


Wrath of the Black Manta was released for the Nintendo in November 1989. While I never owned a Nintendo, I had access to one through my good friend. I bought the game and we played it a few times, it was ok, with decent graphics and enjoyable to play.

The ad however, is cool! A ninja jumping in the air, wielding his sword and throwing a ninja star at me! I don’t know if there are emulations for the game today, but I’d be interested in playing it again.

Spider-Man 4 Gargoyles Quest

Another video game, nice! Gargoyle’s Quest is a spin off from the popular Ghost ‘n Goblins series. I’m a big fan of Ghost ‘n Goblins, unfortunately I never played Gargoyle’s Quest. This spin off was a Game Boy only game, it didn’t make it to other platforms.

Gargoyle’s Quest II, which was a prequel to Gargoyle’s Quest was released on the Nintendo, followed by Demon’s Crest for the Super Nintendo. I missed out on the entire series of Gargoyle’s Quest but the ad is superb and makes me want to look for a Game Boy to buy!

Maybe I need to change my Christmas list this year to include all Nintendo consoles and games…Please Santa, Please!

Spider-Man 4 Fleer

Trading cards always a good bet. Being a November issue football cards are the ones to advertise. I don’t know if Mickey opened a pack of 1991 Fleer Ultra football cards on Wax Pack Flashback. We’ll have to see if he has a pack of 1990 cards laying around

What’s that? Oh, who was the 1990 Rookie of the Year? On the offensive side of the ball it was 3-time Super Bowl Champ and Hall of Famer, Dallas Cowboys Running Back, Emmitt Smith. On defense, it was Chicago Bears Safety, Mark Carrier, with a league leading 10 interceptions.

Spider-Man 4 List

Don’t have a cow, man. It’s just a price list. I’ve always wondered how many people ordered from these lists? I guess if you lived in a small town, hours away from a comic book store you’d order from this. But if you need this list to order comics, how do you buy a comic to get the list in the first place? ¡Ay, caramba!

Spider-Man 4 Splatterhouse

A full spread ad for Splatterhouse on the TurboGrafx-16… the what now? You ever wonder why the ‘console war’ stories only talk about Atari, Nintendo and Sega? Because nothing else matters. TurboGrafx-16 was to Nintendo as ColecoVision was to Atari, a minor contender with no staying power.

The TurboGrafx-16 released in Japan in 1987 and in the States in 1989. It was discontinued in 1994 selling a respectable 5.8 million units. But that was a small percentage compared to the 40+ million Nintendo consoles sold. While the platform my not be the best choice the game is great.

Splatterhouse was an arcade game release in 1989. It’s the normal 80s side-scrolling style game heavily influenced by Friday the 13th and other 80s horror films.

If you haven’t played Splatterhouse do yourself a favor and play it now! If you can’t find it, you can watch someone else play it.

Spider-Man 4 Game books

A video game superstar, yes please! I love strategy books, as long as they don’t go into spoiler territory. By their nature they usually contained some form of spoiler though. I don’t recall every seeing these books in my local B. Dalton. Guess you had to go to the big city to find the good books

Spider-Man 4 Back to the futre

The last ad inside the comic is a good one. A full color, glossy ad for the Back to the Future II & III video game! It’s a shame the game isn’t as good as the ad. The game roughly follows the movie plots but not entirely. Biff steals the sport’s almanac and Marty needs to travel through time to set things right.

The gameplay is, well, not great. It looks like they took the code for Super Mario Bros and changed Mario to Marty. The game wasn’t well received when it was released, garnering scores as low as 3 out of 10 in some reviews, the best review for the game only gave it 5 out of 10.

With the E.T. Atari game fiasco and the bad Back to the Future game, Spielberg shouldn’t license his movies for video games. Nothing good comes from it.

Spider-Man 4 Dungeon!

The final ad on the back cover, Dungeon! I loved this game! If you ever ask me if I played this game and my mom is around, I’ll deny it all day long. This game was forbidden in my house. Anything D&D related was off limits. I have lots of good(?) stories about the contraband my sisters and I would bring into the house, only to see it destroyed.😢

Back to Dungeon!, the best game I never played (wink, wink). It’s easy enough to play, pick a character and explore the dungeon killing monsters and gathering treasure. The game is still available for purchase today. Go ahead, put it on your Christmas list, I won’t tell your mom.

Well those are the ads from Spider-Man #4. It was a good issue for ads. Some great memories looking back at those ads.

Did you read Todd McFarlane’s Spider-Man? Were you suckered into buying all the variant covers like I was? And be honest now, were you the one person to buy the TurboGrafx-16? Let us know in the comments below.

Until next time, keep your comics bagged and boarded…unless you want to thumb through them to check out the great ads!

About Pitfall Gary 33 Articles
Just your average Gen X'er. Born in the 70s and raised in the Decade of Decadence! I rode my bike without a helmet and was home when the street lights came on. I love to reminisce about the good ol' days; Movies, TV, music, if it happened in my childhood I'll share it with you.