In addition to being America’s only rock ’n’ roll magazine, CREEM happens to be the world’s best rock ’n’ roll magazine—and, it could be argued, the world’s most masturbatory. Because we like ourselves a little too much, every now and again, we’re going to review past CREEM pieces in a series called CREEMAINS. Expect the most deliciously spoiled CREEM, like our conversation with Robert Duncan about his 1975 Springsteen profile, or here, in our re-evaluation of CREEM’s 1973 feature on Marvel Comics. Lap it up! And check out more from the CREEM archive, here.

The cover of CREEM, April 1973, featuring Spider-Man and Boy Howdy.
The cover of CREEM, April 1973, featuring Spider-Man and Boy Howdy.

CREEM's April 1973 issue is designed to look like a comic book. The cover, illustrated by John Romita Sr., features the superhero Spider-Man in front of an oversized vinyl record backdrop, facing away—like a rockstar with the proportional anxiety of a Doors frontman—from a rapturous crowd. He’s dangling via ropes of cross-hatched spider silk, over a stage devoid of instruments, plus one Boy Howdy looking on. The CREEM mascot’s solitude indicates that he has either been abandoned by his band or, worse, is performing stand-up; the sentient booze bottle’s patented grin of deathless pleasure is fixed upon the web slinging' teen-vigilante above.

Howdy, having just gotten used to sharing the spotlight with famous musicians, is now forced to share what was presumably a pretty big night with a fictional, arachnidal gymnast best known for a tendency to wisecrack about trauma, toying with the affections of the newspaper boss’s secretary, and a general inability to provide a stable environment for the aging aunt who raised him. (At least, that’s how he was best known in 1973.) The subliminal desolation of the magazine cover is hammered home by the two actual musicians who are advertised on the cover, each in electrified speech bubbles with bold comic book lettering in the Marvel style: Alvin Lee, who apparently is not someone Lester Bangs made up, and Gary Glitter.

The front page of Mike Baron's 1973 Marvel Comics Feature.
The front page of Mike Baron's 1973 Marvel Comics Feature.

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CREEM #01 featuring a cover with original artwork by Raymond Pettibon

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