When it comes to the holiday gift-giving season, comic book readers are notoriously difficult to shop for. I mean, most of us are down at the shop buying our favorite stuff every single week, so when the time comes for people who like us to get us something we want, well, a lot of times we already have it. That’s why we’re stepping in with a public service, bringing you comics-related items sure to make the season brighter, whether you’re browsing for a gift or just looking for something to drop hints about so that you don’t get stuck with a random assortment of back issues again.

On the off chance that you're buying a gift for someone who likes Spider-Man and rolicking, non-theatrical musicals, don't bother with that whole Broadway fiasco. Instead, grab the original Spider-Man musical from 1975, in which Doctor Octopus sings a song about finally defeating the Silver Surfer.

ITEM: Spider-Man: Rock Reflections of a Super-Hero


AVAILABILITY: $10.99 on Amazon

I wrote about this one a long, long time ago here on ComicsAlliance, but since it's been a few years, you might've forgotten that in the mid '70s, a company called Lifesong Records commissioned an entire album that followed the pattern of a musical, chronicling Spider-Man's life from his origin story all the way to the death of Gwen Stacy, narrated by Stan Lee. It is every bit as strange as you might expect, but in all honesty, it's actually pretty rad, and despite a 25th anniversary re-release in 2000, it's still relatively obscure. If you've got a Spider-Man fan on your list who's also into musical oddities, it's a pretty neat gift.

As for the music itself, well, it's probably better than you expect, even with Smilin' Stan popping in every few tracks with a stiff line-reading of his own captions, and even those are pretty charming. The '50s doo-wop style "Square Boy" about Peter's nerdy reputation is, at best, kind of annoying, but "Highwire," a rock anthem about swinging through the city that includes the line "I'M A MAN! I'M A SPI-HIIIIII-DER-MAN!" isgreat. My favorite, though, is Doctor Octopus's song where he fights the Avengers and Black Panther for some reason:



There's an mp3 version available if you're making the smart choice and avoiding physical media here in the 21st century, and you can gift that to anyone with an email address, but I'd actually recommend going with the actual disc. The cover art was done by John Romita Sr., and on the back, he's drawn Spider-Man's backing band, including Thor on guitar and "Conan and the Barbarians" on strings. It's pretty great.


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