By Neil Kleid
Spider-Man. The Hulk. Reed Richards. These classic heroes, along with many more, have thrilled and excited readers for over 70 years with their amazing stories, incredible challenges and fantastic adventures. Throughout that time, many have teamed with inspirational colleagues and legendary icons to defend the city of New York from harm— Barack Obama, Stan Lee, John Belushi—and they never had to leave Studio 8H to do it.
"Saturday Night Live," Lorne Michaels' ground-breaking late-night sketch comedy/variety show, spent the last 30 years becoming an American entertainment institution. During that period, SNL cast its lot with another institution—Marvel Comics—to refer to, ridicule and outright skewer the well-known members of the Marvel Universe. Marvel and SNL once again join forces when two of the show's best and brightest—current cast members Bill Hader and Seth Myers—team with artist Kevin Maguire to produce SPIDER-MAN: THE SHORT HALLOWEEN, a one-shot that knocks the web-slinger out during the annual Greenwich Village Halloween costume parade and lets a costumed partygoer take his place.
To celebrate the release of "The Short Halloween," on sale Thursday, May 28, 2009, Marvel.com selflessly sacrificed our time to scour hours of comedy gold in order to present an eclectic assortment of SNL Marvel moments.
The Hulk eulogizes at...somebody's funeral:
While 1993 was a pretty good year for Marvel heroes, another fairly well-known American comic book icon was dead and buried. SNL hosted a lavish funeral, inviting friends and family to say some words, and Marvel heroes Spider-Man, Mister Fantastic and the Hulk crossed town to pay their respects. Ol' Jadejaws brought the crowd to tears with a heart-wrenching display of emotion, ending his thoughts by smashing the podium to smithereens!
Super hero party:
Years prior to the aforementioned funeral, SNL'S viewers witnessed the reason why Marvel's heroes might have been invited when several of them—Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Ant-Man, the Thing and the Hulk—attended the deceased's 1979 cocktail party. John Belushi, plastered in green paint, stole the show as his Hulk laughingly indulged in practical jokes, mocked the beleaguered Ant-Man ("Ant-Man, huh?! Where are your ants?") and accidentally walked in on another Marvel mainstay in the bathroom ("Hey, if the Invisible Girl is gonna go to the bathroom, she should lock the door!"). Watch the clip on Hulu.com.
Hulking out with George Foreman and the Rock:
Apparently, the Hulk is ripe for comedy exploitation because "Saturday Night Live" has often made use of his man-into-monster transformation to allow cast members to access their inner gamma-powered selves. In 1994, Tim Meadows "Hulked out" to become George Foreman, who trashed a laboratory set before asking for the sketch to end due to boring repetition. Recently, Fred Armisen portrayed the current Commander-in-Chief in a dream sequence where he "Hulked" into Dwayne Johnson—or "The Rock" Obama—during a visit from Republican senators (whom he proceeded to toss through nearby windows in fits of anger). Watch The Rock clip on Hulu.com.
Avenge me, James Franco!:
During an inspired "Spider-Man 2" referential sketch, SHORT HALLOWEEN co-writer Bill Hader re-enacted Willem Defoe's final, vengeful scene when he ordered cinematic offspring James "Harry Osborn" Franco to kill SNL cast member Andy Samberg in retaliation of a terrible impression ("I want you to KILL Spider-Man!" "What? Spider-Man's a fictional character!" "I'm sorry, did I say Spider-Man? I meant Samberg! I want you to KILL Andy Samberg!").
Horatio Sanz is Spider-Man:
A touching and slightly desperate plea during the week's monologue found portly comedian Sanz hanging upside-down in a Spider-Man costume, trying to win a kiss from host Kirsten "Mary Jane Watson" Dunst as he fought nausea and an absent team of technical engineers ("Spider-Man, you look different." "Uh yeah, I was stung by a thousand bees, that's why I'm all puffy. Not my thin handsome self. Uh, I was fighting 'Bee Man!'").
Stan Lee Presents the Not Ready For Prime-Time Players:
Did you know that Stan the Man once hosted an episode of "Saturday Night Live"? Oh, don't run to your interwebs or DVDs or Hulu to find the episode; to relive the exciting appearance (that also featured Marvel baddie the Silver Samurai as "maniacal" guest!) you only need go as far as your local comic book purveyor. Way back in '78, MARVEL TEAM-UP #74 paired up your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man with the very first SNL cast—the Not Ready for Prime-Time Players featuring such notables as Dan Ackroyd, John Belushi, Laraine Newman and Garrett Morris (as Thor!)—to defeat the Silver Samurai. Belushi, naturally, went sword-to-sword with old Kenuichio as The Samurai, but it took all the Players to help Stan and Spidey send that silver snake packing out of Studio 8H…just in time to gather at home base for one last curtain call.
Weigh in with more Marvelous SNL references as you watch reruns of "Saturday Night Live"… and don't forget to pick up SPIDER-MAN: THE SHORT HALLOWEEN by Kevin Maguire and those two wild and crazy guys, Bill Hader and Seth Myers, in comic book shops May 28, 2009.