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Spider-Man: The Rockomic!

For Christmas in 1972 I got From Beyond the Grave, a the Spider-Man “rockcomic” — that’s a “rock & roll comic,” even though there really was more like a groovy soft-rock illustrated radio show … but I’m getting ahead of myself. I didn’t have any idea how cheesy the music, writing, or acting were … I just knew it was kinda cool to have something that mixed my two growing interests–comics and music. Actually, I think this was the first 12″ vinyl album that I ever owned. All the others in the house were clearly for ALL the kids (and mostly were too “kiddy” for me) or for the grown-ups (and Broadway show tunes really didn’t appeal to me yet) … but this was just for ME!

Almost no one I know has ever heard of it, let along actually HEARD it … but this actually was a really important item in my pre-adolescence. It retold Spidey’s origin, but it also featured some pretty freaky stuff — a creepy dream sequence, messages from beyond the grave, Dr. Strange written as an almostĀ Spectre-esque hero of righteous vengeance. (In fact, this was almost certainly my introduction to Dr. Strange.)

For a long time, now, I’ve wished I’d saved that album — transfered it to cassette and (eventually) CD. I wanted to hear it again. But that seemed unlikely ever to happen. And then a weird series of web searches this weekend made me aware that it has been released as an MP3 download (available on Amazon and iTunes and plenty of other music sales sites, too). So I GLADLY coughed up some dough and bought an audio slice of my childhood.

They may call it a “rockomic,” but really this is recorded like an old-time radio drama — you don’t need the illustrations at all. Which is good, because they aren’t included with the download. But a quick search online led me to a pretty good image. (Mine developed that very same gouge down the middle … so I’m guessing it was a design flaw as much as the clumsiness of 8-year-olds’ fingers.)

Now, having gone through the whole thing again a couple of times, I have to say that my nostalgia is sated. But it’s good to know that the next time it returns, I’ll be able to just pull up these files and listen to not just this classic bit of 70s kitch, but also the grooviest Spider-Man theme song you’ve never heard.

3 Comments

  1. Alex Kinnan wrote:

    My parents bought me a copy of it in the late ’70s or very early ’80s. I think they found it in a cut-out bin. I played the hell out of the thing for several years and thought it was pretty much the height of Western Culture. Like you, I’ve long found it odd that something that was such a major part of my childhood was, and still is, unknown to most of the people I’ve met since I first dropped the needle on that strange, groovy record…

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:42 am | Permalink
  2. William Carlisle wrote:

    I still have the original that my late brother got me for Christmas in 1977. I absolutely loved it and the music & songs have always been in my mind. They are hard to find and I would suggest it to be transferred into CD.

    Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 10:40 pm | Permalink
  3. Stan! wrote:

    William: The whole thing is available now as a download from Amazon or iTunes!

    Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

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  1. In Search of Steve Ditko – Stannex on Tuesday, August 21, 2018 at 11:48 pm

    […] couple of days ago I made a post about the Spider-Man rockcomic that I got as a present when I was a kid. Reminiscing about that got me thinking about Spidey and […]

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