Meanwhile in Canada…Yeeehaw! Spider-Man Rides ‘Em Canada Style!
Spider-Man, a stampede, cowboy super-heroes, some Fantastic Four villains, a kid in a high tech wheelchair, and more bicycle safety. Welcome to the fourth edition of Meanwhile in Canada, where I share some uniquely Canadian entertainment to Fandom readers south of the border. Last time, I talked about a series of Spider-Man “say no to drugs” and bicycle safety comics that were published in Canada in the early 90s. So to catch up with everyone else, read the last three parts here and here and here.
Happy Birthday, Mister Canada*
Peter Parker is sent to take photos of the Calgary Stampede to take photos of the event for the Daily Bugle on Canada’s 125th birthday. For those of you who don’t know, the Calgary Stampede is an annual event every summer. It has rodeo events, insane midway food, and washed up sideshow performers.
One of the star attractions on this show are the Rangers, a group of super-heroes who are western themed. If you don’t know who they are, basically picture the Avengers if they were based in Texas. Peter is sat in a box seat along with Nobel Prize-winning scientist Dr. Cargil and his wheelchair-bound daughter Joline.
After the obligatory introduction of the Rangers and some patter between Peter and Joline, the real action starts. The Right Riders put on a bicycle safety demonstration. It’s a real pageturner, in that you get bored and turn the page in the hopes of something more interesting happening.
Suddenly, the event is crashed by the Wizard and his Frightful Four who have come to kidnap Dr. Cargil. While the Rangers try to stop them, Peter rushes Joline to safety and the bad guys make off with the scientist.
Wild Moose Chase
The Frightful Four split up and lead the Rangers on a wild moose chase (because it’s Canada). The Texas Twister chases the Wizard into the Archie Boyce Pavilion where they fight using… dinner plates?
While at the Olympic Saddledome, Shooting Star squares off against the Trapster. Even though Shooting Star has specially-made six-shooters she is defeated by paste. The most humiliating defeat actually goes to the Phantom Rider who is knocked out by the Dreadknight.
In the middle of all this, we find out that Joline has access to a solar-powered turbine bike. Deciding that she has to do something to save her dad, she uses it to try and save the day. Putting on a costume and helmet. she goes into action as Turbine.
Isn’t This a Spider-Man Comic?
It takes 21 pages to learn that Spider-Man has been fighting the Man-Bull the whole time. The Right Riders want to help, because kids putting themselves in harms way is compulsory in these comics. That’s when Turbine makes her appearance and offers her help.
The rest of the Frightful Four show up with the Rangers as their prisoners and demand that Spider-Man surrender. With the help of the Right Riders and Turbine, the Wall-Crawler manages to save the Rangers and defeat their foes. With the battle over, Joline quickly returns to her father’s RV in the hopes she can keep her double-identity secret. However Spider-Man has figured it out and tells her that she has all the makings of a great super-hero and tells her that next time he’s in the area he will look her up.
As this is the one and only appearance of Turbine, I hope Joline isn’t still waiting by the phone for that Marvel Team-Up.
More Strange Advertisements
There is also an advertisement from Petro-Canada informing people how they fund the Olympic Torch Scholarship Fund. Instead of showing of something relevant, like a young Olympian doing sports, please enjoy this creepy guy enthusiastically filling up his gas tank.
Hey kids, do you like cheap pasta and fruit-flavoured sugar drinks? Then you’ll absolutely need this Spider-Man bicycle safety poster compliments of Chef Boyardee and Coca-Cola! It has a coupon for a bicycle helmet!
Lastly, what bicycle safety comic isn’t complete without a warning about trains! I think the funniest thing about this safety warning is that Spider-Man appears to be swinging into the path of the oncoming train.
What Did We Learn?
Credit where credit is due, this story is actually well-researched in that “here are some things in Canada” kind of way. Not surprising, considering the story was written by Scott Lobdell, who was writing Alpha Flight at the time.
As far as bicycle safety goes, the story didn’t do much to teach us things that weren’t already covered in the last story.
After reading about four of these comics most of you out there are probably thinking this is all too stupid to be part of continuity. Well I’ve got some bad news for you. According to an Official Marvel Handbook published in 2005, these Spider-Man comics are actually part of Earth-616 continuity.
The saddest thing about this whole affair is the creation of the character Turbine. They tried very hard to sell the character as the next big super-hero. However, as I’ve said above, she has not been seen since. Probably because Marvel already has a token kid in a wheelchair super-hero. Poor Joline couldn’t possibly compete with a mutant who can change his wheelchair into anything.
Next Time in Canada…
We are on the home stretch! Our next edition of Meanwhile in Canada features the final Spider-Man-in-Canada comic ever produced. It’s got more baseball, more bicycle safety, the Green Goblin, inappropriate sexual content, and it’s all part of continuity! We can’t wait to tell you all about it.