Marvel Team-Up #31, March 1975 issue. "For A Few Fists More!" Written by Gerry Conway, pencilled by Jim Mooney, inked by Vince Colletta, lettered by Artie Simek, colored by Petra G., edited by Len Wein, cover by Gil Kane.
The story is told in first person, as Peter Parker dictates what's just happened. Pete was in a diner eating an extremely early breakfast when Iron Fist kicked a man through the window. Iron Fist continues to attack the man, who pulls a knife, but Iron Fist disarms him and knocks the man out. Iron Fist then just leaves. Pete changes into Spider-Man and trails the martial arts master. What Spidey didn't know was that a man in a bizarre blue tunic was watching him from a rooftop... speaking backwards. He says he believes he can get enough energy to survive from one of them... and two of them will give him power.
We find out that it was this man who put Iron Fist into contact with the street thief he was fighting earlier, and now he sends a beam to sever Spidey's webbing, sending the wall-crawler plummeting into Iron Fist. The gold-and-green hero attacks Spidey in response, saying he'll kill Spidey if he doesn't tell him why he's being attacked without reason. They continue to battle, while the man, called Drom, the Backwards Man absorbs energy from their fight. Finally, Spidey webs up Iron Fist long enough to calm the martial arts master down, and they agree to talk.
Drom isn't happy about the fight stopping, and when the two heroes sit down and start talking, a beam from Drom's weapon animates concrete to attack them. Iron Fist gets taken out quickly, but Spidey evades the creature until he can get Drom to accidently destroy the creature. Spidey shoots webbing at Drom, but it turns to dust before reaching the villain. Drom then stuns Spidey with his weapon.
The Web-Head wakes up strapped into a chair in a lab. Drom, who turns on a device allowing him to speak normally, tells Spider-Man that his life is being lived backwards... he was born normally, but then suddenly accelerated into old age (he says his infant form was exchanged through time with his aged body), and then began aging somewhat in reverse, needing human energy to survive. He says he began the fight to feed hiumself, and possibly even slow his backwards aging. As he starts up his metablic disruptor to more quickly siphon off Spidey's energy, Iron Fist bursts into the lab, and disarms Drom of his weapon. Spidey warns Fist not to touch Drom (who tends to make anything he touches age rapidly), and Fist frees Spidey in return. Then, the two heroes take hold of the large Mirror in the room, and hit Drom with it. Drom then begans aging even more rapidly in reverse, suddenly disappearing entirely.
Spidey and Fist talk briefly about what happened, with Fist pointing out that the emory of Drom may not last, which is why Peter was dictating what had happened into a tape recorder. However, at this point in his narrative, Pete forgets about Drom, and wonders why he was thinking of Iron Fist.
Note: Former Marvel staffer Ralph Macchio (not the "Karate Kid" actor) has a letter in this issue.
The first ad from this issue is a classic one (you didn't think I'd go too long before this one, didja?). The Charles Atlas ads were long a mainstay of comics, becoming part of comics history themselves. Of course, at this size, you can't read the oft-parodied comic strip... so....
Hopefully, that will prove easy enough to read! Speaking of classic comics ads, does this one look familiar below?
The Johnson Smith Co. was another one of the mainstays of comics, and no doubt you'll see other ads of theirs on these pages as well (if you haven't already). I'm certain that eventually, I'll need to feature larger blow-ups of individual items as I get more comics and ads here... but maybe this will hold you over.
You know, when I was a kid, I often thought that you could pretty much equip a utility belt like Batman's from these guys... think about it.... Order one of the Kung Fu or other self-defense books to learn how to fight, then get the Crime Detection Lab, add the Electric Police Siren and Flashlight for an alarm, Police Handcuffs to hold any crooks you capture, the Pocket Spy Telescope to spy on the bad guys... and check out the Electric Sound Switch... it's the precursor to the Clapper!
This was all the great stuff kids wanted to buy... do any of you have this stuff? If you do, take a picture, and send me a scan of it, with you in the picture with it, and I'll add it to the page!