Spider-Man had some crazy adventures in the 70s. One of the strangest things to come out of that time was the Spider-Mobile. Even though Spider-Man himself was against the idea back then, it's something that he can't seem to escape. The car has even made appearances recently in Old Man Logan and Amazing Spider-Man #648 (although that was more of a cameo).
When I started reading Spider-Man comics in the 80s, eventually I read the issues dealing with the Spider-Mobile. It was a wacky idea but I didn't give it much thought. Thinking about it today, it's time to get to the bottom of all this and figure out if the creation of the car is justifiable.
The idea of a Spider-Mobile was presented to Spider-Man in Amazing Spider-Man #126. A couple advertising guys flagged down Spider-Man as he was swinging by (I can't help but wonder if they would have settled for any hero that passed by). These guys represented Corona Motors and wanted Spider-Man to build a car (because that surely must have been one of his super-powers, right?) and use their new non-polluting engine. Spidey brushed off the idea but later changed his mind and got Johnny Storm involved.
The car debuted in issue #130. It had a spider-signal, shot webbing and had an ejector seat because, as Johhny put it, "Every hero's car has to have a seat ejector. It's part of the style." It looked like it'd be a success but when Spidey took it for a test drive, he revealed he didn't really know how to drive. He figured he'd never be able to afford a car and as a New Yorker, he wouldn't have a need for driving in Manhattan. He managed to catch some crooks with it but was attacked by Hammerhead. Later Spider-Man parked the car and used the camouflage option to hide the car for several issues.
The car ended up sinking in the Hudson River in issue #141 when Spider-Man accidentally drove it off a pier (he was tricked into thinking it was an alley courtesy of Mysterio). The car was later seen in issue #159 where it was recovered by the Tinkerer and modified to be used against Spider-Man. With the car attacking him and his powers nullified by a gas the Tinkerer developed, it looked like this was the end for Spidey. Of course he managed to defeat both the Tinkerer and Spider-Mobile. Spider-Man then returned the car to the advertisers.
After giving it more thought, it still doesn't make sense. What was Marvel thinking? The car didn't really serve much of a purpose. Spider-Man was against the idea from the beginning. Before he could really get into the idea of using it, it got trashed. It was then brought back as part of a villain's plan to get revenge on Spider-Man. I have to wonder if the editors ever felt the Spider-Mobile had promise. Did they have plans for Spider-Man to drive around the city instead of swinging from place to place? Was the non-polluting engine meant to be a message? Maybe fan-reaction was immediately negative and they decided to scrap the idea. I'm sure Spider-Man isn't the only one that would like to forget the Spider-Mobile existed.
The Spider-Mobile is a joke and always will be. It was a really bad idea. Whether it was ever meant to be taken seriously, we may never know. The few appearances before it got sunk almost felt like the writers wanted it to catch on. It was a goofy idea and can bring a laugh when looking back. Let's just hope something like this doesn't happen again.