Story & Art: Fred Hembeck
Originally published: February 1990
This is another of Hembeck’s ‘Petey’ stories, though this time it’s set “long before” he became Spider-Man. I wonder if I got my chronology wrong…
This is a crazy story. It’s Christmas and Petey’s upset that May and Ben treat him like a kid – Ben dresses up as Santa Claus even though Petey doesn’t believe in Santa anymore. That night, Petey comes downstairs and sees Santa; thinking it’s Uncle Ben, Petey confronts him about the disguise. Petey storms off into the kitchen, only to find…Uncle Ben! If the man in the Santa getup wasn’t Uncle Ben, then Santa must, in fact, be real!
So far, all pretty normal kids’ story stuff. That is, until the last panel, when Santa Claus pulls his face off and is revealed as a Skrull spy. What the heck?! This comic was really whacked, especially after the syrupy sweet nonsense of the last Petey comic I read. I have to show you the last panel here, so you can revel in all its insane greatness.
I was pleasantly surprised with the writing here. Besides the crazy ending, there was a joke in there that actually made me smile. Overall, it was pretty damned unexpectedly awesome.