Super-Blog Team-Up GOLD: What If Peter Parker Had Become Speed Ball Instead Of SpiderMan!

Posted: December 16, 2020 in Uncategorized

Hey Heroes Welcome back!! The Superhero Satellite has been reawakened by the one event that brings me back to my blogging roots, The Super-Blog Team Up!! If you are unfamiliar with the Mighty Marching SBTU we are a group of like minded Bloggers and Podcasters who get together 3 to 4 times a year to blog on a singular theme!! This month marks our first ever dual branded installment where we have divided the team into not one but two factions, kSBTU RED and SBTU GOLD!! If you have already checked out SBTU Red that team tackled the topic of CREATOR where the discussion centered around the creators who make the magic in the pages of the medium that we all enjoy called comics! Now if you are on Team GOLD then you are entering the world of one of my favorite topics “WHAT IF!!” The concept takes a classic storyline or character and puts a new spin on a familiar topic and takes it in wild new areas of possibility…like we will do today!! So if you ever wondered “What If??” then you have come to the right place!! Strap In tight Heroes this Satellite is going to take you back in time to ponder the question…WHAT IF PETER PARKER HAD BECOME SPEEDBALL?

Begin Transmission: 12/16/2020

I held in my hands The Amazing Spiderman Annual number 22 as I perused the comic racks in my local pharmacy. The cover showcased a brand new character that caught my eye..and now that I think of it it literally may have been ONLY my eye but never the less the tagline “Move Over Spidey Enter: Speedball” captured my imagination. The character was emblazoned with an old school vibe and a vintage style costume that hooked me right away!! I wanted to know more about this character so I laid down my coins for the book and Speedball came home with me.

I had been a Spiderman fan in the 80s and had amassed a prized run of the Amazing Spiderman of about a hundred and fifty issues!! I was especially fond of the original exploits of Spiderman that I rediscovered in the pages of Marvel Tales the reprint book which gave you the original Spidey stories with an updated cover! Much of the early art of course was handled by the legendary Steve Ditko! Many can argue that it was Ditko whom created Spiderman all by himself but the truth seems to lie in the middle with the disputed claim that Stan Lee created our friend Spidey but that’s an argument for another day. Ditko was disenfranchised by the way Marvel and Stan in particular had treated his work by changing portions of his creative stories or characters with out his knowledge. Steve was an Objectivist had a very staunch belief system in the manner justice was handled in society and those views often crept into his stories with our wall crawler. Stan and Steve were very much at odds and eventually it was too much for Ditko to bear so he walked away from Marvel a bitter creator

Ditko was a loner in the comics world in part do to his beliefs in Objectivism. He lived and breathed the teachings of philosopher Ayn Rand and much of his work was heavy handed in the way he approached a character and how were portrayed in the comics. Ditko passed over many jobs and as a result was turned down for several other opportunities for he was garnering a reputation as being hard to deal with. Spiderman and Doctor Strange were Steve Ditko’s masterworks that he was most famously known for but now Ditko chose to search out work elsewhere namely in DC comics and Charlton comics as well.

Ditko created a host of characters for DC including The Creeper and Captain Atom and Blue Beetle for Charlton. These creations kept Ditko working at least. His days at Marvel were not officially in the rear view window as he would be contracted to do odd jobs on titles like Rom SpaceKnight and dubious titles such as Marvels Star Imprints Chuck Norris and The Karate Kommandos. Ditko had seemingly run out of gas. He had become something of a Pariah in the industry. He was viewed as being a little “too weird”, and his art style had not updated with the times which would be a criticism of his latter day career.

As it would happen Marvel happened to be experimenting with a new concept about a new set of characters living in a stand alone Universe outside of the Marvel Continuity dubbed the New Universe. It created a host of new characters such as Star Brand, DP7, and Nightmask, to name a few. The New Universe however did not make it due to creative issues and lack of interest in the product. The Speedball concept was originally created by Ditko as a New Universe character but the imprint became extinct before the character could see the light of day. Ditko was struggling to get any sustained contract work and as a favor to a friend editor Tom Defalco went to bat for Ditko and the Speedball concept at Marvel resulting in getting the green light as a regular ongoing series. Steve Ditko was about to get the chance that had eluded him in recent times. As it would come to pass Speedball made his debut in The Amazing Spiderman Annual #22 and as I I stated above grabbed it off the rack immediately. I loved this new character. He had a vintage look, cool powers and was a perfect fit in the classic Marvel Universe and was to be penciled by the man who brought Spiderman and Doctor Strange to life. It was a sure fire hit….right? Well as with hindsight in mind this book was doomed to failure as Steve Ditko was almost set up to fail.

My time with Speedball was a treasured childhood memory of mine. It is a strange story because during hot summers myself and my friend John would make our weekly walk to our local drug store, pick up a cold Slush Puppy ice drink a bag of Hostess chips and of course a bag of comics!! We LOVED our comics and it was the center pin of our universe. Every conversation was about comics, we consumed them every minute we could. We had an odd ritual especially when it was hot or rainy. We had a huge drain pipe that was in a river alongside the stadium next to our mall that we would walk through in the dark almost like a game of dare for each other. At the end of the tunnel the pipe dropped off into a small river and we liked to sit at the pipes end and get comfy and read our comics. It was strange but it was part of growing up!! I sat in a water tunnel next to our stadium and I held Speedball #1. As we sat that day and studied these colorful tabloids I wanted so bad for this book to be the next big thing. I felt like I was on the ground floor of the next generation of Marvel heroes. Honestly the cover to issue one was a let down. Where as the cover to his first appearance in ASM Annual #22 was everything I looked for in a comic book, his debut issue one looked like a panel you may find in the middle of a comic as a part of a sequence of action but not a cover shot for an #1 issue? This was a bad Omen. Instead it showed the character battling a group of mono colored generic bad guys back on? The main character of the title was not really featured prominently on the cover of his own book? His design was not visible as he was depicted back on?? and this cover was an epic failure in one mans opinion. The interior story inside gave me hope. We met Robbie Baldwin and his family. Robbie, aka Speedball, acquired his powers the old fashioned Marvel way through a laboratory accident. Hammond Research Facility had been playing with the idea of Interdimensional energy sources which of course is never a good thing. Robbie ends up smack dab in the middle of a lab accident but finds himself surviving the incident but suddenly surrounded by Kinetic Energy Bubbles and dressed in a super cool blue and yellow costume. As with classic Marvel his pet cat Niels, is also affected by this incident and adds a comedic element to the issues. The Cat even adopts the name Hairball as a play on the name Speedball. This was the last stand for Steve Ditko at Marvel and Speedball The Masked Marvel lasted only 10 issues. The title was like a property out of time. There was little support from Marvel either. Historically when a title is struggling for sales Marvel would usually go for a final Hail Mary to save the title by bringing in Co Stars from other books. Where were the “HOT” appearances of Wolverine, The Punisher or even Spidey himself? Where were the Superhero team ups? Where were the wars against established super bads? Speedball was given no form of life support and it was obvious by all who were on the pulse of comics at that time that this title was given the death sentence from issue one. This was the brain child of one of the founding fathers of the Marvel Universe, but the publishers, the company, the industry, and the fans had given up on Speedball and more importantly Steve Ditko.

I always wondered What If Speedball had been the character that Ditko created in the 60s…What If Peter Parker had become Speedball instead of Spiderman!!?? What would that have looked like? Well in classic What If? form we take a look at a reality where Peter was never became your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man but instead became the Bouncing Marvel known as Speedball. Word of warning readers…this one does not end well folks…enjoy…

What if Peter Parker became Speedball!!

We all know the story. Peter Parker was your typical social outcast, unpopular with the ladies but a genius in the Labratory. As the story goes Peter is bitten by a radioactive spider which of course gives him heightened Spidey senses and other spider like abilities. But WHAT IF that the Spider that bit Peter Parker was irradiated with the kinetic energy that makes up our favorite bouncing ball! Your friendly Neighborhood… Speedball!!??We begin on college campus laboratory which is occupied by a young Peter Parker who has been working on a synthetic bond which allows molecular bonds to expand and retract like a rubber. Peter and his fellow student Gwen Stacy have formulated a rubber like substance and are putting it through a series of tests with light radiation testing. After hours Parker continues to play with his discovery alone in his lab. A spider gets trapped in the light beam and causes a disruption in the experiment. Peter notices the Spider and attempts to brush it away which he does only to knock over the beam and rubber like specimen to the floor. Peter is trapped as he struggles to get out of harms way as he is infused with the rubber like properties and radiation as the Spider he tried to swipe away bites him for his efforts! Peter, after his recovery discovers he now has enhanced abilities and is able to bounce and kinetically alter his body in ways not seen before. He keeps this ability a secret but knows he has uncovered a major scientific breakthrough. He now has the ability to create a kinetic energy field around him which is about to come in VERY handy soon as his life is about to take a BIG turn.

Peter presents his discovery to Hammond Research Laboratories in Springfield Connecticut who immediately wants the patent. While striking a lucrative deal with HRL Peter instead opts to take his discovery back home so he can be with his new love interest Gwen Stacy and instead sells the discovery to his childhood best friends father one Norman Osborn of Oscorp industries. Norman is a staunch business man who has been perfecting military grade flight devices on a contract for the U.S Military but has yet to be able to master his creation of a weaponized glider and protective warfare Armor suit. Osborn eyes Peters discovery and pays off Peter and his family handsomely for the rights to the experimental kinetic shield. Unbeknownst to Peter, Osborn stumbles upon a way to weaponize the shield powers for his glider craft and his own body Armor that he has been secretly working on. Going against protocols Osborn’s lucrative contact is cut off pending a very serious security breach leaving him bankrupt. This drives Norman to the brink of insanity and he does not cope well with losing his life’s work.

Peter on the other hand is living his best life. Now rich beyond his means Peter and Gwen have become engaged and has moved out of his Aunt May and Uncle Bens home to become a successful publisher as he has purchased the rights to buy the Daily Bugle outright. Peter has begun selling photos there only months before working as an intern selling photos of a bouncing crime fighter making waves in New York The Amazing Speedball!! Peter proudly has set his Aunt and Uncle up in a rich estate paying off their home and bills so they can retire. His Uncle Ben has a conversation with Peter whom he feels is losing sight of his self and getting a bit of a big head on his shoulders. Ben warns Peter about staying grounded and being careful with his newfound power and fame. He tells him that “With Great Wealth Comes Great Accountability” something that sticks with Peter forever. Peter however feels Ben is being ungrateful and alienates himself from Ben and May feeling that despite raising him they need to be grateful happy with the new found wealth he has accumulated and shared with them.

The Daily Bugle is another source of stress for Peter. His staff namely one trouble maker and former editor J Jonah Jameson has been giving Peter and his office huge problems since his termination and trying to spin a bad reputation for fake news on The Bugle. Peter in hast ups the anty buy delivering stories that only he as Speedball can! However as we find out someone knows his secret that individual being one Eddie Brock. Brock was a young reporter that in one of his first acts as Editor In Chief Peter fires him in a tantrum something that burns Eddie to his core! Eddie takes a dark turn and decides to keep a close watch on his rival and lurks around Peter’s house and lab to get to the bottom of this Speedball deal. While alone one night after breaking into the lab, Eddie unlocks a sealed locker. Inside is the irradiated Speed putty. It shockingly leaps and attaches itself to Brock!!! Brocks new symbiotic kinetic Symbiote is a force to be reckoned with as he can now deflect his body off of any object without harm and deflect any attack. V-Ball is born and he is out to seek redemption on Parker aka Speedball. Peter however is too busy to notice and is consumed with his celebrity as the publisher of the biggest circulating news media outlet in the city. He ends his relationship with Gwen after she is sick of his new arrogant public persona and rejection of her. Peter has begun spiralling in his personal life drinking his sorrows away but manages to find the very public glance of actress Mary Jane Watson who is a media darling in her own right.

Peter continues to work on the Speedball formula in his lab discovering it has been tampered with. Peter is met with the scary reality that the formula has been stolen and has fallen in the hands of V-Ball, the very man he fired..Eddie Brock. Brock is being spotted all over the city causing disruptions as Peter decides he needs to stop his former co worker who is dragging his name and new Super hero persona through the mud. Unlike his other Rogues Gallery V Ball is not easily silenced and leaves Peter fearfull for his life after Brock with his new powers and symbiotic kinetic powers has Speedballs number each time. Peter goes to Gwen Stacy whom he had left behind in their relationship to reveal his identity and asks her to help him find a vulnerability in the Speedball powers. Upon their research Mary Jane shows up to find the two together and promptly storms off slapping Peter in the face. Peter is distraught as his supposed perfect life , despite his money and powers are tearing him apart! There is little time to worry about that as he knows he has to deal with Brock first for everyone’s safety. Brock and Parker meet again for the final time as Eddie attempts to seize control of the Hammond labs. Using a new injection that Peter and Gwen had worked on Peters powers as Speedball are amplified as his Speedball costume is now a Black symbiotic suit in its own right as he overwhelms V-Ball neutralizing the Symbiote as Brock goes to jail. The media embraces the story as Speedball is heralded as a hero. With positivity goes his way Peter decides to make things right with MJ buying her flowers and rides to her Apartment in his Limo to take her out on the town. When he arrives he notices her apartment has been vandalized and MJ is gone. Upon inspection he find a note from Norman Osborn who threatens Peter who he knows is now Speedball to surrender his Speedball secrets or MJ dies! The new formula Peter has injected causes rages and a vengeful viscious Speedball in a all new black suit born out of an emotional reaction with Peter and his powers.

Peter bounces to the location a high atop Osborn industries when Norman Osborn as the Green Goblin holds MJ hostage. The media has been alerted to this encounter as J Jonah Jameson was given the right to the exclusive story of Speedball finally taking on his nemesis the Goblin. The building is surrounded by media and onlookers and it is somewhat of a media storm. Peter sees MJ who yells at him NOT to engage with all she is worth but Peter is seeing what he always sees in times like these an opportunity to save the day and get noticed! He bounces into motion sailing right towards a waiting Goblin who not only threatens Peter but teases that he will throw MJ to her death.. then he does. Just like in another place in time whete Gwen Stacey falls to her death at the hands of the Goblin this reality has MJ about to suffer the same fate as the onlookers watch on. Peter takes his attention off of the Goblin and dives off the roof of Osborn industries to save his girl. Before she can hit the ground Peter cushions her fall acting as a human crash pad to the excitement of the crowd and flash bulbs of the media. Speedball embraces Mary Jane as she awakens kissing him as the crowd cheers…but this celebration would end ABRUPTLY. This was all a carefully designed trap by Norman Osborn who has now been exposed to the media as the Green Goblin and with nothing left to lose he had a diabolical plan…Oscorp has been loaded with detonators designed to go off at this very minute. The building erupts into a masssive city level concussion blast…Peter is propelled out of the explosion as his powers manage to shield him from the blast as he deflects off of buildings and cars , through glass before finally careening through the side of a building trapped beneath rubble momentarily. Once Peter regains his senses he stands obviously critically injured overlooking his city. Mary Jane runs towards him and she is alive but injured herself however was sealed off from the blast as Peters speedball powers diverted the explosion outwards saving her. Peter knows the death toll is massive as he breaks down…Mary Jane leans in to him weeping but manages to utter the devastating words that his Aunt and Uncle May and Ben Parker were in the crowd as well and didnt make it…Peter collapses to his knees in distraught as his whole world has come undone as he sees The Goblin hovering over the fallen taking in the scene..

This is the last straw…Mary Jane tries to hold Peter back but his rage is too strong as he rockets off towards the Goblin soaring in the air towards his enemy strikes him with a percision blow knocking him off his glider. Peters rage over comes him as he batters Osborn stripping him of the Goblin mask. The Goblin is thrown into buildings , slammed into the road and harshly battered. Osborn is broken and battered and is kneeling up with blood pouring from every pore. Osborn yells at Peter to finish him as he manouvers his weaponized glider behind Speedball who is unaware due to his lack of senses. The Glider takes flight flying directly at the head of Peter…but Speedball knowing every move the Goblin typically makes spins and grabs the front of the glider and rides it directly into a shocked Normal Osborn Peter delivers a fatal head shot to the shock of the few remaining bystanders. The Goblin falls over…very much dead and Peter stands over the fallen foe trembling with rage and overwhelming grief from the loss of Aunt May AND Uncle Ben as his Uncles words “With Great Wealth Comes Great Accountability” echos through his mind. He sees flashbulbs go off and waiting like a vulture in the lurch is J Jonah Jameson who takes a picture of a maskless Speedball standing over the Goblin as he yells “Murderer” while capturing the scene for prosperity on behalf of his new Newspaper company. The area promptly fills with squad cars and ambulances as Jameson stands with an accusatory finger waving it at Peter shouting MURDERER as the police move in. Mary Jane tells Peter to run as he looks at her for the last time with fear in his eyes for what he has caused and glares at Jameson before bouncing off into the night as police bullets fill the air deflecting off the injured soul of Peter Parker …fugitive. We wrap up this tale with a cautionary message wealth and its corruption of the best of humankind. Do not trade your morals and good will towards others for wealth it ALWAYS ends up bad…. as with the sad story of Peter Parker…Speedball.

Well….thats certainly NOT what you expected now is it?? Well that wraps up our journey to the sometimes disturbing world of What If? If that didnt satisfy your blog hunger I assure you my team of Super-Bloggers will surely scratch that itch!! Check out all the links below of both groups of topics from our Red and Gold groups this round!! I wish you all a Happy Holidays and thanks for joining me on another fun ride through comics.

End Transmission

Looking for more? Check out the rest of The Super-Blog Team_Up Gang by clicking the links below!! Happy Holidays everyone!!

A love letter to the folks who blazed the trails for the medium we so dearly love. SBTU Creator examines the folks behind the curtain, the genesis of a character, or concept and the rollercoaster of creating worlds, stories or events. Ideas are born of the hearts and minds of people who changed the business. Unforgettable characters and happenings that keep us coming back to the medium we know as comic books. It began with a brush stroke or a tap of a typewriter and changed our culture forever. Bear witness to the Creator!

Between The Pages Blog – Scrooge McDuckTales Woo-oo!

Scrooge McDuckTales Woo-oo!

Daves Comics Blog – Blue Devil Creation

Magazines and Monsters – Comic Book’s Unsung Heroes! Steve Gerber!

Comic Book’s Unsung Heroes! Steve Gerber!

In My Not So Humble Opinion – Kurt Schaffenberger, The Definitive Lois Lane Artist of the Silver Age

Comics Comics Comics… – Sergio Argones

Super Blog Team-Up: Red

Ever wonder “What If” your favorite Character or story went in another direction? Based on the long running classic Marvel title “What If” SBTU Explores new spin, concepts or realities on our chosen topic as we come up with our own alternate perspective and all the consequences and fall-out that result.Join us on a brand new look at an old concept where the team takes you along for the ride on a brand new never seen before reality where possibilities are just the beginning!

The Telltale Mind: Arak Son Of Thunder: A Lost Adventure.

Pop Culture Retrorama – What If The Sinister Dr. Phibes Had Been Produced!

Source Material – What If Captain Confederacy

Comic Reviews by Walt – What if the Ultraverse Had Continued?

SuperHero Satellite – What If Peter Parker became Speedball instead of Spider-Man?

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