Captain Marvel: The Musical

The ORIGINAL Captain Marvel

shazam5

“SHAZAM!” 

Whenever you see that word, doesn’t it just make you want to say it with “jazz hands!” like it’s the title of some Broadway production?

Wait a minute… a 1940s cultural icon, featuring a young but plucky orphan, a talking tiger, and larger-than-life fantastical plots? Why the CC Beck has this NOT been turned into a theatrical musical?

In might go, something like this … Overture, maestro!

tawkytawny

PROLOGUE– Wandering on stage, a Tiger in a Suit. Mr. Tawky Tawny introduces himself– he is our Chorus, after all, and he hints at a world of wonder and spirit just beyond what we can see. And how it doesn’t take a special person to cut through the noise of life. It could be anyone at all…

Billy_Batson

ACT ONE- … like little Billy Batson in Fawcett City.As the City unfolds with its many citizens, Billy sings how “The City is My Playground!” He’s an orphan, living on his own, but he’s also strangely responsible for these people– his presence brings happiness to others and, yes, even inspiration. But it ends on a note of sadness, too, because as much as Billy tries to create a family from the various citizens in interacts with, it will always fall short of his ideal of family.

Other citizens aren’t quite as nice. There’s Dr. Silvana and his daughter, Beautia. Beatuia isn’t convinced that Fawcett City is the crown jewel of the East, but Silvana says it’s perfect for her needs, her drive to become Mayor, maybe even, Governor! Her “Best Foot Forward!” is a perfectly constructed vision of herself– complete with recently adopted daughter, Mary! Too bad Mary is such a petulant brat.

There’s also “Uncle” Dudley H. Dudley and young Freddie Freeman, a couple of con artists who try to run a scam on the Silvanas, you know, the one where the kid pretends to have a lame leg? Well, don’t run a con on supervillains! Silvana flies into a rage, displaying his latest invention, Animatorium, which brings parts of the city to life! With amazing feats of puppetry, costume, and dance, Dudley and Freddie are at Silvana’s mercy, and while Dudley flees, Freddie is hurt– this time for real! It’s up to Mary to save the day, as she convinces Beautia, and thus Silvana, that showing compassion will be good for her upcoming political career. Freddie is thankful, and maybe a bit smitten, but in fact Mary’s just as selfish as any of them– after all, if there is nowhere else for her to go, she is determined to hitch a ride along with Silvanas, who are “On The Way Up!”

Mr. Tawny ‘guides’ Dudley into finding Billy, the hero of the neighborhood. Billy’s heard all about Unca Dud’s kind of shenanigans, though, and is reluctant to help him. As Tawny’s refrain echoes, Billy reaffirms “Help is Where the Heart Is” and tries to make a plan.

sivana BeautiaSivana

ACT TWO–
At the site of Beautia’s upcoming press conference/stadium, Freddie tries (unsuccessfully) to get close Mary, but she does reveal a bit about the mysterious night she was left as an orphan. He at least convinces them to spy on Silvana and Beautia, and Silvana gets to reveal his own purpose for Fawcett City, in a villainous version of “The City is My Playground!” After all, he gets his own city-wide petri dish for his own experiments, such as using the Animatorium to control people’s minds! Well, isn’t that an unfortunate time to catch Freddie and Mary sneaking around!

Equally unfortunate that Dudley and Billy show up, too, posing as reporters for Whiz Radio. They almost convince Beautia, but Silvana soon sees through their ruse. He promises no happy ending. After all, “The World Is a Bad, Bad Place”, using his Animatorium to bring to life literal embodiments of Dudley’s greatest enemies– Greed and Gluttony. Silvana is just playing around because he can, while Beautia sees it as a warning for others. They leave them all to the destruction that Greed and Gluttony brings to the scene.

Billy awakens in a darkened scene, the abandoned subway tunnels he has fallen into. Mr. Tawky Tawny is there to offer “Help (is) Where the Hero Is,” and the two meet. Tawny guides him past the statues of the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man, some of which are broken– namely, Greed, Gluttony, and Pride. He leads him to the Wizard of Shazam, who explains Billy has been saved to bring his hope to the city above. He blesses Billy with the powers of Shazam, transforming him into Earth’s mightiest mortal, but another earthquake, thanks to the havoc above, causes the other statues to break, and a rock to fall on the Wizard! Billy is left only with a sacred charge– and, now Captain Marvel, he flies off!

In the City, Greed & Gluttony are twisting the people into a strange Thriller-like dance to “The Seven Deadly Enemies of Man.” It’s a huge showstopper as Captain Marvel descends, fighting off enemy-controlled goons and finally taking out the Big Bad Enemies themselves.

Silvana and Beautia are both intrigued and inspired — inspired to crush this hero before it’s too late!

INTERMISSION …

rossshazam

To be continued, here in Part 2! 

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Story Meeting — Captain Marvel: The Movie

Captain Marvel #2, Cover by Ed McGuiness

From Captain Marvel #2, Cover by Ed McGuinness, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen, LOOK at Captain Marvel.

And take a moment to realize what a tremendous opportunity we have here.

Here is our chance to get in the forefront of the public consciousness– a strong, confident and capable woman with the power, flash, and style to capture the imagination of moviegoers everywhere. I’m talking nothing less than the next heroic icon! But… how? What’s her story, exactly?

What’s that? An Avenger in Space. No? It’s more complicated than that? Well, explain it to me like I’m, I dunno, eight.

Really.

Well, it’s a fact, and perhaps a sad one, that comicbook movies and comicbook comics are, yes, quite different, and we’ll have to make a slightly different story than … whatever you call THAT explanation.

But, hey, one thing the Marvel Cinematic Universe does well is take a superhero genre and blend it with another convention. Captain America as a period piece? Done. As a 70s political conspiracy film? Done. And I think I’m not alone here when I say it’s obvious what will be the best blend with Captain Marvel’s story…

Suspense. An alien invasion story. Start with X-Files, end up with Captain Marvel. “Our Hero Is Out There.”

from Captain Marvel #10, cover by Filipe Andrade (2012)

from Captain Marvel #10, cover by Filipe Andrade (2012)

To start with– Carol Danvers is already a hero, thanks to a high-octane Air Force adventure where Carol led her squad, the Warbirds, to save the world from terrorists. Roll credits, complete with press junket, fan reactions.

But all doesn’t sit well with Carol. Her reward is to be shunted to a largely ceremonial desk job, and what’s worse, there are some things about her previous adventure that doesn’t add up. She starts to investigate, running into dead ends, and worse. She finds a fellow solider is running down leads, too, but Walter Lawson seems to have his own agenda. All things add up to “It Came From Outer Space” (50s style) and come crashing together, forcing Carol and Lawson to escape from super-secret Air Force base, and in the ultimate battle over something called a Psyche-Magnetron, Lawson is revealed to be the alien Mar-Vell, he dies a spectacular but mysterious death, and Carol’s body is changed, charged with alien energy and capable of absorbing the power of stars!

And that’s just the second act! Realizing the need for both secrecy and exposing the conspiracy, she fashions a mask and dons the identity of Captain Marvel!

The Captain now begins to root out the influence of alien Kree among us, battling dangers as real as Sentry robots and Kree Purifiers, and as intangible as panic and xenophobia. Which, of course, was the Supreme Intelligence’s plan all along, since it wants to use Earth as its case study in emotions and petri dish of human experiments. Still, Cap’n M has accelerated the timetable. It is time to use the Psyche-Magnetron to destroy humanity, and only Captain Marvel, with help of her Warbirds, can expose and take down the Kree threat once and for all.

End credits? This caption: “Captain Marvel will return in Avengers 3: The Kang Dynatsy”

And thousands of little girls want to dress as Captain Marvel for Halloween that year.

From Digital Baubles, Tumblr from Kelly Sue DeConnick, writer of Captain Marvel (2012-present)

Vera Maven versus Wonder Woman

Meet Vera Maven

In which our Maven takes on the likes of Wonder Woman, Chris Sims, and 75 years of cultural iconography 

Vera! So good of you to come!

As long as one has want of me, I am his-or-hers completely. Darling, I’m positively shameless.

Have you seen this? Chris Sims of Comics Alliance takes on Wonder Woman. He talks about the problem of how she is one of three giant DC comics’ icons, but how no one knows, well, basically ANYTHING do with her character– be it for a movie, TV show, or even her own comics! “It comes down to,” he says “just not knowing what they want to do, and that comes from everyone looking at this character that has all these different conflicted things going on, and having their own idea how to get in there and fix it.”

Chris Sims gets things right a lot of the time. There, Chris. I’ll give you that one for free. Blurb away! Be sure to quote Vera Maven copyright 2014.

How do you feel about taking on the same “problem?”

A thing is never a problem when my own opinion is the solution. I have a marvelous and unapologetic subjectivity. And thus I willingly offer my own ideas “how to get in there and fix it,” as he says.

Mr. Sims points out that Wonder Woman — well, that she’s a Disney princess, or in his words “quite literally a magical princess that can talk to animals.” Well, on the face of it, why not? She’s a gutsy adventurous heroine with magical powers from a faraway land who wants to see the world. Simsy is right, why WOULDN’T this work?

The problem is, that only really works for ONE movie or story, which, as he admits, is prima face an origin story, with Wonder Woman NOT YET grown-up. I mean, of course Disney Princesses are usually pretty young, because they are by nature in the middle of their process of growing up. For another, Disney Princesses usually have the whole becoming a princess thing as the END RESULT of their heroic journey, and that’s even for those who start the movie as a princess in the first place.

But for the essence of Wonder Woman– the essence, mind you– it’s more confusing. Does her “story” start BEFORE or AFTER her arrival to Earth from her magical island? If her story starts BEFORE, then OK, sure. You can have her do her whole heroic journey thing like any Disney Princess– she can sing her “I Want” song, she can have some sidekicks help her realize her special place in the world, and she can overcome the villain who tries to be selfish. And then, Diana is awarded magical gifts and becomes Wonder Woman, a warrior and emissary to Outside World, and … then what? Her story, essentially, stops.

Because for her story AFTER her arrival, well, frankly, Wonder Woman is really just Generic Superhero #5: Paragon. “We want a superhero, but, you know, like a girl,” said someone, somewhere. Which is fine if you are a character yourself, like bystander in the comicbook world, looking up and seeing a hero punch a villain in the face. But when you want to follow that hero *as a reader,* outside that story, you need to know what she does AFTER, like where does she go home at night, how does she pay for her latte, what happens in-between punching the next villain in the face? You know, superhero tropes and all of that.

Which is a shame, because there are SO many possibilities for the stories AFTER her arrival. Just do the math. How many stories can take place BEFORE her arrival? One! Her origin. (Yes, yes, I’m sure you can have all kinds of TV shows with young Diana as Wonder Girl before she arrives on Earth, but these are arguably “spin-offs” of what everyone would consider the ONE story.) But how many could you have AFTER? It’s limitedness, darling!

So forget the analogy of Wonder Woman as a Disney Princess story. What you REALLY have, and what is SO MUCH better, is that Wonder Woman is a James Bond story.

Think about it– who really cares about James Bond’s origins? He’s an archetypical pulp action hero in the modern day– you don’t NEED to know any of that origin stuff to make an entertaining overcome-the-world-dominating-criminal-mastermind James Bond story. Nor do you need any part of that for a Wonder Woman story… the backdrop can be any mix of the Percy Jackson, Xena, Thor, the Little Mermaid, or whatever-you-like as long as it gives us an overcome-the-world-dominating-supervillain kind of story.

Wait a second, Vera. Isn’t James Bond, for all his iconic status and permanent place as cultural touchstone, really just Generic Superspy #1: Maverick? He’s got his own formula of tropes that make the actual character, as-a-character, kind of superfluous. Just like the problem of Wonder Woman!

Too true, darling! Wonder Woman exists as this very strange property– a cultural touchstone that is more powerful as an idea than as an actual story, like beginning-middle-end kind of story. She’s a great icon, as a symbol or as a lunchbox logo. She’s even a great character, with an inner strength, capacity for compassion, and warrior spirit with the skills to match. But as a STORY ENGINE? She is a complete cypher. At least James Bond has a story engine, however generic.

Thus, for superhero stories to work, there has to be something metaphorical at play. Heroes are never just heroes, they are thematic SYMBOLS that generate thematic STORIES. Think about Superman…

Hmm… Making the most of your potential.

Just so. And Batman?

Fighting back against the darkness.

Excellente. Spider-Man?

Well, power and responsibility, of COURSE.

Yes, and Wonder Woman? … Well? I’m waiting… See? No story engine.

I would LOVE to watch a Wonder Woman movie, and yes my darling, really ANY superhero movie, that shows a story-engine kind of understanding of its character. You can do that in an origin story, a sequel, a TV spinoff, whatever.

OK, so, what we need is a Story Engine that is the best expression of a uniquely Wonder Woman metaphorical theme.

Not so easy, I’m afraid.

There’s no, one, go-to story that helps define Wonder Woman’s thematic core, her very resonance. So let’s pick one and enhance it. For Wonder Woman, her theme is “Together, we are strong.” It’s about brother/sisterhood. Unity. Family. What’s so wonderful is that it stems from her defining characteristics of compassion and determination. It showcases her as a guardian, a leader, but one never far removed from community.

You see? Even very famous story arcs of Wonder Woman’s can be presented very nicely through this lens. In the War of the Gods (yes, it’s 1991, but still…) triumph is earned by all mythologies banding together with Wonder Woman, do they not? Ah! 20 year-old spoilers, pardon! In Paradise Lost (ten years later in 2001), she wins the day by dissolving the concept of the “royal family” of Paradise Island, unifying her mother and her people. In her current “New 52” version? She is brought into the family of Greek demigods, surviving her trials by standing up for others and banding together with her new family.

Wonder Woman, Vol. 1: Blood (The New 52) trade paperback by Brian Azzarello  (Author), Cliff Chiang (Illustrator)

Wonder Woman, Vol. 1: Blood (The New 52) trade paperback by Brian Azzarello (Author), Cliff Chiang (Illustrator) Available here

And then it’s only natural to see a string of villains and save-the-world plots happening. Obviously, her archenemy Ares would be opposed to the themes of unity, as would Circe. Other villains that represent selfishness, division, or subjugation, like, say, Cheetah, Eris/Discord, or Maxwell Lord or Dr. Psycho, have stories that practically beg to be told through this lens!

Wow! Okay, hold on. This all started from the idea of one movie! So what’s your pitch?

Ah! Well, I was getting to that, you impatient, little, chubby-cheek, you. Start with a cold open, like any good James Bond story, and Wonder Woman with a team of Amazons fight off some monster-headed creature things. But what seems like some exotic location is in fact South Dakota or something, and we learn how popular Wonder Woman is as an iconic, if somewhat distant, near-celebrity. Back on Paradise Island, Wonder Woman learns that one of the Amazon’s prisoners, Cheetah, has escaped during Diana’s excursion to Earth. Wonder Woman makes the choice to go after Cheetah, who’s trying to hunt down Steve Trevor, among other military agents. Trevor, you see, knows the location of a magical place of power, because a black ops that went bad, naturally. Wonder Woman and Trevor team up to investigate, and find Cheetah is connected to Circe, the sorceress with a penchant for transforming people into animals (movie origin alert!). The place of power would also allow Circe to sever Paradise Island’s connection to Earth, and Wonder Woman is stopped from an early victory by rebel Amazons who have pledged allegiance to Circe and would like nothing but to see such separation. Will Wonder Woman be forced to sacrifice Paradise Island and be trapped on Earth? What will the showdown between Diana and Circe look like? Will Circe show Wonder Woman’s “true face” of humanity, as beasts, opposed to Diana’s hopefulness and optimism? Don’t worry, mon chere, goodness and unity are victors in the end. Together we are strong, after all!

Vera, I thought you would go bigger budget than that!

I see. Well, you could have Circe release the Titans of myth upon the world, I suppose. That worked for Disney’s Hercules. But, really, darling, such monies would be better spent on putting some young ingenue in Cheetah body-painting makeup.

Come to think of that, show that to the movie executives, and that might be all you need to get a Wonder Woman movie in development.

Hmm. How droll. C’est le Hollywood, I suppose!

Thanks, Vera, for keeping it real.

I’m ever as real, as real can ever be.

Cheers.

Vera Maven versus Grimm

Meet Vera Maven

“Ms. Maven, do you ever think about television?”

I think about everything, I’m afraid.

“Maybe you can tell me about NBC’s Grimm?”

Oh, my dear! This is finishing it’s third season, and just a few weeks ago announced a fourth! This is positively ancient by nightly drama standards, isn’t it? Thankfully, TV drama tends to develop with age, and believe me, that is doubly, triply, quadruply thankful in the case of Grimm.

“So you weren’t a fan of the first season, I take it?”

I am a critic by nature, darling; I can never be a fan of anything. Such is my blessing and my curse. And even though this is the internet, let’s be honest, shall we? There were some serious problems with the first season.

The show dressed itself as a police procedural with a supernatural twist, one based on a mythology inspired from European fairy tales. As for the first part, the whole “procedural” outfit? There was nothing special, just basic formula. A cold open with a scary monster, a hero who discovered clues the audience already knew, and a fight scene to capture or kill the brutes. If the hero found a problem, oops! No worries! Just look in the Big Book That’s Never Wrong or ask his friend, Monroe, of whom I believe it will finally be revealed has the last name “Exposition.”

But, hey, even the trappings of a horrible outfit can look good on the runway with a brilliant model– it’s all about the people inside, n’est ce pas? Character counts? And, yes, I think we can all agree that our hero Nick, David Giuntoli, is a brilliant model of manhood. Did you know he was considered for Man of Steel? Indeed.

Grimm (2011-present) NBC Universal Television Created by Stephen Carpenter, David Greenwalt, Jim Kouf

Grimm (2011-present) NBC Universal Television
Created by Stephen Carpenter, David Greenwalt, Jim Kouf

But as good as poor, adorable Giuntoli is, it’s really Nick who I’m disappointed in. Can you honestly tell me why Nick is a hero? What’s his motivation? I can understand if, in the first season, he may be acting out his role as a “Grimm” simply because he has been flung into a brave new world by his dying Aunt, and he must find a way to survive. But what has happened instead is that Nick is merely fulfilling his role as Grimm at night the same way he fulfils his role as police officer by day– he’s basically punching a card and following the job description someone gave him. Having a sense of duty is nice, isn’t it? But WHY should someone have a sense of duty? It’s not all about duty, because he tries to balance it with a “normal” life with his family, by which I mean of course basically just one person, Juliette.

So it was a great decision to name the show Grimm, as it was really all the Great Nick Show in those first seasons, really. His job partner, his life partner, his were-partner, everyone really was there just so Nick could move through the plot. So here’s the “thankfully” part– the show runners have finally realised that it’s better for Nick to have all such partners be fully aware of his nature as a Grimm. There’s actually a supporting cast that can interact more freely! Hooray!

Especially for Juliette. In the beginning, she’s a perfect example of a problem character for characters with a secret identity. She’s someone who has to exist to support Her Man, but by definition she never can, because she can never know him fully. Passivity is so passé.

“Come on, Vera! At least she is over that season-long subplot of losing her memory…”

Shush! Shush! Shhhhhhh! There are some things we never speak of, my dear.

And look, she is still Ms. Problem! What can she really do, I mean, REALLY? She is a veterinarian, so that is somewhat, kind of, tangentially, if-you-squint related to the Wesen creatures Nick encounters? She is good at using Google? She can also read from the Big Book That Knows Everything?

If you are starting to think that this show is not necessarily meant for a female audience, I’m starting to think you are right. There really are no female leads, only support– Juliette and Rosalie– both defined only by their support of Nick. Oh? You will argue about Rosalie’s relationship with Monroe? Still defining by relationship and support of a man, dearie. Notice the other women who appear? All villains or creatures of the night who must be destroyed. And yes, I am raising my eyebrows in a knowing way right now.

“But Vera, the world they’ve created is much bigger than just Nick and the Monsters of Portland.”

I was going to subtitle it this way– Grimm: Nick and his Walking Talking Resources. But you are right to some extent. Must be those sharp, twinkling blue eyes of yours! There is a lot of world-building going on here. Too bad it’s so schizophrenic! The writers here seem to want to wrap a chiffon around the dungarees. But that’s just too separate to mesh well!

This has really been a problem in this recent season. Just look at the way they have A Plot and B Plot attempt to share space in the same episode, and yet have such separate tone, plot, and pacing that they might as well be different TV shows entirely. And when there is world-building in the Monster-of-the-Week of Portland world, it’s pretty much the same formula that we’ve been following from the beginning. “Oh, look! It’s dungarees again! But this time, they are made in Bangladesh, so it’s different.”

And that’s at best. At worst, they introduce a plot element simply to describe what we’ve been taking for granted for three years now. “Oh! So Wesen can recognise Grimms by their eyes. Good thing that took an episode to work through! Here’s some sunglasses.”

Yes, it’s a wonderful world of drawn-out B Plots and wedding plans.

But let’s leave with something good to say, yes? I’m such a positive person by nature, you know. Let’s see… Whoever Nick and Juliette hire to do their innumerable home repairs will certainly be able to afford a nice university for his children.

“Before Grimm leaves the runway, what’s your final assessment, Vera?”

 

It’s less on the “Must Watch” end of the scale and more on the “Watch If You Must.”

“Insightful as always, Ms. Maven.”

 

Charmed, my dear.

Story Meeting– Tigra: The Claws of the Cat Movie

Tigra: the Movie

CRIME IS HER PREY

Greer Nelson is a lab assistant to Dr. Tumolo and wife to a Chicago cop. When her husband is beaten into a coma at the hands of criminals rumored to be involved in occult practices, Dr. Tumolo urges Greer to submit to her experiments, turning her into a costume crimefighter called the Cat. Turns out, there is a mysterious cult behind the crime — the demonic Rakasha, or Cat People, who are operating in Chicago in some kind of demonic turf war. It turns out too that Dr. Tumolo is a Cat Person herself! Greer freaks out, of course, believing it all to be a set up so that she would be forced into some kind of “Chosen One” role, but it turns still more out that Dr. Tumolo was actually working against the Cat People, as a renegade. The full expression of her “science” will turn Greer fully into Tigra, the avatar of the Rakasha, so she can take down the Cat People once and for all. The big demonic turf war is headed by some guy calling himself Pandemonium, who awakens/brainwashes Tigra’s husband as his own champion. They battle, of course, but power of love or whatever helps take Pandemonium down once and for all, although her husband is lost forever, plus the resulting demonic underground power vacuum will likely keep Tigra busy for several sequel and/or the animated series spin-off!

 

EXCLUSIVE! Marvel and ABC to produce a Wonder Man TV series!

WONDERMAN a new TV series from Marvel and ABC

WONDERMAN a new TV series from Marvel and ABC

from ABC press release dated 1 Apr. 2014:

EXCLUSIVE! Marvel and ABC to produce a Wonder Man TV Series!

Joss Whedon continues to bring an expanding Marvel Comics universe to television! By combining the unstoppable forces of the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron sequel with Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series, Whedon and James Padalecki team up for the television debut of one of Marvel’s fan-favorite characters, WONDERMAN!

Simon Williams (Padalecki) starts off as a man with seemingly nowhere to go– suspected of business fraud and forced to take the fall for his brother. But a daring plan by S.H.I.E.L.D. foe Ian Quinn (David Conrad) will turn Simon into Wonderman in a plan to take down nothing less than the Avengers themselves! Thankfully, Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents stand in the way, and help set Wonderman on a more heroic path– one that makes him a movie star in his own right! Will Wonderman have what it takes to be the hero that the world, or at least Hollywood, needs?

The success of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has proven that Marvel Entertainment rules television just as much as the movie arena. With its unique blend of action and humor, Marvel is poised to take over the entertainment industry, and Wonderman is a surprising entry that nevertheless fits seamlessly into its well-established canon of heroes.

“Marvel and ABC have proven a winning combination,” says Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, “We have hinted that there were big changes to Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. [series], and this is just a part of the tremendous changes you’ll see in the next few years. We hope to change the face of adventure on television itself!”

Executive Producers Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon and Jeph Loeb (Smallville, Lost, Heroes) reunite to bring Marvel and ABC’s next sure-fire hit live-action TV series, WONDERMAN.

Marvel’s Spidey Super-Stories present: The Falcon

Can you tell I’m anticipating the premiere of Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier? It’s like Falcon appreciation week here.

Anyway, there was once a comic for new, lower-elementary school readers called Spidey Super-Stories (1975). It featured Spider-Man (due to his licensing for the PBS series The Electric Company) as well as a diverse cast of supporting heroes, both from The Electric Company as well as Marvel Comics’ canon.

But it certainly helps to clarify and simplify the origin of the heroes, as Hayden Goobie would appreciate:

from Spidey Super-Stories #13 (1975) by Winslow Mortimer

from Spidey Super-Stories #13 (1975) by Winslow Mortimer

So… just to reiterate. Some heroes are made by being bitten with a radioactive spider. Some heroes are made when their parents are gunned down in an alley. Other heroes? They like birds and buy a pet falcon, teach it tricks, then later dress up like it and fight crime with it.