Canada's Free Comics

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: DOUBLE TROUBLE/EMBÛCHES #2, Marvel Comics, 1990A freebie I think you could only get in Canada is a bilingual Spider-Man mini-series that had a different subtitle each issue. They were handed out at the local supermarkets or drug stores or in the case of the rarest, at a Montreal Expos baseball game in '93. I only ever found this one, perhaps because the story takes place in my province.

See, Spider-Man's Canadian tour was part of an anti-drug initiative brought to you by the fine folks at (takes deep breath): "The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the Alliance for a Drug Free Canada, Health and Welfare Canada, IBM, Canadian Pacific Limited, Shoppers Drug Mart, Canadian Airlines International, Canada Post and a host of volunteer groups." Wow, note the drug peddler in there.

(Small biographical note: These comics sure do work, cuz I have never ever taken an illegal drug. However, I was quite addicted to comics for a while, and when I quit, I had this strong negative physical reaction whenever I saw a comics rack. So these free comics certainly weren't helping.)

So as I was saying, Spider-Man actually came in my corner of the woods in "Double Trouble", taking on a drug-dealing Chameleon in Fredericton, New Brunswick. I'm an hour away in much cooler Moncton, NB, but I guess writer Dwayne McDuffie stuck to the boring ol' capitals. Not that you'd know you were in Atlantic Canada, especially with the kids in the story being from Winnipeg. Maybe it's a Fredericton out west (might explain the "Rodeo Ville Arcade"), but you tell me: Couldn't this be the UNB campus?
The story has Peter Parker cover a national science fair there, and the Chameleon trying to get his hands on one project that could be turned to evil ends, culminating in a fight between Spidey, a giant hamster wheel, a solar car and a pterodactyl.
Oh, and that slimy Chameleon manipulates one of the kids by giving him drugs, who of course learns a powerful lesson thanks to Spider-Man and minor league hockey star Herb Carnegie of the Quebec Aces (stay away from nondescript red pills, kids!). No drugs, but Spider-Man has no trouble pimping various products to sell this issue. He wants you to buy Kraft peanut butter, fights Electro with Tony the Tiger, and peddles Phosphate Free Ultra Cheer (stay away from phosphates, kids!) and Downy fabric softener (stay away from comics, moms!).

Since this is a Canadian project, it had to be translated. That's just the way we are (it's the LAW!!!). It's the same with cereal boxes. With comics, it usually means an uncredited scripter screwed up all the jokes and maybe tried to jam way too many words in a word balloon. I'm used to it. There's one mistake I can't get over though: "Science Fair" is translated as "Foire scientifique", but here in New Brunswick, that crap's called "Expo-Science".
I am in no way blaming McDuffie for any of this. He turned in a competently witty script given what he had. But those translators, eh?


rob! said...

don't let the Republican Party see Spider-Man speaking French! Mon Dieu!

Mathieu said...

The top frame looks like the UNB campus, but the building itself is probably the Old Governement House:

Also, Fredericton rocks!

Siskoid said...


Hey, I don't really mind Fredericton. People are very nice on the street there, and bars close early enough for me to go to bed before midnight and get a good night's sleep. Still, gotta defend my own corner of the woods. Quantess tu descends?

Good going spotting that building by the way.

dannyagogo said...

Born in Fredericton, raised in Moncton and now living in Ottawa, I need to get that issue!!

I also dated a guy from Fredericton so I've spent some time there recently. Moncton IS much cooler ;-)

Anonymous said...

I think I have that one from the expos game...


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