In 1976, Marvel Comics teamed up with Planned Parenthood and published a special issue of Spider-Man. The reproductive health organization used a classic superhero plot to address the issue of comprehensive sex education, focusing on teen pregnancy, that is clearly reflective of its time period.
Richard Graham, an Associate Professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, told BuzzFeed in an e-mail that it isn’t out of the ordinary for Marvel to produce a promotional comics, but “The Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Prodigy” seems different from others. “This is a little out-of-the norm for Marvel,” Graham explained. “The artwork is done by a respectable artist Ross Andru, which already sets apart from most PSAs, since these tend to be done on a bidding basis, with the lowest bid getting the contract. Marvel seems to have gone all out for this comic in terms of the talent.”
While there doesn’t seem to be another joint project from these two organizations, it looks like this wasn’t the only time Planned Parenthood used comics as a tool to educate people about safe sex and contraception. In 1956, Planned Parenthood also released a comic about a couple’s relationship saved by birth control.
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