By Dan Shanoff
Page 2 columnist

In an interview in this week's issue of SuperHero Illustrated magazine, Spider-Man revealed that he was on steroids when he beat the hell out of the Green Goblin during his MVP-caliber movie-opening three weeks ago.

Spider-Man
Columbia Pictures
At least Spider-Man didn't have an embarrassing "bodysuit moment" in his big scene with Mary Jane.

The hero -- a k a Peter Parker -- said his superpowers came from long-term steroid abuse, rather than a radioactive spider-bite, as previously reported.

"The spider-bite?" Spider-Man said. "Just a cover. Did you see how I got so big overnight? Really, it was the 'roids. Climbing walls? Just 'roid rage. That web stuff out of my wrists? I have no idea where that came from, but now it's coming out of my pecs.

"That ... and the fact that I have no, uh, 'interest' in Mary Jane. That whole scene in the rain, macking with her in the alley? I felt nothing. Can you believe that???

"This is what scares me. And why I'm coming clean."

But the hero would not go so far as to say he has stopped taking the drugs -- or that he plans to stop.

"Look at the X-Men," the Webhead said. "I've been around for years longer than they have, but they got that fat movie payday a couple of summers ago. Look at all the money in film! So I can't say, 'Don't do it,' not when Storm and Cyclops -- second-tier heroes by any reasonable standard -- are bigger than I am ... taking my house ... making my money."

Tobey Maguire
Columbia Pictures
Intense training and a spider bite was not the cause of Peter Parker's amazing transformation from string-bean to superhero.

Spider-Man is the first superhero to admit using steroids, although it is well-documented that Captain America gained his powers in the 1940s from a super-powered chemical injection. Now mulling a run for president in 2004, Cap claimed he was an unwitting part of a government experiment and declined further comment.

In his interview, Spider-Man also "pulled off the masks" of his costumed comrades, suggesting that up to 50 percent of existing superheroes currently use steroids, casting a shadow on the purity of their previous heroics.

"Have you ever seen The Hulk do a pushup?" he said. "I don't think so. The guy can lift a building, but he can't touch his toes. I'd hate to think what his liver looks like right now."

Though Spider-Man's claims come in the wake of corroborating details promoting an upcoming "tell-all" book by Iron Man, other heroes were quick to question Spider-Man's credibility.

"Has Spider-Man been in the weight room with me?" asked Luke (Power Man) Cage. "Oh, sure, I got injected with some super-strength serum back in the day, but that was when I was doing time. Since then, I've been all natural...and did I mention a 'Hero for Hire'? I'm in the book. Anyway, Spidey had better watch his back - I heard my boy Iron Fist was looking for him."

"And where the hell's my movie deal? "Undercover Brother," my ass."

Homer Hulk
FOX ŠTHE SIMPSONS and TTCFFC
Superheroes need to consider the long-term effects of steroid use.

A doctor's prescription is the only legal means to acquire steroids in the United States. But Spider-Man said the drugs are easily obtained, usually from super-villains or friends in major sports leagues.

Comic-book publishers are considering full-time drug testing of their heroes. "Think of the precedent this sets for our younger readers," one source inside the publisher's office said. "Wait a sec ... our average reader's age is 35. But you can bet that their parents will ground the hell out of them if they find syringes and pill bottles hidden under mattresses with some of our more racy titles."

Representatives of the Superheroes Union suggested that any attempt at regular drug-testing will be met with resistance. The source did not rule out a strike.

"Did you see how much money the 'Spider-Man' movie made?" she said. "With 'Daredevil' and 'The Hulk' coming up next summer, I don't think this is a cash cow [the publishers] want to be tipping over."

Dan Shanoff is a columnist for Page 2. His "What's Hot, What's Not" trend-spotting list appears on Thursdays. News satire appears when provoked.




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SPIDEY SAYS