The Only Cabbie in NYC

By | Friday, June 16, 2023 Leave a Comment
Tales of the Marvel Universe
In a 2015 Amazing Spider-Man comic strip, Mary Jane leaves the movie she's working on by hopping in a cab and telling the driver to tail Spider-Man and Black Widow, who she's jealously concerned may becoming romantically involved with one another...
It's kind of a crap idea that's a few decades out of touch, but let's focus on that cabbie. He notes that he gave the Invisible Woman a lift on "the first day she did her vanishin' act." That is, of course, a reference to this sequence from Fantastic Four #1...
The same driver actaully shows up again later in Fantastic Four #160 when he picks up Alicia Masters. When she asks to be taken to the FF's headquarters, he relays the story...
Fantastic Four #160 sequence
And he also shows up later in Tales of the Marvel Universe #1, relaying the same story yet again (his audience notes they've already heard this a million times), this time while watching one of the Thunderbolts' first battles on the news.

What had never been revealed before, however, was that this was evidently the same cab driver from Thor #129, as suggested by the strip's reference!
Thor #129
As far as I'm aware, this is the first time Thor's cab ride has ever been referenced in another story and no one has ever made the connection to the cab driver from FF #1 before. I'll mention, too, that this cab driver has, to date, never been named.

It's also a seemingly rare digression (in recent years) from any writer to pull out continuity nods like that. (The strip was still credited to Stan Lee, but Roy Thomas had been ghost-writing most, if not all, of it for about fifteen years by then.) While they did it pretty regularly back in the 1960s, the writing he's done on the newspaper strip -- while sometimes dated and stilted -- has rarely referred back at his own career like this. It's a different medium with an audience that isn't as attuned to long-term continuity as you find with comic books. It's also a pretty rare nod to continuity in the Marvel Universe overall any more. While some fans complain that there's no respecting a character's rich history, others cite decades of continuity as an albatross around their collective neck. So editorially, anything much further back than the previous storyline has largely been glossed over at most or, more frequently, completely ignored. The throwback in that particular strip is very much an anomoly, but it's a curious instance of contrasting previous storytelling norms against current ones.
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