PEDRO LOVELL AS SPIDER RICO FROM "ROCKY" (1976) AND "ROCKY BALBOA" (2006)
by Dane Youssef
The first time we meet Rocky, we meet Spider. It's the very first film. The two are going at it in a local nightclub. Battling it out, almost like pros. Like a championship bout.
After it's over, we hear a woman in the crowd bellowing, "You're a bum! You're a bum!" When people hear that Rocky took down the Spider, people aren't exactly as ecstatic and thrilled as when he took down Apollo Creed, Clubber Lang or Ivan Drago. There isn't deafening applause and remarks of "I love you."
When people see the damage the Spider did to the Rock, they often ask how it happened. And "I hope you won." But when they hear who he beat, no one's impressed. One guy has to ask, "Is Spider still around?"
Mickey laughs and just remarks "He's a bum." Well, so's Rocky. What do you expect?
The next time we come across the Spider again, it's the last movie. And (reportedly) the last time we'll ever hear from Rocky himself. It is in the year of our lord 2006, we see Spider washing dishes in the local eatery the former champ and his two-bit brother-in-law are running to support them now that a dirty dealing accountant has tricked them and made off with every last Red cent. And poor Rocky didn't even make one cent from the Reds themselves for the big USA vs. RUSSIA match with Drago.
At one point, the former champ goes up to the still bum and asks him to relax, put the dishes down, take a seat. He's a guest. Spider sharply refuses, "I can't. Don't push me. I'll clobber you. Last time, you got lucky. Jesus wants me to work!"
It's a disapointment we don't get to know Philadelphia's neghiborhood Spider-Man a little bit better. He might have been living a more thrilling and colorful than Balboa. But Rocky is the hero of this series. He's the one we follow.
--For Our Friendly Philadelphia Neighborhood Spider-Man, Dane Youssef