It’s time for the most coveted prize in all of comics, the Oddball of the Week. This time around we give Paste-Pot Pete his overdue spotlight.
Remember that kid in kindergarten who would eat glue when the teacher wasn’t looking? That’s what I think of when I hear the name “Paste-Pot Pete.” With an alliterative name like that, it’s no surprise that he was a Stan Lee original straight out of the early 1960s.
Pete Petruski actually had no need to be a supervillain. He had invented some amazing adhesive, and the patent made him rich. I guess for poops and giggles, Pete decided to use his superpowered glue to rob banks. That’s when Paste-Pot Pete was born.
As you may have guessed, his crime spree didn’t last long. In his early days, Pete ran afoul of the FF’s Human Torch before joining the Frightful Four and battling the entire Fantastic Four. Either way, it didn’t work out for him.
I don’t promise boatloads of profits on Pete’s key issues, but he’s too whacky a character to ignore collecting his comics.
The first time readers met Pete Petruski was in this classic issue from Marvel Comics’ early days. Just two years after the FF debuted, Pete donned the title Paste-Pot Pete (because Elmer’s Glue was taken, I assume) in 1963. This also happens to be the first solo adventure for the FF, and the distinction is given to Marvel’s first breakout star, Johnny Storm. Pete would go on to appear in several Strange Tales comics, usually trying to cool off the Human Torch.
As I mentioned in “Affordable Fantastic Four: Johnny Storm,” being a Silver Age first of any kind drives up the prices for the higher grades. If you have around $3k to spend on a graded 9.4, don’t let me slow you down. For the rest of us, there are the lower grades, and anything from a 4.5 is an affordable $200 or less.
After Paste-Pot Pete grew tired of being the Human Torch’s punching bag, he joined with other supervillains to form the Frightful Four (not the most original name, but this was ‘60s era Marvel). Together with Madame Medusa, Sandman, and the equally dorky Wizard, Pete and the gang thought they had a chance against the FF. Shockingly, it didn’t go so well.
Need a copy? Considering it’s an early FF issue, the prices aren’t as high as you might think. Of course, the near-mint copies fetch four and five figures, but the 7.0 has averaged just $552 for the past year. Anything up to a 3.5 has averaged under $200 in that same span.
Two years into his criminal career, Paste-Pot decided a change was in order. With a little fourth-wall humor, Pete thought his old name sounded too much like a comic book character (imagine that). He chose a name that would strike fear into the FF’s hearts…the Trapster. Did you feel that chill run down your spine? The Trapster sends his regards.
This is the name that would stick, and Pete wouldn’t be the only Trapster either, though he remains the most famous. Since this isn’t a monumental issue, the main reason collectors would target FF #38 is because it’s an early FF. That also keeps the prices reasonable. Even at a graded 9.4, it’s averaged $1,440 over the past year. Dip to a 7.0, and the prices are below $200.
PASTE-POT PETE’S AND THE POSSIBILITY OF PRIME TIME
I can’t say that I expect Trapster/Paste-Pot to be a star in the MCU. Where I can see him appearing is in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law or possibly the animated Spider-Man: Freshman Year. Even then, it would be unlikely he would appear for more than a scene or two. Still, he could be a fun addition to either of those entries.