Nov 13, 2019

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #50

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Each Wednesday, Ben and Duy will look at a Spider-Man issue from the very beginning, in chronological order, and answer questions for various categories, inspired in large part by one of our favorite podcasts, The Rewatchables by The Ringer. Our goal is to make it to Amazing Spider-Man #200. Will we make it? Grab your Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus or crank up your tablet to Marvel Unlimited, and then tune in every Wednesday to find out!

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #50
Spider-Rama
by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr.

The public clamor against Spider-Man has gotten to Peter Parker, so he quits! Meanwhile, the Kingpin runs roughshod on the town.


POINTLESS TRIVIA

BEN: Villain appearance count:
  • Green Goblin: 7
  • Doctor Octopus: 5
  • Sandman: 4
  • Kraven the Hunter: 5
  • The Vulture: 5
  • Mysterio: 3
  • The Enforcers: 3
  • The Rhino: 3
  • The Lizard: 3
  • The Chameleon: 2
  • Electro: 2
  • The Ringmaster: 2
  • Scorpion: 2
  • Molten Man: 2
BEN: This has the first appearance of the Kingpin, and while we think of him as a Daredevil villain now, I suspect he will top this list of appearances before long.

DUY: It reminds us that Spider-Man is Marvel's original crime book, and is still really a crime book in so many ways, which I don't think we really think of it as.

BEN: Peter quitting was the basis of the plot in Spider-Man 2.

DUY: Widely considered the best live-action Spider-Man movie for a long time. It's wrong, but that's the public opinion.

WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?


BEN: Gwen is now openly expressing interest in Peter.


DUY: Gwen can't make it any clearer that she likes Peter, and he's totally dense about it. I love it.

BEN: You’ve been pointing this out, but it does seem like they were subtly getting readers ready for Robbie with prominently featured “background” citizens. And thankfully he’s not colored gray.


DUY: Also thankfully, Romita is the one the Robbie introduction happens with eventually. I love Ditko, but... no. Also, the cover has aged the best, because that's one of the most homaged covers in the business.

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

BEN: Obviously this is a deservedly iconic issue, but it shouldn’t be periodically redone. Ditko established the burden of being Spider-Man, but I’d say Romita is the one that established Peter thinking the burden was too great. Peter quit out of the fear of leaving Aunt May alone, but that wasn’t really because it was too hard for him.



DUY: Spider-Man quitting multiple times through the course of his career really does make him look easily defeated and selfish if you view it from that angle. I get that people want to modernize it, though. And also, some references just don't age well.  A mobster says "We'll have a summit meeting that'll make Appalachin look like a tea party." From Wikipedia, this was "a historic summit of the American Mafia held at the home of mobster Joseph 'Joe the Barber' Barbara, in Apalachin, New York, on November 14, 1957."

BEN: Mobsters love history?

NITPICKS

DUY: So Peter usually wears the costume underneath his civilian clothes. Did he... strip down completely, remove his Spidey clothes, then put his regular clothes back on in the alley?

BEN: Even if you really think you’re quitting, hold on to the costume. There’s DNA all in that thing!

DUY: DNA testing wasn't around then because DNA hadn't been invented yet.

BEN: On the sliding timeline, this is happening in 2011.

FAVORITE PANEL

BEN: Barring the iconic splash:



BEN: Also, here's a nice Mary Jane:



DUY: "How come you haven't asked if I've got a maaaad crush on a bashful, black-haired bike-rider?" is, high probability, my favorite panel between Gwen Stacy and Peter Parker from the classic era.



BEN: Too good to be true.

WHO WON THE COMIC?

BEN: Gwen!

DUY: Yeah, Gwen.

MISSION STATEMENT

BEN: Peter saves a watchman that reminds him of his Uncle Ben, finally prompting him to explicitly state his motivation as Spider-Man.



DUY: Finally. It only took 50 issues, 3 annuals, two artists, and three co-writers.

BEN: Stan and Steve obviously created all the aspects, but it was never all put together in the way that we as fans know it until Romita. Which is weird.

DUY: This is one of the best issues of the entire series so far. Lots of Peter/Gwen interaction, just enough Mary Jane, Aunt May spends most of it sleeping, and the mission statement of the book finally coming into play explicitly.

BEN: That's it for Spider-Rama this week.

DUY: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko—

BEN: —for telling us we aren't the only ones.

Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. See you next week!

Nov 6, 2019

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #49

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Each Wednesday, Ben and Duy will look at a Spider-Man issue from the very beginning, in chronological order, and answer questions for various categories, inspired in large part by one of our favorite podcasts, The Rewatchables by The Ringer. Our goal is to make it to Amazing Spider-Man #200. Will we make it? Grab your Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus or crank up your tablet to Marvel Unlimited, and then tune in every Wednesday to find out!

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #49
Spider-Rama
by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr.

The new Vulture and Kraven the Hunter go after a still-sick Spider-Man!


POINTLESS TRIVIA

BEN: Villain appearance count:
  • Green Goblin: 7
  • Doctor Octopus: 5
  • Sandman: 4
  • Kraven the Hunter: 5
  • The Vulture: 5
  • Mysterio: 3
  • The Enforcers: 3
  • The Rhino: 3
  • The Lizard: 3
  • The Chameleon: 2
  • Electro: 2
  • The Ringmaster: 2
  • Scorpion: 2
  • Molten Man: 2
BEN: Kraven and Drago are the Karl Malone and John Stockton of Spider-Man villains. For the non-NBA fans, they’re pretty good, but boring, and they lose in the end.

DUY: Kraven breaks out at the end though.

BEN: By killing himself, sure.


WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

BEN: What did I tell you? Harry may be an idiot, but he was smart enough to see Peter would bring the girls to his doorstep, and that’s exactly what happens when Gwen and MJ visit.

DUY: Anna Watson telling May not to worry either ages well or not depending on how you feel about people overparenting.

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

BEN: The most evil thing Kraven does is periodically beat up his pet tiger. Poor abused Rajah.




DUY: Man, Kraven's just mean.

NITPICKS

BEN:  I need to know Dr Bromwell’s story. What’s he do on the rare day Aunt May isn’t calling him? Is he still around? What is the final fate of Doc Bromwell!?!



DUY: Aunt May calling Jonah Jameson "sweet" and "the dearest soul" is ridiculous. Even she's not that dense.

BEN: He does always put on the schmaltz for her.

FAVORITE PANEL

BEN: Kinky.


DUY: Pull up a seat.



WHO WON THE COMIC?

BEN: Harry left with Gwen and Mary Jane, Peter spent the evening with Aunt May and Anna. Harry.

DUY: Oh yeah, it's definitely Harry.

SPIDER-MAN BLUE

BEN: So this ends the stretch of comics Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale used as inspiration for Spider-Man: Blue. A mini-series that was so good, it invented scenes I now remember being in the original comics but weren’t. Like this:




DUY: Yeah, so this according to Spider-Man Blue is when Peter and Gwen became official, which isn't the case here. But I love that "That's when you had me, Gwen Stacy, all of me" sequence, so let's just show it anyway.





BEN: It’s to the point where I’m anxious to see when and how they do make it official. And there's also this scene that totally doesn’t make me cry.


DUY: That's it for Spider-Rama this week.

BEN: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko—

DUY: —for telling us we aren't the only ones.

Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. See you next week!


Oct 29, 2019

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #48

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Each Wednesday, Ben and Duy will look at a Spider-Man issue from the very beginning, in chronological order, and answer questions for various categories, inspired in large part by one of our favorite podcasts, The Rewatchables by The Ringer. Our goal is to make it to Amazing Spider-Man #200. Will we make it? Grab your Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus or crank up your tablet to Marvel Unlimited, and then tune in every Wednesday to find out!

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #48
Spider-Rama
by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr.

Fighting off an illness, Spider-Man has to fight the all-new Vulture, Blackie Drago!




POINTLESS TRIVIA

BEN: Villain appearance count:

  • Green Goblin: 7
  • Doctor Octopus: 5
  • Sandman: 4
  • Kraven the Hunter: 4
  • The Vulture: 4
  • Mysterio: 3
  • The Enforcers: 3
  • The Rhino: 3
  • The Lizard: 3
  • The Chameleon: 2
  • Electro: 2
  • The Ringmaster: 2
  • Scorpion: 2
  • Molten Man: 2

BEN: This is the first appearance of Blackie Drago, becoming the first legacy Spider-Man villain after he takes over as the Vulture following the death of Adrian Toomes.

DUY: Well, "death." I don't know why they keep trying to replace the Vulture. He looks like a vulture. He's old like a vulture? What more do you want. Any update just makes him a bird.

BEN: It’s one of those cases where logic creeps too far into the character.

DUY: There's a scene on top of a bridge, which as we all know after 1971 would never happen again unless it was an extra special story referencing the landmark story in 1971.




WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

BEN: Peter trying to do his job while sick is such a normal problem, any reader can instantly visualize themselves in that situation.

DUY: There's also J. Jonah Jameson's "hot take" appearance on a TV news show that's widely done today.

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

BEN: I think they overthought the weaknesses of the Vulture because Drago has none of the charm that Toomes did.

DUY: Drago is just so generic. Ivan Drago is better.

BEN: I think Romita probably designed Drago before putting him in the costume because the Vulture looks ridiculous with hair. That’s why he made up the helmet thing, which is worse.



DUY: It's like if you decided to update the Rhino by turning him into literally any animal with a horn.

BEN: What, no. That’s a terrible analogy.

DUY: He's the Unicorn now.

BEN: Don’t try to salvage it.

NITPICKS

DUY: I want to ask why Gwen would wear her hair the way Mary Jane would, but I'm not going to pretend I understand women.



FAVORITE PANEL

DUY: If I had to pick, the last panel. Something about Spider-Man laid out against the complete whiteness of the snow.



BEN: I’m always a fan of extreme elements depicted in comics. Rain, snow. I guess it’s just those two. Whatever. This is pretty.




WHO WON THE COMIC?

DUY: A generic issue with a sick Spider-Man fighting means I will have to give it to Spider-Man.

BEN: We’ve seen much less of Jameson since Romita took over right? Which makes sense with the focus on romance.

DUY: Unfortunately.

BEN: Let's compromise and say Gwen Stacy.

DUY: That's it for Spider-Rama this week.

BEN: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko—

DUY: —for telling us we aren't the only ones.

Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. See you next week!


Oct 23, 2019

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man Annual #3

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Each Wednesday, Ben and Duy will look at a Spider-Man issue from the very beginning, in chronological order, and answer questions for various categories, inspired in large part by one of our favorite podcasts, The Rewatchables by The Ringer. Our goal is to make it to Amazing Spider-Man #200. Will we make it? Grab your Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus or crank up your tablet to Marvel Unlimited, and then tune in every Wednesday to find out!

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #3
Spider-Rama
by Stan Lee, John Romita Sr., and Don Heck

The Avengers try to recruit Spider-Man (and in the process ask Daredevil if they should, without offering Daredevil a membership), and his first test is to capture the Hulk!




POINTLESS TRIVIA

DUY: This is the first time Spider-Man was asked to join the Avengers. Steve Ditko did not want to associate Spidey with other heroes, so that's why none of his guest stars(Except Daredevil) ever really helped him, and why his dynamic with the Human Torch is not one of a partnership. Ditko did not work on this, bu that still holds, and that's weird.


WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

BEN: Spider-Man thinking he’s helping Banner by not luring the Hulk to the Avengers is at least plausible.

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

BEN: So the Avengers are looking for a character witness on Spidey, and Hawkeye says they know someone who’s fought with and against him, and as I’m thinking "Human Torch" in my brain, my eyes read "Daredevil". Why would they ask Daredevil?



DUY: Is Daredevil not offended that he's just being asked by the Avengers about another hero altogether?

BEN: I was going to say, he’s probably thinking “if you hold my opinion in such high regard, why not me?”

DUY: Like if they asked Johnny then there's at least the "I'm already a member of the Fantastic Four" excuse. But asking Daredevil is like asking the single friend of the girl you want to ask out if her friend is available.

BEN: But only if you’ve never met that girl or her friend before.

DUY: Also, this is not good artwork. And it's by John Romita Sr. and Don Heck.

BEN: The cover is good.

NITPICKS

DUY: Holy crap, Janet Van Dyne, quit talking about how wasps and spiders are natural enemies. You're too old to be this petty.

BEN: The Avengers are too busy to track down the Hulk?

FAVORITE PANEL

BEN: Desist!



DUY: This is so stupid-looking, I have to pick it.



WHO WON THE COMIC?

DUY: Spider-Man beat the Hulk, so it's Spider-Man.

BEN: Can we agree to skip the annuals after this one?

DUY: That's it for Spider-Rama this week.

BEN: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko—

DUY: —for telling us we aren't the only ones.

Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. See you next week!


Oct 15, 2019

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #47

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Each Wednesday, Ben and Duy will look at a Spider-Man issue from the very beginning, in chronological order, and answer questions for various categories, inspired in large part by one of our favorite podcasts, The Rewatchables by The Ringer. Our goal is to make it to Amazing Spider-Man #200. Will we make it? Grab your Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus or crank up your tablet to Marvel Unlimited, and then tune in every Wednesday to find out!

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #47
Spider-Rama
by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr.

At Flash Thompson's going-away party before he's sent abroad by the military, Kraven the Hunter attacks!


POINTLESS TRIVIA

BEN: Villain appearance count:
  • Green Goblin: 7
  • Doctor Octopus: 5
  • Sandman: 4
  • Kraven the Hunter: 4
  • The Vulture: 3
  • Mysterio: 3
  • The Enforcers: 3
  • The Rhino: 3
  • The Lizard: 3
  • The Chameleon: 2
  • Electro: 2
  • The Ringmaster: 2
  • Scorpion: 2
  • Molten Man: 2
BEN: This issue was later parodied in a Deadpool comic, with Deadpool being inserted into the story as part of the gang.

Parody from Deadpool. The original panel shows up down below.


DUY: That's Deadpool #11, back in 1997. This is also the main issue flashbacked and homaged in Spider-Man Blue. There's something special about this series of issues, this supporting cast, right when Flash leaves, that they did a whole retrospective about it twice (Deadpool and Blue).

BEN: Surprisingly, Blue shows the party, but not the dancing. We are probably both remembering this, which is a completely new scene.



WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

BEN: One of the most memorable panels from the Romita era is Gwen Stacy dancing at Flash’s going away party. It’s as ridiculous as it is enduring.


DUY: It's something Romita 100% has over Ditko, making the whole dancing thing endearing. Romita's romance background is so big, but it's most widely felt so far in this issue, and it's just.... a really nice change of pace from all the 46 issues that have come before.

BEN: I wonder why they decided to put Flash away for a little while? Was it simply wanting to address the war in some capacity, or to give more room to Harry, or both?

DUY: I think addressing the war was a good move, and Flash if I remember right is back sooner rather than later, so maybe it's to give his character some growth. He and Peter had already been evolving to friends, so maybe this was a more natural way to justify that eventual endgame.

BEN: I think they were clearly trying to transition Peter into being less of an outcast, so that’s easier without Flash around insulting him all the time.

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

BEN: Deadpool does a far better job of mocking the dialogue and characterizations then I could ever do.

DUY: Additionally, Kraven's nipple blasts ... do not age well.


NITPICKS

DUY: Peter Parker hangs out with Ned Leeds and Betty Brant, and chilling out with your ex-girlfriend and her fiance isn't normal, right? I mean, I'm sure it happens, but it's weird. And why would Ned and Betty even go to Flash's going-away party? Do they even know him? They're working people and he's a student. And why would Betty be all playfully "OooOooOoh, which one between Gwen and MJ are you more into, Peter?" It's not like they're Jerry and Elaine. And seriously, no one could find Liz Allen?

BEN: It’s weird how fast they dropped her. We have another blonde now, one with less emotional problems..

FAVORITE PANEL

DUY: Gwen playfully being catty with Peter about MJ is really entertaining. All the words are vile, but all the facial expressions say to come right at her.


DUY: But no, it's the sequence of Peter and Harry picking up MJ and Gwen for me, the one so effectively parodied by Deadpool if you scroll up. and how Peter is so enamored with Gwen. It's so charming.



WHO WON THE COMIC?

DUY: There actually is a dancing contest here. And I think judging by the reactions of everyone watching, Gwen Stacy won. Gwen Stacy wins this issue.

BEN: Gwen wins every issue. The sooner you realize that, the happier you’ll be.

DUY: That's it for Spider-Rama this week.

BEN: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko—

DUY: —for telling us we aren't the only ones.

Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. See you next week!


Oct 9, 2019

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #46

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Each Wednesday, Ben and Duy will look at a Spider-Man issue from the very beginning, in chronological order, and answer questions for various categories, inspired in large part by one of our favorite podcasts, The Rewatchables by The Ringer. Our goal is to make it to Amazing Spider-Man #200. Will we make it? Grab your Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus or crank up your tablet to Marvel Unlimited, and then tune in every Wednesday to find out!

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #46
Spider-Rama
by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr.

The debut of The Shocker!


POINTLESS TRIVIA

DUY: First appearance of the Shocker.

BEN: Peter moves in with Harry.

DUY: I wonder if the move has something to do with Ditko leaving. It feels like this would be something the fans would want, and Stan would want, because it's partly growth and it partly gets May out of the way, but it feels like Ditko would have fought it. Also, I'm confused. Is Harry supposed to be the cool guy?

BEN:  I think he is.

DUY: Do you think they succeeded in making him the cool guy to readers in the 60s?

BEN: The Fonz was cool right? Harry asking Peter to move in with him was a pretty sly strategic move on his part. They’re not very close at all yet, but Harry can see that for some reason Peter is a chick magnet, and makes the right call

DUY: He's also the smartest kid on campus, so there's the idea that Harry will look cool next to him. But again, is Harry supposed to be cool? He's got the car and the money. That's usually the makings of the cool character in a college movie, right?

BEN: I think he’s supposed to be cool, because every other rendition of him in movies or cartoons makes him the cool one, they’re just doing a terrible job of it here.

DUY: I asked this because I was watching Spectacular Spider-Man, and he's basically Milhouse in it. But Gwen is not traditionally "pretty" in it either.

BEN: Sure, find the one version that contradicts me. I feel like, at minimum, Harry is rich and rich kids always have friends, even if they’re a Milhouse.

DUY: James Franco isn't cool, he just looks cool compared to Tobey Maguire.

BEN: Wait, did Franco Harry actually date Mary Jane in that movie?

DUY: I don't think so?

BEN: I think it seems like he didn’t because it was a massive betrayal, but he totally did.

WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

BEN: The Shocker’s costume is somehow both bad and cool.

DUY: Gwen Stacy dancing when Peter isn't looking, and getting his attention without her knowing it, always feels realistic to me. Like you notice your crushes more in the casual moments.



BEN: Everything they do is fascinating.

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

BEN: The dialogue is really quite awful.

DUY: It's so dated, in a way I don't think I've ever seen anything from the 60s so dated. The ending where he mopes about how he possibly lost the capacity for happiness, makes me want to strangle his emo teenage self.

BEN: I love you Stan, but this is hard to read. Romita has a much more appealing style to me, but it’s marred by this nonsense.

DUY: I don't like how Romita made him bulkier. I guess I do prefer Ditko's weird-looking Spidey to Romita's more classic-looking Spidey, but a bulky Spider-Man is just weird to me.

NITPICKS

DUY: This is the second issue in a row where Harry just runs into Peter on the street while he's driving. This is impossible, I don't care what era of New York it is.

BEN: Let’s assume he was stalking him.



DUY: That adds a whole new layer to this whole run.

FAVORITE PANEL

DUY: There's a scene where Harry is driving Peter away, and in the foreground there's a black cop. We're only a few issues away from Robbie Robertson's introduction.



BEN: That is prominent. And for mine, Mary Jane is too easy:



WHO WON THE COMIC?

DUY: It's hard to pick a winner for these generic issues, but the fans, because Aunt May is going away for a while.

BEN: We need a spinoff miniseries of May and Anna. But it's not hard to pick, because it's Gwen.

MEMORABLE AND RIDICULOUS

BEN: Peter's acting job to fool Patch has always stuck with me.

DUY: It's a nice touch, but... really contrived.

BEN:  It’s ridiculous, which is maybe why I never forgot it.




DUY: That's it for Spider-Rama this week.

BEN: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko—

DUY: —for telling us we aren't the only ones.

Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. See you next week!