Jan 9, 2019

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #1

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!

by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

Spider-Man tries to join the Fantastic Four, battles the Chameleon, and is the target of a media slander campaign by publisher J Jonah Jameson.


BEN: The first instance of his Spider-sense.

DUY: The recap of his origin at the beginning doesn't show that he could have stopped the burglar, which would eventually become the defining moment of his entire origin.

BEN: Also the first appearance of J. Jonah Jameson and John Jameson.


BEN: This one, only because Stan forgot the name of his own character halfway through the first issue of his own comic series.

DUY: This one, because there'd be letters just a couple of issues in just complaining about how they ended this. How dare you give Spider-Man a sad ending! What have you done? People complaining about putting protagonists through the wringer have existed since forever.


BEN: Unfortunately, a respected news source distorting facts for profit,  and people readily believing it

DUY: Yeah, JJJ basically being a villain for both Peter and Spidey is a huge thing that's aged well. I'm always of two minds about how to treat JJJ. He's a criminal, he starts out as a criminal, but he's too lovable and too important to the mythos to really treat as a criminal.

BEN: We often like to put people in boxes, but I like to think of JJJ as an overall good person, it’s just this one thing that drives him crazy and to the extreme.

DUY: "There are always those that will believe it" makes me wonder if you could easily retell this story highlighting the people who think Jameson is full of it.


BEN: The booking agent trying to pay Spider-Man by check.

DUY: Worse, Spider-Man trying to cash it as Spider-Man.

DUY: Also, hey Ben, do you know where your nearest FBI office is?

BEN: Who doesn’t?


BEN: It’s later revealed that Jonah attacks Spider-Man because he envies his selfless heroism, but he isn’t known to be a hero yet when he first starts attacking him here. Unless we take him at his word in this story, that kids should look up to real heroes like his son John

DUY: Spider-Man trying to stop a loose ship is so outside of his core that it's weird that it happens in the first issue. Also, the fight with the Chameleon isn't a fight at all. Think about all the fight scenes Ditko would choreograph later on.

BEN: At this point he’s really only a teenager with spider powers. He hasn’t done much heroing yet


DUY: It has to be JJJ, right? The rest of the issue feels like a misfire in terms of core Spider-Man stuff — except for him having a sad ending. But JJJ is basically spot-on.

BEN: He was basically fully-formed from the beginning.

DUY: I guess there isn't really much to say about this issue, other than it feels weirdly off the mark for me. And Ditko drawing the FF is just so out there that I'm disappointed it didn't happen later on in the run, when he was really cutting loose

BEN: He’s still mostly self-absorbed in this first issue. He’s motivated to act for his own benefit in both stories. There’s really almost no lasting impact over the death of Uncle Ben in this comic, except the money problems. Like you said last time, the twist of the origin story was likely thematic to the Amazing Fantasy title, and they hadn’t yet realized how powerful the “great power, great responsibility” message would become.

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!


Hogne B. Pettersen said...

I love this. I didn't find your blog until a few days ago, and I read through a LOT of the blog postings from the amazing Peter David- and Hobgoblin era of the 80s. I totally agree with you guys that this period of Spider-Man was really, really good. It was the days when Spider-Man tackled more down to earth problems. At least more down to earth than the period that started in the 90s, and which is still ongoing, where every single story HAS to be on a huge cosmic scale and "will change our hero's life forever!" Just plain and simple exciting stories, with some overarching stories along the way. I will certainly follow your walk through early Spider-Man stories as well! Keep up the good work.

Duy Tano said...

Stick around! We'll get to those runs... eventually. Spider-Rama will be up every Wednesday, 8AM EST.

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