Aug 28, 2019

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #40

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 John Romita Sr.

With their secrets revealed to each other, it's Peter Parker vs. Norman Osborn!


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

BEN: This issue has the origin of the Green Goblin.

DUY: There are more recaps here in this issue than any other issue prior. Partly I think it's because they wanted to get the new readers up to speed, and I think they were seeing a spike at this point saleswise. But I also wonder how much of it was caused by Ditko leaving, just not having enough time to fill out a story.


BEN: J Jonah Jameson dunks all over this comic, in only two panels.

DUY: If you're going to hate on generations, do it like JJJ.

DUY: We're also seeing here some of the first hints that May really is just an worrier -- Anna Watson who is I guess the same age as her tries to calm her down. And keep in mind, Anna has a niece, not a nephew, so she has more reason to be worried.

BEN: Anna is probably impressed that Mary Jane can tie her own shoes at that point. (Some of you more brittle MJ fans should brace yourself, because there’s about 60 issues worth of ‘MJ is not smart’ jokes coming.)


DUY: I think the fact that Norman clearly has a mental illness and Peter basically uses it to his advantage might not age so well in modern times.

BEN: It’s hard to look past the villain monologue after The Incredibles.

DUY: Past the act of monologuing, the actual monologue is pretty bad too. You can rationalize it as Norman being crazy, but since they were doing the thing where he was saying one thing and the pictures were showing another, I'd have liked to see a bit more contrast. Like him being more convinced that he was a truly great dad, and then the pictures just undermining it.

BEN: Readers would get confused. Nobody lies in comics. That's sarcasm.


BEN:  Osborn was retroactively viewed as a decent man when he wasn’t under the influence of the Goblin, but he’s a dick to his son and completely screws over Stromm before the Goblin serum.

DUY: This is never going to not be a nitpick for me, but how does the shape of Norman's face just change when that Goblin mask goes on?


DUY: Romita does the Goblin so well.

BEN: He is the Goblin artist.


DUY: Jameson. As usual.

BEN: In two panels.


BEN: It struck me after Betty’s brief appearance in this comic, but has the romantic interest in a comic story ever hated the hero’s costumed identity like this before?

DUY: As with the villain knowing the hero's identity, I think only Star Sapphire comes close, but even that plays it way too safe. And Romita's background as a romance artist really comes through in Betty's short appearance.

BEN: It was very “My Teenage Romance” from the setting to her hair to her outfit.

DUY: I have a feeling that I'm going to enjoy this run more now. When I first read it, the tone and momentum was so different from Ditko's that it was jarring. Now I can enjoy it on its own merits.

BEN: I’m already enjoying it more, because I love Romita’s style so much. It’s amazing (pun intended) how much the art can make everything better.

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!

1 comment:

Harry Sewalski said...

"You can rationalize it as Norman being crazy, but since they were doing the thing where he was saying one thing and the pictures were showing another, I'd have liked to see a bit more contrast. Like him being more convinced that he was a truly great dad, and then the pictures just undermining it."

I actually really liked what we were seeing in the flashback here - Norman's neglectful of Harry and completely lacking in self-awareness, but prior to becoming the Goblin it's pretty realistic. He's convinced himself that he has to keep working to provide for Harry (which is probably true to an extent) while being completely unaware that Harry would rather just spend time with him. If this scene was written today (and granted, Norman of today has much more history under his belt than the Norman of Amazing #40) he'd probably be verbally bullying Harry while still claiming that it's for his son's own good.

Thinking about it, that's a big difference between Romita-era Norman and modern Norman (or 90s Norman, if we want to look at a period where him being the Green Goblin wasn't public knowledge) - Peter's nervous that Romita-era Norman might revert to being the Green Goblin, but everyone else is pretty okay with him being around and he's generally presented as a decent guy. After his resurrection, Norman's constantly presented as a scary and controlling guy, and people don't really seem comfortable about him. Honestly, I think the Romita-era depiction works better for me - "my best friend's dad is a villain, but he's also a victim!" is a bit more interesting than "my best friend's dad is a villain, but even out of the costume he's a giant dick."

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