Mar 25, 2020

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #66

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 #66
Spider-Rama
by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr. and Don Heck

Mysterio returns!




POINTLESS TRIVIA

BEN: Villain appearance count:
  • Doctor Octopus: 9
  • Green Goblin: 8
  • The Vulture: 7
  • The Kingpin: 6
  • Mysterio: 5
  • Kraven the Hunter: 5
  • Sandman: 4
  • The Enforcers: 3
  • The Rhino: 3
  • The Lizard: 3
  • Professor Smythe/Spider Slayer: 3
  • The Chameleon: 2
  • Electro: 2
  • The Ringmaster: 2
  • Scorpion: 2
  • Molten Man: 2
BEN:  “Gwen Stacy cries” consecutive issue count: 7


DUY: Peter sells his moped, and there's a cameo of Norman as the Green Goblin. We don't count that as an appearance.  Don Heck and Mick Demeo ink Romita on this. Based on how much better this looks than the Heck-only issues, I'm going to bet Mick Demeo is the reason it looks fine here. Who's Mick Demeo? Apparently Mick Demeo was the former name of Mike Esposito, who will go on to ink Spider-Man for quite a while.

BEN: I don't know if it's the art or what, but this issue was much better than the previous ones.

PETER: Peter once again doesn't go after a criminal (Mysterio in this case) because of self-pity. He'll fight him if he's there, but won't knock himself out to find him, because the police can handle it. This is the kind of decision that almost always backfires on Peter.



WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

BEN: I love Captain Stacy and Robbie hanging out.



DUY: Robbie and George working together has all the makings of a crime book, the kind of thing that works better in Daredevil, or in the 80s onwards. Spider-Man was Marvel's original crime book, even if it's not exactly the right spot for the genre.

BEN: Is this the first time he’s referred to as Joe Robertson? Is this another mistake that has to get fixed?

DUY: I'm fairly certain his name was never officially "Robert Robertson," so Robbie must have been a nickname from his last name. And I will say, the visual of fighting over a tiny amusement park or city or whatever never gets old. It's such an effective visual for implying scope but reminding you there isn't really any.

BEN: I've always loved miniatures.

DUY: Must... resist.... easy joke.

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

BEN:  Mysterio hiding under the grate made me laugh. I love Mysterio.



DUY: Is the Daily Bugle hiring dumb photographers who are cowardly bad aging, or is Jonah just cheap?



BEN:  Aunt May is frightened of a news report.



NITPICKS

BEN: What about Aunt May’s shattered door frame?


DUY: Damn it, Peter.

FAVORITE PANEL

BEN:  I’m trying not to cheat by picking the last page splash.



DUY: Screw it, I will pick the last page splash.




WHO WON THE COMIC?

DUY: John Romita Sr, who gave us so much good stuff to look at.

BEN: He may not have been as good a storyteller as Ditko (who is) but his pictures were prettier.

DUY: Provided he had the right inker, apparently. Which, isn't Don Heck a legend in this business?

BEN: I don’t want to keep killing him, but I feel like if he’s known, it’s as the “other artist” in those early days. And in all fairness, most artists would be the “other” guy in a room with Kirby, Ditko, and Romita.

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 Wednesday!

Mar 18, 2020

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #65

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 #65
Spider-Rama
by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr. and Jim Mooney

Having passed out fighting the Vulture, Spider-Man is taken to prison, where a riot ensues once they take George Stacy hostage!


POINTLESS TRIVIA

BEN: “Gwen Stacy cries” consecutive issue count: 6.


DUY: Jim Mooney takes over as Romita's inker.


WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

DUY: So I don't know if it's the context of the last few issues being bad, but I loved this issue. The whole idea of Spider-Man breaking out of jail and pulling a big con on the other criminals is clever. The art is a huge improvement. The cover looks really good and might have made me buy it off the rack if I'd seen it then. Jonah is Jonah.

BEN: It’s nice to see both Captain Stacy and Robbie sticking up for Spider-Man, two of his biggest supporters. Mooney on inks has improved the quality of the art. Romita has clearly been doing rough layouts.

DUY: So it was definitely Heck that was bringing it down for me significantly. The story was already not that captivating prior, but in addition to everything, I didn't even like looking at the art. Jim Mooney has come on a couple of times now and it's much better and makes it easier to look at.

BEN: Poor Don Heck, we’ve been very unkind, but also fair.

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

DUY: Mary Jane Watson, maybe if your friend is going through hell, you reach out instead of making fun of him.



BEN: She’s being as ugly on the inside as she is the outside. (Direct your hate mail to Duy).

NITPICKS

BEN: With all the time Spider_man has been unconscious in the prison, I’m fairly certain someone would have peeked under the mask at some point.

DUY:  May Parker says "You've never kept things from me before!", but Peter has. Like all the time.

BEN: That's a parent thing though, believing that.

DUY: Point.

FAVORITE PANEL

BEN: Mine:



DUY: It's not often that I say that a classic comic made a great color choice and sets a mood effectively through color, but this one did it. And it has Jonah.


WHO WON THE COMIC?

DUY: As with last issue, the real winner is us, as readers, for getting this book back to the level of "good."

BEN: I’d like to thank ourselves for this prestigious award, and no one else. We’ve done it completely alone. It’s been a lot of hard work, but if anyone deserves it, it’s us. The glory is entirely ours.

DUY: I'll take it.

BEN: Let us celebrate with the consuming of alcohol.

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 Wednesday!

Mar 11, 2020

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #64

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 #64
Spider-Rama
by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr. and Don Heck

Spider-Man fights the Vulture across the city with one arm! Plus, Mary Jane Watson gets a haircut for some reason.



POINTLESS TRIVIA

BEN: Villain appearance count:
  • Doctor Octopus: 9
  • Green Goblin: 7
  • The Vulture: 7
  • The Kingpin: 6
  • Kraven the Hunter: 5
  • Sandman: 4
  • Mysterio: 4
  • The Enforcers: 3
  • The Rhino: 3
  • The Lizard: 3
  • Professor Smythe/Spider Slayer: 3
  • The Chameleon: 2
  • Electro: 2
  • The Ringmaster: 2
  • Scorpion: 2
  • Molten Man: 2
BEN: “Gwen Stacy cries” consecutive issue count: 5.


DUY: Wow, she even cries twice in the span of two pages. And it's completely unnecessary. Remove the tears from those images and they're still effective.


WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

BEN: The cover is subtly great. The soft pencil background really makes Spider-Man and the Vulture pop. I also like Gwen’s dress:


DUY: Robbie saving JJJ from certain death is great, and really highlights Robbie's character and integrity, compared to his boss.



BEN: Robbie is a good person, which makes him way less entertaining than Jonah.

DUY: No one is as entertaining as Jonah.

BEN: Gwen is!

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

BEN: This:



DUY: So I recently saw the explanation that the reason they cut MJ's hair here is because they gave Gwen MJ's hairstyle, and they were deliberately propping up Gwen at MJ's expense, which may or may not be the truth, but it sure is a conspiracy theory–laden way of looking at comics.

BEN:  I can’t imagine they’d sabotage one character on behalf of another back then.

DUY:  In addition to Mary Jane's "ginchy new hairdo," Gwen crying at every possible instance is annoying.

BEN: Five straight issues of crying.

NITPICKS

DUY:  My nitpick is that this is a terrible stretch of Spider-Man comics, and I am so bored, and they make it worse by decompressing every bad storyline into multiple issues.

BEN: The Heck era has been less than robust.

FAVORITE PANEL

BEN: I like the Vultures face, the rendition of Spidey, the weird background, the colors:



DUY: I swear my favorite panels is just the J. Jonah Jameson clipshow:



WHO WON THE COMIC?

DUY: It is so hard to pick any winner for this stretch of issues. Everything is so lackluster. Even Ditko's worst ones are at least interesting.

BEN: I nominate us as the winners, for our fortitude and commitment.

DUY: I'll take it.

BEN: Let us celebrate with the consuming of alcohol.

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 Wednesday!

Mar 4, 2020

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #63

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 #63
Spider-Rama
by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr. and Don Heck

Adrian Toomes, the original Vulture, returns, breaks Blackie Drago, the other Vulture, out of prison, and they get into a fight, and of course Spider-Man is caught in the middle.



POINTLESS TRIVIA

BEN: Villain appearance count:
  • Doctor Octopus: 9
  • Green Goblin: 7
  • The Vulture: 6
  • The Kingpin: 6
  • Kraven the Hunter: 5
  • Sandman: 4
  • Mysterio: 4
  • The Enforcers: 3
  • The Rhino: 3
  • The Lizard: 3
  • Professor Smythe/Spider Slayer: 3
  • The Chameleon: 2
  • Electro: 2
  • The Ringmaster: 2
  • Scorpion: 2
  • Molten Man: 2
BEN: The return of Adrian Toomes as the Vulture.

DUY: That did not take long at all. He supposedly died in #48, 15 issues ago. Is this one of the first blatant resurrections?

BEN: "Gwen Stacy cries" consecutive issue count: 4.



WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

BEN: Harry predicting the Flash and Peter friendship.



DUY: Why did anyone ever think Drago was a good idea?

BEN: They probably had a few readers complain that Toomes was way too old to be a physical threat, on account of Ditko drawing him to look as old as Aunt May. Toomes is a far better Vulture than Drago. It was smart to “resurrect” him.

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

DUY: Coming off the Spectacular magazine, this feels particularly phoned in artwise.

BEN: Romita must have been stretched thin at this point.

DUY: Did Toomes really prevent his own death by sheer force of willpower?

BEN: I mean look at him, he’s clearly a human dynamo.


NITPICKS

BEN: I don’t know if he’s ever had trouble with his webbing in the rain before or since.

DUY: Are you telling me that Peter has never encountered rain in the previous 60+ issues?


BEN: Captain Stacy says Gwen is on a date and Peter doesn’t think a thing about it. Even I as a reader was thinking, “with who?”

DUY: And yeah, just how did dating work in the 60s? Gwen can just date and Peter's okay with it? I thought they were offical.


BEN: Why is his arm always injured against the Vulture?

DUY: Why is it that when "Spider-Man is injured" it's always his arm?


FAVORITE PANEL

BEN:  A splash, but whatever.



DUY: This is such an underwhelming stretch of issues and all the art looks rushed. The Osborn stuff should be high-suspense, and it's not. It's hard to pick a favorite panel, so I'll just pick an Osborn one anyway.



WHO WON THE COMIC?

DUY: Who wins this story, Ben? Who??

BEN: Ugh, I guess Toomes right? He did pull himself from deaths door by willpower.

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 Wednesday!