Apr 10, 2020

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #70

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Every day until the end of April, 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, John Romita Sr., and Jim Mooney

The Petrified Clay Stone Tablet is with Spider-Man, and now everyone's out to get him! Including the cops!


BEN: Villain appearance count:
  • Doctor Octopus: 9
  • The Kingpin: 9
  • Green Goblin: 8
  • The Vulture: 7
  • Mysterio: 6
  • 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

DUY: I think the cover ages really well. I somehow think of this as a classic cover that's held in high regard, though I'm not exactly sure why.

BEN: I feel like I’ve seen it on merchandise. And if the Ditko era was about Doc Ock or the Goblin, it’s clear The Kingpin is the centerpiece of Romita’s tenure.

DUY: Spider-Man really is the early Marvel crime book, huh? From the Big Man to the CrimeMaster to the Green Goblin to the Kingpin, it's surprising you haven't seen many noirish takes on Spidey.

BEN:  used to get annoyed as a kid when another hero, like Johnny Storm, called him a street level guy or something to that effect, but I guess he is. The best mix is when they have a colorful villain working as muscle for a colorful mobster.


BEN:  I know he’s supposed to be burdened with his secret, but he’s really got no other excuse he could make up?

DUY:  True, but I just want to point out that even in thumbnail form, the sequence you chose pretty clearly highlights Romita's skill in drawing characters interacting. And I don't know if this ages well or badly, but this is what one would call a "conflict of interest."


BEN: Uh, the whole student protest wrapped up a little too cleanly.

DUY: So did the whole "Wilson Fisk is the Kingpin" get swept under the rug the more he became a straight-up crime boss in Daredevil? Like he became more and more of a respected businessman?

BEN: He is uncharacteristically very hands-on in these early appearances.


BEN: Mine:

DUY: Shadowy Spidey, always a great effect:


DUY: Gwen Stacy.

BEN: Even with the return of crying Gwen?

DUY: To be fair, no one really won the comic, but good on her for telling him off. He's terrible.

BEN: I had a hard time finding a winner too. I guess Marvel Comics, for making money off this issue.


BEN: All the turmoil between Peter and Gwen highlights how often modern adaptations of Spider-Man tend to have his identity revealed to his love interest very quickly. Ultimate Spider-Man and Far From Home both have him confess to MJ his secret. Is this the better or more dramatic method to his stories?

DUY: The movies aren't meant to go on forever, so I understand doing it early (plus it's basically a standard movie trope since Superman 2). I feel like Ultimate revealed it too early, but not doing so would have been a retread.

BEN: Both have their soap opera advantages. I suppose the main thing for me is I find it really hard to believe a teenager wouldn’t tell his girlfriend this big secret. Or even a girl he likes.

DUY: Both are beholden to the conventions of their time. Secret identities were basically just inviolate back then, plus it would have stepped over the Fantastic Four's gimmick. (It's not a gimmick anymore.)

BEN: I always thought of Spider-Man’s secret identity as the most sacred in the Marvel universe, but Norman Osborn found out really early. Harry not long after. Captain Stacy, Mary Jane. I guess because he’d never tell the other heroes who he was.

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!

1 comment:

Arthur S. said...

The main reason Peter could never tell Gwen was that she hated and disliked Spider-Man and it's established clearly she would reject Peter were she to learn (in ASM#87)

As for Bendis and USM, again Peter told Mary Jane there. Mary Jane was established in 616 as someone who would approve of both versions of Peter, and already by 2000 there were far more issues with MJ knowing Peter's double life than ones where she was supposedly ignorant (even discounting Parallel Lives). It's got nothing to do with a hero telling the love interest...it has everything to do with the character and person of that.

Post a Comment

All comments on The Comics Cube need approval (mostly because of spam) and no anonymous comments are allowed. Please leave your name if you wish to leave a comment. Thanks!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.