May 11, 2020

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #97

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Every weekday until the end of May, 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 #97
by Stan Lee, Gil Kane, and John Romita Sr.

The Green Goblin is back! And Harry Osborn's on drugs!



POINTLESS TRIVIA 

BEN: Villain appearance count:
  • The Kingpin: 12
  • Doctor Octopus: 12
  • Green Goblin: 10
  • The Vulture: 7
  • Mysterio: 6
  • The Lizard: 5
  • Kraven the Hunter: 5
  • Sandman: 4
  • Electro: 3
  • The Enforcers: 3
  • The Rhino: 3
  • Professor Smythe/Spider Slayer: 3
  • Man Mountain Marko: 3
  • Silvermane: 3
  • The Chameleon: 3
  • The Schemer/Richard Fisk: 3
  • The Ringmaster: 2
  • Scorpion: 2
  • Molten Man: 2
  • Shocker: 2
  • The Beetle: 2
BEN: Gil Kane art on full display for the first time, no Romita inks. I love Romita on an aesthetic level, how could you not, he defined the look of the characters that would last another 20 years, but the stories had been mostly lackluster for years at that point.

DUY: To clarify, there is an inker here - Frank Giacoia - but his style isn't overpowering like Romita's. Romita is also credited as "Artist Emeritus."

BEN: I saw that and I feel like it supports my theory that Stan convinced Romita that he was too busy to continue drawing the book. This is his consolation.

WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

BEN: This is going to be weird coming from a devout Gwen fan, but I think there’s a clear improvement replacing her with Harry and Mary Jane here. They got into such a rut with Gwen getting mad at him and then forgiving him, there’s some much needed different energy.



DUY: It is nice that we're finally seeing the lives of Peter's supporting cast independent of Peter. I like Mary Jane here, but I also would like anyone who finally takes a dump on Harry Osborn. 

BEN: So, I feel like Harry was originally intended to be a “cool” guy, but Stan has finally conceded they failed at that and Harry is the absolute worst.

DUY: I swear I've seen this cover on merchandise or whatever, so I guess it "aged well."

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

BEN: Stan admits he knows nothing about drugs, so I’ll forgive him for that, but I have no idea what these pills are supposed to be. I believe they try to retcon it as LSD later on, but if he took this much LSD I’m pretty sure his brain would be fried. I’m no drug expert myself, so I could be wrong.

DUY:  I'm gonna go with these. These don't work, Gil. I'm sorry.


BEN: Weird angles on those.

NITPICKS

BEN: 
This is either the most brilliant or the worst drug dealer ever created, there is no in-between. This is Stan and Gil saying “drug dealers might wear a suit and tie, right?”


DUY: That's hilarious. It's the exact opposite of a stereotypical drug dealer. And it kind of looks like Stan.

BEN: I feel like one of the main perks of being a drug dealer is not having to wear a tie. 

FAVORITE PANEL

BEN:
 This is all metaphorical and stuff:


DUY: Way before I even read this issue, I'd already read about it in Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World's Greatest Heroes, and this panel always stuck with me. But yeah, that isn't LSD:


WHO WON THE COMIC? 

DUY: Storytelling wins this issue, because even if the Green Goblin is here as a hook, he's actually barely in it, and you don't even really notice. The supporting cast and what's happening to Harry takes center stage.

BEN: Storytelling yes. It feels like they get so much more accomplished in this story than they have been for a while.

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. 

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