Jul 20, 2020

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #118

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Every Monday and 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, Gerry Conway, John Romita, and Tony Mortallero

In part 3 of this reworked storyline from Spectacular Spider-Man Magazine #1, Spider-Man must contend with a politician, Richard Raleigh, who has created a superhuman called The Smasher to menace New York to make himself look good in the mayoral race.


DUY: This is not in the original story, so this is the third time Conway has done mind control and it's early on in his run, so this was really just a trope, huh?

BEN: This second generation of Marvel writers took all their cues from the first, so it’s interesting what tropes stood out to them.


BEN: Spider-Man cracking jokes.

BEN: Complex morality in a superhero comic.

DUY: I just called the Disruptor angle stupid, but Conway makes it work with that last bit. He's adding more complexity to this book than it's had since the early Ditko days.


DUY: I wish I could say this aged badly...

BEN: Ah, back when journalists were supposed to be objective.


DUY: Now you folks may be wondering "Why does Robbie Robertson all of a sudden have a stick to hit the Smasher with when he wasn't holding one and didn't have one anywhere near him?" And the answer is that originally, this was George Stacy and his cane.

BEN: Every man needs a stick.


DUY: This, because I'm going to fill this up with as much Gwen as I can before the event happens. But here's a weird thing. Harry and MJ had broken up. This isn't in the original story. The reason Spidey uses a spider-tracer on the Smasher in this one is so they can sneak this scene in. He doesn't use it in the original; he just follows the Smasher to his hideout. So at some point, Conway really did just decide MJ and Harry were back together:

BEN: That’s mine too. We’ll have to see if Conway sticks with it, or they just couldn’t re-work those panels:


BEN: Gwen Stacy, probably for the last time.

DUY: Sob. I'll miss you, Gwen.

BEN: That's it for Spider-Rama this week.

DUY: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko—

BEN: —for telling us we aren't the only ones.

Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. See you Wednesday! And be sure to check out our YouTube channel on Thursday at the same time for our first episode of Spider-Rama, where we rank the 10 Greatest Spider-Man Artists of All Time!

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