Jul 27, 2020

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #119

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  John Romita Sr. and Gerry Conway

Spider-Man goes to Montreal to find the Hulk!


DUY: Anna Watson's middle name is revealed to be May, just like both Superman's and Batman's moms are named Martha.

BEN: They should have that be a major plot point in a story. Nah, that would be idiotic.

DUY: Per Conway in the Clone Genesis TPB, his first year on the book was basically an apprenticeship under Romita. They would talk about stories with Stan and Roy and then Conway would follow instructions. That's why Romita gets credited first. Conway'd get top billing when Romita left penciling to be art director.


BEN: I spent a lot of time looking for Amazing Spider-Man #121 and #122 in longboxes, so as a byproduct I’ve seen this cover a lot, and I’ve always liked it. And here's foreshadowing:

DUY: Now that we're reaching the end of Romita's run on this book, let me take a moment to say that I think his storytelling has gone through a long arc. At first he was kind of aping Ditko's execution, but using his own art style, which was weird, and then there was that fairly annoying stretch where he was doing layouts for Don Heck that you could tell he was phoning it in. Whenever he was inked by Jim Mooney, and ever since Conway took over, he's stepped up. I like things like this, very smart decision to show how big Ock's compound is.

BEN: I really do think this was the best combination of storytelling and art I’ve seen from him.

DUY: The Hulk's a really convenient guest star. He's never treated as the villain or anything, he's more like a force of nature that the hero just kind of has to mitigate.

BEN: It's because instead of trying to tell a full story around him, another superhero gets to react to him smashing things. Plus, the writer doesn’t even really have to resolve the Hulk conflict. He can just leave.


BEN: Shots fired at Aunt May:

DUY: Telegrams. This entire comic is based on telegrams. That's not happening today.

BEN: For our younger readers, telegrams were the email of that time.

DUY: Peter is wondering if he should be worried about Aunt May because Aunt May being worried about him is always what bothered him. The answer is yes, Peter, because she's living with Dr. Octopus and is a moron about it.

BEN: It would be really tough for any human being to be that oblivious.


BEN: Why wouldn’t Jameson wonder how Peter knows Spider-Man will be in Canada?

DUY: The no-prized answer is he still thinks Peter and Spidey have a deal, so Peter knows Spidey will be in Canada. Wait, does anyone realize that you can then narrow down the identity of Spider-Man to adult males who took a plane from NYC to Montreal in those couple of days?

BEN: I’ve often thought the same of his trips to London.


BEN: Spider-Man in the snow.

DUY: Going back to my "What Aged the Best", here's an example. Consecutive panels of Spidey swinging were always a favorite of mine in the Ditko era. Here Romita is doing it and there's so much movement and motion, but it looks distinctively his own. I always say I choose Ditko over Romita, but if Romita had been like this, consistently, for the majority of his run, I might have changed my mind.

BEN: It’s always motion with you. You have a real motion sickness.

DUY: I like the depiction of motion in a static medium!

BEN: Appreciate my wordplay!

DUY: I.... sure.


BEN: John Romita was firing on all art cylinders with this one. I wonder if it’s his last full job on Amazing?

DUY: I'm gonna give it to John Romita. This is the end of his last stretch. It'll be one-offs after this. He will altogether have penciled 47 issues of Amazing (or 46, because one of them is an annual) to Ditko's 40. But Ditko's was continuous.

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.

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