Jan 30, 2019

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #4

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!

by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

Spider-Man versus the Sandman!


BEN: This is the first appearance of the Daily Bugle, Betty Brant, and the Sandman. They count Amazing Fantasy #15 as Liz Allen’s first appearance, but she gets a name in this issue.

DUY: It's the first appearance of the Steve Ditko haircut.

DUY:  This has the first sighting of the half-Peter/half-Spidey visual. This isn't the iconic shot though, since this is half-Spidey in full body, while the iconic shot only has a half-mask.


BEN: I’m amused by the idea of anyone selling used shoelaces

DUY: That can't have possibly be based on reality, right?

BEN: I sure hope not.

DUY:  Mine is this. This is Ditko.

BEN: I always remembered Ditko having the look nailed down from the beginning, but it was still a little crude in places. It’s not like it’s ever bad in these early issues, it’s just not as good compared to later comics.


DUY: Jokes like this never get old.

BEN: Like I mentioned last week, the teenagers being fully on Spider-Man’s side while everyone older is, at best, unsure of his intentions, and in the case of someone like Jameson, convinced he’s a menace and a bad influence. Adults frightened by what their kids are into is a timeless theme.

DUY: Peter Parker rationalizing the most unethical thing he's done so far — faking photos of fighting the Sandman — is very human, I think.

BEN: Sandman’s power set is pretty inventive and provides for an unlimited amount of cool visuals. You can tell by the cover that it’s almost like they couldn’t decide which visual to pick.


BEN: Sandman’s powers. Yes, I put this in both categories. What makes them cool also makes him impossible to defeat, so it’s always a really contrived scenario.

DUY: Sandman's hair. Also, there's really no way in the modern day that Peter would have to wait for a TV news report to find out anything on Flint Marko as long as it was available. We have the internet now. And also, this panel, for reasons that are obvious:

BEN:  I’ve tried not to reference outdated technology here, but there’s a lot of relying on television or radio broadcasts. Hadn’t discovered the patrolling aspect yet.


BEN: Peter leaves webbing in JJJ’s chair and it lasts overnight. The 1 hour lifespan of his webbing hadn’t been established yet, but still.

DUY: Why did Sandman have to form a fake key when he could just slide under the floor?

BEN: The whole sewing his own costume angle is cute, but seems unlikely. Or not, maybe he’s a much more talented sewer than me.

DUY: I know nothing about sewing, but I'm pretty sure you can't just sew together the mask the way Peter tore it.


DUY: Allan comes off here as someone who wants to be Peter's friend and doesn't want to lose her social status. It's actually seeds for the future storylines. I'll give it to Liz.

BEN: She does stand out in only a few short scenes. Even a little thing like telling Flash to ease up on Peter added some layers to her.


BEN: The comic begins with Spider-Man stopping three guys from robbing a place, before they start robbing the place. So they call the cops on him for harassing them. Again, it’s hard for us to put into context how different it must have been to read about a teenage hero constantly messing up, but it must have seemed so new and revolutionary.

DUY: There's still no mention of Peter having been able to prevent Uncle Ben's death.

BEN: Have we seen any mid-fight quips from him yet? Let’s keep an eye out for that.

DUY: This doesn't count?

BEN: I guess, but it’s about as good as “did your husband get it for you?”

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 week!

1 comment:

Fred W. Hill said...

I first read this story in one of a little Pocketbook collection of AF#15 & the first 6 issues of ASM from back in the late '70s (my eyes were much more capable of reading those reduced-size pages back then). The Sandman is likely the most purely outlandish fantasy character Ditko co-created and while never exactly a top-tier villain, he appeared often enough both on his own and as part of Frightful Four to qualify as a distinguished B-list baddie, albeit one of the more intellectually-challenged ones and got around much more than either the Wizard or the Trapster.
With this issue, Lee & Ditko were ramping up the visual and verbal humor of the series, maybe to balance out the heavy angst of previous issues but throughout Ditko's run there was usually plenty of both. As to his costume woes, Peter must have been incredibly skilled at sewing to make his well-fitting, highly-detailed costume. I'd be very surprised if even in this day & age any typical 15 year old can really make such a costume entirely on his or her own -- no help from mom or dad or anyone else, and in fact without them even knowing about it at all, and on the relatively cheap as Peter was lower-middle class. Spider-Man's original costume is one of the most unique and highly detailed costumes ever designed for what would become one of the most popular super-heroes of all time. Aside from the pants, there's nothing about it that looks like it could have been purchased from any store with just a few alterations. Presumably, Aunt May had several books on sewing in the house or Peter checked out a few books on the topic from his high school library.

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