Mar 13, 2019

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #10

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 must stop the Big Man and his Enforcers from taking over the criminal underworld of New York. Plus, why J Jonah Jameson hates Spider-Man.


BEN: First Frederick Foswell, Enforcers, and Big Man. First time Spider-Man has fought organized crime. First time Spider-Man faces a mysterious masked villain who is also someone from his everyday life.

DUY: That's also a contrast from Electro just the issue before. A mysterious masked villain who tuned out to be no one he knew.  When do we talk about the rumored split between Stan and Steve being driven by whether the Green Goblin is or isn't someone in Spidey's personal life? The rumor is that Stan Lee wanted it to be someone Peter knew, and Steve didn't. But with Electro and Foswell, we've gotten examples of both at this point. I find it hard to believe that they'd fight over the Goblin like that when they've already tried both approaches.

BEN: I’m less inclined to believe they split over a story disagreement since by that time Stan was supposedly not involved in the plotting much at all.

DUY: Peter giving blood to May would pay off much later on in the series. I feel like that kind of long-term payoff was also new for the time.

BEN:  It’s even more impressive considering Stan couldn’t even remember the main characters name in the first issue.

DUY: This is the first and only time we ever see the Abbotts, who live next door to May. After this, her only neighbor would be Anna Watson, who I assume lives on the other side.


BEN: Flash tying to warn Peter not to brag about figuring out who The Big Man is, it shows how nuanced that rivalry was even way back then.

DUY: It's an excellent touch. Yeah, you're rivals in high school, but Flash isn't a complete dick.


BEN: The Enforcers running the mob with a lasso and judo is cute.  I’ve never noticed how awful the Spider-Man on the cover looks.

DUY:  It looks like a Kirby. The webs are upside-down. And that never ages well.

DUY: I think Jameson flat-out stating he hates Spider-Man has aged pretty badly, just because I don't think Jameson has that level of self-insight.

BEN: And I never got the jealousy bit totally. He’s tried to kill him before, because he’s jealous? But Jameson hating Spider-Man because he’s jealous of him had to be a new level of complexity in a comic book character that hadn’t been seen before, right? Normally, before that, someone like Jameson would have simply been evil or something.

DUY: Yeah, it has to be new at that point. Lex Luthor was turned bald by Superman and turned completely evil. Jameson's hatred/envy of him is so blatant and expressive here, but I actually don't think Jameson has that kind of self-awareness. As such, it feels like an out-of-character moment, trying to explain something that's in character.


DUY: The cover is my nitpick. Here is an unused cover. And it's better.

BEN: Looks like a Marvel Tales cover.


BEN: Holy crap, Foswell pulls a Scooby Doo.

DUY: When I think of Ditko, I think of two things: weirdness and motion. And I feel like it's in this issue that the motion thing really starts to happen. In a few issues he'd be in full force.


DUY: I have to cheat here and say Stan and possibly Steve.

BEN: They keep improving on every issue, and they haven’t even peaked yet.

DUY: This has been the best-plotted issue since Amazing Fantasy. It builds up the idea of Jameson being the Big Man, introduces Foswell as a meek character whom you wouldn't think of as the Big Man, and then turns it around completely that even Spidey doesn't figure it out, but it makes complete sense. It has the Betty subplot, and the Flash moment is just an excellent moment.

BEN: So if this were a DC comic, the Big Man would have been Jameson right?

DUY: Maybe, but they'd have explained it away with amnesia or something. Like Star Sapphire.

BEN:  I ask, because there was a letter from a reader that says he was surprised it wasn’t Jameson, which makes me think that level of bait-and-switch wasn't common yet.

DUY: I wonder how old the letter writer was.

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.

DUY: Hey, Ben, let's end this one with the last panel of the issue...

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