May 29, 2019

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #20

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!

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #20
Spider-Rama
by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

J. Jonah Jameson’s hatred of Spider-Man goes too far, and the Scorpion is born!


POINTLESS TRIVIA

BEN: First appearance of the Scorpion. Ned Leeds leaves on an assignment to Europe. He is murdered in Germany many years later.

DUY: Ned Leeds would be revealed to be the Hobgoblin many years later, only for it to be retconned and revealed that the real Hobgoblin framed him even more years after that. However, by narrative rules, the fact that he showed up soon after the Green Goblin did would make him a suspect at the current point we are reading.


WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

DUY: Sometimes these credits are really funny.



BEN: The panels of the Scorpion getting his powers are reminiscent of Steve Rogers in those original Captain America comics.

DUY: This is kind of ahead of its time. I can't think of DC doing tight shots like this.


BEN: Traces of Steve actually being a horror and suspense comic artist who transitioned to superheroes.

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

BEN: Stillwell abandons all morals and scientific responsibility pretty quickly for a big payday.

DUY: Sadly, I don't know that I'd agree with you on that aging badly...

NITPICKS

DUY: Spider-Man really has the dexterity and artistic ability to make a 3D bat out of his webbing? And also, this panel would now be seen as out of character. Spider-Man would follow Jameson.


BEN: Is Ned the most oblivious guy ever in this panel?

DUY: The fact that it's easy to pull one over on Ned is canon from the beginning.

FAVORITE PANEL

BEN: Mine is this:

DUY: Why do people hate thought bubbles? This is hilarious!


BEN: Not gloomy enough. Rorschach would never think “hooray” to himself.

DUY: This is another thing that's kinda lost to some readers today too. I remember a poster on CBR always saying that he went by what was on the page; the fact that a character could be lying isn't going to cross his mind unless it's explicitly said. Here Peter is clearly lying to Betty's face, but even if we removed the thought bubble, would we really think he was sincere?

BEN: I wouldn’t, but I see how someone could.

DUY: I would argue that we should always consider that a character might be lying.

WHO WON THE COMIC?

DUY: Depending on how you look at it, it's either Spider-Man by default or Jameson for adding another layer to his character. I tend to think it's a misstep, but it's not as big a misstep as what would happen a few issues later.

BEN: So Jameson goes too far in this issue, why is it that readers don’t hold it against him going forward? He’s too much fun?

DUY: That's basically what it is. We like him too much, so you can't send him to jail or actually turn him tnto a full-on villain. Jameson would take another 20 years in real time to come clean about creating the Scorpion, too, in Roger Stern's Spider-Man run, I think. Remember, this is a storytelling genre where it doesn't matter what Magneto did in the past; people want him to be good. So if he's turning over a new leaf, people will forgive him. Jameson's thing isn't a big deal, relatively.

HEY, WHAT HAPPENED TO SPIDEY'S INVENTIONS?

DUY: So the resolution of this issue is actually in stark contrast to a lot of the earlier issues. Spider-Man used to use his scientific knowledge to think his way out of stuff. In this case, Stillwell had provided the antidote for the Scorpion's condition. Stillwell dies, the serum goes wasted, and Spider-Man physically just beats the hell out of Scorpion.

BEN: At this point it seems like the spider tracers are his last invention, but he begins to use them more and more.

DUY: I might give it to this one just for kicking off the silly bonuses, like "How Stan Lee and Steve Ditko Create Spider-Man!" Enjoy!

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!

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