Sep 11, 2019

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #42

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 John Romita Sr.

John Jameson gets superpowers and fights Spider-Man, who looks like he was robbing a bank (he was actually trying to get rid of a bomb)! Also, someone shows up at the end.


BEN: Villain appearance count:
  • Green Goblin: 7
  • Doctor Octopus: 5
  • Sandman: 4
  • The Vulture: 3
  • Mysterio: 3
  • The Enforcers: 3
  • Kraven the Hunter: 3
  • The Chameleon: 2
  • Electro: 2
  • The Ringmaster: 2
  • Scorpion: 2
  • Molten Man: 2
  • The Rhino: 2
DUY: First appearance of Gwen Stacy's trademark headband.

BEN: First time John Jameson gets superhuman powers.

DUY: I feel like we're missing something.

BEN: Oh yeah, first full appearance of Mary Jane Watson.


DUY: Jameson trying to rationalize to himself that there's a difference between John having superpowers and everyone else. The thing is, he's not wrong; it's about the character of the person instead of the powers. (Quick sidenote: getting powers isn't the same thing as buying a gun.) He's just generally wrong about everything else.

BEN: His previous stance was that all superheroes are dangerous.


BEN: John’s suit isn’t what I would call dynamic.

DUY: John Jameson is the Joe Smith of superheroes.

BEN: Am I being overly critical, or is “you hit the jackpot” a really weird thing to say? it’s more like she’s describing the situation directly to the readers.

DUY: It's in character for her, for better or worse. To be fair.

BEN: Spider-Man gets rid of a bomb but everyone thinks he was robbing a bank. Does it really take all that long to explain there’d a bomb in the vault? Or even show it to someone ?


BEN:  How would the bank manager know “proportionate strength of a spider?”

DUY: Not just that, but this is now a universe at this point and it's been established that New York has a lot of superpowered beings. Not a single one of them can have super strength other than Spider-Man? Or does everyone in New York just jump to conclusions?

BEN: Maybe Jameson’s rhetoric is working.


DUY: Even as someone who didn't like Mary Jane's eventual character trajectory, there's no way the answer to this is anything other than the reveal.

BEN: Has to be. It’s iconic. So iconic, my mind remembered it as a full page splash.

DUY: I also keep thinking it's a full-page splash. I think because in Parallel Lives, it's drawn as a full-page splash.

BEN: Maybe in Spider-Man Blue too?

DUY: Ah yeah, although in that case, MJ is wearing a different outfit and a slightly different pose. Which is weird. This the iconic MJ outfit, same as Gwen's death outfit. When people cosplay MJ, this is the default outfit.

BEN: It's incredible how unremarkable the rest of the comic is. I’m sure he felt some pressure to deliver on the buildup by Ditko, but there’s no way these guys thought anyone would care about these comics in 60 years. Especially not a supporting character.

DUY: I wonder when this panel really took on a life of its own. It's been replicated, cosplayed, adapted in the cartoons, over and over again. I'm sure there's no way John Romita could have foreseen that. And to close off this section, here it is from the Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon from a decade ago, because I'm not going to subject anyone to the 1994 cartoon.


BEN: John Romita. There’s no way Ditko could ever pull off the Mary Jane reveal as effectively

DUY: Absolutely. Even Kirby would have had a better chance than Ditko.


BEN: So, while fighting Jameson, Spider-Man compares him to the Goblin, saying he doesn’t know what he’s doing. We’ve always known Osborn was brain damaged, but we’ve never really thought of him as innocent, a victim of an accident.

DUY:  I think a difference is even before the accident, he was kind of a jerk.

BEN: Something we’ve already noted will get overlooked as time goes on.  I also completely misremembered Foswell’s history. I could have sworn Ditko killed him during a Crime Master story.

DUY: I actually don't remember what eventually becomes of him.

BEN: Me either.

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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