Nov 27, 2019

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #52

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 #50
Spider-Rama
by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr.

Spider-Man has to help J. Jonah Jameson escape the clutches of the Kingpin!


POINTLESS TRIVIA

BEN: Villain appearance count:
  • Green Goblin: 7
  • Doctor Octopus: 5
  • Sandman: 4
  • Kraven the Hunter: 5
  • The Vulture: 5
  • Mysterio: 3
  • The Enforcers: 3
  • The Rhino: 3
  • The Lizard: 3
  • The Kingpin: 3
  • The Chameleon: 2
  • Electro: 2
  • The Ringmaster: 2
  • Scorpion: 2
  • Molten Man: 2
BEN: Robbie gets a name and job title:



DUY: The death of Frederick Foswell.



BEN: So that's what happened to him.

DUY:  Did Peter know he was Patch and I missed it? No, right? I wonder if that's going to be a thing.

BEN: I don't think he did.

WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?


BEN: Romita seems like he is really hitting his stride in this stretch of comics. The crime stuff suits him. Heck, it suited Ditko. There’s a lesson in there...

DUY: I know that Jameson being rattled in the hostage situation is a nitpick for you, but it makes for a comedic situation that would be at home in a movie.


DUY: Also, here's Spider-Man demonstrating spider-strength just by tapping someone on the head:



WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

BEN: Kingpin puts Spider-Man and Jameson in a death trap, instead of just shooting them in the head. And he's a wanted criminal by the end of this first story, instead of the untouchable "businessman" he would eventually be portrayed as.

DUY: I want to see how they sweep that under the rug.  I guess no one can say Wilson Fisk is the Kingpin, Wilson Fisk is the untouchable businessman.

BEN: He’s periodically had cases put on him before too.

DUY: Also, Betty Brant, if you want a completely safe relatonship, you might consider not dating a reporter.


NITPICKS

DUY: Why did Robbie's hair go from black to white in one issue?

BEN: Jameson is a bit too rattled for a seasoned journalist.

FAVORITE PANEL

BEN: Mine:



DUY: MY HEAD IS WET IT MUST BE BLOOD:



WHO WON THE COMIC?

BEN: Still Robbie. With Foswell gone, that opens up more time for him.

DUY: In a comic where Robbie will get more time, Foswell does the heroic sacrifice, and Flash Thompson makes a triumphant return,  J. Jonah Jameson, once again for me, steals the entire comic.  But now that Robbie has been introduced, it seems like the best time to post this pinup, the greatest supporting cast he'll ever have.



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.

Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. See you next week!

Nov 20, 2019

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #51

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 #51
Spider-Rama
by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr.

Spider-Man falls into the Kingpin's trap!


POINTLESS TRIVIA

BEN: Villain appearance count:
  • Green Goblin: 7
  • Doctor Octopus: 5
  • Sandman: 4
  • Kraven the Hunter: 5
  • The Vulture: 5
  • Mysterio: 3
  • The Enforcers: 3
  • The Rhino: 3
  • The Lizard: 3
  • The Kingpin: 2
  • The Chameleon: 2
  • Electro: 2
  • The Ringmaster: 2
  • Scorpion: 2
  • Molten Man: 2
BEN: It’s established that the Kingpin is “solid muscle,” making him really strong and fast.



DUY: Also the first unnamed appearance of Robbie Robertson.



WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?


BEN: Mary Jane as the only one that sees how much Peter and Gwen like each other suggests she might not be as dumb as she let’s on. Also, they’re becoming friends.


DUY: Again, MJ and Gwen are becoming friends, but I don't know how much of that is Romita drawing them smiling. I have the feeling Ditko would have definitely had them at each other's throats.


DUY: I like how despite Kingpin's "solid muscle" thing, Spider-Man just hits him and keeps on. It really does highlight his strength when you compare it to Daredevil years later.

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

DUY: This is a fairly tight issue that has aged pretty well, so I'm going to go with JJJ making an "Untouchables" reference, a TV show that lasted only until 1963, so it was off the air at the time of publication anyway, so it was already dated. It was about Special Agent Elliott Ness fighting organized crime.

BEN: The Untouchables is timeless!

NITPICKS

BEN: Last issue, Jameson noticed how Peter quit as a photog at the same time Spider-Man quit being a hero. Now they’re both back and he doesn’t suspect a thing.


DUY: Why did Peter let that one guy hit him in the early fight scene? It would be funy if he really did have an itch.



BEN: I noticed that too, and I wonder if it was a Romita mistake that Stan fixed in dialogue.

FAVORITE PANEL

BEN: Easily the funniest Spider-Man joke yet:


DUY: Romita is really good at these opening splashes, or the splashes in general. He is the superior illustrator, like if I asked them to do pin-up books, I'm asking Romita a hundred times before I asked Ditko. So here's the opening splash:


WHO WON THE COMIC?

BEN: No Gwen jokes this time, because progress is the winner. Robbie may not be significantly featured yet, but he’s a key character in the growing diversity of the Marvel Comics universe. He’s not a hero, but he will be a major character in the company’s most popular book, meaning more readers will see him.

DUY: Is he the first regular minority supporting character in a big-time superhero comic? I think he is, right?

BEN: I believe so.

DUY: Man, that's something. I wonder how it felt getting it off the stands back then.
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.

Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. See you next week!

Nov 13, 2019

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #50

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 #50
Spider-Rama
by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr.

The public clamor against Spider-Man has gotten to Peter Parker, so he quits! Meanwhile, the Kingpin runs roughshod on the town.


POINTLESS TRIVIA

BEN: Villain appearance count:
  • Green Goblin: 7
  • Doctor Octopus: 5
  • Sandman: 4
  • Kraven the Hunter: 5
  • The Vulture: 5
  • Mysterio: 3
  • The Enforcers: 3
  • The Rhino: 3
  • The Lizard: 3
  • The Chameleon: 2
  • Electro: 2
  • The Ringmaster: 2
  • Scorpion: 2
  • Molten Man: 2
BEN: This has the first appearance of the Kingpin, and while we think of him as a Daredevil villain now, I suspect he will top this list of appearances before long.

DUY: It reminds us that Spider-Man is Marvel's original crime book, and is still really a crime book in so many ways, which I don't think we really think of it as.

BEN: Peter quitting was the basis of the plot in Spider-Man 2.

DUY: Widely considered the best live-action Spider-Man movie for a long time. It's wrong, but that's the public opinion.

WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?


BEN: Gwen is now openly expressing interest in Peter.


DUY: Gwen can't make it any clearer that she likes Peter, and he's totally dense about it. I love it.

BEN: You’ve been pointing this out, but it does seem like they were subtly getting readers ready for Robbie with prominently featured “background” citizens. And thankfully he’s not colored gray.


DUY: Also thankfully, Romita is the one the Robbie introduction happens with eventually. I love Ditko, but... no. Also, the cover has aged the best, because that's one of the most homaged covers in the business.

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

BEN: Obviously this is a deservedly iconic issue, but it shouldn’t be periodically redone. Ditko established the burden of being Spider-Man, but I’d say Romita is the one that established Peter thinking the burden was too great. Peter quit out of the fear of leaving Aunt May alone, but that wasn’t really because it was too hard for him.



DUY: Spider-Man quitting multiple times through the course of his career really does make him look easily defeated and selfish if you view it from that angle. I get that people want to modernize it, though. And also, some references just don't age well.  A mobster says "We'll have a summit meeting that'll make Appalachin look like a tea party." From Wikipedia, this was "a historic summit of the American Mafia held at the home of mobster Joseph 'Joe the Barber' Barbara, in Apalachin, New York, on November 14, 1957."

BEN: Mobsters love history?

NITPICKS

DUY: So Peter usually wears the costume underneath his civilian clothes. Did he... strip down completely, remove his Spidey clothes, then put his regular clothes back on in the alley?

BEN: Even if you really think you’re quitting, hold on to the costume. There’s DNA all in that thing!

DUY: DNA testing wasn't around then because DNA hadn't been invented yet.

BEN: On the sliding timeline, this is happening in 2011.

FAVORITE PANEL

BEN: Barring the iconic splash:



BEN: Also, here's a nice Mary Jane:



DUY: "How come you haven't asked if I've got a maaaad crush on a bashful, black-haired bike-rider?" is, high probability, my favorite panel between Gwen Stacy and Peter Parker from the classic era.



BEN: Too good to be true.

WHO WON THE COMIC?

BEN: Gwen!

DUY: Yeah, Gwen.

MISSION STATEMENT

BEN: Peter saves a watchman that reminds him of his Uncle Ben, finally prompting him to explicitly state his motivation as Spider-Man.



DUY: Finally. It only took 50 issues, 3 annuals, two artists, and three co-writers.

BEN: Stan and Steve obviously created all the aspects, but it was never all put together in the way that we as fans know it until Romita. Which is weird.

DUY: This is one of the best issues of the entire series so far. Lots of Peter/Gwen interaction, just enough Mary Jane, Aunt May spends most of it sleeping, and the mission statement of the book finally coming into play explicitly.

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.

Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. See you next week!

Nov 6, 2019

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #49

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 #49
Spider-Rama
by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr.

The new Vulture and Kraven the Hunter go after a still-sick Spider-Man!


POINTLESS TRIVIA

BEN: Villain appearance count:
  • Green Goblin: 7
  • Doctor Octopus: 5
  • Sandman: 4
  • Kraven the Hunter: 5
  • The Vulture: 5
  • Mysterio: 3
  • The Enforcers: 3
  • The Rhino: 3
  • The Lizard: 3
  • The Chameleon: 2
  • Electro: 2
  • The Ringmaster: 2
  • Scorpion: 2
  • Molten Man: 2
BEN: Kraven and Drago are the Karl Malone and John Stockton of Spider-Man villains. For the non-NBA fans, they’re pretty good, but boring, and they lose in the end.

DUY: Kraven breaks out at the end though.

BEN: By killing himself, sure.


WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

BEN: What did I tell you? Harry may be an idiot, but he was smart enough to see Peter would bring the girls to his doorstep, and that’s exactly what happens when Gwen and MJ visit.

DUY: Anna Watson telling May not to worry either ages well or not depending on how you feel about people overparenting.

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

BEN: The most evil thing Kraven does is periodically beat up his pet tiger. Poor abused Rajah.




DUY: Man, Kraven's just mean.

NITPICKS

BEN:  I need to know Dr Bromwell’s story. What’s he do on the rare day Aunt May isn’t calling him? Is he still around? What is the final fate of Doc Bromwell!?!



DUY: Aunt May calling Jonah Jameson "sweet" and "the dearest soul" is ridiculous. Even she's not that dense.

BEN: He does always put on the schmaltz for her.

FAVORITE PANEL

BEN: Kinky.


DUY: Pull up a seat.



WHO WON THE COMIC?

BEN: Harry left with Gwen and Mary Jane, Peter spent the evening with Aunt May and Anna. Harry.

DUY: Oh yeah, it's definitely Harry.

SPIDER-MAN BLUE

BEN: So this ends the stretch of comics Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale used as inspiration for Spider-Man: Blue. A mini-series that was so good, it invented scenes I now remember being in the original comics but weren’t. Like this:




DUY: Yeah, so this according to Spider-Man Blue is when Peter and Gwen became official, which isn't the case here. But I love that "That's when you had me, Gwen Stacy, all of me" sequence, so let's just show it anyway.





BEN: It’s to the point where I’m anxious to see when and how they do make it official. And there's also this scene that totally doesn’t make me cry.


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!