Dec 3, 2019

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #53

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.

Dr. Octopus returns, and Peter and Gwen go on their first date!


BEN: We were never going to read all the annuals, so we're skipping #4. But Mysterio appears in it, so we'll still update his villain appearance count:
  • Green Goblin: 7
  • Doctor Octopus: 6
  • Sandman: 4
  • Kraven the Hunter: 5
  • The Vulture: 5
  • Mysterio: 4
  • 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: The first date for Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy.

DUY: Complete with chaperone. At a science fair. It's so... nerdy.

BEN: Speaking of the chaperone, Professor Miles Warren, this gets creepier later.

DUY: There's really no way to read any Miles Warren scene without the foreboding of what happens to him eventually.

BEN: Almost to the point I wonder if there was always a plan.

DUY: Warren tries to psychoanalyze Spider-Man in the issue, and it feels like foreshadowing too.

BEN: Jackal was way too creepy for me as a kid but now I’m kind of looking forward to him as a villain. He’s still creepy, and his actions are repulsive. Don’t @ me.


DUY: They finally remember that Gwen goes to school too. I still don't think you can major in just science, but this is something that really got Emma Stone over as Gwen Stacy — she was as smart as he was.

BEN:   I was beginning to wonder if Gwen being a “science” major was something retconned in later.

DUY: The Flash/Peter rivalry is pretty solidified here, with them bickering, and then ending with Flash going "Ah, he's okay if I can just punch him." And is it just me or is Romita really getting the regular cast's look down around these issues?

BEN: Romita is absolutely nailing the regular cast right now. His depictions would dominate the characters until Toddy Mac.

DUY: Sounds like the perfect spot to put this image from the annual that we skipped:


BEN: Romita hasn’t quite locked down Ock’s look.

DUY: Ock wearing a costume is always weird, but him wearing a cape is just really, really off.

BEN: I was going to mention the cape but I think that was purposefully temporary.

DUY: "Aren't you the one who picked a peck of pickled peppers?" Does anyone actually do tongue twisters anymore? Why do I feel like this probably looked like it was trying too hard to be cool even back then?

BEN: At least he stopped with overdoing all the lingo. Too bad it marred a transcendent era of the book, as his supporting cast was blossoming.

DUY: Actually, between this and Fantastic Four, there sure are a lot of jokes in the dialogue about how someone talks too much, most notably with the Thing berating Reed Richards. So it's like Stan is aware that he's overdoing the dialogue. Did he just not trust the audience enough to figure out what was going on?

BEN: Overcompensating?


BEN: I can’t speak for others, but I hated wearing my military dress uniform and avoided it whenever possible, so Flash Thompson coming back and wearing it in public is showing off.

DUY: Ock's arms never struck me as something that would be fast enough to spin like propellers.

BEN:  I would definitely hit myself in the back of the head if I tried that.

DUY:  You should try it.


BEN: This may be my favorite Gwen image yet:

DUY: The splash page, because as a kid I had an image in my head of JJJ yelling at Spider-Man through the window, and it might be this one. Probably not, but then I don't know where I got it.


BEN: Gwanda.

DUY: Yeah, I think Gwendolyn wins this one. I'm not sure who else it'd even be.

BEN: I'm not sure why you continue to resist.


BEN: Here's another image from the annual we skipped.

DUY: That's such a good encapsulation of Peter's role in the larger Marvel Universe.All these guys stronger than him (including Hercules, a D-level character), and he's the flagship. And that's what Marvel is.

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!

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