Dec 11, 2019

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #54

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.

Things get really awkward when Dr. Octopus answers Aunt May's ad for a boarder!


BEN: Villain appearance count:
  • Green Goblin: 7
  • Doctor Octopus: 7
  • 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:  I was going to say this was the meeting of May and Otto, but they met in the annual.

DUY: Where she stupidly thought he was a nice man.

BEN: Head trauma will eventually be a problem for Ock.

DUY: It must be remembered that beyond the arms, he's physically a regular human. This is a plot point Dan Slott would heavily leverage in his decade-long run on the book, which for my money is the third-best Spider-Man run of all time.


BEN: Friends — Peter Parker and Harry Osborn in this case — becoming roommates and hating each other.

DUY: To be fair, Peter really is a terrible roommate. And if at this point Harry is the "best friendship he's ever had," well...

BEN: Food is the biggest issue between roommates. We have no evidence Peter is eating his frozen pizzas.

DUY: I always thought equal parity of rent and bills was the biggest issue. Norman pays for theirs, so I guess roommates will just find something to argue about.


BEN: Aunt May is the dumbest human being that ever lived, and the most fragile.

DUY: Good God, she's an idiot. She's the worst. She even calls Ock "Dr. Octopus"! Why is she like this?

BEN: I know Stan was going for "old and out of the loop," but they’ve gone into senile or even Alzheimer’s.


BEN: It’s got to at least be 30 minutes of Spider-Man waiting for Ock to come out if he had time to call his henchmen and they get there.

DUY: Did Ock really say "Listen, you punk kid... and listen good"? Ock?

BEN: It’ll be curtains for both of you! And speaking of curtains, Ock breaks the Parker residence wall and leaves a giant hole in it, prompting May to faint. Dr. Bromwell asks what caused her shock. I don’t know, whatever put a giant hole in the wall?


BEN: Ock looks so happy lighting that cigarette:

DUY: This, three reasons: (1) It's a nice drawing of Gwen, (2) Peter is acknowledged as actually being handsome, meaning we're really officially out of the Ditko era, and (3) Who the hell are those guys in the background? These characters never talk to anyone else!


DUY: Anyone not named May Reilly Parker.

BEN: If you made a Venn diagram that said "You can't kill Aunt May" and "She's completely unbearable," she would fall right in the intersection


DUY: It's been a year in publishing time now since Mary Jane was introduced. In 1989, Gerry Conway and Alex Saviuk would write Spider-Man: Parallel Lives, which retroactively changed continuity, or retconned, to make it so that Mary Jane Watson knew that Spider-Man was Peter Parker since the night Uncle Ben was shot.

BEN: The militant Mary Jane fans are going to blow their tops at me, but there’s absolutely no way, after Parallel Lives, that her knowing he’s Spider-Man doesn’t color her opinion of him. Based on their intermittent ten-second interactions, she shouldn’t really have any interest in him. He’s got zero time for any other human being.

DUY: I think the retcon went too far back. Her finding out at this point in time and just keeping it a secret may have been good too. Changing it at the origin is too much.

BEN: I’m not in favor of retcons going that far back. It changes too much, and it’s too easy for the comics to contradict. I can’t think of any I’ve been a fan of. I think it changes her character too much. I know the rabid MJ fans like to say it’s why she was so hesitant to meet him and didn’t want to date him and such. But the other side of that coin is she was interested in him because he’s Spider-Man. There’s no way to deny it; it’s the first thing she knew about him. Both of those are true.

DUY: I still ignore it in any story that lets me do so. That's how much I don't like it. I bet we could find multiple points between now and when she's revealed to have known who he is, that would serve the same purpose and be more logical as the key retcon point.

BEN: It's funny because they (spoilers) killed Gwen because she was too serious and the only way to go with them was marriage. Mary Jane seemed more interesting because she was aloof and fun and didn’t stress out over anything. Flash forward, they give her a tragic back story and make her serious and make her stressed out about him being Spider-Man, and have them get married. The qualities that pushed MJ over Gwen were eventually negated, is what I’m saying.

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!

1 comment:

Arthur S. said...

The problem with this whole line of reasoning is

1) Spider-Man is a controversial character unlike Superman.

2) He's not popular with the public.

3) He's disliked by many neutral supporting characters such as Betty Brant, Aunt May, and yes Gwen Stacy.

For Mary Jane to like Spider-Man at a moment when he's unpopular and controversial would negate any sense of her liking of Peter being driven by fame or any such thing.

And Gwen Stacy was killed because she was unpopular with readers, not because she was serious. And Gerry Conway said that had there been no plan to kill off a major supporting character (for which he nominated Gwen), he would have broken them up anyway. He said this at a 2016 Podcast at Spider-Man Crawlspace. So there was never any Peter-Gwen marriage on the cards.

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