Apr 8, 2020

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #68

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Every day until the end of April, 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 #68
Spider-Rama
by Stan Lee, John Romita Sr., and Jim Mooney

The Kingpin returns and goes after the Petrified Clay Tablet, which claims to have the secrets of the universe to anyone who can decipher it! And for this one, we're joined by Ben's son, Palmer!



POINTLESS TRIVIA

BEN: Villain appearance count:
  • Doctor Octopus: 9
  • Green Goblin: 8
  • The Vulture: 7
  • The Kingpin: 7
  • Mysterio: 6
  • Kraven the Hunter: 5
  • Sandman: 4
  • The Enforcers: 3
  • The Rhino: 3
  • The Lizard: 3
  • Professor Smythe/Spider Slayer: 3
  • The Chameleon: 2
  • Electro: 2
  • The Ringmaster: 2
  • Scorpion: 2
  • Molten Man: 2
BEN: Peter Parker meets Randy Robertson.



DUY: This is the beginning of the Stone Tablet Saga, or the Petrified Clay Tablet saga, wherein some parts will get resolved, but the throughline of the tablet will keep the story going.



WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

DUY: The Spider-Man pose on the cover for me is so iconic, because I swear I saw it a billion times as a kid on licensed material. I could even be wrong! Maybe it was never on licensed material. But when I think of Spider-Man as he classically, generically looks, this is the first image in my brain.

BEN: I know it’s used on a lot of wall decorations now. And further diversifying the world around Peter was always a good idea, and inspirational at the time.

DUY: The structure of storytelling here, where Plot A will give way to Plot B at some point, will inform a lot of comic book storytelling for decades.

BEN: The most superheroic feat in this issue is Peter surviving calling his girlfriend by a rival girl’s name.



DUY: Right, there's no way hat ages well at all. That's a fantasy right there.

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

BEN:  The student protest story was a little hamfisted, but they were trying.

DUY: It is kinda cool that they stuck with Peter not automatically siding with the protesters, because that'd be a complete 180 from the Ditko days. Though that probably doesn't age well with modern wokeness and activism. Peter's pretty selfish.


BEN: I mean, who has the spare time?

DUY:  I dunno if it ages well or badly, the protesting, because that's still going on today, obviously. But probably don't call the white guys "Whitey."

BEN: Right around the visit to Aunt May is when Palmer rolled over in boredom.



NITPICKS

BEN: There s just way too much slang.

DUY: It seems to me that if the Kingpin's entire fighting prowess is predicated on him taking everyone by surprise with the fact that he's more muscle than fat, anyone who's fought him once would be ready by now.

BEN: Nobody ever subscribes to never underestimating your opponent.

FAVORITE PANEL

BEN: Here's Palmer's favorite panel:


BEN: But this is my favorite panel, and his favorite part:



DUY: Romita really is great at emotions here. You can see Gwen "blushing," even if there is no coloring to indicate that she is:




WHO WON THE COMIC?

DUY: A triumphant return for the Kingpin, I'd say.

BEN: Kingpin seems like more of a threat, but the winner is Jameson.



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 Wednesday!

Apr 7, 2020

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man Annual #5

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Every day until the end of April, 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 ANNUAL #5
Spider-Rama
by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Mickey Demeo

Spider-Man goes to Algeria, and discovers the truth about his parents!


POINTLESS TRIVIA

BEN: First Richard and Mary Parker.



WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

BEN: Uhhhhhh..............

DUY: One of the first issues of Spider-Man I bought when I started collecting for real was when they had his parents come back. It was a pretty good issue, too, but I didn't know at the time just how ridiculous and antithetical the parents-being-spies thing was. Also, Kurt Busiek, Roger Stern, and Ron Frenz did an issue of Untold Tales of Spider-Man that focused on his parents in the war. They met Wolverine. That was also pretty good. But in relation to Spidey, it's just such a big misstep to have them be spies..

BEN: Let's move on.

DUY: Yeah, let's.

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

BEN:   I don’t know if I should start with traveling to Algeria on a slim 17 year old lead that still pans out, a membership card for an evil spy organization, or a random Algerian restaurant owner identifying the bodies of two American citizens!

DUY: Spider-Man's entire success in this issue is predicated on one stroke of luck after another! The restaurant stays open after 17 years. The restaurant owner chooses to tell him everything. 

BEN: No, the worst part is the tracking device based on a ripped piece of costume.


DUY: What about the Red Skull just so happens to have not thrown away Richard Parker's ID?


BEN: No, the worst is the dying confessional of a man Spider-Man basically killed.

DUY:  There's no way Spidey just lets that guy die.



BEN: This might be the worst comic I've ever read.

DUY: Let's not go that far. There's an 8-year run of Spider-Man that still exists in this feature's future.

BEN: We'll never make it to that point.

NITPICKS

BEN: Even in flashbacks Aunt May was as old as dirt.

DUY: How old is May?



BEN: I don’t know the Red Skull’s exact history, but I don’t believe he was around running spy organizations 17 years ago.



DUY: If Johnny Storm is so wiling to just drive Spider-Man anywhere in the world, why don't they just let him join the Fantastic Four?



BEN: I know SHIELD is a secret organization and all, but they could maybe let the family of their deceased agents know they weren’t traitors to their own country. How do both parents wind up as spies? Did they meet each other in the cafeteria?

DUY:  I assume they were both spies when they met.

BEN: I’ve never read this comic before, because even as a kid I hated the idea of Peter’s parents being secret agents. His life and everyone around it should be as mundane as possible until fate decides to have a radioactive spider bite him.

DUY: It remains the biggest misstep in the entirety of Stan Lee's run on the character. It completely distances Spider-Man from the average reader.

FAVORITE PANEL

BEN: This isn't half-bad:



DUY: This joke is the best part of the issue, which says a lot about the main story:


WHO WON THE COMIC?

DUY: No one! I'm sorry I made us read this thing!

BEN: Larry Lieber, who got paid to draw a comic.

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 Wednesday!

Apr 6, 2020

Spider-Rama: Spectacular Spider-Man Magazine #2

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Every day until the end of April, 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!

SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN MAGAZINE #2
Spider-Rama
by Stan Lee, John Romita Sr., Jim Mooney, and Frank Giacoia

The Green Goblin returns and threatens Peter Parker's family!


POINTLESS TRIVIA

BEN: Villain appearance count:
  • Doctor Octopus: 9
  • Green Goblin: 9
  • The Vulture: 7
  • The Kingpin: 6
  • Mysterio: 5
  • Kraven the Hunter: 5
  • Sandman: 4
  • The Enforcers: 3
  • The Rhino: 3
  • The Lizard: 3
  • Professor Smythe/Spider Slayer: 3
  • The Chameleon: 2
  • Electro: 2
  • The Ringmaster: 2
  • Scorpion: 2
  • Molten Man: 2
DUY: To the absolute best of my knowledge, this is the closest anyone will ever get to a Goblin/Octopus team-up, and it happens in a hallucination. These two will never team. Even in recent remakes where Octavius started out as an Osborn employee, such as The Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon and the PS4 game (both of which are great), the moment he quits, they're enemies. But this is what Spider-Man's brain thinks of when he thinks of his worst enemies. Two are his greatest, yes. Then there's the Kingpin. I can see that. But then there's those other three... Who should actually be on this list?


BEN: If you go by our villain appearance count, that's accurate except for the Rhino. It should be Mysterio.

WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

DUY: I think this is kind of where the whole Goblin-is-the-greatest-Spidey-villain thing starts to really happen. The scenes where he's stalking Aunt May's house. The dinner with Peter and Gwen and MJ and Harry, where it's clear he knows. As great as Dr. Octopus is, it seems like he's more of a great villain who happens to be a part of great stories, while Goblin is the one driving the story.

BEN: It had never been done before. Never had a hero had such a vulnerable supporting cast, and combine that with a villain that knows his secret. It’s intense. The amnesia bit was always... convenient, but do you think it’s more believable now in the age of CTE and head trauma?

DUY: I dunno, I think selective amnesia is always gonna be spotty. Plus the idea that the memory could come back is still far off, right? I'm just going to no-prize it as the Goblin serum has all the effects of an alcohol blackout.

BEN: I know it’s not a realistic symptom, but I guess the idea of constant head trauma not being something without consequences.

DUY: Actually as a wrestling fan, I can attest to those consequences, so I can certainly buy him going crazy because of it.

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

BEN:  Dammit Parker, you should know what “coffee” means!



DUY: Wouldn't that age well? How many college-age guys actually pick up on "coffee"?

BEN: Also:


DUY:  "Let me be proud of not talking."

NITPICKS

BEN: It’s tricky where this fits in the main title, but Peter has sold his bike by now in Amazing, but has it here.

DUY: The Omnibus places this after the Mysterio arc in #67, and before the Annual with his parents. The bike throws it off, but that's where I'll be putting it. What'll be interesting to see is if they pull off a whole different Green Goblin return in the main book.

BEN: I was wondering if they were setting this up or not.

FAVORITE PANEL

BEN: Talking marriage already:



DUY: Lots of good art in this, so I'll say this one, since it seems inspired:


DUY: But there's also this, which really does kind of let you see why Peter choosing Gwen over MJ isn't really questionable at all. More than just Gwen looking gorgeous, look at how eagerly and happily Peter turns to see her. Look at how happy George is for them.



WHO WON THE COMIC?

DUY: Peter Parker very decisively won the issue.

BEN: And he still can't be happy about it.



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 Wednesday!

Apr 1, 2020

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #67

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 #62
Spider-Rama
by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr. and Jim Mooney

Spider-Man fights Mysterio in an amusement park of his own design!




POINTLESS TRIVIA

BEN: Villain appearance count:
  • Doctor Octopus: 9
  • Green Goblin: 8
  • The Vulture: 7
  • The Kingpin: 6
  • Mysterio: 6
  • Kraven the Hunter: 5
  • Sandman: 4
  • The Enforcers: 3
  • The Rhino: 3
  • The Lizard: 3
  • Professor Smythe/Spider Slayer: 3
  • The Chameleon: 2
  • Electro: 2
  • The Ringmaster: 2
  • Scorpion: 2
BEN: First appearance of Randy Robertson.


DUY: Gwen doesn't cry in this issue, meaning her consecutive crying count caps off at 7 issues.


WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

BEN: Mysterio enables for such cool visuals, especially after Far From Home.


DUY: Yeah, say what you will about Mysterio, but he's an excellent visual character. If I had to pick just one thing that's aged well, then it's the cover.

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

BEN:  Is it really that hard to figure out, Spidey?



DUY: "What's on your mind, man-child?" asks Robbie Robertson to Randy Robertson, and I'm fairly certain "man-child" has never been a term of endearment ever.

BEN:  Sometimes I wonder if Stan ever talked to other human beings.

NITPICKS

BEN: Okay, Doc Bromwell, it’s not Peter’s responsibility to look after his aunt every day, give him a break. It’s literally a full time job caring for her at this point.


DUY: How often does Bromwell see May? But he thinks that because Peter's never around when he is, it means Peter's never around, period. It's way judgy.

BEN: Maybe if you were a better doctor, Bromwell, nobody would have to visit May.  Especially us.

FAVORITE PANEL

BEN:  Mine:


DUY: Love the shadow work on this:


WHO WON THE COMIC?

DUY: I'm gonna say Mysterio, actually. The entire issue was a showcase for his visual tricks.

BEN: Bromwell. Keep getting those checks.

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 Wednesday!

Mar 25, 2020

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #66

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 #66
Spider-Rama
by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr. and Don Heck

Mysterio returns!




POINTLESS TRIVIA

BEN: Villain appearance count:
  • Doctor Octopus: 9
  • Green Goblin: 8
  • The Vulture: 7
  • The Kingpin: 6
  • Mysterio: 5
  • Kraven the Hunter: 5
  • Sandman: 4
  • The Enforcers: 3
  • The Rhino: 3
  • The Lizard: 3
  • Professor Smythe/Spider Slayer: 3
  • The Chameleon: 2
  • Electro: 2
  • The Ringmaster: 2
  • Scorpion: 2
  • Molten Man: 2
BEN:  “Gwen Stacy cries” consecutive issue count: 7


DUY: Peter sells his moped, and there's a cameo of Norman as the Green Goblin. We don't count that as an appearance.  Don Heck and Mick Demeo ink Romita on this. Based on how much better this looks than the Heck-only issues, I'm going to bet Mick Demeo is the reason it looks fine here. Who's Mick Demeo? Apparently Mick Demeo was the former name of Mike Esposito, who will go on to ink Spider-Man for quite a while.

BEN: I don't know if it's the art or what, but this issue was much better than the previous ones.

PETER: Peter once again doesn't go after a criminal (Mysterio in this case) because of self-pity. He'll fight him if he's there, but won't knock himself out to find him, because the police can handle it. This is the kind of decision that almost always backfires on Peter.



WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

BEN: I love Captain Stacy and Robbie hanging out.



DUY: Robbie and George working together has all the makings of a crime book, the kind of thing that works better in Daredevil, or in the 80s onwards. Spider-Man was Marvel's original crime book, even if it's not exactly the right spot for the genre.

BEN: Is this the first time he’s referred to as Joe Robertson? Is this another mistake that has to get fixed?

DUY: I'm fairly certain his name was never officially "Robert Robertson," so Robbie must have been a nickname from his last name. And I will say, the visual of fighting over a tiny amusement park or city or whatever never gets old. It's such an effective visual for implying scope but reminding you there isn't really any.

BEN: I've always loved miniatures.

DUY: Must... resist.... easy joke.

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

BEN:  Mysterio hiding under the grate made me laugh. I love Mysterio.



DUY: Is the Daily Bugle hiring dumb photographers who are cowardly bad aging, or is Jonah just cheap?



BEN:  Aunt May is frightened of a news report.



NITPICKS

BEN: What about Aunt May’s shattered door frame?


DUY: Damn it, Peter.

FAVORITE PANEL

BEN:  I’m trying not to cheat by picking the last page splash.



DUY: Screw it, I will pick the last page splash.




WHO WON THE COMIC?

DUY: John Romita Sr, who gave us so much good stuff to look at.

BEN: He may not have been as good a storyteller as Ditko (who is) but his pictures were prettier.

DUY: Provided he had the right inker, apparently. Which, isn't Don Heck a legend in this business?

BEN: I don’t want to keep killing him, but I feel like if he’s known, it’s as the “other artist” in those early days. And in all fairness, most artists would be the “other” guy in a room with Kirby, Ditko, and Romita.

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 Wednesday!

Mar 18, 2020

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #65

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 #65
Spider-Rama
by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr. and Jim Mooney

Having passed out fighting the Vulture, Spider-Man is taken to prison, where a riot ensues once they take George Stacy hostage!


POINTLESS TRIVIA

BEN: “Gwen Stacy cries” consecutive issue count: 6.


DUY: Jim Mooney takes over as Romita's inker.


WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

DUY: So I don't know if it's the context of the last few issues being bad, but I loved this issue. The whole idea of Spider-Man breaking out of jail and pulling a big con on the other criminals is clever. The art is a huge improvement. The cover looks really good and might have made me buy it off the rack if I'd seen it then. Jonah is Jonah.

BEN: It’s nice to see both Captain Stacy and Robbie sticking up for Spider-Man, two of his biggest supporters. Mooney on inks has improved the quality of the art. Romita has clearly been doing rough layouts.

DUY: So it was definitely Heck that was bringing it down for me significantly. The story was already not that captivating prior, but in addition to everything, I didn't even like looking at the art. Jim Mooney has come on a couple of times now and it's much better and makes it easier to look at.

BEN: Poor Don Heck, we’ve been very unkind, but also fair.

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

DUY: Mary Jane Watson, maybe if your friend is going through hell, you reach out instead of making fun of him.



BEN: She’s being as ugly on the inside as she is the outside. (Direct your hate mail to Duy).

NITPICKS

BEN: With all the time Spider_man has been unconscious in the prison, I’m fairly certain someone would have peeked under the mask at some point.

DUY:  May Parker says "You've never kept things from me before!", but Peter has. Like all the time.

BEN: That's a parent thing though, believing that.

DUY: Point.

FAVORITE PANEL

BEN: Mine:



DUY: It's not often that I say that a classic comic made a great color choice and sets a mood effectively through color, but this one did it. And it has Jonah.


WHO WON THE COMIC?

DUY: As with last issue, the real winner is us, as readers, for getting this book back to the level of "good."

BEN: I’d like to thank ourselves for this prestigious award, and no one else. We’ve done it completely alone. It’s been a lot of hard work, but if anyone deserves it, it’s us. The glory is entirely ours.

DUY: I'll take it.

BEN: Let us celebrate with the consuming of alcohol.

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 Wednesday!