Jan 29, 2020

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #59

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. and Don Heck

As Mary Jane dances for her first paying job, Spider-Man has to deal with a new mind-controlling threat: The Brainwasher!


BEN: Villain appearance count:

  • Doctor Octopus: 9
  • Green Goblin: 7
  • Sandman: 4
  • Kraven the Hunter: 5
  • The Vulture: 5
  • The Kingpin: 4
  • Mysterio: 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: Mary Jane's first thought balloon:

BEN: And second:

DUY: I want to keep track of when exactly her next thought balloon is going to show up. I think it's the relative lack of thought balloons that made her so ripe for retcons.

BEN: And also, Peter and Gwen's first kiss, which she gives after seeing him for the first time since his amnesia episode.


DUY: I like the idea that Captain Stacy has been investigating Spider-Man this whole time. We know that by the time he dies, he'll have known who Peter is. Let's keep an eye out for when the most likely time is for him to have figured it out.

BEN: Spoilers!


DUY: I dunno, this has been a pretty unimpressive stretch of comics. I'm gonna mention too that I don't like the way Romita draws webs, where it's more of a net. Ditko drew them as a line with unintelligible scribbles, while we're two decades away from McFarlane inventing spaghetti webbing. But the net-webbing has never really worked for me.

BEN:  It’s clear Heck did more work on some pages than others.

DUY: Also, I don't know how well in the 21st century that Mary Jane dancing for money has aged. Especially with the PS4 game giving her a journalism background and having more agency. I don't want that to sound like I'm knocking women who have such jobs. I know it's a legitimate job and legitimately something they want to do and enjoy doing. But it seems that in 2019, a leading lady would have been given another job.

BEN: She's technically not the leading lady.

DUY: Ah true, I'm jumping in time.

BEN: Aunt May is the leading lady.


BEN: More of an error than a nitpick, Aunt May’s dialogue balloon is a thought balloon.


BEN: Their first kiss:

DUY: Same.


DUY: I'm going to say Mary Jane Watson here. It's interesting, both she and Gwen are drawn with relatively the same body type, but MJ is just drawn with more sex appeal. At this point it may be her defining characteristic, and that may be good, and that may be bad, but she wins the comic.

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.

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