Apr 20, 2020

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #80

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!

by Stan Lee, John Romita Sr., and Jim Mooney

The Chameleon is back!


BEN: Villain appearance count:
  • Doctor Octopus: 9
  • The Kingpin: 9
  • Green Goblin: 8
  • The Vulture: 7
  • Mysterio: 6
  • The Lizard: 5
  • Kraven the Hunter: 5
  • Sandman: 4
  • The Enforcers: 3
  • The Rhino: 3
  • Professor Smythe/Spider Slayer: 3
  • Man Mountain Marko: 3
  • Silvermane: 3
  • The Chameleon: 3
  • Electro: 2
  • The Ringmaster: 2
  • Scorpion: 2
  • Molten Man: 2
  • Shocker: 2
DUY: For whatever it's worth, this comic is dated January 1970, so we're officially in a new decade.

BEN: I was just wondering a few weeks ago why the Chameleon, Spider-Man’s first super villain ever, was so low on the appearance count. Seems that Stan or John realized it too.

DUY: It's because he's not good for action. Even in the most prominent Chameleon stories, he barely actually does anything, and this is the Marvel Age of Action, True Believer.

BEN: Then why does he do all those commercials for Geico?


BEN: One of the appeals of superheroes to young boys is tied in with being secretly stronger and more special than the guy everyone else thinks is so great. So anytime Peter gets mad and let’s his true strength show, usually against Flash, it’s a treat.

DUY: That's well-drawn action, too. Buscema was good.

BEN: I must say, even though this current run of comics aren’t regarded as classics, they’re much less of a chore to read than the Heck era.

DUY:  You just can't discount storytelling, at the heart of it, and Heck just isn't that good, I think.

BEN: He’s boring as Heck! Heh, I’m clever.

DUY: Good one, Ben.


BEN: Batman would have immediately remembered he had an arch-nemesis with the power of assuming identities.

DUY: In 2020 (or 2011, which is when this would be), showing you have some level of superstrength wouldn't blow a secret identity. People might just think you're a low-level mutant.

BEN: For someone that would rather throw himself out of a window to protect his secret, this is the most obvious secret destroying statement he could have ever made.


BEN: Issue #1 actually, Stan.

BEN: Yes officers, whatever you do, never look up when searching for Spider-Man.

DUY: I am legitimately confused as to how the Chameleon's masks work. How is it that he can wear fake masks that can replicate the movements of a human face, over his mask that does not do that? And have we ever seen his real face?

BEN: Rubber masks fooling everyone have a long and storied history in fiction.

DUY: I feel in the MCU, post-Bryan Hitch era, there would be an explanation.

BEN: Didn't they come up with his image-inducing belt?


BEN: You know I love these angles:

DUY: Here is Spider-Man in a pose that none of the Spider-Women can be drawn in without triggering backlash (and with good reason, because poses are a conscious choice):


DUY:  J. Jonah. Jameson.

BEN: He’s so grumpy.

DUY: Actually, the winner is either George Stacy or Joe Robertson, because if either of them had heard Spidey say he knew the Chameleon wasn't Peter Parker and he wouldn't tell why, they'd have figured it out immediately.

BEN: Pretty much anyone should have figured that out.

DUY: I think we've established everyone is an idiot.

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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