May 18, 2020

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #102

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Every weekday until the end of May, 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 Roy Thomas, Gil Kane, and Frank Giacoia

It's Morbius vs. The Lizard vs. Six-Armed Spider-Man!


BEN: Villain appearance count:
  • The Kingpin: 12
  • Doctor Octopus: 12
  • Green Goblin: 10
  • The Vulture: 7
  • Mysterio: 6
  • The Lizard: 6
  • Kraven the Hunter: 5
  • Sandman: 4
  • Electro: 3
  • The Enforcers: 3
  • The Rhino: 3
  • Professor Smythe/Spider Slayer: 3
  • Man Mountain Marko: 3
  • Silvermane: 3
  • The Chameleon: 3
  • The Schemer/Richard Fisk: 3
  • The Ringmaster: 2
  • Scorpion: 2
  • Molten Man: 2
  • Shocker: 2
  • The Beetle: 2
  • Morbius: 2
BEN: The origin of Morbius, and since this issue was double-sized, it means it was double the normal amount of torture.

DUY: Per the Comics Code of 1954, "Scenes dealing with, or instruments associated with walking dead, torture, vampires and vampirism, ghouls, cannibalism, and werewolfism are prohibited." This issue comes well before the horror comics wave of the 70s, but also comes right after three straight issues where Stan just ran without the Code. Maybe, also, they got away with it because Morbius is only pretentious enough to act like a real vampire, when he's really just a dude with a blood condition.


DUY: I like the attempt at skilled writing here. 

BEN: Him snagging the serum with his webbing is flat out stupid.

DUY: Yes, I know I was reaching. This is so terrible.

BEN:  I guess it was good they brought in the Lizard for all this personal experimentation stuff. Morbius is basically "what-if the scientist was a vampire instead of a lizard?"


DUY: Morbius really, really wants us to know his name.

BEN: I wish I could forget it.


Flaccid remorse?

DUY: Scaly human Curt Connors is legitimately gross to me


DUY: Okay, I'll give it to Kane, this is actually appropriately creepy:

BEN: That's mine too.


DUY: I might go Spidey by default. Suffice it to say I did not like this stretch of issues.

BEN: Not Morbius, is the answer. And I’m probably going to get a lot of flack for this, but I don’t remember reading a Roy Thomas comic I enjoyed. They’re all so mechanical, like he was clearly trying to follow the Stan Lee playbook. Or not even that, he tried to create a playbook based on what Stan and his artists did naturally.

DUY: I can't hate on Roy because he ignited my love of Golden Age DC, but he's best as a nostalgia, continuity guy, and not an actual captivating story guy.

BEN: Something about him is too formulaic, and I don’t mean his plots.

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. 

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