Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Next Time, Call Ahead. Amazing Spider-Man #1

I realized that I have somehow neglected to cover a single Spider-Man story on this blog. Today, I rectify that.

The Amazing Spider-Man #1 gave readers a lot for their twelve cents. The issue starts with a brief recap of Spidey's origin as it appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15 and establishes characters like bombastic publisher J. Jonah Jameson and his hero son, astronaut John Jameson. We learn of Aunt May's financial troubles for the first time and, before the issue's first story is over Spidey is branded as a criminal and a public menace. Unlike many of Marvel's other long-lasting features, the tone for the next 40+ years of Spider-Man stories is set at the very begining.

The back-up feature starts off even better, as it includes a guest appearance by Marvel's other early superstars, the Fantastic Four.

Peter Parker gets the bright idea to seek a job with the Fantastic Four. Unable to get past the FF's private elevator, Pete decided to climb to the FF's offices as Spidey. PEte has no idea he has already tripped the FF's security system, however. When the Cosmic Quartet come out swinging, Spidey uses the donnybrook as an ersatz audition.

After Mr. Fantastic settles everyone down, Spidey states the purpose of his visit and sugests that his talents are worth top dollar. Richards explains that the FF are a non-profit orginization who put all their extra earnings back into developing crime-fighting technology. Before anyone can offer to help, Spidey leaves in a teenage huff.

The rest of the story introduces Spidey's first supervillain, the Chameleon. *Yawn*

Even though Amazing Fantasy #15 sold remarkably well and Marvel receieved tons of letters asking for more Spider-Man, they were clearly nervous about giving Spidey his own book. The cover could have just as easily been for an issue of Fantastic Four. And, although Spidey doesn't end up joining the FF (saving the team lots of money, since they won't have to order new PJ's that have a "5" on the chest.) there is a wonderful chemistry between the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man, almost as if the FF are the family Peter has been missing.


  1. I love the way that Stan Lee had his creations interact with each other in Marvel's early days, with them basically wandering into each other's stories and what not. It made guest appearances something special, something I think has been lost in the tightly-woven, continuity-driven comic book universes of today.

    Oh, and by Peter Parker, I assume you mean Peter Palmer. :P

  2. There WAS always a good "mojo" between Spidey and the Torch.

  3. If you like the FF & Spidey, look around for the radio drama the Amazing Spiderman by Dirk Maggs for the BBC. It basically covers ASM 1-19 with crossovers by the FF, Dr Doom and Subby, and features terrific voice-acting and sound effects. Hard to find, but definitely worth a listen!