Well here we are to my third box of unread comics. For those who haven't followed, theoretically I read a comic a day of comics I bought and never got around to reading. Some of them going back to the early '90s (well when I bought them I should say). I will review some of those comics. I tried to post one once a week, but I do get lazy. 

 

Enjoy!

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Amazing Spider-Man #261

Feb. 1985

Cover art by: Charles Vess

 

 

 

 

Story: The Sins of My Father!

Writer: Tom DeFalco

Pencils: Ron Frenz

Inks: Joe Rubinstein

 

The Hobgoblin has captured Liz Osborne and Mary Jane. He is using them to persuade Harry Osborne to find copies of his father's Green Goblin journals. Hobby has teamed-up with the Rose, and the Rose questions why they brought MJ along since he only wanted Liz. Well Liz is very pregnant, and none of the Rose's men know how to deliver a baby, so that is why they brought her along. I guess MJ's modeling career has taught midwifing skills. Harry finally finds one of his dad's journals and rushes off the meet the Hobgoblin. Spidey has been following Harry around and continues to do so here.

 

Interlude, a probe has made its way through the Baxter Building and arrives as the plasteel case holding the Spidey's old alien costume. It drills a small hole in the case, and the alien escapes.

 

Harry and Hobby meet in some park, and Harry gives him the journal. Harry demands to see his wife and MJ, so Hobgoblin slugs Harry knocking him out cold. Now, he will take him to the ladies. Spider-man follows surreptitiously.

 

Spider-man begins a silent assault at the Rose's base to find his friends. Harry had hidden a gun on his person, and lures a guard into opening the door. He doesn't have the guts to actually shoot the guy, so MJ wallops him with a shovel. They don't get three steps out of the room they were being held in before a guard spots them. He yells out, and Harry answers with gunfire. Hobgoblin tears off after the sound, and the Rose tells his men it is time to get out of there. Webhead also hears the shots, and decides the time for stealth is over, and bursts into the warehouse.

 

Seeing the trio in trouble, Spider-man launches a door, and then him self at Hobby. While trying to get Harry to take the girls to safety. Harry leads them into a room and sees a bunch of Hobgoblin's weapons and costumes there. He tels MJ to get Liz to safety as there is something he must do. Hobgoblin finally gets away from Spidey and goes back to retrieve the journal that Harry gave him. Hobby is suddenly attacked by Harry who is now wielding some pumpkin bombs.

 

Well to make matters worse, Liz goes into labor. Spidey is still groggy from his fight with the Hobgoblin, but Liz's scream sobers him up. He goes to the pair, and MJ tells him what is going on. Once again he tells MJ to get Liz to safety as he has to go save Harry. This time Spider-man is po'd and lays the lumber to Hobgoblin. Harry is unable to get the girls out of the warehouse which is now on fire. The reason: Hobgoblin missing Spider-man earlier,with an attack but blowing up some propane tanks. Harry yells out for the Wallcrawler, as he can't get them out. Hobby tells Spider-man he can either save his friends or take him in to the police. He of course opts to save his friends. Hobgoblin destroys his costumes and weapons that are still there and flees. Spidey gets his friends to safety. Hobgoblin is really reeling from the beating from Spider-man, but now he finally has a chance to look at the journal Harry gave him. He throws it away in disgust as he already had all of the information it contained (locations that contained Norman's extra Green Goblin gear).

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This was quite a hum-dinger of an issue. DeFalco and company were really firing on all cylinders. Well outside of the part were everyone passed on the responsibility of getting the pregnant Liz Osborne to safety. I really enjoyed how Spider-man really took it to Hobgoblin, and his reaction to that beating. He was shocked about it. Thinking to himself,”I never imagined Spider-man would defeat me as thoroughly as he did tonight!”

 

My question, the probe that freed the alien symbiote had a caption box that said to read Fantastic Four #274 for details as to what is going on. I don't have it, can anyone enlighten me?

It was around this time when the writers kept saying that Norman Osborn had to have some level of super-strength to battle Spidey as he did. I'm not sure if that was clear in the Green Goblin's Silver Age appearances.

"Mist'r Hobgoblin, I don't know nothin' bout birthin' no babies!"

I got a kick out of that Charles Vess cover. He definitely found a way to play to his strengths: the Goblin actually looks like a goblin, and there's all that stylized flame. Spidey almost looks out of place, like he was Photoshopped in by another artist.
Yeah, that's a really cool cover. Only thing I would have done different is have Hobgoblin holding Spider-Man in a slightly different way -- by his "shirt collar" or something more dramatic. Right now it looks like he's helping Spidey back to his feet. "Help, I've fallen and I can't get up!"

Amazing Spider-Man #262

March 1985

Cover art by: Eliot R. Brown

 

 

 

Story: Trade Secret

Writer: Bob Layton

Pencils: Bob Layton

Inks: Bob Layton & Carlos Garzon

 

Look a “Special Issue”! The banner on the cover says so. Let's check it out. Peter has been tasked by Robbie to get some photos of Ronald Reagan when he lands at the airport. At the same time sleazeball photojournalist D.J. Jones is there to take some pics as well. How scummy is he? He lifts the wallet of of a lady he bumped into. He ducks into some sort of supply closet to check out his goodies. At the same time Peter is changing out of his Spider-man costume, and Jones just instinctively snaps a picture of a maskless Peter. Peter quickly re-dons his mask and gives chase. Jones drives a baggage truck thingy towards a bus, and while Spidey stops it, Jones makes his escape.

 

Later that evening Jones is trying to figure a way to make some serious cash on his photos, and Peter is trying to figure out how to track the photographer. Jones decides he will sell his info to the mob, and Peter decides to go ask Ben Urich who the photographer might be. Ben is very quick to figure out who Jones is (known as Dirty Jake Jones). Ben gives Peter the last known address of Jones, asking Peter to let him in on any big scoop he may uncover.

 

Jones' attempt to sell his pictures to the mob get him quickly thrown out of a local mob bar, but mob boss Mr. DeNatale tells his men to follow Jones in case his information is legitimate. They tail Jones back to his apartment, and force their way in. They tell him to give up the negatives of the Wall Crawler otherwise they will kill him. He is just about to hand them over, when Spidey swings by and saves his neck. While dealing with the bad guys, Jones escapes, and one of the ruffians makes it to DeNatale and tells him that Spider-man crashed their party. DeNatale figures it was a set-up between Jones and the Webhead to bust his men. He orders more of his goons to take care of Jones.

 

The men corner Jones in an ally, and Spider-man sits there contemplating if he should help him or not. For a really long time actually. Including a flashback to the whole Uncle Ben thing. Of course he saves Jones' neck, and constantly threatening him the whole time, trying to get the heat off of him from DeNatale. After mopping up DeNatale's men he finally gets the negatives from Jones. In the end Jones figures the heat in New York City is too much for him and he gets out of town.

 

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“Special Issue” my foot! A very average comic. Competently written and executed in the art department, but nothing to get excited about. Plus, I have a hard time believing D.J. Jones ever escaped Spidey the first time.

This was during Marvel's brief flirtation with photo covers. Marvel Team-Up had one, I can't recall the issue # but it featured Spidey and Captain America. Spider-Woman #50 had one, too.

Amazing Spider-Man Annual #15

1981

Cover art by: Frank Miller & Klaus Janson

 

 

 

Story: Spider-Man: Threat or Menace?

Writer: Denny O'Neil

Pencils: Frank Miller

Inks: Klaus Jabson

 

We begin this tale with J. Jonah Jameson contemplating a day's paper with the headlines of the story title above. Robbie tells him that the last time they ran a story with that headline their circulation dropped below five million. Robbie informs JJJ that maybe they can use the story that he sent Ben Urich and Peter Parker to cover. Which was to cover some dude demonstrating Dim Mak, the touch of death. Peter is there taking pictures when, Tuhran, the demonstrator is killed by a sniper's bullet. Peter quickly changes into costume, and finds the Punisher trying to make his escape. In an amazing display of marksmanship he shoots off Spidey's web shooters. He then is able to anticipate, Webhead's movements and shoots him square in the chest with a mercy bullet. The Punisher then renders Spider-man useless by lobbing a gas grenade at him. The Punisher then escapes.

 

Now Jameson has his headline! “Guru Shot!” with an excellent picture by Peter Parker. JJJ and Robbie are happy with the story, but Peter is distraught as he is worried that girl Tuhran was making his demonstration on will die, since he isn't around to reverse the process. Robbie gives him an “Oh well.” Peter is determined to save her. Meanwhile,the Punisher has gone to the city morgue, and he gets Tuhran's ring off the finger, and finds that it contains a poison. Just then old Doctor Octopus shows up. He makes short work of the Punisher who only has a knife handy, and then Ock takes the ring and the body of Tuhran.

 

Spider-man then drops in on one of Tuhran's colleagues, and discovers that they were using the poison as a scam for their Dim Mak demonstrations and were delivering a lot of the poison at a pier later that day. The guy was supposed to go there with his brother to make the delivery.

 

Jameson has a new headline now, as he wants to run the story of the Punisher stealing the body out of the morgue (I guess no one saw Doc Ock). The Punisher has been following Tuhran and his buddies for months and arrives at the pier in time for the delivery. The guy drops the canister in the water, and Doc Ock retrieves it and brings it into his underwater base. The good doctor then calls the mayor, and tells him he is going to kill 5 million people. Then if he is not delivered 20 million in gems he will poison another 5 million. During the phone call The Punisher has “snuck” inside. Doctor Octopus defeats, and poisons Castle without really looking up. Spider-man also arrives on the scene, and Octopus gives him the standard options of catching him or trying to save the Punisher. The Punisher is in a weakened state, and while using Octopus' notes Spider-man is able to create an antidote while avoiding a poison enraged Punisher trying to kill him. Spidey does make the antidote and forces feeds it to Castle.

 

Another headline: “Five Million Will Die” Spider-man drops off his antidote at the hospital to the girl Tuhran poisoned, and then he deduces just how Dr. Octopus is going to poison 5 million people. He rushes to the Daily Bugle printing press just as Jameson is there to see it go into action, and as Doc Ock is about to add his poison to the ink. We get quite a lengthy battle between Spider-man and Doctor Octopus. With Spidey carrying JJJ around, telling him that,”I'm having trouble hassling with Doc Ock and nurse-maiding you both!” The Wall-crawler does manage to get Octopus to get his mechanical arms stuck in the printing presses. Now immobilized he knocks out Doc with one punch.

 

Meanwhile, the Punisher wakes up webbed to a wooden post on the pier. Just as he breaks free the police roll up on him. He pulls his gun, but realizes he has no more mercy bullets, so he surrenders to them. Telling them the one nice thing about prisons is that they have a lot of criminals there.

 

James now thinks he has his the perfect headline: “Publisher Saves City” with a story about the poisoned ink. Robbie tells him that a lot of people may think the ink is poisoned, so he decide to run with the original headline of: “Spider-Man: Threat or Menace?” later a news vendor tells JJJ that he can't give away the Bugle when it runs that headline.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

I really liked the framing piece of this story of Jameson trying to find the perfect headline for the Daily Bugle. Although, I do wonder why Robbie Robertson thought that his original idea of running a story of just some eastern mystic demonstrating Dim Mak would have been a good lead story.

 

It also wasn't very believable that the Punisher could shoot out (off?) Spider-man's web shooters. Yet, I could believe that he could anticipate his moves well enough to shoot him in the chest to disable him. I also liked that Dr. Octopus was able to defeat The Punisher so easily both times they fought. The first fight lasting all of three panels. Overall I did like the story once I got past a few those issues. The art by Miller and Janson was top notch. I always loved their collaborations.

 

This issue also had piece on how strong Spider-man was compared to other in the Marvel universe. As well as a one-pager on Peter's apartment, and a couple of Who's Who type pages on a few of Spidey's foes.

They have regular circulation of five million? Zowee. What do they charge for ads?

Unless the handlers moving the issue all wore gloves, if the poisoned papers took effect quickly, Doc Ock's scheme wouldn't work.

The ink was a metaphor for the poison publishers like Jameson feed their readers on a daily basis...

 

:-)

 

I think this is the first comic you have reviewed that I've actually read and loved, Travis.  This was reprinted in a Marvel UK 'Winter Special' or somesuch when I first got into Marvel comics.  The discussions in the newsroom about the front page lifted it up, structurally, and Miller has a soft spot for ol' Frank. This was obviously a memorable issue, as I still remember it 3 decades later!

 

 

Great cover too.  Doc Ock is very a very civilised baddie with his espresso and morning paper!

 

Oh, and I remember the back-up feature too.  All the Marvel heroes bunched together according to their strength class.  Iron Man stating that he was able to be in teh Hulk class for 2.5 seconds if he uses all his power in one go...

 

Actually, I'd love to see a few scans of those panels, for old times sake...  I pored over those pages at the time.  Didn't Byrne draw them?

Actually Mark Gruenwald did the layouts and Bob Layton finished them up. I'm about to go lift a few at a bar, so I will try to scan and post those strength pages up over the weeked. In the meantime a scan I did on my own because I just loved it so. The one panel, one page, one punch knockout of Doctor Octopus:

 

Actually Mark Gruenwald did the layouts and Bob Layton finished them up. I'm about to go lift a few at a bar, so I will try to scan and post those strength pages up over the weeked.

 

I remember the pictures were slick and well-finished at any rate, so that sounds about right.

 

I'm really looking forward to seeing those pages again.  They might deserve their own thread, as I'd wager they will provoke quite a bit of comment, between their nostalgia value and the contentiousness of some of the placings.

 

(Hope the ratio of fun at the bar last night to sore head today is within acceptable limits...)

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