AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. “Once More With…”
There are some interesting threads on this forum, already, covering issues of Marvel’s early series – ‘re-reading’’ of the Avengers and Journey into Mystery/Thor and so on and there was quite a good issue by issue thread on the Invaders around too, until it caught up with the present.
What is more rarely discussed are the later periods when these series were in full flow and while perhaps less iconic still number among them some classics… The examination of the Avengers from #101 onwards gets a credit here.
I therefore present to you an issue by issue critique/discussion forum for one of these mainstay Marvel titles.
Not beginning at the very debut – as others have that covered well – but (and I hope I don’t step on anyone’s creative toes here!) – I would like to pick up the Amazing Spider-Man title after a watershed/bookend issue provided an opportune point at which to begin …
Issue #50 featured that classic moment in Peter Parker’s life when he first thought he couldn’t go on and yet eventually realised he just couldn’t possibly give up being Spidey.
“Spider-Man No More!” draws breath for the title before it races on into it’s next phase – less discussed than the Ditko issues and the early Romita ‘End of the Green Goblin’ stuff the next issue builds on those early foundations and catapults our hero and the title to the second half of it’s first century of publishing and its next phase of greatness…
So, after “Spider-Man No-More!”
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN . “Once More With…”
…”With feeling…!”
Or…
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN . “Once More With…”
…”With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility…!”
Or…
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN . “Once More With…”
…”With in-depth discussion and critique…..
Or…
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN . “Once More With…”
…”With #51 (08/67)…..

Come back soon……

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I know I remember a cover that was ALL yellow and orange. Not sure which title.

Found it!

My last comment on the color-covers:
Oddly, at least in the Silver Age, the Hulk never had an all-green cover.

Was there a particular reason for these covers, or did someone (Stan?) just think they were psychedelic (i.e. groovy?)

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN  #54 (11/67)

Writer – Stan Lee – Co-Plot-John Romita – Penciller

Inker – Mike  Esposito

Cover Art – John Romita

“The Tentacles and the Trap!”

It is a perfect cover, straight out of the issue. Tragedy in the foreground with collapsed (is she dead?) Aunt May,

Determination centre stage (can Spidey triumph?) and evil escaping in the background (He’s got his prize in his hand!) and of course that wonderful title on the cover (nifty experimental lettering too!).

Needless to say – I love this.

The splash page is just as wonderful, Doc Ock taking up the advertisement as Aunt May’s boarder with the plot synopsis written up in the shadow of Ock – which includes his tentacles which are neatly hidden by his overcoat. It’s masterful! - even down to a ‘welcome’ mat.

Naïve Aunt May glosses over Ock’s previous run ins with the police as Ock assures her “That was just a mistake!”

Once in his new room Ock takes his arms out of his case and demonstrates ‘my mental control over my powerful artificial arms is even greater than ever!”.

Was this the first time Doc’s arms were actually seen as working independently of Ock’s actual body?

I know we see them like this in a (much loved) storyline but I don’t remember it being a common trope.

Ock reminds everyone of his narrow defeat during the ‘Master Planner’ storyline and his network of henchmen still working for him as his new plans begin.

We get a catch up with Peter Parker’s support cast as he further upsets roommate Harry by obviously locking his possessions (his costume!) away – as if Harry might steal from him, Harry thinks!

“It looks like my Spider-Man identity is fouling up the best friendship I ever had!” – Ah, the angst.

Peter officially meets Joe Robertson the new city editor of the Bugle, checks in with Gwen and MJ before he gets to meet Aunt Mays new boarder…”It Can’t Be..!! It’s…Dr Octopus!”

“Don’t stare so, dear! It’s impolite!” – priceless.

Peter is beside himself and Doc Ock is at his slimiest best. This is a wonderful sequence all round.

Later as Spider-Man, Peter takes the offensive goading Doc Ock to come outside and fight.

Instead Ock sets his henchmen after our hero. It takes a while but Spidey defeats the bad guys and noticing that Aunt may has left the house to see the police arrive, he goes inside to confront Ock.

The battle is fierce but May returns inside to find the violence and to collapse in shock “EEEEEEK!”

Doc Ock actually leaves  to save May the stress – (is he actually soft on her?) but Spidey stays, changes back to Peter and calls medical help for  his aunt.

If the shock wasn’t bad enough – when she wakes up she’ll find a massive hole where her house wall used to be!

Warned in the epilogue that his Aunt can’t take too much more, Peter vows that “nothing will stop me from ridding the world forever of the menace of Dr.Octopus!”

Every frame of this issue is a classic and the issue still holds drama and pathos now.

What more is there to say….except that we are actually warned at the close of the issue that things will get worse! –

“Be Here When: Disaster Strikes Spider-Man!”

 

Come back…

 

There isn't much more I can add to this, Richard.  Great review.  This is definitely a high point of post-Ditko Spidey. 

One memorable part you didn't mention was Peter, terrified and panic-stricken that his unconscious Aunt May might die, ripping off his mask to try to show her she had nothing to fear from Spider-Man.  That has always stuck with me.


Thank you John.

That is indeed a powerful image worthy of highlighting.

I feel like I am just gushing over these reviews saying how wonderful it all is but I really do try to be fairly critical where it is needed. - anyone picking up this thread around here please checkout the previous mentioned issues - I don't universally praise everything!  Lol!
John Dunbar (the mod of maple) said:

There isn't much more I can add to this, Richard.  Great review.  This is definitely a high point of post-Ditko Spidey. 

One memorable part you didn't mention was Peter, terrified and panic-stricken that his unconscious Aunt May might die, ripping off his mask to try to show her she had nothing to fear from Spider-Man.  That has always stuck with me.

That was a powerful image. Then afterwards he realized showing her he was someone she hated in her present condition would probably have made her even worse instead of helping. It also showed Spider-Man wasn't the typical superhero that's totally obsessed with keeping his secret identity no matter what (something Marvel and DC no longer care about but it's still prevalent in manga, magical girls go crazy at the thought that somebody might figure out who they are). His life would have been a lot less complicated at this point if she'd known. Remember the costume she destroyed forcing him to buy one at a costume shop that kept bunching up on him until he gave in and forced himself to sew a new one?

This is why the idea in the 90s that Aunt May always knew didn't make sense. Unless she destroyed his costume and constantly told him Spider-Man was "dreadful" to try to shame him into quitting, and she wasn't that sort of person.

Otto does try to marry May years later, although he had an ulterior motive. But there might have been something there between them. She seemed to like him in the Sinister Six story. and later she referred to him as something like "that nice Doctor." Of course she might have just been trying to get free medical advice from him.

It's also interesting Otto picks May's home of all places to move into. Leaves you wondering why. Did he want to see the woman that was so pleasant when he kidnapped her? Does he suspect Peter is Spider-Man?

Which storyline? The only other story I remember of his tentacles moving on their own was the one that ended with Captain Stacy being killed. And yes I think that's the first time they've done that. #3 said they were permanently welded to him and couldn't be removed.

 

That's the one I was thinking of Ron and I really love those issues...we'll get to that point eventually in this thread I hope.

Ron M. said:

Which storyline? The only other story I remember of his tentacles moving on their own was the one that ended with Captain Stacy being killed. And yes I think that's the first time they've done that. #3 said they were permanently welded to him and couldn't be removed.

 

Richard Mantle said:

Once in his new room Ock takes his arms out of his case and demonstrates ‘my mental control over my powerful artificial arms is even greater than ever!”. Was this the first time Doc’s arms were actually seen as working independently of Ock’s actual body?

I know we see them like this in a (much loved) storyline but I don’t remember it being a common trope.

In the Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 (1964) on page 2 of the Sinister Six story it is revealed that prison officials had a special surgical team remove his metal arms, which had been part of him since the accident. Otto is unconcerned as he still has mental control of them. Before page 2 is finished his arms, acting separately, have broken him out of prison.

Doc Ock actually leaves to save May the stress – (is he actually soft on her?)

Come again? Ock shows no concern for her and leaves, surprised that Spidey is staying in the house, he assumes he's afraid to follow.

Ron M. said:

His life would have been a lot less complicated at this point if she'd known.

Earlier in the run Peter was concerned that Aunt May, in her frail condition, would worry herself literally to death every time he went out to fight bad guys if she knew he was Spider-Man.

I don't think you're being overly praising at all, Richard. These comics were really, really good, with some great storylines and new characters.

Richard Mantle said:


I feel like I am just gushing over these reviews saying how wonderful it all is but I really do try to be fairly critical where it is needed. - anyone picking up this thread around here please checkout the previous mentioned issues - I don't universally praise everything!  Lol!

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