John Dunbar re-reads AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (AF 15, ASM 1-50)

We have a wonderful thread, started by Richard Mantle, that examines the Amazing Spider-Man starting with issue #51.  I don't know why it took me so long to realize we don't have a thread that covers Spidey's beginning to the point where Richard starts.

Spider-Man is hands down my favorite Marvel hero and I love the early stuff.  Peter Parker felt like an outsider in high school.  He had girl troubles and money troubles.  I think a lot of us could identify with him when we were teenagers; I know I certainly did.  Those first 50 issues of Amazing, plus the Annuals and Amazing Fantasy 15, are among the cream of the Silver Age.  Outstanding artwork from Steve Ditko and John Romita.  Unforgettable dialogue from Stan Lee.  A fantastic rogues gallery and a wonderful supporting cast.  Just terrific, terrific stuff.

Join me, won't you?

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I was going to mention this but forgot. Since Peter was in High School and Betty was working a regular job, they were stuck with Betty either being an older woman or being a drop-out. I think they finally settled on her being a drop-out.

Steve Ditko famously never showed MJ's face but there was one scene where Betty and Liz meet her and although her face is obscured the rest of her can be seen, very dressed up and with a knockout figure that leaves Betty and Liz both agape -- in other words, MJ was clearly meant to be incredibly gorgeous long before Romita took over as artist, although she likely wouldn't have looked quite as lovely as drawn by Ditko -- although even as drawn by Ditko, Gwen Stacy looked pretty good, despite the hateful glare Ditko often gave her as she & Peter had regular misunderstandings, mainly due to Peter being either too wrapped up in his own problems or having too much of a chip on his shoulder to react to Gwen or anyone else trying to be friendly to him like a normal person.

And yet Stan later said he had to think about what she'd look like. We might have gotten a homely MJ!

I'm pretty sure there was a story saying she dropped out of school.

Richard Willis said:

I was going to mention this but forgot. Since Peter was in High School and Betty was working a regular job, they were stuck with Betty either being an older woman or being a drop-out. I think they finally settled on her being a drop-out.

Ronald Morgan said:

I'm pretty sure there was a story saying she dropped out of school.

Richard Willis said:

I was going to mention this but forgot. Since Peter was in High School and Betty was working a regular job, they were stuck with Betty either being an older woman or being a drop-out. I think they finally settled on her being a drop-out.

In The Amazing Spider-Man # 9 (Feb., 1964), on page 22, panel 4, Betty tells Parker:

Peter, I never told you why I left high school last year and took a job!  I never told you about someone I once knew . . . . 

Two issues later, we learn that the "someone" of whom Betty spoke was her brother, Bennet.  Betty, it develops, dropped out of school to take a job in order to help pay off Bennet's gambling debts.

I knew that her leaving school was addressed somewhere, but in the first issue I bought off the spinner rack? I would have sworn it was in a later issue, probably the one featuring her brother.

Hmm, so was that statement by Betty meant to indicate that she & Peter knew each other from high school prior to Peter starting to sell photos to JJJ?  Maybe she quit shortly after Peter became Spider-Man, perhaps in their Junior year.  Or likely, it was never specified but the line was Stan's sly way of telling fans that although Betty was a secretary at a big city newspaper she was still about the same age as Peter, and after all while Peter was still in high school he was also working for that very same newspaper, albeit on a part-time free-lance basis and presumably Betty & JJJ stayed until relatively late in the evening if they were always there well after Peter got out of his last class every weekday, which I'd guess would have been around 3:00 p.m., so maybe J.J.J. typically hung around the Daily Bugle until 7 p.m, unless there was a big breaking story to preside over.

How old was Peter back then? Didn't the movie make him younger than he was back then?

Peter became Spider-Man when he was either fifteen or sixteen in his sophomore year of high school. He might have been a junior by the time of Amazing Spider-Man #1 as I figure he had a grieving period after the events of Amazing Fantasy #15.

I believe the Torch was 17 and Iceman was 16.

Johnny was fifteen when he got his powers. And Iceman was the youngest X-Man, probably by two years from the others.

Ronald Morgan said:

I believe the Torch was 17 and Iceman was 16.

There was some thing Stan wrote very early where he made Johnny 17. I think it was when he was just saying the Thing was "shapeless."

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