With The Amazing Spider-Man about to be released, I thought let's ask some wall-crawling questions:

  • If Peter was sixteen when he became Spider-Man, how old was Betty Brant, his first girl-friend? She never seemed like a teenager to me!
  • Was Peter known to be a genius? Not just smart but brillant because you would think someone would make a big deal about him!
  • Did Aunt May ever tell Peter about his mermaid "cousin"? Yes, I'm being silly but still, what if...?
  • If his webbing stuck to everything, why not to his hands? And don't say it's the gloves because he swung bare-handed, too.
  • What was actually wrong with Aunt May? Was it just her heart?
  • Did Joe Robinson ever suspect Peter? He did discuss Spider-Man with Captain Stacy who figured it out.
  • Why didn't J. Jonah Jameson ever get in trouble for all those Spider-Slayers? Isn't that being as much of a vigilante as he accuse the Web-Head of being?
  • And did The Daily Bugle decree the other Marvel heroes as "menaces"?
  • There were a LOT of crimebosses and would-be crimebosses in that book over the 60s and 70s (The Big Man, Crimemaster, Doctor Octopus, the Green Goblin, Silvermane, Hammerhead, the Disrupter and, of course, the Kingpin). How much territory was divided up in NYC? And why were they largely ignored by the other heroes?
  • Was Norman Osbourne ever a good man? Even in non-Goblin stories, he seemed cold and harsh? Poor Harry!

Well, there you go! Compliments of Your Friendly Neighborhood Fan of Bronze! With hopefully more to follow!

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Luke Blanchard said:

Spidey debuted the same month as Thor and Ant-Man's series, and a month before the beginning of the Torch's series in Strange Tales. I take this to be evidence he was created as part of a plan to expand Marvel's superhero line.

The introduction of a lead superhero story into three of their anthology titles in the same month convinces me that Stan intended to have Amazing Fantasy continue in the same manner as Journey into Mystery and Tales to Astonish. It's also convincing to me that the half-issue stories that kick off Spidey's own magazine were intended to be lead stories in Amazing Fantasy.

I don't know if Lee or Ditko has been clear that Kirby actually drew story-pages with gun-Spidey, or just designs.

...

Also, as I recall according to Simon when Kirby brought Spiderman in to Marvel Lee said "This is Joe Simon's fly character". But this could be part of the reason why he didn't go with Kirby's version. (Archie was still publishing The Adventures of the Fly at the time, although Simon had not been involved with it since the fourth issue.)

The book Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe sites that Lee had Kirby start pencilling the Spider-Man origin story. The first six or so pages were given to Ditko to ink. Ditko caught the similarities to the Fly and told Stan.

.....and the "Adult" had to be dropped from the title because Spider-Man was a teen hero.....

When I was reading Amazing Adult Fantasy before the Spidey debut they were getting letters expressing concern about the "Adult" in the title. In Stan's 1940s mind this meant mature. In 1960s usage the word had come to mean pornography. When I first saw it I remember wondering about the title myself. This may have been the real reason they dropped it from the title.

Luke Blanchard said:

"Also in this issue: an important message to you, from the editor--about the new Amazing!" blurb on the cover. I don't know what the message from the editor actually says.

I used to have a poor copy of Amazing Fantasy #15, but no longer. For purposes of the editorial announcement I found this page in my 40 Years of the Amazing Spider-Man CD collection. From the text it appears that Stan thought the title was continuing with Spidey as the lead story. It also addressed the title change. I notice that among the fans he is thanking for their input are Ernie Chan and G.B. Love. Love at the time or soon thereafter was publishing the Rocket's Blast Comicollector fan magazine.

Three anthology titles out of five getting a superhero the same month, with a fourth a month later. So why was it several months before the last one, Tales of Suspense, got one? Was Iron Man delayed for some reason, like Daredevil was supposed to come out the same time as X-Men? Was a character planned for Suspense then dropped? This has led to theories about the character in Suspense#32, a mutant that shrinks someone to bee size, being considered as a recurring character but dropped after Ant-Man's series started in Astonish#35 a month later because they would have been too similar, plus of course Amazing had just introduced their own insect character. Between Ant-Man and Spider-Man, was Bee-Man one bug too many for Goodman?

Mature has also come to mean dirty. What's left? Amazing Grown-Up Fantasy?

"Perhaps, if your letters request it, we will make his stories even longer, or have TWO Spiderman stories per issue." This explains the two stories each in Amazing Spider-Man#1 and #2.

Note that Stan says "Spiderman" here, not "Spider-Man" which he would always insist was the way to spell it. Obviously Stan's not sure yet. Even on the cover the character calls himself "Spider-Man" but the blurb makes it two words, "Spider Man." No hyphen.

And it definitely looks like it's supposed to be red and black with blue highlights like on Superman's hair.

GIven the length of time between Amazing Fantasy #15 and Amazing Spider-Man #1, is it possible the four stories in AMS #1-2 were meant to be the leads for Amazing Fantasy #16-19? That makes more sense to me than commissioning four short stories for two issues. But that may just be me.

I've always assumed that was so.

Captain Comics said:

GIven the length of time between Amazing Fantasy #15 and Amazing Spider-Man #1, is it possible the four stories in AMS #1-2 were meant to be the leads for Amazing Fantasy #16-19? That makes more sense to me than commissioning four short stories for two issues. But that may just be me.

Marvel developed quickly the first couple of years. The John Jameson story lacks a villain (unless you count JJ) and the Terrible Tinkerer looks kind of old fashioned, like Ditko took one of his science fiction stories and tossed Spider-Man into it. The Vulture looks like it was probably the last of the four, since it's the only real superhero vs. supervillain story (the Chameleon is really one of those Communist characters that turned up in early stories around that time with the gimmick of apparently not having a face, which I don't think Stan ever explained). The cancellation must have been a last minute thing, since Stan even put a blurb on the cover advertising his "important announcement" about Spider-Man. I suspect Ditko was working on at least one of the four stories when he got word Amazing Fantasy was being dropped.

On the other hand Hulk#4 and #5 also had four short stories for two issues, Perhaps since Hulk wasn't doing well they were thinking of adding a back up feature, (possibly a Ditko sf series since he takes over drawing the main feature in #6?)  then decided against it? But two stories for a first issue seems strange since none of Marvel's other titles did that.

I wish I could remember where I read it but someone was able to find out which "fantasy" stories were slated for Amazing Fantasy #16-17 but wound up in other books from their production codes.

I read something like that somewhere a long time ago. I think one was the Chameleon story.

Thanks, Richard. It occurs to me that, since the size of Goodman's line was capped, what determined when Amazing Fantasy was cancelled may have been when Goodman had something ready to replace it. So Lee could have known that the title was going to be cancelled without knowing how quickly it would be cancelled.

A couple of years ago I had a look at early Marvel history and thought Amazing Fantasy was likely cancelled in favour of Two-Gun Kid, but I think I missed the point that Amazing Adult Fantasy had been a monthly, so it could have had one monthly or two bimonthly replacements. Two-Gun Kid was bimonthly.

Possibly the other months went to Fantastic Four, as it went monthly around the time the new superhero features were launched. I'm not certain of that - Fantastic Four didn't go monthly the month after Amazing Adult Fantasy #14(1) - but it could be Lee had plans to continue Amazing Fantasy as a bimonthly, and Fantastic Four's going monthly got in the way. Or, it could be that he had plans to continue Amazing Fantasy as a bimonthly (the other months having gone to Fantastic Four) and Two-Gun Kid got in the way. When he and Kirby were preparing Two-Gun Kid they may not have known which title it would replace on the schedule.

(1) According to DC Indexes Amazing (Adult) Fantasy skipped a month between Amazing Adult Fantasy #14 and Amazing Fantasy #15, although it had been a monthly to that point. That was a month (May) when the company issued only 9 comics, which I take to be below its cap at the time. The extra slots from that month may have been used to publish extra comics in April or June.

Even Kathy was doing better than Amazing Fantasy. I believe she was finally replaced by Daredevil.

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