If we don't have one already, it seems we should have a general thread for all things Spidey.


Here's a post from the Masterworks board, initially in response to a question about John Romita inking Ross Andru. Gerry Conway's run on the book, in many ways, was "MY" era of Spidey. It was the first time I was buying the book new as it came out. I was in high school at the time.

 
 
Yeah. Romita inked (actually, RE-PENCILLED and inked) #121-124 over Gil Kane layouts (discarding his pencils-- I've seen samples).

It was when I got ahold of ESSENTIAL MARVEL TEAM-UP that I began to suspect that Gil Kane did not like having his hard work (full pencils) discarded and unused that way. (Romita's finished pages veered closer to Kane's layouts than they did his pencils.) Ross Andru was the original penciller on MTU, something I'd forgotten. (Perhaps my 2nd-ever exposure to Ross, after that one WW issue in the 60s, was MTU #2, inked by Jim Mooney.)

Anyway, it appears what happened was, Gil Kane & Ross Andru SWAPPED books. The same month, Gil Kane took over MTU (and so readers got to see Kane's full pencils being inked again), while Ross Andru, some years after he did his 1st Spidey story, finally took over as the regular artist on ASM.

The first issue, #125, was the 2nd half of the Man-Wolf story. And here's the funny thing... I DIDN'T NOTICE. Romita's inks tend to be over-powering, and frankly, it just looked terrific to me. The NEXT issue, #126, was the return of the Kangaroo-- and was inked by Jim Mooney. SUDDENLY, I noticed-- "Hey-- they replaced Gil Kane!" I got a laugh when I realized it had happened a month earlier and had gone right by me.

The NEXT one, #127, was when Frank Giacoia & Dave Hunt took over & became the regular inking team for most of the rest of Gerry Conway's run. I REALLY noticed, because all of a sudden, all the characters had a very "intense", almost haggard appearance. Put another way, they all looked "miserable". That was the issue with the FAKE Vulture (which is the tip-off for me, I strongly suspect that issue is when Gerry Conway REALLY took over plotting the book from John Romita-- who had been the plotter ever since ASM #39!!!).

I was never happy with Andru/Giacoia/Hunt... UNTIL the FAKE Mysterio story. All of a sudden, JJJ and the rest of the cast just started to look "right"! (Unless of course Romita decided to start doing touch-ups again...)

Things started to get pretty rough by Conway's last issue. (Which, incidentally, included a FAKE Gwen Stacy-- and a FAKE Spider-Man!)  When Len Wein debuted as both writer & editor on #151, and started a "new era", the first issue was crammed with all kinds of character sub-plots. I loved it! But the icing on the cake was, John Romita inked the issue. WOW!! I had such high hopes that maybe this new era would blow Conway's right out of the water.

And then Giacoia & Esposito inked #152. And MJ turned into a "typical B**** girlfriend". This was something she had never been before... that I knew of. It's been pointed out, this was how she treated Harry during the "drug" issues, co-plotted by Gil Kane, whose issues ALWAYS seem to be accompanied by nervous breakdowns and extreme violence and the like. But I see it differently... MJ was ALWAYS in love with Pete, from the day they met. It hurt her terribly to see him with Gwen. Harry was just marking time for her. She kept waiting for Pete to come to his senses. He never did. And then Gwen got KILLED. Finally, Pete was "available" again... except, he was in so much pain, he wasn't really anyone she could chase after right then. And I'm sure that's not how she imagined or hoped she'd finally get him. So, to me, MJ had never been that way toward Pete. And suddenly she was. I wanted to strangle Len for that.

Then Len did 2 issues in which the supporting cast didn't appear, or Spidey never took off the mask. It was as if Len forgot he wasn't still writing MARVEL TEAM-UP. Both issues were drawn by Sal Buscema, who had become the regular MTU guy at the time. I wondered... what the hell's going on with this book? The new guy hasn't even been in charge for 3 months and already it's falling apart. Sadly, although Len was quite capable of doing fun stories here and there, too much of his career, I noticed, consisted of him getting on a book, starting out like a rocket, then fizzling out in less than 6 months. In the long run, it seemed to me that all of Len's sub-plots were in support of only ONE single "big" story-- which he dragged out over 3 whole years. (The 3rd Green Goblin.)

As they used to say on the oldies stations, "Ahh, what memories, what memories!"

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It seems pretty clear to me that Mary Jane has bigger knockers than Betty Brant. At this point, Pete doesn't know what he's missing!

You can tell all that, just from an over the shoulder shot, and the head hidden by a tree limb? WOW!

 

But more to the point, what do you think of the Goblin Grin on the dummy's head?

What Goblin grin?  The Goblin has nothing to do with that story!

And those things are sticking out pretty far to be seen from the back...  (I don't think Jazzy Johnny ever gave her a RACK that big!)

And are we sure that's a tree limb?  It might just be a fancy hat.  (Now I'm trying to remember which character it was on TV who suggested that he was surprised women's hat styles didn't inspire a lot of murders...)

I tend to agree that the grin on the manikin is nothing to do with the Goblin (or even Ned Leeds, for that matter). Just before Stromm is almost shot and conveniently dies of a heart attack, we are shown Norman Osborn holding a rifle, followed right away by Spidey discovering the attempted shooter has fled. He fled faster than Spidey could get there and there was nothing for the shooter to stand on high from the ground. It had to be Osborn on the Goblin Glider. There's no other reasonable explanation.

Kirk G said:

But more to the point, what do you think of the Goblin Grin on the dummy's head?

Oh, I don't disagree with that. I remember reading that (you've almost got the sequence right) and the significance of that impossibly high shot was made clear in ASM #40, as I recall. (I got it used off a friend when I visited him in Houston, TX within a year or two of it's publication. That meant I had to wait for #39 to fall into my hands before I learned the set up...I had seen the cover on in-house ads, but never had it until I was an adult. So, I had read a reprint in Marvel Tales.)

But I disagree that the grin on the manikin IS significant. Ditko places it in the foreground. He divotes half the page space to the interchange with the grinning manikin. There is no reason to do this except to rub the reader's nose in it. Even the last view of the manikin is focused on the grin!

But I agree that it was Osborn who shot at Stromm. And I believe, if we ignore #39-40 for a moment, that there ARE other explanations for Osborn's height/shot. Off the top of my head, he could have the stiltman's costume. He could have used one of Stromm's robots to scale the wall. He could have invented or used the prototype for the yet-to-be conceived Prowler's claws. He could have FOUND the prototype to the Goblin's Glider and stollen it from Stromm...and what Stromm COULD have been struggling to get out, COULD have been "I'm the weapon's maker for the Goblin...he's somebody in the Daily Bugle Newsroom. Get me to a doctor, and if I live, I'll give you more of a LEAD on his name before the END..." (This because he's such a good cross-word player and wanted to tease the reader as well as Spidey). Plus, since PATCH is there, the newsroom tease could implicate JJJ, Foswell, or Ned Leads.
In short, this is a comic book who's plot was still unfolding...and though Osborn was being painted to be a Bad Guy, it wasn't set in stone that he was The Green Goblin. Yet... until #39-40 saw print.

"Osborn was being painted to be a Bad Guy"

Here's something that bugs me. And because I originally read very few of these comics, read many of them originally out of sequence, never read them in sequence until the mid-80's, it took until I saw the first 2 MOVIES before it hit me.

Somebody changed the Goblin's origin.

Now let me explain that. It's clear that, from the first, Norman Osborn was supposed to be a crook. A powerful, ambitious, and crooked businessman, who wanted MORE-- more money, more POWER, and saw taking over the crimeworld as a way to get it.

But once Steve Ditko is out and John Romita is in, suddenly, Norman Osborn becomes a GOOD man who overworked himself, had an accident, and BECAME evil. (Am I mis-remembering this?  Or am I remembering the MOVIE more???)  Only after he gets AMNESIA and forgets he was a SUPER-VILLAIN does he become the father Harry always wanted and almost never had. More than once, Harry said he & his father were getting along better than ever.  Or, was it just better than they had in years?  (I forget.)

It was seeing the 2nd movie when the "problem" hit me.

The Goblin's origin-- at least-- as seen in the 1st movie-- was DOC OCK's origin!!!

Otto Octavius started out as a scientist with zero personality. There was an accident, and suddenly, he went DANGEROUSLY, CRIMINALLY INSANE!!!  Screw the Goblin... DOC OCK has always been Spidey's MOST DANGEROUS arch-enemy.

And here's what bothers me.  Following ASM #39-40, we were always supposed to have "sympathy" for Norman Osborn. Who, as far as we knew, was a BASTARD before he really went bad.  But the movie showed him as a decent, likable, sympathetic guy before he went nuts.

When did Doc Ock ever get any sympathy in the old comics?  (I'm not talking about any decades-later retcons, mind you... I probably haven't read any of those anyway, so to me, they "wouldn't count".)  I mean, from the moment Doc Ock went INSANE, he stayed that way, and everybody acted as if he'd always been that way.

Wouldn't you think Ock should be viewed as a terrible tragedy? Someone who, maybe, NEEDS killing REAL BAD, but only to put him out of his and everyone else's misery?

I should dig out those comics and look over this stuff again one of these days...

Something I just posted at MASTERWORKS I thought I'd share here, since it involved 3 (latter-day) Spidey artists...



My best friend is a huge fan of Bagley. I've seen some of his stuff... it's
never done anything for me. Always seemed kinda "blah". Oh well.


Todd McFarlane has NEVER done anything for me. I think he art is AWFUL, and
always has been. I still remember when he took over BATMAN YEAR TWO in the
middle of the story (shame on Alan Davis!!!!) and murdered what was already a
questionable project. Ditto for INVASION! I will say this... I read an interview
with him in Dave Kraft's COMICS INTERVIEW magazine, and he struck me as very
smart when it came to licensing and, in particular, TOYS. I was VERY IMPRESSED
with his business skills when it came to starting his own toy line. It was clear
to me that he had really found his true calling in life, and he was much smarter
than some of the people who were working long-time in that industry who had no
respect for their customers and saw long-established companies go BELLY-UP as a
result. Seriously, kudos to Todd for that end of things. But he should never go
near a comic-book in ANY capacity. NO talent. NO SOUL.


Erik Larsen is an odd case. The biggest impression I have from him is he really
LOVES what he's doing. There is an almost contagious enthusiasm and energy and
vitality about what he does. And I have to admire the hell out him for doing SO
MANY ISSUES of SAVAGE DRAGON. What dedication!! This is exactly the sort of
thing the industry needs more of-- people pouring their hearts and souls into
THEIR OWN WORK, instead of doing it for the paycheck on some CORPORATE-OWNED
thing where you know whatever they do will not matter and they'll be gone in 6
months or so. The only thing is, his ART always seems very amateurish to me.
We're talking FANZINE-LEVEL quality. I suppose I should admire his determination
all the more because of that, but I don't know... it doesn't make the books any
prettier to look at.

Henry,

I want your thoughts on this when  you go back and re-read.  I agree with you about the change-up.

Osborn was a "bad man" industrialist when first introduced in #37-38, but it's post #40 that  he's a sympathetic character whom we are nervous about his returning memory...which NEVER DOES payoff in the ASM series!  That always bugged me.

You had to have been around and spotted the oversized "Spectacular Spider-Man" magazine on the magazine rack to understand the story payoff. And yes, I was around, but I didn't buy it.

I got the first black and white issue of Spectacular Spider-Man, and its color sequel, but no longer remember what's in them, as it's been a very long time since I've laid eyes on those issues.

Kirk G said:

Henry,

I want your thoughts on this when  you go back and re-read.  I agree with you about the change-up.

Osborn was a "bad man" industrialist when first introduced in #37-38, but it's post #40 that  he's a sympathetic character whom we are nervous about his returning memory...which NEVER DOES payoff in the ASM series!  That always bugged me.

You had to have been around and spotted the oversized "Spectacular Spider-Man" magazine on the magazine rack to understand the story payoff. And yes, I was around, but I didn't buy it.

Hang on, hang on...  "The Monster" was in SPEC #1. In the back was a retelling of the origin, NEEDLESSLY re-written (I mean not one word of dialogue left intact-- and Stan did the dialogue on both versions!).  Crazy thing-- a few months later, the redo was adapted as the 21st episode of the SPIDER-MAN cartoon show (Ralph Bakshi & Gray Morrow's 1st episode).  Though they made a few changes, they were more faithful to Stan's redo than Stan was to Steve Ditko's original!

#2 was "The Goblin Lives!" --and that's NORMAN, not Harry!  (heehee)  I never read the actual magazine, I got the 70's reprint which had a PILE of pages cut.  Other fans online have suggested that THIS should, by rights, have been the "last" Goblin story, EVER.  I agree wholeheartedly.

So, in ASM #39-40, we find Norman was NEVER a nice guy-- UNTIL he got amnesia??

If so, that means the feature film DID swipe Doc ock's origin. I noticed it when I realized the 2 movies had essentially told the exact same story twice in a row.  Nice guy, accident, insane villain, DIES at the end, sad tragedy.

I'll say this... I thought the 1st movie was how ASM #121-122 should have gone.  I think all the people who rave about the death of Gwen Stacy as one of the "greatest" Spidey stories of all time must be a really miserable lot, if the MURDER of a young girl is something that impresses them that much. I blame it on PLANET OF THE APES. After that film, everyone seemed to think "bad endings" were somehow "clever".

MARVEL SUPER-HEROES #14 was the "odd" Spidey story with the "voodoo" premise.  Ross Andru's debut on the character.  I figured out it was "held back" for at least 6 months before being published, maybe more. If you look at the art, Peter apears to be dating MJ.  If you read the dialogue, he appears to be dating Gwen.  I'M NOT making this up!  Clearly, Ross Andru plotted the story.  Only time that happened at Marvel, I think.

SPEC #1, the art was by John Romita (layouts only) and Jim Mooney (full pencils & inks).  I believe this was Mooney's debut at Marvel, and I think he did more here than usual later on in ASM.  I say this because of Gwen.  She's SO DAMN CUTE in this book, more so than when Romita drew her (and I mean the "draw Gwen prettier" thing when he changed how she looked).  Back then, at least, Gwen never quite looked like this again.

At the end of the story (if memory serves), Pete walks off with both MJ and Gwen, who have settled into a "Betty & Veronica" mode.  I think it's a shame that shortly after this, Pete got serous about Gwen. She was ALL WRONG for him.  (Although, her father was just the thing Pete needed in his life.  It is CRIMINAL that Gil Kane BUMPED him off in his 2nd issue. That sort of thing always seems to happen when Kane gets on a book.  I mean, look what happened to Heather Glenn's father-- off-panel!)


I believe I was fortunate enough to give him a lift one in Detroit, when he appeared at a small local comic swap show. At least, I THINK I met him.  Detroit, as it turns out, was a hot bed of future independant talent in the 1980s...  I was very fortunate to be living and working in the suburbs during this time period.


Henry R. Kujawa said:

Something I just posted at MASTERWORKS I thought I'd share here, since it involved 3 (latter-day) Spidey artists...


Erik Larsen is an odd case. The biggest impression I have from him is he really
LOVES what he's doing. There is an almost contagious enthusiasm and energy and
vitality about what he does. And I have to admire the hell out him for doing SO
MANY ISSUES of SAVAGE DRAGON. What dedication!! This is exactly the sort of
thing the industry needs more of-- people pouring their hearts and souls into
THEIR OWN WORK, instead of doing it for the paycheck on some CORPORATE-OWNED
thing where you know whatever they do will not matter and they'll be gone in 6
months or so. The only thing is, his ART always seems very amateurish to me.
We're talking FANZINE-LEVEL quality. I suppose I should admire his determination
all the more because of that, but I don't know... it doesn't make the books any
prettier to look at.

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