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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I recall seeing occassional Ditko monster stories reprinted on a sporatic basis in Marvel Tales, and Fantasy Masterpieces.

Stan's hype always refered these types of reprints as "Steve Ditko's 'Tim-Boo-Bah'" or "Those Who Change" or Kirby's
I, Grotto"  or similar types of billboarding, but usually mentioning the artist's name as a particular draw.

Does anyone know if these pieces were selected in any logical manner, or was it just all hap-hazard, or a by-guess-by-golly intern or secretary picking the stories for this next issue?

In case you missed it, there was an episode of "American Pickers" airing on the History Channel late last night that featured the boys picking at a combination antique shop, toy store and comic shop.  They saw key silver age marvels under glass, including FF #1, Amazing Fantasy #15, Avengers #4 and Spider-Man #38.  But they zeroed in on the first appearance of Spider-Man in Amazing Fantasy #15.


Though Mike claims that he and his buddy are great spider-man fans, they seem very unknowledgable about the origin and conditions of silver age books. While they discuss the relative merrits of the book and it's collectibility with the owner/proprieter, they ultimately settle upon a price of $4500 for the copy.  The owner graded the book at 2.0 on the 10 point scale but this didn't phaze them.

They take the copy with them to get it appraised, and after learning a great deal about condition and flaws in a copy and how it impacts price, Mike gets impatient and asks multiple times how much his copy is worth. The expert makes a qualified answer..."To the right buyer, I would estimate this copy to be around $5500."  Mike breaks out in a dance that he's MADE MONEY on the deal.

To my mind, they just spent $4500 on a copy that is rare, but not in desirable condition, and they have no willing buyer, so they are out $4500.  I don't think that's anything to dance around about.


By great coincidence, my copy of Marvel Visionaries: Steve Ditko arrived in the mail this morning. The book is used, but in Mint condition and showcases a lot of Ditko's pre-superhero work, and a smattering of his art from each of the various bronze age books that he filled in when somebody missed a deadline....HULK, DD, Speedball, Squirel Girl, etc.  But it has the complete three parts of the Master Planner and a Chameleon story from Spider-Man #1 in it.  I'm extremely pleased with it, as so many of the monster stories are from Amazing Adult Fantasy and includes the seminal "Those Who Change" and "Why Won't They Believe Me!"

Over the weekend, I was "babysitting" a couple of boys who are both taller than I am while their folks were out of town. On Saturday night, we watched Amazing Spider-Man. Two things said that night were kind of funny.

  1. "I heard that the only thing wrong with this movie is that he had to create his own web makers." He was floored when I told him that that's how it was in the comic for so many years, and that it's the way he has traditionally been since his first appearance.
  2. When I told them that Stan Lee didn't create Spider-Man by himself, and that there was a separate artist who created how he looked, one kid said, "Man, can you imagine? That artist must be a millionaire now." I didn't feel like going into the whole story, so I just said, "...yeah."

I know that Peter David and others have always thought that the "natural" web coming out of his wrists (not his butt, like a real spider) somehow made more sense than his inventing mechanical web shooters. Some people say he should have marketed the inventions and become rich. Well, he did intend to become rich as a performer. As has been said in recent years, most people's decision-making abilities don't fully mature until their early-to-mid-twenties. Peter's letting the criminal get away who later kills his uncle and failing to market his inventions fit with this immaturity. After Uncle Ben is killed, he of course has better things to do.

I think that when Spider-Man was first created, either Goodman, Lee, or Ditko realized how gross it was to have this nasty substance secreted by the hero's body. Also, in the first Toby McGuire film I thought that version of Peter took it too much in stride that this stuff was coming out of his body.

He invented the web shooters and the fluid! He's a genius! He's a kid!

"Natural" web shooters is not a cool idea. It's a very "Hollywood" kinda thing. Comics are stupid, comics are for retards, we're movies, we're better than that, look at us, aren't we clever? This has been going on for decades.  The fact that James Cameron came up with the idea doesn't make it any better.  It just made more people bow down to the idea that, "Oh, JAMES CAMERON came up with this, it MUST be a good idea!!!" B***S***.

I keep thinking about this one episode of the English sitcom AS TIME GOES BY when Lionel & Jean go to Hollywood, and while they're meeting with a producer, a pair of "script doctors" ("consultants"?) are sitting in on the meeting, and they keep making suggestions for changes to Lionel's very personal real-life story.  Every one of their ideas is totally mis-guided, uncalled-for and way off base. And the only reason they're doing it is to justify their employment. I forget who it was, either Lionel or Jean, but one of them, after they "consultants" left, pointed out that a major change the "consultants" wanted to make was a blatent act of plagiarism from a famous Hollywood film, which would have left the studio open to a hefty lawsuit! (The producer was completely unaware of this until they told him. Too young to know any better.)

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