Monday, July 19, 2010

Marvel History Post 38: Amazing Spider-Man # 1

Issue: Amazing Spider-Man # 1
Writer: Stan Lee Artist:
Steve Ditko
Publication Date: March 1963

 Here begins the ongoing series of Marvel's most famous hero, Spider-Man. Also, as of the time I am writing this, this series has also had the most issues published of any Marvel comic, eclipsing the Fantastic Four by being published on a three times a month schedule in recent years. Spider-Man is without a doubt Stan's best character. This is also a huge month for Marvel, as Iron Man makes his first appearance, and seven books feature superheroes.

Brief Summary: Peter Parker and his Aunt May are broke, a problem faced by more than one superhero in the MU. Peter decides to put on a performance as Spidey. He then gets a check written out to Spider-Man, which he can't cash, since he doesn't have an ID card made out for Spider-Man. Meanwhile, a newspaper publisher named J. Jonah Jameson of the Daily Bugle writes an editorial that calls Spidey a menace, and that people should follow the exploits of real heroes like his son, astronaut John Jameson. The next day, John Jameson is firing off into space, and then things go bad. Spidey decides to save him, and hitches a ride on a jet. He attaches a piece to Jameson's craft, so he is able to control it again and land safely. J. Jonah ain't impressed, though, and thinks the whole thing was a plot by Spidey to steal the spotlight and be a jerk. The FBI puts out an arrest warrant for Spidey. Life ain't easy for Peter Parker. In the second story, Spidey decides to try to join the Fan 4 for money. He sneaks into their base, hoping to impress them. In actuality, they get annoyed, and tell him they don't want him, and they don't pay anything anyways. Meanwhile, a dude called the Chameleon sneaks into a defense installation to steal plans to sell to the Iron Curtain. He then decides to make Spidey his fall guy for his next theft. He sends a message out to Spidey, but when Spidey arrives to meet him the Chameleon has already stolen some plans while impersonating Spidey. Spidey swings off to catch up with the Chameleon's escape copter. Spidey catches him before he can hand off the plan to the reds, but then when Spidey is turning him over to the authorities the Chameleon creates a diversion and then impersonates one of the cops. However, they quickly catch the Chameleon after wrongly trying to detain Spidey, who breaks free into the night. 

Commentary:

Well, J. Jonah Jameson has wasted no time declaring Spider-Man a menace, and things don't go very well for him in either of these stories. Public hates him, can't get a job with the Fantastic Four, has no money. Peter Parker has a lot of problems. Also, it appears that Peter hasn't yet fully committed himself to the life of the hero, as several times during the course of this issue he wonders if he should actually just turn to a life of crime. He decides against it...for now! Pete's a smart kid, inventing that web solution and everything, but you gotta know that you can't cash a check without ID, dude. If Spider-Man were in the Avengers he'd have his Avengers ID card, but they don't exist yet, and Spidey won't be joining them for a long, long time.

Quick Thoughts:
  • One of the reasons I think the nickname Spidey caught on is probably because writing out Spider-Man is more annoying than you'd think.
  • Spidey wonders why everyone likes the Fan 4 and Ant Man, but there's no love for him! Don't worry, no one's gonna like Ant Man for long...
Favorite Panel: The Fantastic Four explains that there ain't much money in the super heroics business. Reed would give everything to science. Also, feel free to make your own General Motors joke. Next: Fantastic Four # 12