Besides the first appearance of Doctor Octopus–and the Spider-Signal–there are a couple other things I noticed. First, Spider-Man’s catching bad guys at the beginning of the issue. That brief scene is the first suggestion he’s actually been out crime fighting. Second, the banter starts this issue, between him and Doctor Octopus (or am I supposed to use the trademarked Doc Ock?).
While the issue does feature some decent angst–Peter Parker ready to quit being Spider-Man because he got beat up only to be inspired by Johnny Storm–Lee’s action plotting is a little silly. The first fight with Doctor Octopus is in an office. The second features Spider-Man on the run from a bunch of automatons until he can find the lab where he concocts a device to defeat the villain (Spider-Man, the thinking superhero).
It’s good, but there’s definitely something missing.
Spider-Man Versus Doctor Octopus; writer and editor, Stan Lee; artist, Steve Ditko; colorist, Stan Goldberg; letterer, John Duffy; publisher, Marvel Comics.
Again, Lee goes an interesting route here. There’s no real introduction to the supporting cast yet–Aunt May’s in the issue, but the police chief has more effect (I don’t think Aunt May has any lines)–and Spider-Man’s still all about the benjamins. I’m not sure what rent was back in the 1960s, but he must have done pretty well with his pictures of the Vulture to pay a whole year of it.
Spider-Man’s still financially concerned–there’s one point where Peter Parker modifies his costume for the life of a costumed adventurer, but he’s really just making it better suited for using Spider-Man as a photographer. At one point during the Vulture story, I wasn’t sure Spider-Man cared if the Vulture was caught, so long as there was a picture.
The Tinkerer story is just sci-fi. Spider-Man doesn’t need to be in it.
Duel to the Death with the Vulture!; letterer, John Duffy. The Uncanny Threat of the Terrible Tinkerer!; letterer, Art Simek. Writer and editor, Stan Lee; artist, Steve Ditko; colorist, Stan Goldberg; publisher, Marvel Comics.
Brisk doesn’t even begin to describe how fast this issue moves. Not having read it in years–but having read Ultimate Spider-Man, seen the movie, etc–I forgot Lee didn’t give up on Peter Parker trying to find a way to make a living as Spider-Man for a while (or at least this issue).
It’s a neat gradual thing, the narrative just progresses. It’s so uncomplicated, so straightforward, I’m kind of shocked it’s a Marvel comic. I guess memories of McFarlane soured me to Spider-Man overall, but this issue’s a sign I shouldn’t be so hesitant. Lee’s got a nice way of embracing his readers–no one gets excluded, though the stories aren’t geared toward younger readers.
Ditko does maybe nine, maybe twelve panels a page many of these pages. Lee’s script moves things well along. It’s a nice read. Not sure it’s great, but it’s nice.
Spider-Man; letterer, Jon D’Agostino. Spider-Man vs. The Chameleon!; letterer, John Duffy. Writer and editor, Stan Lee; artist, Steve Ditko; colorist, Stan Goldberg; publisher, Marvel Comics.