Friday, January 28, 2011

The Amazing Spider-Man #25

To continue along the recent posts concerning Steve Ditko and my comic book collection, I'd like to post this image of my copy of the Amazing Spider-Man #25. This one features the story of a recurring character, one Dr. Spencer Smythe. This was the first appearance of that character who had invented a robot he called "The Spider Slayer" which was programmed to sense, attack, and capture the Amazing Spider-Man himself.

One aspect of the slayer that was both chilling and funny was that the robot came equipped with a video screen that showed the face of its human operator. In this case, one J. Jonah Jameson, the publisher of the Daily Bugle was Peter Parker's main employer (as freelance photographer) and also Spider-Man's biggest nemesis.

I've often wondered if Stan Lee ever realized that Jameson had come to represent Lee himself. Even when I was a kid I suspected as much. Here was the no-talent, glib blowhard making his living from the efforts, sweat, and labor of men worth far more than he. It fit perfectly. Of course since most of the dialog for all of the characters came from Lee, he must have figured it out and gone along with the joke. Or at least interpreted it as a joke instead of the cruel analog of reality that it came to represent.

At any rate, the story, as written and illustrated by Spider-Man's sole creator (Steve Ditko) was a stroke of brilliance. I got a huge kick out of it as a kid and I remain amazed by the whole package as presented by Mr. Ditko.

Ditko Quote: "It just happens because I’m a cartoonist in the comic book business not a performer or personality in show business. When I do a job, it’s not my personality that I’m offering the readers, but my art work. It’s not what I’m like that counts what I did and how well it was done. I produce a product, a comic art story."

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