Sunday, March 31, 2013

Amazing Spider-Man #6-10

Returning to the posting of scans of my run of The Amazing Spider-Man comic book. As stated before, since the character here was created by Steve Ditko, I never wanted to collect any issues that he didn't also write and illustrate. Thus, I collected only the first thirty-eight issues and the two annuals. The book that continued without its creator wasn't worth collecting for me. The later writers, most notably John Romita, just had no feel for the character and you folk in the rest of the world are welcome to those issues.

(Continued from 1-5.)

This issue is, by far, the worst condition copy in my collection. I picked it up because the price was right, but it's one of the few issues that I'm actually going to upgrade. I try to keep copies in lower grade...but not this low. The Lizard was one of Ditko's more interesting villains. Knowing Ditko's penchant for black/white characters--this one is rather odd. He's the only gray area villain that I can recall coming from Ditko. He's a bad buy but with a good heart. Ditko used Dr. Connor again, but not as the Lizard. It was only after Ditko walked away from Marvel Comics that the evil Mr. Hyde aspect of his personality was used again.
Thanks to Steve Adelman selling his copy of Amazing Spider-Man #7 I have this one in my collection.
The cover to The Amazing Spider-Man #8 remains one of my favorites. Ditko was really cutting loose, and this is a particularly dynamic cover. He was also beginning to do some cool stuff with his scripts, creating some real tension among the characters and putting Peter Parker into some really dangerous situations.
Electro is another cool villian, but in the classic Ditko mode. He's an asshole with no redeeming values whatsoever. He's just a thug and a criminal who was lucky enough to become a super-villain.
Occasionally Stan Lee, in his role as managing editor, would overrule his artists on covers. The cover for The Amazing Spider-Man #10 was such an instance. He did not care for the one that Ditko turned in, and so had the bullpen cobble this one together. The villains are obviously Ditko art, but the main form of Spider-Man is not. It may have been Kirby who produced the figure, but I've also read that it was Dick Ayers.

Fortunately, somehow the original cover art survived, and we can see what Ditko wanted to do. This was the first time Ditko used a masked villain whose true identity was kept even from the reader. Later, he would go back to this plot device with the Master Planner, the Crime Master, and the Green Goblin.



14 comments:

dogboy443 said...

Acchhh, Stan Lee had no common sense. That original cover was so much better than the cobbled P.O.S.

James Robert Smith said...

I've seen some rejected covers and their replacements where I'd have to agree with Lee. But not this one. The replacement is pretty bland. I reckon he had to justify his existence to his uncle somehow. Spider-Man was Marvel's second-best selling title and the numbers were probably grinding on his nerves a bit, since it forced Lee to acknowledge that Ditko was not only competent but brilliant. Rejecting the cover was a way to take him down a notch.

Another thing that I think Ditko did from time to time that was intentional (and has no bearing on this cover) is that he knew Lee disliked covers or ads that showed the hero's buttocks. So Ditko wold deliver covers that clearly showed the hero's big, muscular butt cheeks. In some cases Lee would have the cover redrawn, but sometimes they were published as-is. My further suspicion being that Ditko intentionally delivered the art so late that they couldn't work in a new version.

Just my suspicion.

Kirk G said...

Strangely enough, I went to school with a Steve Alderman. And if I ever knew that he had collected or owned Spider-Man comics, I would have bought them all off him! What a small world!

Kirk G said...

Strangely enough, I went to school with a Steve Alderman. And if I ever knew that he had collected or owned Spider-Man comics, I would have bought them all off him! What a small world!

MarkGelbart said...

I can't understand why Stan Lee rejected the original cover either.

It must be like you said...he was a primma donna and wanted to wield his power.

Notice the caption on the bottom: "Find out why J.J.J. hates spiderman." Like I've mentioned before, Stan Lee=J.J.J.

James Robert Smith said...

In a few cases I've actually agreed with Lee's decision to reject a cover. But mainly he was just trying to justify his existence and/or put the hammer down on an irritating artist.

It's not like Kirby and Ditko didn't know how to create effective covers that would sell books. Kirby was the best superhero comic book artist ever, and that especially goes for his dynamic covers. And yet Lee would sometimes reject Kirby covers.

I've never been a fan of Ditko's original cover for Amazing Fantasy #15, and I do have to agree that Kirby's version of it is more effective when it comes to attracting the eye. So not every bit of interference from Lee was a bad decision.

Soon I'll be getting to the later issues of Ditko's run on Spider-Man, and some of those covers are absolutely among the best superhero art ever created.

James Robert Smith said...

And, yes, it's obvious to everyone that JJJ was Stan Lee. I don't know if Lee got it at first, but probably came to realize it at the end.

One thing that I pointed out in an earlier essay is that in the last issue of The Amazing Spider-Man that Ditko wrote and illustrated, Jameson appears in two small panels and Parker almost totally ignores him, sarcastically waving goodbye as he leaves the Bugle offices. That whole issue was Ditko symbolically giving the kiss-off to Lee and Goodman.

Henry R. Kujawa said...

http://tilthelasthemlockdies.blogspot.com/2013/03/amazing-spider-man-6-10.html


ASM #6 -- Yeah, that cover's in bad shape. That's the kind of thing they post at the GCD site all the time. I really hope to go through all the Ditko ASM covers and do full restorations to post online eventually. I'm actually shocked I did the first 19 issues DAREDEVIL covers the way I did.


I've always loved The Lizard story. It was adapted, rather faithfully (if greatly simplified) for the first half of only the 2ND episode of the 1967 SPIDER-MAN cartoon, as "Where Crawls The Lizard" (the title taken from the 2nd Lizard story-- the one Romita did). They left out the part about Connors missing an arm, and creating the formula to try and re-grow it. I guess they figured kids might be disturbed by that. Also, for no apparently reason, they kept calling him "The Lizard-Man", just as in later episode, they kept calling The Vulture "Vulture-Man!"


"He's a bad buy but with a good heart."

Well, he's sort of an intelligent variation on The Wolfman. He has no knowledge or memory of being human, but as a lizard with intellect, somehow, he wants to elevate "his kind" to take over the world.


ASM #7 -- It's strange that NOBODY ever did an origin for The Vulture until Roger Stern was writing the book, isn't it?


ASM #8 -- one of my favorite panels was in "The Living Brain". Spidey has managed to disconnect the robot, but had to get close enough for it to GRAB him before he could do it. Now, shut off, it's racing headlong out of control toward a big fall, but Spidey is trapped! "Can't wiggle out in time! This sure is a nutty way for a costumed hero to meet his end!"


Jack Kirby supplied the 8-page HUMAN TORCH back-up, a sequel to ASM #1, which, again, featured the rest of the FF.

Henry R. Kujawa said...

ASM #9 -- this became the 2nd half of the 2ND TV episode. GREAT cartoon. Electro, at least on TV, probably clocked in for me as Spidey's 2ND-most dangerous enemy (at least, in that glorious and FUN 1st season by Grantray-Lawrence). Ock was #1, he was just so DIABOLICAL and dangerous because of what he was capable of doing. Electro was dangerous simply because of his POWER.


ASM #10 -- Somehow, when The Enforcers turned up on TV, you had Ox and Cowboy, but no Fancy Dan. Also, they worked for some REALLY SHORT guy in a wheelchair named "The Plotter", whose appearance and voice were almost identical to the much-later DOCTOR WHO villain "The Collector" (in the Robert Holmes story "THE SUNMAKERS", a viscious satire on the British tax system).


Nick Caputo-- who constantly amazes me with his ability to I.D. artists-- believes the Spidey figure is Kirby-Ayers.


"Spider-Man was Marvel's second-best selling title and the numbers were probably grinding on his nerves a bit, since it forced Lee to acknowledge that Ditko was not only competent but brilliant. Rejecting the cover was a way to take him down a notch."


This is EXACTLY the sort of thing Patrick Ford is saying all the time. And you know what? I've WORKED for bosses that were EXACTLY like that. In other words-- REAL ASSHOLES.


"And yet Lee would sometimes reject Kirby covers."

YEAH...
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-fl9ZF7VLMAU/Trc1aeUTuvI/AAAAAAAAAQo/yYa25VfsRxo/s1600/FF+064_cz_JKC_HK.jpg


"One thing that I pointed out in an earlier essay is that in the last issue of The Amazing Spider-Man that Ditko wrote and illustrated, Jameson appears in two small panels and Parker almost totally ignores him, sarcastically waving goodbye as he leaves the Bugle offices. That whole issue was Ditko symbolically giving the kiss-off to Lee and Goodman."


Wally Wood did the SAME thing in DAREDEVIL #11!!


I noticed many years back that at least one of Ditko's heroes at another publisher looked EXACTLY like a more mature, grown-up Peter Parker. (I think it was Vic Sage!) I figure, Peter WOULD have grown up into a mature character if Ditko had stuck around longer.

James Robert Smith said...

I'm going to have to break down and collect the Wally Wood Daredevil issues. I haven't read any of those since I was a kid and had free access to all of my dad's old comics.

Yeah, I'm sure the figure is Kirby-Ayers. Not only does it look like that, it makes sense.

Ditko was aging Parker in pretty much real time. Close to it, anyway. I think if Ditko had stayed around he would have insisted on doing something along the lines of Gasoline Alley and having Parker and the rest age in real time.

Henry R. Kujawa said...

The GrantBridgeStreet blog has DD #7 posted. The scans are dirty, but I may do my own clean-ups of them one of these days. The color HAS to be better than in that early-90's MASTERWORKS book I have.

http://grantbridgestreet.blogspot.com/2010/04/daredevil-7-by-stan-lee-and-wally-wood.html

James Robert Smith said...

I had them all at my fingertips when I was a kid and then again later on when I was dealing comics. But I only read them initially when I was very young--eight to nine years old. When Wood left I only read a few issues of DD--the Spider-Man crossover and the issue with the Gladiator. I just never cared for the character after Wood left. (In fact, I didn't care for him before Wood arrived--so we're talking about only a few issues that I enjoyed when I was a kid.)

Henry R. Kujawa said...

The only early issues of DD worth reading are the ONE by Bill Everet (HE created the series), and the 7 by Wally Wood. The last few by Romita were a step up from his first 3 or 4. After that, Gene Colan was writing the book. YES. GENE COLAN. It was like SILVER SUFFERER by John Buscema, except SS was miserable, while DD was goofy as hell. I'll take goofy. (I alwaysa preferred GET SMART to THE MAN FROM UNCLE.)

When Roy Thomas took over from Stan, he began writing the stories (which Stan NEVER bothered with). At which point, the book lost its sense of humor. Without that, it was virtually dead. Then Gerry Conway took over, and it got REALLY miserable.

To tell the truth, I've come to feel Steve Gerber did far better, even though he spent the early part of his run doing science-fiction (a real "WTF?" moment) and later admitted he "didn't know what he was doing". Even so, it was STILL better than Conway!

Tony Isabella aggressively tried to do "Stan Lee" humor (perhaps not realizing it was Gene Colan who made the plots so outrageously ridiculous). But Marv Wolfman somehow had him kicked off the book after only 5 issues... OH yeah, Marvel was a really nice place to work, don't it sound like it?

Clearly I have fodder for MANY D.D. blog pages if I ever feel like doing more.

James Robert Smith said...

If I end up collecting DD at all, it will just be the Wood issues--plus I have the Spider-Man story arc from 16-17. I justified that by telling myself that it was a Spider-Man appearance in another book by another writer (Romita) but WHILE Ditko was still working at Marvel.

It's been said by many that Goodman and Lee asked Romita to write and draw a DD/Spider-Man book because if they liked what they saw, they were going to give Spider-Man to Romita when Ditko walked (or they forced him out). A lot of people claim that Goodman particularly did not like the way Ditko illustrated Peter Parker--they wanted a more classically masculine version of the character and they got that with Romita.

One of my big sisters actually had a crush on the Romita Peter Parker. True story. She admits this. Not Spider-Man, but Peter Parker. And not Ditko's Parker, but Romita's version.