Continued from 11-15.
|It was company policy to have stories from time to time that were crossovers. That is, a character from one title would guest-star in another hero's book. When Ditko got the suggestion to do such a story he generally handled it with unique imagination. Since Daredevil and Spider-Man are very similar characters this issue seemed almost natural. Whenever I see this cover, I laugh. One of the stories about the early days of Marvel is that Stan Lee had a thing about illustrations that showed the heroes' asses. He didn't care for it and would demand such illustrations be redrawn so that no one could see the superhero butt cheeks. This one, however, made it past Lee. How? Why? We'll never know.|
|Ah, the return of the Green Goblin. This story also featured the Human Torch. It seemed that Goodman and Lee had a hard-on trying to turn the Human Torch into a fan favorite. To that end they tried everything; but the fans were having no part of it. Ditko did seem to have a good feel for creating a working chemistry between the two super-powered teenagers, but the public was not impressed enough to make the Human Torch a bankable solo star.|
|I love this story. Spider-Man seems to "run" from a confrontation with one of his more powerful villains in this story (the Sandman). And he really does high-tail it. But not out of cowardice. It's because he has a personal reason for avoiding the confrontation until a later date. Ditko has Spider-Man acting in a mildly selfish way here, perhaps in a kind of reflection of the influence of the insane writings of the Queen of Selfishness, Ayn Rand.|
|More Human Torch guest-star stuff. The Enforcers return--they were an early and reliable foil for Spider-Man. And, of course, Spider-Man kicks Sandman's ass to even the score of his apparently cowardly run from the previous issue. On a side note, this is the book that got me back into collecting. For some damned reason I bought this copy at a comic convention and enjoying the reading of it I decided: Fuck it. I'm going to collect all of the Ditko issues.|
|I've always liked the villain the Scorpion as created and portrayed by Ditko. Gargan/Scorpion is a brutal thug given superpowers for the sole reason to capture Spider-Man. Unfortunately, the process that turns him into a super-villain also drives him mad with power (and insane, too). He has most of Spider-Man's powers and is actually physically stronger. But Spider-Man defeats him by using his wits rather than relying merely on brute strength. He gets his ass all but kicked in the process. The result, later in the book, is that Parker appears in public looking as if he's had his butt whooped (which he of course has). It was Ditko showing that there were consequences to what the character did, just as in reality there are consequences for anyone's actions.|