Amazing Spider-Man #169-170
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man #169, Amazing Spider-Man #170
The topic at hand is the photos that J. Jonah Jameson has of Spider-Man throwing the body of Peter Parker into an incinerator. We saw them in the last arc, and we saw that Peter took the photos home and did something with them in his dark room before stealthily returning them.
Now, with JJ's Spider-Slayer scheme having failed again, he visits Peter in his apartment (bear-dog cameo!).
And tries to pull off his face.
Obviously he thinks Spider-Man has murdered and replaced Peter Parker. But when Peter's face doesn't come off, JJ shows him the photos and demands an explanation. Peter feigns ignorance, and then acts like he has an idea and starts rummaging around his old photos, and pulls out a few with scenes that could have been superimposed to fake the pictures JJ has.
Of course, Peter's photos are actually the fakes, but JJ almost goes for it. Just one thing: how did whoever faked the photos get access to Peter's "originals"? Answer: blame the mentally ill roommate.
And... that all seems totally plausible to me. I believe that JJ would buy it.
Anyway, after a cameo from the winners of Wonderama's Spider-Man Dance Contest (The Virtue of Vera Valiant was a short lived newspaper strip by Stan Lee and Frank Springer that - poorly, from what i've seen - spoofed newspaper soap opera strips like Apartment 3G)...
...the rest of the issue features Spider-Man facing Dr. Faustus.
Mysterio normally plays the "evil psychiatrist attacks you with illusions" role for Spidey, but it's nice to mix things up a bit.
Faustus' goons have a weapon designed by the Tinkerer (Blazes!).
Spidey initially mistakes Faustus for the Kingpin.
Faustus' plan involves spiking the government's "antelope flu vaccine" with a psychogenic additive. I couldn't find any references on Google to an antelope flu breakout circa 1977, so i don't know how well Faustus' scheme would have worked out. In any event, Faustus is a ranter, and overconfident in his brainwashing abilities, so he talks long enough in front of Spider-Man that the air conditioning in the room helps clear his head.
Now we get into the question of Dr. Faustus being a physical challenge for Spider-Man. I'll buy it for the Kingpin, but that's where i draw the line.
Speaking of evil psychiatrists, Bart Hamilton sure doesn't seem to be one.
Also meanwhile, someone rents the old Parker house.
Frank Miller writes in to issue #169 praising Ross Andru's art, so i thought it would post this panel (from #170) that uses a technique i perhaps inaccurately associate with Miller.
I think of Ross Andru as sort of the definition of Marvel House Style but it's worth remembering that this doesn't mean it wasn't good or influential.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The Index places Marvel Team-Up annual #1 and Marvel Team-Up #53-56 between Amazing Spider-Man #170-171, so i have pushed a number of 1977 ASMs back into 1976 to accommodate.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): show
The "antelope flu vaccine" is a reference to the swine flu vaccination of 1976. There was a swine flu outbreak in Fort Dix, so the government decided to vaccinate the general population. Unfortunately, the flu didn't spread outside Fort Dix but side effects of the vaccine caused many deaths.
Posted by: Michael | May 31, 2013 7:17 PM
The scene with JJJ is straight out of the sillier Silver Age Superman comics; just imagine Lois Lane in JJJ's place.
In the "raise" panel, did Peter dislocate JJJ's arm at the elbow?
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 1, 2013 4:22 PM
Yeah, fnord, I'm totally with you.
"Normal human male with moderate regular exercise, mostly in his upper body." That's what the current Marvel database says for Faustus. For him to take on Spider-Man is just ridiculous.
Posted by: Erik Beck | March 17, 2015 7:57 PM
You gotta like the goons that try to take on Spidey with a high tech sledgehammer and pick-axe. That'll do the job!
Posted by: kveto | March 18, 2015 5:35 AM
Kveto, keep in mind that in issue 162, Spider-Man got knocked out by pistol-whipped by some goons.
Posted by: Michael | March 18, 2015 7:55 AM
Michael, don't get me wrong. I like Spider-man to be low powered and capable of getting beaten up by ordinary thugs.
I just think if you've got the high-tech arsenal of the Tinkerer at your disposal, a big hammer shouldn't be your weapon of choice.
(especially when your mate gets a laser-murder tank)
Posted by: kveto | March 18, 2015 8:53 AM
Faustus was always a big dude, but was he ever presented as a physical threat? Captain America kicked his ass in one panel, while even Cap had trouble with Kingpin.
Posted by: MikeCheyne | March 18, 2015 11:11 AM
Flu vaccines don't cause "many deaths" from side effects unless they have been criminally mishandled. The event and the controversy were real enough, though. But it seems to me that the actual correlation between the shots and the deaths is at the very least overstated. Even the GBS complications were very rare indeed, but I suppose Ford oversold the need and the flu pandemic turned out not to happen at the time.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | July 4, 2015 9:48 AM
Luis -- the guy buying the Parker house is indeed the Burglar who shot Uncle Ben. For whatever reason, they really play the long game with his return, and he doesn't come around again until Wolfman's run. A letter in a later column will acknowledge that they haven't forgotten about the guy.
Posted by: TCP | July 4, 2015 11:09 AM
I wonder if anyone was going to address why the Burglar was no longer in jail. From AF 15 to ASM 170 is probably five or so years (give or take) in the sliding timescale. I mean, I know super-villains escape prison constantly, but an ordinary unpowered guy? This is why I'm assuming he was legally released since he's out in the open, undisguised, doing business with a real-estate agent.
Also, would the authorities have notified May or Peter Parker that the man who killed their husband/uncle had been released from prison?
Posted by: mikrolik | June 4, 2017 11:00 PM
@ fnord12 - The art technique which you've associated with Frank Miller and Ross Andru here is one which I associate with Steve Ditko, and to a lesser extent, with Carmine Infantino. You can see a full-page example of it in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 on page 60 among the pin-up pages. Unfortunately I don't see a scan of that page in your entry for Annual #1 here, but it's a motion study of Spider-Man using 13 images against a single background, and using speed lines to connect the images. Ditko continued using the technique in his work for Charlton Comics, and I can remember seeing it his Blue Beetle series there. Probably predating Ditko, Infantino also used speed lines much more heavily to connect multiple images of the Flash in running motion studies. I can't however recall whether or not I've seen either artist use the technique without using speed lines, whereas in the cited image by Ross Andru above, I do not see any speed lines. Nor can I recall whether Frank Miller used any speed lines, or not-- contrarily I have never really associated this technique with Miller.:D
Posted by: Holt | February 26, 2018 12:32 PM
The popularizer of the technique is probably Mort Meskin, who used multiple images to convey speed and agility when depicting the 1940s character Johnny Quick, a sort of knockoff Flash.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | February 26, 2018 7:45 PM
Thanks, Omar. I knew there had to be someone older than Ditko and Infantino who had used that technique (and there are probably others even older who did something similar, I'm sure).
That deserves a link.
Posted by: Andrew | February 27, 2018 6:07 AM
Nice find Andrew. Meskin was definitely before my time but I admire his work too. I suspect the inspiration for comic artists ultimately traces back to photographic motion studies, such as those which were sometimes featured in Life Magazine before it was canceled.
Posted by: Holt | February 27, 2018 8:26 AM
I suspect the inspiration for comic artists ultimately traces back to photographic motion studies, such as those which were sometimes featured in Life Magazine before it was canceled.
That stuff changed everything from comics art to high art.
If you want to see a comic artist take this idea as far as it will go, check out the EC classic "Master Race" by Bernrd Krigstein, one of the greatest examples of what comics as a medium can do...and it's from the 1950s!
*ahem*...But yeah, these two issues of Amazing Spider-Man are some of the better Len Wein stories, albeit that they also illustrate some of the weaknesses of his work on the title. Len was fairly good at the Peter Parker stuff, but his very Silver-and-Bronze-Age-DC plotting style -- which worked so well on books like Justice League -- didn't translate as well to the Marvel milieu, where villains are more about physical power or psychological manipulation than impossible stunts and high-concept abilities.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | February 27, 2018 7:44 PM
Forgot the link to an article on Krigstein's amazing story and its influence on guys like Miller
Posted by: Omar Karindu | February 27, 2018 7:45 PM
Interesting article. I'd love to read that comic. Perhaps Reissman was so paranoid and tormented by guilt that he only imagined the man on the train was after him.
I disliked these two ASM stories a little less than the previous two, in which JJ returns to his supervillain role, and Robbie Robertson uncharacteristically starts having wild mood swings while driving his car. Most characters seem way out of character to me under Wein's writing, particularly these two.
Ross Andru's art is okay but he's hard to find under the ink; he looked better under Bill Everett's inks IMO. I find Len Wein hard to read most of the time. To be honest I've never read any of these ASMs-- I'm just skimming through the entries about them here along with the other 1976 entries-- so my opinions on them are about as superficial as my story comprehension-- reading it in snippits makes it even harder to stay focused on it-- but I'm not complaining since I'd probably never get through this stuff otherwise-- it's so nice to have these chronologically sequenced global summaries. When I find something I like, I go and seek copies so I can read them all the way through.:) Plus I really enjoy reading what other people think about this stuff.
Posted by: Holt | February 27, 2018 10:02 PM
Personally, I'd be wary of any psychiatrist whose taste in sports coats rivals that of the otherwise legendary comedian/bandleader Spike Jones.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | March 22, 2018 11:48 PM
Comments are now closed.
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