Amazing Spider-Man #38
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man #38
...named Joe Smith gets super powers in a bizarre acting accident.
He goes a little crazy and Spidey has to stop him.
Meanwhile Osborn puts out a reward in the underworld for Spidey's death.
Peter gets into a fight with Ned Leeds over Betty Brant.
There's a sequence that shows Stan and/or Steve (most likely the Randian Ditko, who was also driving the plots at this point) didn't think much of protesters.
By this point a lot of Marvel's audience were liberal students, and Stan had to backpedal a bit after a letter from the Students for a Democratic Society.
We get our second near-glimpse of Mary Jane Watson (the first was in issue #25).
When we finally do see MJ, she'll be drawn by John Romita, who takes over next issue.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel Tales #177
Inbound References (2): showAunt May, Flash Thompson, Green Goblin (Norman Osborn), Gwen Stacy, Harry Osborn, J. Jonah Jameson, Joe Smith, Mary Jane Watson, Ned Leeds, Spider-Man
Steve Ditko's first Marvel contribution after leaving in 1966 was a letter in Marvelmania #2.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | December 30, 2012 7:10 PM
Interesting that in her first two appearances, MJ is depicted with short hair.
Posted by: kveto from prague | June 14, 2014 4:38 AM
Not sure if it was intentional since Ditko was keeping her a mystery for those two appearances.
Though as an aside, I do actually like Ditko's depiction of Gwen Stacy, since I'm slowly realizing the the common version she becomes is just "Mary Jane whose blonde with a hairband".
Posted by: Ataru320 | June 14, 2014 7:21 AM
There's so many fantastic versions of Gwen Stacy these days I just can't pick which one is the best.
Amazing Spider-Man movie: About the only thing I really loved about the movie were the Staceys. There's a bit more of feisty early Gwen here. Well, she can at least take care of herself pretty well against a giant lizard man.
Ultimate Spider-Man comic: Tough punk girl with a heart of gold.
Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon: Girl next door but shy, sweet and a science whiz too with huge crush on Peter. Gradually gains more confidence.
I think the last two are my favorite depections.
Posted by: david banes | June 14, 2014 12:33 PM
Yes, Gwen's personality quickly self destructs under Lee/Romita and she becomes quite boring. I wonder if that is because of Romita's romance comics background? What might work for a single story isn't ideal in an ongoing series. "Feisty science major" sounds like a much more interesting character than what she'd end up becoming.
Posted by: Chris | June 14, 2014 4:13 PM
"feisty" is definitely not the adjective i'd use to describe Gwen Stacey. "stable" is also another adjective i wouldn't associate with her. i see she's had another drastic mood swing and now instead of being pissed at Peter for not paying enough attention to her, she's actually feeling bad about everyone hating him. i have full confidence in her ability to start feeling petty and vengeful again if he is too absentminded to fully appreciate the gift of her attention the next time she graciously bestows it upon him.
Harry Osborn actually mocks Peter Parker for not being nerdy enough, saying his dad forgot more than Peter will ever know. first, Peter spends all of high school getting mocked for being a nerd and now in college, he's getting his nerd cred questioned by a guy who hangs out with Flash Thompson. i'm all sorts of outraged on Peter's behalf.
Posted by: min | June 23, 2014 9:40 AM
You know considering that MJ had "short hair" in this appearance, I sort of wonder if she sometimes just went through a short-hair phase considering the one she ends up having for a time during the whole "Stan Lee doesn't like MJ getting all of the attention over Gwen Stacey" period.
Posted by: Ataru320 | October 16, 2015 2:38 PM
I dunno, but if this isn't the first use of the 'simultaneous boobs and ass' pose in comics (it probably wasn't) it's certainly striking. Ditko couldn't have pulled off the 'face it tiger, you hit the jackpot' panel, but not for lack of trying or ability.
Posted by: ChrisW | October 16, 2015 6:59 PM
It's amazing to think back on all that's going on during the Ditko era. Certainly once Romita Sr takes over art duties, Spidey gets his visual style that will define him for the next quarter century. But the book loses alot in the process. Spidey and the readers never were as challenged then as during the Ditko era.
Every issue/story arc was just pop full of energy and excitement. Peter falls for Betty and is rdy to declare his love, only to fail to save her bruh and lose her. Pete gets picked on by Flash and the gang, Pete beats the shit out of Flash in the ring. Spidey starts getting a bit too comfortable in his powers, so the Master Planner is there to take him down a peg. You just always got the sense shit was going down and anything could happen.
Once Romita joins in, the book seemingly loses it's edge and focuses moar on the melodramatics of soap opera.
Posted by: JC | February 13, 2016 7:27 AM
It seems strange that when hiring goons Norman Osborn would disguise himself by putting on sunglasses and a goatee rather than his Green Goblin costume...
Posted by: S | October 10, 2016 10:27 PM
@S The fake beard is a bit more incognito that the full supervillain suit, I guess and he's not planning on doing any ass kicking. Plus I like the way it introduces the idea that Osborne uses disguises to go with the impossible assassination attempt from last issue.
Posted by: Benway | October 17, 2016 1:34 AM
I always found this last issue of Spider-Man by Ditko a little odd and did not care for Joe's costume. His return years later was totally unneeded.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | November 7, 2016 10:41 PM
Lets face it, we all kniw a joe smith in our lifes!
Posted by: Roy Mattson | July 9, 2017 8:04 PM
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