Amazing Spider-Man #4
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man #4
The issue itself is good for the same reason. Sandman is a badass, way out of Spider-man's league. He's basically unstoppable.
In the end, Spidey defeats the Sandman using a vacuum cleaner which is ridiculous (this panel is also the first use of the phrase "your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man").
There shouldn't be anything stopping the Sandman from just bursting right out of the vacuum again. But they had to stop the fight somehow - there really isn't any way for Spidey to win.
The issue starts with a clever scene where Spider-man stops some thugs from robbing a store, but he attacks them before they do anything, which means he has no evidence and is forced to let them go before they call the cops on him.
We see Peter repairing his homemade costume in this issue. I've always wondered if his sewing ability was a side-effect of his spider-powers.
Much of this issue is actually devoted to Peter getting unnerved by J. Jonah Jameson's campaign against Spider-Man. He really takes it to heart.
Although Spidey gets him back by leaving a web cushion in his chair, requiring a change of pants (the first scan below shows Betty Brant named on panel as "Miss Brant" for the first time).
In issue #2, JJ was publisher of Now Magazine. Now we learn he's also publishing the Daily Bugle, which will be his more prominent publication.
Peter almost had a date with Liz (also named on panel for the first time here) this issue but he had to break it due to everything else going on in this issue. Liz tells Flash she agreed to the date because "the poor guy has asked me so many times, I just didn't have the heart to refuse him again". She's not pleased when he calls off the date.
If Liz was telling the truth about Peter's repeated date requests, Peter was apparently more self-confident than his bookworm personality would suggest.
Spider-man really was the best book Marvel was publishing in the Silver Age, by far.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel Tales #141
Inbound References (8): show
as i read all these Spider-man's, i'm finding it really hard to believe 15 yr old "Puny Parker" is not immediately discernible as a child. yes, he's actually got muscles, but he's not a Hulk. he didn't actually get any huskier. nor did his voice change when he got bitten, and there's a world of difference between what a 15 yr old sounds like and what an adult sounds like even if you've already gotten past that particularly awkward squeaky voice part of puberty.
so, he's coming up against the Sandman or those guys who were casing the jewelry store or the cops and none of them just looks at him and says "beat it, kid!"? or "you're Spider-man? but you're just a kid!"
couple that with his poorly sewn and re-sewn costume. it might be enough to fool the public when he flashes by, but i expect villains and cops, who get pretty close to him, to notice. esp a convicted criminal like the Sandman who clearly isn't intimidated by some guy in a costume and doesn't have the excuse of "i was too nervous/distracted to notice".
Posted by: min | December 2, 2011 9:24 AM
It's long been established that Peter's costume disguises his voice so that people can't guess his age, race, etc.
Posted by: Michael | December 2, 2011 7:38 PM
Michael, do you know where that would have been first established? Maybe in an Untold Tales of Spider-Man issue?
I think min raises a fun point. I started reading Spider-Man when he was more or less an adult, so it never really occurred to me, but in these early issues he's definitely still a high-schooler and it requires some real suspension of disbelief to think his face-mask would be enough to hide that in his voice. Of course, suspension of disbelief comes easy to us, but i'd love to be able to highlight the issue(s) that address this.
Posted by: fnord12 | December 3, 2011 2:26 PM
I'm not sure- I know that there was a featurette on Spider-Man's powers,etc. in Amazing Spider-Man Annual 1 and I think that it mentioned his mask but I don't know if it went into detail about it disguising his voice.
Posted by: Michael | December 3, 2011 2:40 PM
Thanks. It does say that the mask "muffles his voice, making it unrecognizable". I added the scan to the annual's entry.
Posted by: fnord12 | December 3, 2011 2:50 PM
I do recall this issue of Spider-man's voice coming up in his battle with Daredevil (DD 16-17). Daredevil's senses determine Spider-man's not-too-advanced age, and he later chides himself for calling Spider-man a kid in the heat of battle, correctly noting that it would be a sensitive issue.
Posted by: haydn | June 2, 2012 2:07 AM
According to the Marvel Comics Database, Jessica Jones has a cameo in this issue. She said she had a crush on Peter.
Posted by: doomsday | October 20, 2013 2:18 PM
"In the end, Spidey defeats the Sandman using a vacuum cleaner which is ridiculous"
This actually seems to be a running premise with Marvel, though - for whatever reason, characters who can turn their body into a liquid/gas/particulate and reform it later always seem to be completely immobilized if captured in some form of container. Even if, theoretically, they should be able to just force their way out of the container by partially reforming or something.
I remember at least one story with Nitro where he exploded and turned to gas, and afterwards he was vacuumed up to neutralize him.
Maybe it's some sort of "leverage" issue?
Posted by: ParanoidObsessive | August 28, 2014 8:17 AM
A No-Prize style answer to the vacuum cleaner defeat of Sandman is that this is the first time the Sandman had his particles disrupted by something other than himself. Getting all his little sand bits blown around disrupted his morphic resonance, and it would take a while before the Sandman's psyche recovered and reconstituted control over his particles.
I missed my calling as a writer for OHOTMU.
Posted by: Chris | August 3, 2015 10:41 PM
Peter David eventually retcons this story so that the Sandman deliberately doesn't break free; apparently he needs to get sent to a particular prison or something. It's in Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man Annual #1.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | October 16, 2015 9:46 PM
You still haven't added Jessica Jones to the characters appearing yet.
Posted by: JC | January 24, 2016 1:17 AM
Jessica is meant to be in Amazing Fantasy 15 too, she sees the spider biting Peter. I like Jessica but the retcon that she goes to the same school as Peter is my least favourite thing about her. (And she later works at The Bugle too? Pick one, Bendis! Not both!) 2001 is just too late to be introducing a character that Peter should remember but doesn't.
Posted by: Jonathan | January 24, 2016 9:45 AM
Does the character that is meant to be Jessica Jones actually appear on panel? Because if a character is behind the scenes and they don't contribute to the story, i usually don't count it as an appearance.
Posted by: fnord12 | January 24, 2016 3:09 PM
She's the brunette gurl, next to Flash, sporting the shit eating grin as Spidey flings Sandman in front of the class.
Posted by: JC | January 24, 2016 3:38 PM
But that girl doesn't look anything like how Jessica Jones does in the Alias flashbacks:
Posted by: Mortificator | January 24, 2016 4:14 PM
Be that as it may, it's still her.
Posted by: JC | January 24, 2016 4:20 PM
Meh, saying Jessica Jones is in this issue makes as much sense to me as saying Mysterio appeared in the Tinkerer story in ish #2. You can retcon it after the fact, but it's not what Stan and Steve were intending.
Posted by: mikrolik | January 24, 2016 9:54 PM
The situation with Mysterio makes for a significant contrast. There, a character in writer #1's story is "revealed" to be a different character in writer #2's story. That happens all the time in comics. This project also tracks the '50s Cap as a different person than Steve Rogers, which likewise wasn't "revealed" until later.
The route Alias goes, though, is to say that a newer character was actually in the area during an older story, you just didn't see her then. This isn't too unusual in comics, either. Norman Osborn wasn't at Reed & Sue's wedding in Fantastic Four Annual #3, then Marvels shows him to be present for the ceremony. This kind of thing doesn't count as an character appearance in the earlier issue, though, since the character wasn't shown and has no story presence whatsoever.
Posted by: Mortificator | January 25, 2016 5:51 AM
Right. From the scans Mortificator linked to, it doesn't look like they were repurposing an existing character in this issue to be Jessica Jones. She's just behind the scenes here. I'll revisit this when i get the those Alias issues but for now i'm not listing her as a character.
Posted by: fnord12 | January 25, 2016 7:22 AM
Except of course the retcon in question doesn't cum from Alias. It cums from Amazing Spidey 601 which very clearly and very deliberately flashs back to the scene in question and highlights the panel and face several times over to make explicitly clear that it's Jess.
Mort's link is the equivalent of me saying that it's not Peter Parker in Amazing Fantasy 15 becuz Humberto Ramos draws flashbacks nothing like Steve Ditko.
Posted by: JC | January 25, 2016 11:48 AM
Then you should have cited your source in the first place, JC.
I'll still wait until i get to ASM #601.
Posted by: fnord12 | January 25, 2016 11:51 AM
Oh and fwiw here's the link to the page that makes it explicit it's Jess.
Posted by: JC | January 25, 2016 11:56 AM
Except this all started with when I just quickly and nonchalantly wanted to bring your attention to you missing a character. Instead now you're telling me I have to spend the time looking up all this stuff just to point it out? Even though someone already mentioned it before.
And speaking of citing, again the link Mort gives, is not the reason or even the title that people are citing for Jess' appearance. So your willing to take Mort's non-sequitur link as proof but scold me for not doing likewise.
Posted by: JC | January 25, 2016 12:13 PM
Well this is obviously worth freaking-out over.
The initial comment relating to Jessica's maybe-appearance in ASM#4 referred to the Marvel Comics Database. I checked out her entry there and saw it cites ASM#600, an issue that doesn't even have a Jessica Jones flashback. Naturally, the next place I referred to was Alias; this is where Bendis introduced Jessica and showed multiple flashbacks of her as a classmate of Pete's, including the one Jonathan mentioned where she witnesses the spider bite from Amazing Fantasy 15. The flashback in ASM#601 is a back-up in an issue whose main story is written by Mark Waid, not the most prominent of places, unless some helpful person points it out.
We've established, then, that Jessica in Amazing Fantasy 15 is an Osborne-at-the-wedding situation, while Jessica in ASM#4 may be a that-alien-was-Mysterio situation. I'll be anal and point out that even the ASM#601 back-up doesn't explicitly say so, it has Jessica state she was there while we zoom in on someone who looks nothing like her.
Posted by: Mortificator | January 25, 2016 5:31 PM
Well this is obviously worth freaking-out over.
You say this sarcastically, yet you're the one making it a thing.
My first post is a simple sentence stating it's her and pointing out who it is. You then counter-rebuttal'd that by linking to a bunch of panels that has nothing to do with the retcon in question.
Instead of making a big deal out of it, I simply respond by nothing that is infact her regardless. You then responded to my single eight word sentence, by responding with a two paragraph diatribe about a completely off-topic issue again while ignoring the retcon issue in question.
It is at this point fnord scolds me for not citing an issue while erroneously accepting your link as proof. This is followed by a sarcastic remark about how he'll get to it when he gets to ASM 601, which considering is over 20 years away, is the same as saying he'll get to it never.
So yes at this point, I searched for the issue and the page in question becuz now I have two people repeatedly calling me out on it and hereby making it a thing.
And fyi having a character explicitly mention where they were, while having the creative team highlight the same panel and focus on the same gurl several times over is as explicit as it's going to get.
That you continue to ignore blatant proof is just bizarre.
Posted by: JC | January 25, 2016 10:51 PM
Oh, I'm sure Bendis' intent was for that girl to be Jessica Jones. There's a major continuity problem with that, though. As you can see in the scan you posted, Jessica claims to witness the fight with Sandman after emerging from her coma with super powers. However, Alias shows the event which caused her to emerge from her coma was the struggle with Galactus from Fantastic Four #48-50. That's way after ASM#4.
Anyway, I'm not sure your summation of this comments section is necessary, or accurate. Like, that two-paragraph diatribe that you say was a response to you. Scroll up a little, and you'll see it was a response to Mikrolik. (Sorry, Mikrolik! Didn't mean to diatribe at you.)
Posted by: Mortificator | January 26, 2016 11:27 AM
Annnnd scrolling through other recent comments, I see it would have been better for me not to put in that second paragraph.
Posted by: Mortificator | January 26, 2016 11:38 AM
Not sure why you're apologizing Mortificator; I didn't think you were "diatribing" at me; we're all just comic fans having a discussion! ;)
Posted by: mikrolik | January 26, 2016 8:53 PM
I placed this issue with #5 after Strange Tales#112. I agree with the idea that retconning aside these new details were not what Lee and Ditko wrote for the stories.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | October 24, 2016 8:49 PM
Serendipitously for the later "Sandman is really named William Baker" retcon, the origin story told by a newscaster int his issue states only that he was "known as Flint Marko."
Posted by: Omar Karindu | May 5, 2017 7:14 PM
Also, while I'm rereading old comics...Midtown High's Principal Davis, first seen in this story, will reappear in issues #26 and #28.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | May 5, 2017 7:26 PM
He also appears a long time later in Spectacular Spider-Man #225
Posted by: Time Traveling Bunny | May 8, 2017 3:01 PM
Thanks guys. I've added a tag for Principal Davis, whose first name was apparently revealed to be Andrew in a 2009 handbook.
Posted by: fnord12 | May 10, 2017 10:18 AM
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