Amazing Spider-Man annual #2
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man annual #2
Review/plot: A sorcerer named Xandu...
...takes control of two thugs and sends them to steal Dr. Strange's half of the Wand of Watoomb. Spider-Man gets involved when he sees them leaving Strange's house. Strange and Spidey Team Up and fight their way through mystical dimensions and Xandu's henchmen.
This is a great crossover between Ditko's two Marvel characters. The art is Ditko at his best (Xandu himself is pretty cool looking, and the extra-dimensional stuff is just crazy). The story is fairly straightforward but it works fine for an annual.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Nothing particularly designates when this story fits into Spidey or Strange's main titles but Marvel Tales reprinted this in between ASM #28 and #29.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel Tales #167
It's odd that the cover to this annual (http://www.comics.org/issue/18845/cover/4/) is so bland, but the splash page is a beautiful & dramatic masterpiece by Steve Ditko. I really wonder why Stan Lee didn't ask Ditko to draw a cover that was more like that.
By the way, this was the very first meeting between Spider-Man and Doctor Strange. Because of Stan Lee's reliably unreliable memory, he mistakenly thought they had previously met. That's why he scripted Spider-Man saying "I hear ya talkin' Doc! This is beginning to feel like old times!" That inspired Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern to write the first-ever encounter between the two in the Untold Tales of Spider-Man: Strange Encounter special 33 years later.
Posted by: Ben Herman | June 12, 2016 9:00 PM
@Ben, The cover as published arguably better represents the content of this annual, which contained 20 pages of a Spider-Man/Dr. Strange team-up story, plus 50 more pages of pin-ups and Amazing Spider-Man reprint stories. The splash page is a beautiful drawing but Spider-Man himself almost gets lost in all the dazzling Dr. Strange imagery. Would have made a great cover for a Dr. Strange book but maybe not so great for Spider-Man.
As a 10 year old I traced those two main cover images again and again on my Draw-N-Tell lightboard until I could draw a passable Spider-Man freehand and learned to trace drawings by eye. It's a poster-quality cover and the standing image of Spider-Man later got reused for promotional material plus probably a poster or two.
Ditko & Kirby posters and black-light posters were very popular in the 60s and 70s and could be found in just about any store where posters were sold... dime stores, gift shops, head shops, drug stores, almost everywhere. Posters were a big pop fad and Marvel posters invariably used comic book images for which the artists were never paid royalties. Spider-Man and the Silver Surfer in particular were hugely popular and probably made godzillions of dollars for lots of people who weren't named Ditko or Kirby.
Posted by: James Holt | August 23, 2016 8:02 PM
This was Ditko at his best and I loved the other dimensions. When Starling first came along, I didn't recognize where his main influence came until he did an alien dimension in Warlock and then it was obvious that Ditko was his idol. (although I should have recognized the sparkles behind Mar-Vell once he got cosmic awareness as modeled on the ones Ditko drew for Charlton's Captain Atom).
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | November 1, 2016 8:41 PM
Gotta love the henchmen tough!
Posted by: Roy Mattson | May 10, 2017 2:30 PM
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