Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #59-60
Issue(s): Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #59, Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #60
Greg LaRocque & Bob Wiacek handle a back-up in issue #60. For the main story, the credits just say "Roger Stern, Ed Hannigan, & Jim Mooney - Storytellers". So your guess is as good as mine but i assume Mooney is doing finishes/inks on both issues.
The Gibbon, now working as a camera grip for a tabloid news show convinces his film crew partner to work on a story about Spider-Man, but it's really so that he can extract vengeance for his earlier defeat.
By the way, the Gibbon doesn't like to be called a big ape or anything like that while he's in his civilian identity, ok?
Or even while in it, apparently.
The attack works perfectly for the Beetle, who gets to lurk in the background and let the Gibbon soften up Spidey.
The Beetle's got a new suit of armor - it's a more streamlined and powerful iteration, and it's what i consider his classic costume (although one does have to appreciate the original bulky Silver Age suit). We got a preview of it in issue #58 but here we get the full demonstration.
And he's recorded data from Spidey's fight with the Ringer. Add to the fact that the Gibbon, however much of a joke he is, has tired Spider-Man out at least a little bit, and you'd think that the Beetle might have a good showing here.
But the point is made that it's impossible to really analyze Spider-Man's fighting because so much of it is dictated by his reaction to his Spider-Sense, which causes him to leap and twist in unpredictable ways, so the Beetle's tracking computer proves to not be all that effective. It's a cool sequence. And Spider-Man does have to run away initially.
The Gibbon had a change of heart during his battle with Spidey, and he winds up trying to help out in the fight against the Beetle but winds up bungling everything...
...and getting taken prisoner.
Spidey is able to do just fine in the rematch.
Still, this arc is a decent attempt at increasing the credibility of the Beetle as a legitimate threat.
In a subplot Peter catches two FBI agents leaning on his student Greg Salinger, who happens to be the Foolkiller. He gets the wrong impression and confronts them as Spider-Man, but backs off when he realizes they're not criminals.
Decent art on these issues...
...despite a number of collaborators, and some interesting covers.
The back-up in issue #60 retells Spider-Man's origin with some expanded scenes. I'm not going to obsess over the minor differences between this and Amazing Fantasy #15 but you can see how the MCP deals with it here.
An announcement in the lettercol says that all of the Spider-Man titles have been put under the control of one editor - Tom DeFalco - for greater consistency.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showBeetle, Biff Rifkin, Debra Whitman, Foolkiller (Greg Salinger), Gibbon, Phillip Chang, Spider-Man
Just a tiny bit more info on Shooter's layouts from a Roger Stern interview for Marvel Masterworks from 2006:
GK: And did Shooter really do the layouts for that issue?
RS: Absolutely. In fact, Jim also did the layouts for issues #57 and 59. For some reason, Spectacular had become the bastard stepchild of the Spider-Man titles. We had a devil of a time finding a regular art team for the book. Marie Severin was supposed to be the regular penciler, but she was always in demand for special projects, like the St. Francis comic. I worked with so many different artists on that book. You’d have thought it would be easy to find someone who wanted to draw Spider-Man every month, wouldn’t you? Not in those days. I guess it became easier once royalties were introduced. But that was pre-royalties.
Anyway, Jim stepped in to lay out the book while we were looking for a permanent penciler. He was a Godsend. Jim gave me nice, clear storytelling and there was always plenty of room for copy.
GK: Any pressure working that close with him?
RS: Hah! The pressure was all on him! He had to find the time to lay out those stories at night and on his lunch hour while he was being editor-in-chief.
Here’s another funny story. On issue #59, as a goof, I credited Jim’s layouts to J. Strzltski – that being the spelling of his family’s name pre-Ellis Island. Well, we got a number of letters wondering who this J. Strzltski guy was. One fan wrote, "You can’t fool me…this is really Steve Ditko working under a pseudonym." Needless to say, Jim was very flattered.
Full interview can be found here: http://www.marvelmasterworks.com/features/int_stern_1006_2.html
Posted by: JSfan | November 3, 2015 8:05 AM
Has the Beetle's battle computer been referenced after this issue? I don't recall other references outside of marvel rpgs. (I mean in comics from here to fnord's current year?)
Posted by: kveto | December 17, 2016 8:16 AM
kveto: Not as far as I know, but in addition to the marvel rpgs, the battle computer has been referenced in the Beetle's entry in the Deluxe Handbooks in the 80s, where it said the fighting styles it had been programmed with included Spider-Man, Iron Man, Daredevil and Captain America.
Posted by: mikrolik | December 17, 2016 8:53 PM
The Beetle should have been really tough to beat with that computer, but sadly as this was the 80s, every time he wanted to use his computer he had to find the correct tape, put it in the external tape player, type in LOAD;'cass:R' (or something) and then stall for fifteen minutes while it made loud screeching noises.
Posted by: Benway | December 18, 2016 2:29 AM
I didn't know that Stern was responsible for the upgrading of the Beetle, who certainly becomes a more cool villain after the costume change than he was before.
Stern seemed to like to upgrade, or at least make more interesting, villains which other writers would neglect. He improved the Beetle. Worked long term to make Mr. Hyde a real threat. Used the Vulture to a really good effect. And he used a lot of lesser villains in his two Masters of Evil stories and made them legitimate opponents of the Avengers. Stern has a consistent record of taking mediocre or average villains and making them live up to their potential, or just plain improving them.
Contrast that to so many writers who will just take an established marquee villain (like Juggernaut) and use them in pedestrian stories and slowly kill the mystic that made them great.
Posted by: Chris | May 6, 2018 2:33 PM
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