Posted - July 2, 2014 | Updated : August 26, 2015


Amazing Spider-Man 203
Bewitched, Bothered, and Be-Dazzled


Unlike Spider-Man, who, no matter how much he changes over the years, will always keep coming back to his iconic red and blue look, Dazzler will most likely never go back to the early outfit she wore when she first appeared in comics. I, for one, like her Disco-era look - even the skates.



Art is by Kieth Pollard, who, sadly, no longer works in the comics field.

We get right to it with Spider-Man and the Dazzler right at the splash page.


spider-man and dazzler

Dazzler was created as a response to the popularity of disco during the seventies. Thus, the costume.


dazzler

The long hair is a good look for Ali.

Heaven forbid we have a comic from 1980 were two heroes get together and they DON"T take shots at each other.


dazzler vs. spider-man

Here's a nice little historical detail. Peter, Harry and Flash are off to watch . . .


star trek the motion picture

This must be "Star Trek: The Motion Picture", or is it? That came out '77 if I remember correctly.

The mystery villain revealed - and spoiled (assuming its still possible to spoil something from 1980).


lightmaster

For your viewing pleasure. A demonstration and description of Lightmaster's powers.


lightmaster's powers

Reminds me of Green Lantern. These are major powers being demonstrated here.

This is a beautifully done panel by Keith Pollard.


dazzler is the prisoner
				of lightmaster

Evidently, Lightmaster needs the light-generating Dazzler as a battery or power source for his own light-based abilities.

This panel gives us more information about Lightmaster.


spider-man busts in on
				lightmaster

A former Vice Chancellor of E.S.U.. Interesting. Lightmaster is very close to Peter's world.

A Lightmaster-controlled Dazzler goes up against Spider-Man!


dazzler vs. spider-man

These are the days when Peter doesn't have to deal with J. Jonah Jameson. He works for the Daily Globe.


peter works at the daily
				globe

All's well that ends well, as Spider-Man saves Dazzler.


dazzler saved by spidey

Anybody have any ideas how Dazzler can repay Spidey? Mmm-hmmm.

Posted - July 2, 2014 | Updated : August 26, 2015


Amazing Spider-Man 217
Here's Mud In Your Eye


A very promising cover don't you think? That's the kind of cover that would make me buy a comic book. Wait a minute, I DID buy this comic book back when it came out in 1981.

Hydroman and Sandman were made for each other. Their powers make them natural partners; plus they're both pretty rough-on-the-edges street types. Writer Denny O'Neil hit the jackpot with this combination.

First up: Hydroman


hydroman talking to spider-man

What is true of Hydroman, is true of Sandman, and perhaps, true for every other "elemental" superhuman out there (Cobalt Man comes to mind) : If their component parts get dispersed they can, with time, reassemble themselves. What I'm getting from Sandman here is that he's pretty much invincible. Maybe a Hulk or Thor comic would be better for this guy. What am I talking about? I've seen Spidey beat the Juggernaut. Before we move on, one last observation: If Hydroman can survive inside a water tank he can survive in the open Ocean. Scratch the Hulk or Thor comic, Hydroman would be a natural for any stories that has Namor in the title role.

Let's segue over to Peter Parker now. He gets that "I want to watch a movie" itch, that I suppose everyone has had every now and then. So he goes to a horror mystery (that's right - a horror mystery), and somebody spoils the all-important ending even before Peter enters the theatre.


peter and debbie whitman

That happened to me with a boxing match. I had delayed telecast, somebody else was watching live. Guy calls me and tells me who won. Spoiled. I was fuming and said something I regret to this day. Kudos to Mr. Parker for his 'amazing' self-control.

So Peter goes home to his apartment and here's a panel showing him stepping inside.


peter enters his apartment

I read the captions on this and I nod my head. I know poverty. It has many faces. One of the most universal ones is when you're crappy apartment greets you as you enter the door. It's like there's this big sign inside Peter's apartment: "You have definitely NOT arrived".

In another part of town, Hydroman and Sandman meet and they don't like each other.


sandman vs. hydroman

Spider-Man breaks them up. 'Why did Spider-Man break them up?' is a question I've been asking myself with no answer forthcoming.


spider-man breaks up 
				a sandman and hydroman fight

Here's a rare panel - a Spider-sense fail.


spider-sense fail

All animosities set aside, Sandman and Hytroman take on the police.


sandman and hydroman take
				on the police

Eventually, they would also team-up against the Spider.


hydroman and sandman take
				on spider-man

As the battle progesses, water and sand accidentally combine.


hydroman and sandman accidentally
				combine

By the last panel of the issue, the combined Sandman and Hydroman turns into a giant mud monster. Back in the day, we all had to wait a month to know what happens next.


the mud monster

Posted by  Pete Albano - July 3, 2014


Amazing Spider-Man 242
Confrontations


It's the major Marvel hero against a major Marvel villain: Spider-Man vs. The Thinker.

And here's our thinking villain right now:


the mad thinker in jail

Doesn't Rodin have a copyright on this pose ? Look at them books; the Thinker's prison cell looks like a library. This is the best thing of all: The Thinker may be in prison but in a very real sense he's not.


the mad thinker travels
				with his mind

Because of his technologically aided thought projection ability, the Thinker can literally escape from his prison cell. I also like that the Thinker recounts his past battles here, with major names from Marveldom. This guy isn't some cheap two-issue villain - this is an iconic Marvel bad guy.


So the Thinker, because he's always thinking, happens to train his thoughts on Spider-Man. Specifically, Webhead's spider sense. The Thinkers main problem is he keeps losing because of what he terms an 'X-Factor'. So the Thinker is thinking. That's right, the Thinker is thinking, that a 'spider-sense' is just the thing to handle his 'X-Factor' problem, so he sends Battle Droid 12 to do some "spider research". Incidentally, Battle Droid 12 is a class of robot that has been able to give battle to the likes of the Fantastic Four.

spider-man omnibus

Peter is always swinging around. He understandably finds it a welcome break from the travails of being the hapless Parker. What I didn't know, yet it makes total sense, is that Spider-Man has his favorite haunts.


spider-man goes to a favorite
				swing spot

Apparently, he even plays timed games with himself. Neat.

Here comes Battle Droid 12.


mad thinker's battle droid 12
				attacks spider-man

Flamethrowers!


battle droid 12 uses its
				flamethrower against spider-man

Very close to the crown jewels, more depends on his spider-sense than even Peter realizes.

Charged particle beam.


battle droid 12 uses its
				charged particle beam

The close-up panel on the left reminds me of Jack Kirby.

Spider-Man creates a very spider-like counter: A web trap. Here's some information about how strong that web is.


battle droid 12 vs.
				spider web

Strong enough for the Green Goliath, that's very strong indeed. The Battle Droid pushes and pushes and the web doesn't break, but the droid topples everything the web is attached to. End result?


machinery crashes down 
				on battle droid 12

That's it for Battle Droid 12.

This issue has JRJR (John Romita Jr.) art before John transitioned to his latter, polished and stylized art. I don't like the early JRJR very much but this Spider-Man panel caught my eye.


spider-man by 
				john romita jr. and kevin dzuban

By the way, JRJR shares art credits with Kevin Dzuban.

We can't end without a cliffhanger so here it is.


peter parker has too many
				women

When did Pete become such a girl magnet?

Posted - July 3, 2014 | Updated : August 26, 2015


Amazing Spider-Man 275
The Choice and the Challenge


Artist Ron Frenz does a great Hobgoblin. I'm going to show several panels, here's the first one:


hobgoblin by ron frenz

The Hobgoblin has a brand new anti-Spider-Man weapon. Here he is activating it via a chest trigger.


hobgoblin's new barrage
				weapon

It's a bit hard to see but the blasts are coming from his finger blasters.

And the Hobgoblin is revealed to be financed by, and in league with, the mysterious Rose.


the rose sponsor's hobgoblin

Wow. Just look at this panel of Peter and MJ.


peter and mj

Wonderful delicate linework by Ron Frenz. I appreciate the detail work on Peter's sweater.

There's a lot of Peter Parker in this issue, including these three panels:


peter the drama queen

A bit over the top isn't it? MJ never asking his origin should NOT be a big issue with Peter. Even if it was, it shouldn't be THIS big an issue. This little sequence had to be included because this issue segues into the Spider-Man origin. We're not talking about a page or so spent on the origin - the entire Amazing Fantasy #15 has been reprinted here. I actually think that's a great decision. It's been 275 issues since Amazing Fantasy, the original issue is a rare collector's item and Masterworks won't come out until 1992 (this is circa 1986). So this is a good time to recount the origin for newer fans. We won't go into the origin issue anymore, just know there is a big reprint right in the middle of Amazing Spider-Man #275 making it into a 37-page giant.

Location panels! Well done location panels are a secret treat for me. Here's one from Ron Frenz.


side of a building through
				the branches

And another great Hobgoblin panel.


hobgoblin

Finally! It's on: Hobgoblin vs. Spider-Man


spider-man vs. hobgoblin

Let's see, in the lower half of the panel, the guy closest to us with black hair is writer Tom DeFalco, the blond guy to the left is artist Ron Frenz? Not sure. The black guy is Editor Jim Owsley a.k.a. Christopher J. Priest.

Great finger blaster / web shield sequence.


finger blasters and 
				web shields

A third goblin panel from Frenz.


hobgoblin

This one shows his glider in greater detail.

And now, let's see if Hobgoblin's barrage weapon will actually work as he expects.


spider-sense in action

A hit!


spider-sense gets hit

Great shock ending.


spider-man down

Posted - July 4, 2014 | Updated : August 23, 2015


Amazing Spider-Man 300


The story opens to reveal a terrified Mary Jane Watson-Parker.


mj scared

It's not a nice scene but Todd McFarlane's excellent layout cannot be denied.

The reason for MJ's fear is Venom, who's origin, well, not origin, rather, how he first met Peter, is told in two panels.


origin of the black suit

It all happened in the excellent Secret Wars event.

Here's a wonderful panel of McFarlane's Spider-Man.


spider-man black costume
				swinging

Peter recalls that the last time Venom was successfully repelled it was because of Mr. Fantastic's sonic blaster. So he goes over to the Baxter Building and borrows it.


spider-man with the sonic
				blaster

This issue is dated circa 1988 when a something called film could still be found in most cameras.


peter parker and photography

Yet another beautiful McFarlane Spidey panel.


spider-man swinging

Peter and MJ are moving to a spacious new apartment paid for by MJ's job as a model. Peter can't help out with the rent. Here are his thoughts on the matter.


peter parker the deadbeat

I suppose most kids will just gloss over this panel as an unnecessary interruption of a Spider-Man comic. I'm no longer a kid though, and life problems like this hit very close to home for me. I too have had the terrible experience of not being able to pay my way.

Back at Aunt May's, MJ is inquiring why Aunt May never visits her and Peter.


aunt may and mj

Those are words of wisdom from Aunt May.

Eddie Brock is Venom. He has broken into a Church and is accosted by this guy.


brock and a very young cop

I realize that the idea is to portray a rookie cop but this guy looks like he's twelve years old.


brock kills a police
				officer

What a hypocrite Venom is (or is it Brock talking?) - with Venom's power level he could have just knocked the guy out instead of killing him. What is really sickening is that he claims that he had no choice.

Beautiful panel of Spidey looking down at the distant Venom.


spider-man and venom

This panel makes me feel that I'm swinging with Spider-Man

And now the much awaited fight.


spider-man vs. venom

Venom is perhaps the only creature that cannot trigger Peter's spider-sense


spider-man fighting venom

What is baffling Peter is that Brock is in there. Brock should be able to trigger his Spider-sense but he didn't. Later on it is revealed that Venom has melded so deeply with Brock that Brock has "inherited" Venom's spider-sense immunity.

More blows are traded but Peter eventually manages to use Reed's sonic blaster on Venom.


spider-man uses the sonic blaster
				on Venom

It's no use. The meld between Brock and Venom is too strong. Peter decides to retreat and think up a new approach but . . .


venom pulls spider-man back

McFarlane gives us a simple yet intricate panel of Eddie Brock as Venom.


eddie brock checking the time

Here, Spider-Man leverages one of his strongest abilities - the brilliant mind of Peter Parker.


spider-man thinks his way
				to a solution

And now for Mr. Parker's excellent solution.


spider-man makes venome
				expend his webs

The panels showing Venom falling really communicate that fall.


venom falls

You can really feel the thud - I mean the "Kwumph". Ewww, sounds a bit squishy. Eventually, Spider-Man brings Venom to a place where the symbiote can be contained.


spider-man, the thing and a
				contained venom

Looks like Spider-Man isn't the only one changing his looks.


thing and spider-man with 
				their alternative looks

I comfort myself that Benjamin J. Grimm is destined to return to his classic look. Speaking of classic looks. By the end of issue 300, he's back!


spider-man classic red and 
				blue costume





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