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Buddy Reads free comic books > Amazing Fantasy #15 (Spider-Man's 1st appearance; spoilers)

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message 1: by Ava (new)

Ava Brillat (ava_brillat) | 14 comments ** SPOILER ALERT**

So, my main motivation for finally reading ASM is to finally decide how I feel about Peter Parker. I always was rather ambivalent towards him. After reading Amazing Fantasy, it was interesting to see how close some of the movies kept to the story. I had a vague idea of ASM's beginnings but to read the first appearance is a treat! What struck me the most was the process by which he becomes a hero committed to...well, being a hero. I think most people would agree that we have to take care of ourselves, first. The fact that we are less likely to help a person in distress if we are in a crowd suggests that we are willing to shrug off responsibility to helping others. Peter as a character had to develop in such a way as to overcome this tendency towards being a disengaged bystander or worse- someone only interested in their own gain. So while initially I felt that Uncle Ben's death was a bit of an extreme coincidence, I can see how something as traumatic as death was necessary to give Spider-Man the motivation to develop into a 'good guy'.

If you can't tell, I haven't read any Spider-Man. Please be gentle with me!

message 2: by Geekgirl (new)

Geekgirl | 5 comments Before I start this is the first review I have written so please be gentle. I am also a new reader to spiderman, tending to read more Hell boy and Atomic Robo.

I agree that today this story would have been filled out more, this might have helped me to find the character of Peter Parker in this story a but more believable, I can understand perfectly the wish to not be pushed around anymore, but to go to being a total jerk when he had the costume on I found hard to believe. I'm looking forward to reading the series to see how his character develops.

I did also enjoy reading the rest of the stories in the issue, being the sort of pulp equivalent that had been in various pulp magazines of the time which I enjoy reading.

message 3: by Dale (new)

Dale (cmpn) Right. Spider-Man is exemplary of the Marvel ethos that was the catalyst for their creative boom in the early 1960s. Fantastic Four, Spidey, Hulk, Darevevil, X-Men, etc were all almost painfully human - real people with real problems, living in a real city. I love that Parker's initial impetus is to cash in. It's a brilliantly simple and realistic notion that a shunned teenager would feel compelled to use his newfound superpowers to garner wealth and popularity, as opposed to immediately embarking on an altruistic quest to save the world.

I also agree the story does have a bit of a compressed feel, especially in light of the various retellings and reinterpretations over the years . I found myself reading it like one would read classic fable, or ancient myth. This actually made it somewhat difficult for me to consider this story on its own merits, without being distracted by the symbolic "importance" of the book itself. I had to force myself to forget everything I knew about Spidey, and try to experience him for the first time, as a reader would have in 1962. I really enjoy Lee's conversational tone, and Ditko's stark and slightly grim art style, with all of its harshness and kinetic energy. I like that Spider-Man, even in costume, still looks like a teenager, and not some jacked up bodybuilder. I imagine that would have been even more impressive to a 1962 audience.

message 4: by Ava (new)

Ava Brillat (ava_brillat) | 14 comments Ha! Good point about Peter Parker first trying to cash in on his powers. Seriously, what would be the first thing any of us would do if we suddenly became Spider-Man? Probably try to make some money first.

message 5: by Dave (new)

Dave Glorioso | 111 comments I saw some similarity to Batman.
The loss of a loved one.
Guilt involved.
A form of redemption in wearing the costume.
Yet, Batman is almost solely about vengeance.
A controlled vengeance.
Peter , unlike Bruce Wayne, is a nerd-a social misfit.
The power of Spider-Man was initially all consuming, thus ignoring the criminal.
The death of Ben set him straight. He otherwise may have used the powers in a wrong way.
One more similarity.
Both of them use wit and self control.
Bruce Wayne is dark, humorless.
Peter is full of humor.

I always enjoy early Stan Lee.
Reminds of a time where stories often had a message.
I appreciate the innocence.
Admittedly, I still enjoys today's ultra realism with ultra violence and themes.
Today, the opportunity to show a bloodied Ben would not have been missed.

Annoying, though, is the lack of subtlety.
All actions and story lines have to be blatantly spelled out in early comics.
Funny that Peter not cool since couldn't do the Cha Cha.

Times they are a changing...


message 6: by Rob (new)

Rob | 12 comments I always loved Spider-Man. Hands down my favorite superhero. For me it was always how real Peter Parker/Spider-man reacted to everything going on around him, no matter how outlandish or far fetched his villains or situations were. He is at times insecure and doubtful of what he's doing and acts like an actual teenager trying to make sense out of what's happened to his life. Loved rereading this volume. With all movie versions, I forgot how simple and perfectly written Spider-Man's introduction is. I've always preferred these older stories to newer comics.

message 7: by Adam (new)

Adam | 9 comments I agree with the above statements that this story had a feeling of brevity to it. But if you look at the bigger picture, this series goes on to issue #700 and there ended up being plenty of room for it to all get fleshed out in the end. (Whether or not you like the end is a whole different discussion if anyone read ASM #700 recently).

But it is pretty obvious even in this first issue that the story was groundbreaking. Here was a teenager, a kid really, who not only could have been any of us, but when he did get his powers did do what most people would. He tried to cash in. And in the end he pays for it through tragedy after tragedy.

I'm looking forward to the further issues, especially having seen so many variations of the whole story over and over again in just about any format possible.

But I wonder, if anyone else noticed a bit of misogyny in the early setup with Flash Thompson and his pals? I know times were different then and all but "You stick to science, we'll take the chicks!" just struck me as a really weird line.

message 8: by Adam (new)

Adam | 9 comments You know I think you are right that it may have just been ignorance. It's been a while since I read any early FF but I do remember that Reed treats Sue like a non-entity a lot of the time.

message 9: by Leesa (last edited Mar 21, 2013 03:45PM) (new)

Leesa (leesalogic) I love the cover page! The muted colors and tilted perspective of the buildings so we can see Spider-Man straight on and BOLD is great.

It's hard not to read this in the voice of a newscaster from the 60s with a touch of the "aw, shucks" personality of the characters in the Mickey Mouse Club. And even so, I can still see so much of Stan Lee just in the first page. He hasn't changed at all since 1963. "We in the comic mag business refer to them as 'long underwear characters'!" Hahaha--I bet he still says this today. :)

Something more from an editorial/consistency standpoint. Sometimes he's Spider-Man (and this is how we refer to him at Sequential Tart, and other times he's Spider Man. So I'll be interested to see when the formal name is established once and for all.

Looking at these comics with today's eye, I have a hard time believing those kids are supposed to be in high school! I know wearing more business-appropriate clothes was the way it was back then, but wow, even the hairstyles seem to make the characters seem so much older.

The inner monologue that all the characters have, basically telling us what's going on, what the character is planning to do, how they feel, etc. to push the story seems so weird to me now too. I guess back then there was a lot more telling rather than showing. But I recognize that this was the best way to appeal to kids--and folks, THIS Spider-Man is supposed to appeal to kids. Today's Spider-Man probably has more of an adult fanbase, and not just based on nostalgia.

As we go through these, I hope to spotlight some of my favorite panels. I don't have the patience to screen capture then host the image for posting here, but since we all have the same copy, hopefully y'all will indulge me and flip through some pages to see what I'm talking about. I'll reference by the actual page number in the comic, then the panel number.

I already said I love the cover. Page one also really sets a great tone for the story: A group of kids together, pointing, drawing our eye over to poor Peter Parker, all by himself, with the saddest, most lip-hangiest pout ever, while his shadow looms tall and powerful behind him. That's foreshadowing IN YOUR FACE! Love it! From an art perspective, I don't think we even need to know what the popular kids are saying about him.

Page three, panel seven: Hello, Harry Potter! :)

Page five, panel three: I like this action shot. We can see some of Peter's agility, but there's still a little bit of awkwardness that makes this charming.

Page eleven, panel three: I love the motion in this punching action shot. Really shows Spider-Man as more of a lean, mean fighting machine than an overly muscled lout.

Page eleven, panel four: AUGH! The pupils! I can't NOT see them now.

Overall: Like the art a lot, the narrative makes me grin (but it is also very entertaining). Love the costume, but will be glad when they nix the webbing under his arms.

message 10: by Leesa (last edited Mar 21, 2013 03:49PM) (new)

Leesa (leesalogic) Rob wrote: "I always loved Spider-Man. Hands down my favorite superhero. For me it was always how real Peter Parker/Spider-man reacted to everything going on around him, no matter how outlandish or far fetched his villains or situations were. He is at times insecure and doubtful of what he's doing and acts like an actual teenager trying to make sense out of what's happened to his life. Loved rereading this volume. With all movie versions, I forgot how simple and perfectly written Spider-Man's introduction is. I've always preferred these older stories to newer comics. "

I never went all in on many superhero comics. When I would show interest, it was always Spider-Man. He's so sarcastic sometimes, and I think this is part of the real. He's grown into this persona, but he's also still a smart-mouth kid--when he's not being respectful to his elders as Peter Parker.

message 11: by Adam (new)

Adam | 9 comments Yeah Flash is supposed to be a jerk but I had been remembering him as being a jerk mostly just to Peter. Reading this it seems like he was more of a jerk to everyone.

message 12: by Nicolo (new)

Nicolo (olokin) | 27 comments I like the PDF since its a hi-res copy of the original comic, quite to nifty to read especially on a tablet. Reading it again, the Spidey story feels timeless. Still as good and Uncle Ben's death as wrenching as it was 50 years ago.

message 13: by Nicolo (new)

Nicolo (olokin) | 27 comments But his origin tells us that he could have been a villain too if not for Uncle Ben's death. He basically gave on the world and felt that his uncle and aunt were the only good people in it. That pivotal moment that he realized his selfishness would return and bite him back was what made him rethink his priorities.

message 14: by Ava (new)

Ava Brillat (ava_brillat) | 14 comments Robert wrote: "I find one of Stan Lee's weaknesses as a writer to be his representation of women and how other characters talk about women. It doesn't strike me so much as misogyny as simply ignorance. And i do..."

There's also the issue of the times. The 1960s were very different from today. I brushed aside that comment about the chicks (as a chick myself) when I came to the panel where Peter is muttering to himself about how one day everyone will be sorry they laughed at him. If a kid in school does that today, we immediately prepare for a school shooting. So, different time.

message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

It is so weird reading this comic with all the other adaptations that have been made. From all four movies, the cartoon, the Ultimate Spider-Man series; all of them have expanded on this so much that I don't really know what to think of it. All of the adaptations build up Uncle Ben's presence in Peter's life, but here he's only in the comic for about two panels and then he dies. He doesn't really shape Peter's life as much as he does in the other works. However, it's refreshing to see the origin confined to ten pages. Alright, it's out of the way. Now let's see Spider-Man do some superheroing.

message 16: by Ross (new)

Ross Kitson (rossmkitson) | 23 comments I have read this many times over, but it's always good to go back to it.
The brevity is part of the charm, and clearly due to the format of the pulpy comic it was in (enjoyed the other stories BTW).
I enjoyed the pace, mainly because the key elements of Spiderman were here already- the nerd, whose powers do nothing for his standing; the hard lessons when he tries to profit from it all, and learns the immortal adage; the concerns about his secret identity, evident already.
In retrospect, having had the movies do it twice, plus the cartoons, plus the retelling, reboots, Ultimate re-boots blah blah, it feels almost abrupt when Uncle Ben is murdered. We learn of it by second hand, not directly. We don't see it. Does that give it more impact? I'm not sure- but for me that was the only rushed bit.
Yet we judge it by a modern standard- where stories are stretched excessively over 10 issues and multiple comic events. The immediacy can be a welcome thing- because via the art and well targeted dialogue and narrative we are in no doubt of the bitter-sweet story here.
Refreshingly good.

message 17: by Ross (new)

Ross Kitson (rossmkitson) | 23 comments That's a good point, Scott. It's interesting that both the films chose to have Ben killed 'on the street' rather than a burglary, whereas the Ultimate one (I think) kept the death in the house. The burglary one seems more personal in a way, not least for Aunt May seeing it.

message 18: by Carol (new)

Carol | 6 comments Ross wrote: "I have read this many times over, but it's always good to go back to it.
The brevity is part of the charm, and clearly due to the format of the pulpy comic it was in (enjoyed the other stories BTW..."

I kinda felt it happened the same way for his powers too. The bite happened so quickly, and just a couple of minutes later he knew about his powers, how to use them, and what to use them for. There wasn't any transitional/discovery period or anything. But then again it works for the nature of the story, since it had just started out as a short and not a giant unraveling novel (like nightfall or something).

message 19: by Rob (new)

Rob | 12 comments Despite how quick the origin story was (and probably had to be given the format it originally was presented in) I think it speaks to how universally appealing and important it is that all these years later it still resonates in current comics, movies, tv shows, and other adaptations. Personally I pefer how Uncle Ben's death was handled in this version. The hero losing his mentor or father-figure is an important motif in stories such as this. Not only does it introduce tragedy to the character but it also reminds the hero of the consequences of the life he has chosen, that the hero must go it alone or risk hurting those closest.

message 20: by Dave (new)

Dave Glorioso | 111 comments I am really enjoying reading silver surfer and ASM!
I decided to go back and read corresponding excerpts from the must have Marvel Chronicle:year by year history.
Everyone here would cherish it!!!!!!

Stan Lee had been a fan of a pulp mag called The Spider,Master of Men. It featured a crime fighter that wore a ring that left the image of a spider on the face of anyone he punched.
Lee needed a new character as the Amazing Adult Fantasy had run its course and he planned to use its last issue to showcase a new character,changing name to Amazing Fantasy.
He commissioned Jack Kirby but thought his Peter Parker was too heroic.
He turned to Steve Ditko for his Everyman hero.
Kirby drew the cover . Ditko's was not dramatic enough.
Although Stan claimed that it was slated to be the last issue, the final caption reads, "be sure to see the next issue of Amazing Fantasy..."
Spideys name in #15 is both Spider-Man and Spiderman.
Love interest, Liz Allan is not named but appears on the first and second pages.

Nuff said

message 21: by Annice22 (new)

Annice22 | 25 comments It's interesting how one decision can change your life. If Peter had of decided to stop that robber then perhaps his Uncle Ben would still be alive.

I've always liked Peter Parker, he was just a regular guy who ended up with super powers. After the death of his uncle he wanted to make sure nothing like that happened again.

This was a great read.

message 22: by Dave (new)

Dave Glorioso | 111 comments Hey Ian,
This was Stan's last hurrah with Amazing Fantasy.
He decided to try a new character and squeeze him into that format.
People dug it
Thus Spidey got own comic and more panels


message 23: by Paul (new)

Paul | 3 comments i read Amazing Fantasy #15 last night for the first time in a long while.

Instead of just ploughing through, I thought I would take my time and properly enjoy the art of Steve Ditko.

Jack Kirby's cover is one of the most repeated covers in comics history, and yet it still stands out as one of the very best Spider-Man images.

Everyone knows the story -

Peter Parker, high school bookworm, gets bitten by a spider and gets powers, but after trying to find fame he lets a thief escape and the thief kills Uncle Ben, and Peter vows to use his powers for good!

There were a few things I had forgotten though. It was at a science fair, not a school trip, this has been changed in most of the newer retellings. The transformation is almost immediate. The incident with Uncle Ben occurs after several days of national wrestling fame, he only entered a beat Crusher Hogan competition for 100 dollars!

There is a lot of story in just one issue, but it doesn't feel rushed to me. It hits marks in the life of Peter, without ignoring important details.

The artwork is just outstanding. Such detail is part and parcel now, but back then everything was simpler design. Yet all the webs are drawn into each frame with Spider-Man's suit in, including web gliding wings under the arms.

Spider-Man has never been a character which I loved. Yeah I enjoy a lot of the stories, but there is never any rush to read them, other things were at the top of the pile when the regular comics came through. Re-reading this has made me look forward to reading more Spidey, especially the earlier Lee/Ditko stuff. The introduction of so many hall of fame villains to look forward to. I think this should be fun.

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