Cover Date: August 1962
Writers: Stan Lee, Steve Ditko
Penciller: Steve Ditko
Inker: Steve Ditko
Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko
What’s Going On?
Unpopular teen Peter Parker goes to a science exhibit in his free time, only to wind up bitten by a radioactive spider. The bite gives Peter super-strength, agility, and the ability to climb walls.
Like any unpopular teen would, he uses his talents to become famous on TV as the costumed performer Spider-Man. One day, his increasingly selfish attitude prevents him from stopping a thief.
That comes back to haunt him when Peter’s beloved Uncle Ben is murdered — by the very thief Peter could have stopped earlier.
Is It Good?
Actually, yes — especially when you consider that the story is only eleven pages! We get the classic origin story in this issue, the costume looks great, and Marvel’s first hero driven by tragedy. Ditko’s art is different than you might expect from this era of Marvel — Spider-Man in action looks a little stilted, and many characters look a little cartoony — but it is distinctive enough to stand apart from Jack Kirby’s style. And Ditko does a good job with facial expressions; this classic scene still hits home (even if Ditko added Spidey’s pupils as a flourish):
- Peter appears to have a chip on his shoulder:
- To test out his new powers, Peter enters a wrestling contest with Crusher Hogan
- Peter develops his costume, web-shooters, and web fluid on his own, seemingly overnight.
- The first use of “With great power comes great responsibility” comes, not from Uncle Ben, but a narrator caption.
- This is the first appearance of Peter Parker (Spider-Man), Aunt May, Uncle Ben (who also dies in this issue), Flash Thompson, and Liz Allen (she is not given a name in this issue, though).
- The story closes with a note stating that Spider-Man would return in the next issue of Amazing Fantasy. As it turns out, this is the final issue of Amazing Fantasy until 1995. Spider-Man’s next appearance will be in Amazing Spider-Man #1, cover-dated March 1963 — seven months after his debut!
Comics Are Goofy:
- Weird caption to open a super-hero comic with, Marvel
- Sick burn, random student
- Peter Parker has a tough life. Even when he’s not dealing with high schoolers being cruel, he’s getting ridiculed by (adult!) scientists and random motorists.
- Congratulations to Spider-Man for winning the prestigious…Showbiz Award?
- This cop needs to get fired. You never tell a victim’s family where to find a suspect.
Behind the Scenes:
- Steve Ditko penciled and inked his own cover that, for unknown reasons, was rejected by the editorial staff (read: Stan Lee). He wound up inking the classic Jack Kirby cover that was published. Here is a look at the original cover (image taken from Carl’s Comics because it was the best image I could find of it in black-and-white):
Amazing Fantasy was an anthology title, and this issue contained four stories. However, since the other three are pretty standard science fiction fare, I’m going to ignore them.