Cover Date: May 1965
Cover Artists: Steve Ditko
“Spider-Man Goes Mad!”
Plotters: Stan Lee, Steve Ditko
Scripter: Stan Lee
Penciller: Steve Ditko
Inker: Steve Ditko
What’s Going On?
Like the covers says…Spider-Man thinks he is losing his mind!
- Aunt May needs some money, but Peter hasn’t sold a photo to the Daily Bugle in weeks. So, he dons his Spider-Man suit, finds a crime in progress, and takes some pictures.
- Unfortunately, Frederick Foswell witnessed Spidey in action; Peter won’t be able to sell the photos now, since Foswell would know that Peter wasn’t at the scene.
- Adding to Peter’s bad luck, J. Jonah Jameson had the bright idea of asking Bugle readers why they hate Spidey. They don’t, not really, but they lie or exaggerate to get their names in the paper.
- These interviews are a big hit for the Bugle.
- This attracts the attention of a psychiatrist, Dr. Ludwig Rinehart, who tells JJJ that Spider-Manis clearly close to a mental breakdown. Jameson happily runs a headline declaring Spider-Man a nut.
- This worries Peter. He decides to head to the Bugle so he can hopefully talk to the doctor and see if he’s legit.
- When he gets there, though, he starts seeing his greatest foes —- only for them to disappear moments later! Is Spidey truly cracking up?
- Peter decides to go home and get some sleep. But when he looks in the mirror, he is frightened by his sickly appearance. He concludes that something is definitely wrong with his mind.
- Dressed as Spider-Man, he heads to Dr. Rinehart’s home office to speak to the doctor. But when he arrives, he sees upside-down rooms!
- Despite all of his hallucinations (or because of them), Spidey agrees to let the doctor help him.
- Spider-Man is so convinced by Dr. Reinhart, that he is about to reveal his secret identity and quit being Spider-Man, after only minutes of counseling!
- But at that moment, an enraged J. Jonah Jameson barges in and declares Reinhart a fraud —- the man has no medical license!
- Reinhart panics and tries to flee, with Spidey close behind. As they run through the house, Spidey encounters more illusions and even the upside-down rooms, but realizes that they are all tricks! The “doctor” was actually Quentin Beck —- Mysterio, master of illusions —- all along!
- When Mysterio explains how close he was to having Spider-Man unmask, Jonah is aghast; he basically saved Spider-Man! D’oh!
Is It Good?
It’s pretty good. I like the unusual storyline and plot structure. Like so many of the best Spidey stories, the supporting cast played a huge part in this issue, and they are really what elevates this pretty basic plot to to another level.
- Mysterio last appeared in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1.
- The Parkers are having money problems again.
- Peter is jealous and upset when he learns that Betty is writing letters to Ned Leeds, while he is in Europe.
- Flash Thompson is still Spider-Man’s most outspoken fan. Later, he literally chases JJJ down the street while yelling at him about Spider-Man.
- Peter has agreed to tutor Liz Allan. This makes Flash jealous.
- With Peter mad at Betty, could something romantic be brewing between him and Liz?
- This is a legitimately good fan question. The answer…not so much.
Comics Are Goofy:
- Peter Parker is a very generous man. The package cost $6.75.
- Jameson is an experienced newsman who has doubtlessly spoken to many doctors of many types. The ones willing to talk to the press about patients that they have never met are the ones newspapers would be extra wary of. I understand that the workaround here is “Jonah hates Spider-Man,” but I can’t help finding JJJ’s acceptance of Dr. Reinhart the least realistic thing in this story about a spider-powered teen.
- JJJ literally running away from a high schooler cracks me up.