Amazing Spider-Man #200, January 1980: The Spider and the Burglar… A Sequel.
Cover by John Romita Sr., pencils Keith Pollard, inks Jim Mooney. Story by Marv Wolfman and special guest writer Stan Lee.
Sometimes a good buy can be right in front of you hidden in plain sight. Our Undervalued spotlight today is a good example of that. I see Amazing Spider-Man #200 at comic shops quite often. Dealers love it. I see copies at cons, on the walls, in the bins, and in customer’s hands. I owned a copy myself for years, a really solid book with many fine attributes. Thirty-five years on it’s still a bargain. Must mean it’s time for the Undervalued Spotlight treatment.
Amazing Spider-Man #200 has a lot going for it. To start, it is a double-size, square bound anniversary issue. By 1980 when this was released these square bound beauties only showed up for special occasions.
This book also sports a beautiful cover by long time Spider-Man artist John Romita Sr. as only he can draw him, and a stirring final page (more like an epilogue) by Stan Lee as only Stan can write it.
On top of that and most importantly we have a sequel to one of the most important comic books of all time Amazing Fantasy #15 the first appearance of Spider-Man.
I am not going to get too deep into the story itself, if you already own it you know the story, if you don’t I won’t spoil it for you. The story features the return of the Burglar, the man who shot Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben. There are revelations, hidden loot, flashbacks, and reconciliations. Most importantly is the battle between the powerless Spider-Man and the still nasty Burglar. And yes I will say the Burglar gets his comeuppance in this well told story.
This book fits nicely in anyone’s Spider-Man collection. I like it best as a starting point for Amazing Spider-Man fan’s just starting out who still want to collect the guy. There are still people who want to do this; I see them at bargain bin’s all the time. Collecting a run from Amazing Spider-Man #200 up is easier on the pocket book and there isn’t a lot of heavy lifting to complete a run (#252 &300 not withstanding) and a lot of good reading.
As an investment I would go for the best unslabbed copy I could find. There are 9.8’s slabbed and I have seen them go anywhere from $125-200 and everything in between. Whatever you do look for a clean square bound edge. Many of these type of square-bounds have a nasty little pinch in them.
45th Overstreet prices are 8.0 $21 / 9.0 $33 /9.2 $45.
- Strengths that make this comic a good investment.
- Double size, Square-bound Anniversary Issue.
- Solid story connected to Spider-Man’s most important book Amazing Fantasy #15
- Imbedded in Marvel’s most collected title.
- Features a nostalgic return of Stan Lee & John Romita Sr.
Was this Marvel’s last squarebound?
Never thought Spider-man was undervalued, but he sure seems to have quite a number of “undervalued” entries on this board.
I don’t know the answer to that one Scott. I do believe it is the last one in Amazing Spider-Man. I’ll dig in and see what I can find.
Well I agree with you Juan the spotlight has seen more than its fair share of the Amazing one lately. I wrote this piece some time ago for a day when Walt couldn’t answer the bell.
Actually Juan I remember you being a fan of this particular book as a spotlight choice away back in the comment section of Undervalued Spotlight #104. What changed your mind about the book?
There are later annuals that are square-bound (for example, whatever year had the “Web of” (I think it’s #5) with the Blob on the cover, and ASM Annual (#22?) with Speedball. I can’t think of another squarebound issue of the “regular” ASM run though…
ASM #200…terrible story. Sort of an early example of “ret-conning”. AF #15 is perfect on its own. No need to have ruined it by revisiting it and inventing some silly extra “secret” backstory. Same thing they did with Peter Parker’s Parents in Annual #5.
^ To expand: Peter Parker (in costume) neglects to stop random criminal, who escapes and then later (coincidentally) burglarizes Parker’s own home, murdering Uncle Ben, who surprises him. That’s the origin: failure to exercise power while “looking out for #1” ironically hurts the guy who shirked his responsibility, as he loses his father-figure.
ASM #200 needlessly, idiotically complicates this with the contention that some gang’s “secret treasure” (or whatever the hell it is — I haven’t read this comic in 25 or 30 years) is hidden in the Parker household. So, quite conceivably — indeed, ALMOST DEFINITELY — the house would’ve been burglarized –and Uncle Ben’s life endangered — at some other point, either by the same guy or someone else, REGARDLESS of whether the brand-new “TV Sensation” Spider-Man had stopped him at the TV studio or not.
So, in effect, Peter’s (in-)action at that critical moment of his life — his very raison d’être, the guilt that prevents him from ever quitting his Spider-Man identity every time, over the years, he swears to give it up — becomes much, much less important once ASM #200 is published. TOTALLY STUPID, Marvel. (And don’t even mention to me they utterly ruined his origin in the movie Spider-Man 3)
I know Stan Lee agree’s with you on Amazing Spider-Man #5 Annual.Once in an interview I read he was asked if he could take back any one story on Spider-Man what would it be? He answered the story of Peter Parker’s parents in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #5. He thought he made the parents too James Bond like.
I think you are right on that Speed Ball annual. I don’t own a copy but I do seem to remember it being square-bound.
As for your theory on the burglar and the treasure. I thought it was a fairly harmless add to the story. You are making an assumption the burglar or burglars are going to try and rob the house while it is occupied (yeah they are dumb burglars). Who knows how Uncle Ben would react if Aunt May life was in danger? A lot of What If’s and to be certain, and we can only really go with what did happen.
I for one would have been pleased if they had told this story sooner if it had stopped Peter Parker’s whining about being Spider-Man and how it was ruining his life. The classic Amazing Spider-Man #50 should have put a lid on that sob story, instead of the endless repeats of that story line that followed. Ditto Ben Grimm and the The Thing. I better quit now I’m starting to sound hard-hearted!
What I’m saying is, the Parker house “now” (ret-conned, post ASM #200) is not a random scene of a particular crime, but a specific target because of money hidden inside. That profoundly lessens the dramatic significance of Peter’s choice not to stop the burglar on the night before the random* burglary that resulted in Uncle Ben’s death. *-random in AF 15, that is.
Pre-ASM #200, the Parker household was statistically no more or less likely to be burglarized than any other household: i.e., if Peter Parker, in the crucial moment of his life, had stopped the robber at the TV studio, then that same burglar wouldn’t’ve been free to attempt the burglary the next night, and the Parker family, like the vast majority of others, most probably would’ve carried on its merry way, all three members alive and burglar-free.
Any other “what ifs” that might or might not befall them WOULDN’T DERIVE FROM PETER’S CHOICE to REFRAIN from acting.
Post-ASM #200, however, Peter merely chose not to stop a burglar who — knowing the house is “hot” with hidden loot — very likely would’ve tried to rob it at some future point anyway. So in this “new” version, even IF Spidey HAD exercised his power to stop the criminal, the criminal very probably would still try to rob the house — sure, perhaps not for months or even years (e.g., after being released from his sentence for robbing the TV studio) — or he might alert some accomplice that there’s loot there, or whatever …yes, these things are only WHAT IFs: yes, maybe they’d rob the house when no one’s home; maybe Uncle Ben wouldn’t surprise him and be shot — NONE OF THAT MATTERS! The point is, a house with loot, which criminals know is there, is a TARGET. As a matter of drama, that makes Peter Parker’s failure to act AT THAT MOMENT much less significant.
Speaking of WHAT IF: they did a story in the original series of that comic: “What if Uncle Ben had lived?” The What If story everyone had been awaiting! What drastic “change” happened in this alternate reality? Did Peter do the right thing, and use his power instead of “looking out for #1”? Uh, no. It just turns out that Uncle Ben didn’t have back pain, so he stayed in bed. No change to the pivotal moment, Peter’s failure to act in the TV studio. It was just BACK PAIN. What a colossal let-down. Even as a 10 year-old I understood storytelling well enough to see that they absolutely ruined this.
P.S. Sorry for all the “shouting”. No way to use italics for emphasis on here, is there? So I had to resort to caps.
No way to use “italics” or for me to correct grammar errors (like on my last comment).
I see your point. I don’t think it will change how Peter Parker feels about his role in his Uncle Ben’s death though.
I also remember that Uncle Ben What If story as you did – a dud!
PS Web of Spider-Man Annual #4 – the Slug! dreadful character. 64 pages and square bound. I am sure there are a few other annuals in the marvel universe out there that were square bound post ASM #200. I can’t remember any others in regular monthly issues.
The square bound annuals went a bit further; the one after Speedball (Spidey and She-Hulk vs Abomination) was also square bound.
But as to regular runs, the only thing I can think of off the top of my head post-ASM 200 (which is Jan 1980) are the first few issues of King Conan. #1 is March 1980.
The Slug, the Blob…how could I ever have mixed up those two??? Luckily there isn’t one called “the Glob” or “the Turd”.
Thanks Readcomix – I never read those King Conan books – good info, and the Amazing Spider-Man Annuals #22 &23.
PS Nice copy of Amazing Adventures #1 on the next Comiclink auction. This book is getting so much love from our site, I can’t resist giving it a just little more ^-^!
Thx for the heads-up on AA #1, Mike! I’ll take a peek. You like that book, too?
I do indeed. I once owned a “reader” grade run of Amazing Adventures #1-6 and Amazing Adult Fantasy #7-14. Never did get to Amazing Fantasy #15!
They were a fun books to read. I traded them in for something I can’t remember over 30 years ago. I won’t be bidding on this AA#1 although I do like the grade (7.5).
Thanks Mike! Good to know that I wouldn’t be squaring off against you for it. I’m going to check it out and see when the auction goes off; I’m committed to picking up three raw fairly nice golden age pieces this week, so hopefully it’s a little ways away!
Does anyone mind if I ask an unrelated question, since this thread is so lively and everyone is likely to see it? It seems to me that compared to its late bronze peers, Rom #1 doesn’t seem as readily available. Is that just my anecdotal experience? I’m not sure it’s exactly undervalued, but I just read the free comic book day issue from IDW, which makes me think the original has upside.
I personally always liked Rom and wrote about him over in Arcs & Runs. Up until the IDW announcement last year there were plenty of them (Rom #1) in the cheapie bins. High grade copies too. That has changed. A dealer friend of mine recently picked up a collection with 6 copies of Rom #1 in it. I do hope the new book works.
I’m not crazy; thanks!
Books like ROM have slowly been being scooped up as the comic gold rush continues:
Thanks Charlie. Wow I went from no Rom, to a Rom comic from IDW, to a possible Rom movie. I always wondered why Hasbro (Mattel) and Disney (Marvel) couldn’t strike a deal to bring Rom back in to the Marvel universe. Easy to see why now.
Well, perhaps I must eat my words: I stopped at Walt’s store on the weekend, where I picked up one of the What If? “Classic” TPBs, in which is reprinted an earlier issue (#19) than the one I cited above (#46). In this earlier story — by the same writer as the one I complained about — Uata asks/answers, “What If Spider-Man Had Stopped the Burglar Who Killed His Uncle?” What a surprise! — I had a number of issues of What If when I was a kid, and often sought out others in back issue bins over the years, but oddly enough I can’t ever recall even seeing this one. haven’t read it yet, but I’ll keep an open mind. (Unfortunately Ron Frenz didn’t draw #19; he did draw #46, though – so at least that one has one redeeming quality).
Yes thanks Charlie for the trailer! I had heard about this movie deal from one shop but couldn’t find anything much on it. This explains my Rom observation! I suspect it was a childhood favorite for a lot of Gen X-ers and is the sleeper of that movie universe. Great marvel series, lots of crossovers really integrated it into the Marvel Universe. If IDW follows suit, he has the potential to be a lynchpin character for them.
Did you catch the Comic Link auction with the 7.5 AA #1 in it? I didn’t; and I’m curious what it went for. Once I saw it was today, I couldn’t watch live for fear of temptation — I’m out of ammo having picked up raw, high side of mid-grade Torch #7, All Winners #3 and (slightly lesser grade) Cap #78 earlier this week. Couldn’t pass those up!
Scratch that last question, Mike! I’m a blockhead; I missed that the auction opened tonight, not closed. I’m alive! I’ve got a week to liquidate something…things…thanks!
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