All that talk last week in Undervalued Spotlight about Amazing Spider-Man #37 and the importance of how it fits into the history of Spider-Man got me thinking and asking the question. Why isn’t the Spectacular Spider-Man #2 magazine more in demand.
I remember the lead up to this story like it was yesterday.
After the Goblin learned Spider-Mans identity in Amazing Spider-Man #39 and 40 and then had his memory loss due to the battle and explosion at the climax of number 40, it was a major plot line with a slow fuse that lasted over two years until Norman Osborn got his memory back and returned in a huge way in the now Full Colour Spectacular Spider-Man #2 magazine. I remember how hard I had to hunt for this book. Hanging out in the local pool halls checking out the magazine section( ooh la la), at 11 years old, going to variety stores and drug stores hunting for this book.
When I finally got it home I dove in! How could you top the magnificant painted cover by John Romita? By opening the book to find the first ever, to my knowledge, double page spread! John Romita Sr. And Jim Mooney were at the top of their game and this book features some of the best artwork to ever grace the pages of a Spider-Man book!
The opening sequence and recap of the earlier battles that led up to the conclusion of #40 set the stage for the upcoming battle that was sure to follow.
Stan Lee wrote a masterful story, and the tension building up to the return of the Goblin and the inevitable battle was palpable. The story weaved in and out of Peters personal life, and Spider-Man’s search for the Goblin.
Gwen Stacy never looked better than she did in this book, and all the major cast of characters, Harry, Mary Jane, Captain Stacy, J. Jonah Jameson, had important parts in this book.
Frank Giacoia was given third billing on the frontis piece for illustration, and after looking through this issue in preparation for writing this article, I decided to see if I could tell what exactly he did. I believe he inked some of the background characters on pages 28-34. Frank was a great inker , but he had a little harder edge to his line than Jim Mooney. This is not a criticism, but an observation. Frank did some amazing inks on John Buscema ,Gene Colan and Jack Kirby ,and basically worked on every title Marvel put out!
There are so many iconic panels, half page splashes and full page splashes as well as two double page splashes! It makes your head spin.
The climax to the battle (spoiler alert) where Spidey uses the Goblins own hallucinogens against him to once again induce amnesia works very well and is graphically satisfying.
In looking to see where Frank Giacoia was evident earlier, I noticed another interesting artistic tidbit. The last four pages of the story were both pencilled and inked by John Romita.
Once again, I have no idea why this magazine isn’t at the top of every Spidey collectors list. Fantastic story! Fantastic artwork! Fantastic villain and supporting cast! All woven masterfully by arguably the premier team of Stan Lee, John Romita and Jim Mooney at the height of the Silver Age!
Somewhere along the way, I have heard that one of the reasons why this book never became incredibly expensive was because a warehouse in New Jersey was discovered full of mint copies. How true this is I have no idea, but if you are a Spider-Man fan and you don’t have this as well as the 1st issue of the Spectacular Spider-Man magazine in your collection, you are truly missing out on a fantastic and important piece in the history of the wall crawler!
probably the same reason that his 4th appearance (strange tales annual #2) is worth 70% (?) less than ASM #3… no real reason at all.. .
I am obviously already a convert on this one Dennis, A great book and still undervalued and under appreciated. Nestor I agree on that Strange Tales Annual #2, it might be Spider-Mans most undervalued appearence of them all.
Since Mike won’t toot his own horn, he did a guest Undervalued Spotlight featuring this very issue.
I did not know that!Humility is a virtue!
Always happy to see this book get the praise it richly deserves.
This book should be closing in on 1000.00! This is not hyperbolic! It is rare, unique, significant, and it’s the Goblin. Oh, did I mention that it is a Romita masterpiece? Well, it’s a Romita masterpiece! Indeed, $1000.00 for 9.2!
Comic collectors don’t like magazines. Marvel Preview #2…first Punisher origin or #7 first Rocket Raccoon. Should be worth more than they are, but aren’t. Although the Spec Spiderman #2 is full color and probably some of Romita’s best spidey work.
You know what Mike, that is probably the best answer to this question.Myself recently, have really enjoyed some of the Marvel Magazines. Great stories and art .Some of my favorites are The early Savage Sword of Conan, with the amazing Buscema /Alcala art as well as the Dezuniga inked issues. My favorite ones from that run are the ones inked by Big John himself. Most of the Marvel Preview run had some great story and art and some of Gene Colan/Tom Palmer work was done in Tomb of Dracula. I particularily like the fact that I have been able to buy high grade raw copies for $5 or $10 .
Plus I do not like the black and white. ..love color comics. Luckily about 10 years ago my comic dealer talked me into reading a black and white. ..Walking Dead. Thanks to him I have the first 50 issues. Great stories and art in the magazines.
I on the other hand do like B&W artwork.Not all B&W artwork is created equal , but then again neither is color.
Not sure where to put this but I thought I’d share this insightful article with lots of even more insightful links, including an in depth interview with Jack Kirby:
Did I mention that it was insightful…?
^Thanks for that link.
As for SSM #2, I honestly think a lot of people just simply forget about this one. And if you forget it exists, you’re not out driving the price up with bids and purchases.
Not strictly a part of the ASM run, almost like an annual – or worse – maybe not even considered a “comic book” or a part of the “true” Spider-Man continuity (I’m not saying it’s not, but that might be the feeling of some collectors. Although it WAS reprinted in an annual…).
Never heard the tale about a whole lot of mint copies in any warehouse, but I know where one Near Mint copy is….in my collection. I also have a VF+ copy of Strange Tales Annual #2. Both very undervalued.
Tom, As you probably remember from an earlier post, I am not a big fan of SS books.However ,I do have a 9.8 copy signed by Stan Lee.I would have preferred it without but it is a stunning copy.The Strange Tales Annual #2 is a book I have never actually owned.I think I will have to change that.Very Undervalued indeed!
If you Google “Chuck Rozanski Manhatten warehouse find” …it will lead you to links about the tons of mint books. Interesting reading…