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A personal favorite – The Amazing Spider-Man #33

March 21, 2010

When I was little I used to have a lot of the Marvel Tales reprints of the classic Stan Lee/Steve Ditko run on The Amazing Spider-Man, so in a way I grew up discovering the character in the same way as someone back in the 60’s.  This was one of the issues that was reprinted that really stuck in my memory.  There was just something about it – maybe it was because poor Peter was at one of his lowest moments, having struggled to get a life saving cure for dear old Aunt May but finding himself hopelessly trapped under a mountain of machinery as water slowly rose around him.

Good stuff.

Years later – actually decades later, yikes – I was more than a little gratified to find that I wasn’t alone in my reverence for this one issue.  There’s this little BBC documentary out there called “In Search of Steve Ditko” that’s absolutely fantastic.  If you haven’t seen it before, someone has posted it on YouTube and I’ve embedded part 1 below – parts 6 & 7 deal with ASM #33.  Watch the whole thing, though – it’s a great look at one of the greatest and most reclusive creators the comic book world has ever had.  And speaking of great creators, no less than Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman talk about how, well, amazing (sorry) this issue is.  I like what I like and it’s not as if my personal tastes need validation, but hearing these two guys wax rhapsodic about an issue that I’ve always dug makes me happy inside.  Call me crazy.

I picked up this issue at one of my local stores.  I got an OK deal – not a steal but I wasn’t fleeced either.  Condition wise, as you can see by the scan above, it has some wear on the spine and there’s a crease in the lower left hand corner, but it still has quite a bit of eye appeal.  Somewhere between a VG and Fine.  And while your eyes are there, just look at that great cover.  I love the way Ditko draws the water coming down on Spidey (even though it seems to come from nowhere), the way it doesn’t splash so much as branch off into solid rivulets.  The lines he uses for the water kind of remind me of those psychedelic backgrounds he would draw in his Dr. Strange stories.  Nice.  Maybe the highest compliment I can offer the cover is that it makes you want to look inside to see how the hero gets his way out of this one.  It makes me want to look inside, and I’ve read the thing already.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 1, 2010 12:11 pm

    Great post (and great blog, too…I just discovered it through a link on Silver Age Comics)! This is one of my favorite issues of ASM as well. I love the way that Lee and Ditko drag out Spider-Man’s dilemma in the story, making the scene into a character study when they could just as easily have had him throw off all that machinery in a single panel and then move on.

    Anyhow, I hope you’ll keep up the great work here and that I’ll still be reading your thoughts for a long time to come!

  2. June 25, 2011 11:39 am

    I also grew up reading Marvel Tales reprints of Amazing Spider-Man. Steve Ditko’s work has a special place in my heart. Thanks for the documentary link.


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