Well, after two issues in a row where Spidey took on Doc Ock, maybe it’s time to bring in another classic Spider-Man foe for a first encounter.
You know, not the Enforcers.
Issue: The Amazing Spider-Man #13, June 1964
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Steve Ditko
The Plot: Spider-Man, framed for crimes he didn’t commit, has to take on the menace of Mysterio!
Commentary: A note on the cover to start: I love how these covers will just toss in all kinds of details that, yes, do occur in the issue, but not always for very long. Does Spider-Man turn to crime? Of course not. Does he see a psychiatrist? For about a page before he panics and swings off that this doctor will learn his secret identity. Not that it matters much since I am pretty sure the doctor wouldn’t recognize Peter Parker anyway. Maybe Spidey just realized he couldn’t pay the man’s bill.
However, this is another issue where some mysterious character with an outlandish look shows up, and while J Jonah Jameson is usually quick to suggest the outlandish figure is Spider-Man in some kind of disguise–even if as Spider-Man he already wears a disguise–this time Jameson assumes the mysterious new guy is a good guy, and just the guy to bring in that masked menace Spider-Man, particularly since Spider-Man has been committing robberies, the likes of which could theoretically only be committed by Spider-Man,
Heck, Spidey actually wonders if he cracked and maybe he did commit those crimes.
He didn’t. It’s the mysterious new guy, appropriately named Mysterio.
This is one of those stories where Jameson’s shortsightedness probably made things worse. Mysterio “defeats” Spider-Man thanks to his illusions and special effects work, and he gets a ticker tape parade as well as a reminder that Jameson owes him money for defeating Spider-Man. Seriously, Jameson should stop to think Spider-Man not only never asked for or got a parade, but he also never demanded payment for services rendered.
It also raises the question of why Jameson is the one to make such payments, but I suppose it was because he put a bounty on Spider-Man. He tends to do stuff like that. If anything, Jameson should maybe not feel too bad that he’s wrong again because that parade looked pretty crowded with a lot of folks cheering on Mysterio. If even Peter was questioning what happened before he realized the truth, maybe that explains why Jameson isn’t bankrupt by this point. Sure, Flash Thompson is still Spider-Man’s biggest fan, but Peter would rather not deal with him anyway.
Oh, and there are more complications about Peter’s love life, but I don’t wanna talk about that.
Ultimately, this is a case where Spider-Man does defeat the bad guy, but he does it mostly with a tape recorder when he gets Mysterio to monologue about where he came from and what he did. I did note Mysterio said he started out as a stunt man instead of a special effects guy, and the stunt work came into play a couple times, but that’s not something that gets much attention from the character these days. However, that was a rather inspired use of a bad guy monologue to the good guy’s advantage.
I’m just not sure where Peter carried that tape recorder…