March 26, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Noteworthy Issues: The Amazing Spider-Man #14 (July, 1964)

Spider-Man meets the Green Goblin!

Alright!  Finally!  The Green Goblin is on the scene in all his mysterious glory!

Mostly because he’s just a man in the shadows when he takes his mask off.

Issue:  The Amazing Spider-Man #14, July 1964

Writer:  Stan Lee

Artist:  Steve Ditko

The Plot:  The Green Goblin appears for the first time and sets a death trap for Spider-Man!

Commentary:  While there is a good case to be made that Dr. Octopus is Spider-Man’s archenemy, let’s face it:  that position should probably belong to the Green Goblin.  I’d ask Jimmy, but I don’t need to.  Jimmy knows.

So, here’s his first appearance, an unknown man plotting against Spider-Man and flying around on his…rocket powered broomstick?  OK, I always dug the Goblin’s general look (though I honestly prefer the Hobgoblin’s yellow to the Green Goblin’s…green), but seeing him flying around with something other than his standard glider is a little odd.  His other weapons seem to be in a prototype form, and he’s not even a known criminal when he first shows up, instead appearing as a guy who makes a deal with a movie studio executive to get Spider-Man into a movie, and since this is a comic book, the executive goes for it without thinking and from there, it’s just a matter of getting Spider-Man to the West Coast.

That’s actually easy.  The contract is generous.  Jolly Jonah sent Peter to get pictures, and Aunt May doesn’t mind that her underage nephew is spending time in another time zone for the foreseeable future…these people did know it took more than a weekend to shoot a feature film, right?  Regardless, Betty is jealous because I don’t have enough to be mildly disturbed by in life, and Peter is on set as Spider-Man, meeting the Goblin and the Enforcers.  See, the Goblin recruited those three, and Peter assumes they’re actors or stuntmen or something until they attack him out in the middle of nowhere.

So, that means Spidey gets into a fourway fight with those bozos, right?  Sure, at first.  But most of the issue seems to be devoted to Spider-Man battling…the Hulk, who just so happened to be hiding in a cave and who does not appreciate anyone coming along and bothering him.  The fight there is pretty good, especially as the characters were both still fairly new so, for example, how strong either Spider-Man or the Hulk were in comparison to each other was still being more or less established.  Plus, one of the things I generally like about Silver Age comics is how creative and weird they are.  Quite frankly, a webslinger like Spider-Man fighting a guy on a rocket-powered “broomstick” (always written in quotation marks) is about as weird as it gets, even without the giant green rage monster or the three mob muscle guys who somehow think they can match wits and blows with Spider-Man because one of them is good with a rope.

Of course, in the end, the Goblin gets away and Spider-Man gets no money, because Parker Luck.

Next up:  Kraven the Hunter.

Grade:  A

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