January 28, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Noteworthy Issues: The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #2 (October, 1965)

Spider-Man gives a hand to Dr. Strange because someone had to, and I didn't see you stepping up, Jimmy.

Huh.  I thought Annuals were supposed to be extra-sized issues.  This one is only a couple pages longer than a normal monthly, and the last few pages are pin-ups of the different bad guys Spider-Man had faced off with since the previous annual.

Eh, it’s all included with Marvel Unlimited anyway…

Oh, wait.  The cover says the issue included a bunch of reprints.

Issue:  The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #2, October 1965

Writer:  Stan Lee

Artist:  Steve Ditko

The Plot:  Spider-Man finds himself involved in a case with Dr. Strange!

Commentary:  Honestly, Dr. Strange is both the most and least likely character to team up with Spider-Man.  He’s not exactly someone who works in the same area as Spidey, dealing with magical threats while Spider-Man smacks around rooms full of mobsters.  I would think Dr. Strange would deal with, say, the Green Goblin rather easily by just banishing him to the Dark Dimension and calling it a day.

Mental note:  why hasn’t Strange done stuff like that?  Sure, it’s cruel, but it also sounds kinda badass.  Besides, if Reed Richards, Tony Stark, and a Skrull posing as Hank Pym can build a Negative Zone prison in what was apparently a matter of days, I am sure Strange can just drop kick villains into a portal and go get himself an ice cream sundae as a reward.  Eh, those issues would probably wouldn’t be very long.  It would be all, “HAHAH, Strange, it is I, the Chameleon, here to steal you…hey, what’s this glowing circle of light and dread appearing under my feet?  OH NO!”  And then there’d be, like, 19 or so pages of Strange balancing his checkbook or something equally exciting.

Where was I?  Oh yeah.  Why is Strange the most appropriate?  Because he and Spidey are basically the two characters that got drawn by Steve Ditko.  Maybe Jack Kirby could knock out a Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Fantastic Four, Avengers, Hulk, X-Men, and a roadmap to Watson’s mancave, but Marvel had other artists too, and Ditko was one of them.  You know, until he left the company over something I will get to probably sometime in the near future.

The point is, Dr. Strange and Spider-Man don’t really belong together for any real reason, especially given the excessive formality Stan Lee’s dialogue gives Strange, but it probably wasn’t too difficult for Ditko to think of something that would bring the two together.  And sure enough, here it is:  some doofus evil sorcerer wants the Wand of Watoomb, so he hypnotizes two bruisers, giving them massive strength and the ability to ignore pain.  Since Strange has one half of the Wand and the evil doofus has the other, he sends the goons to take it from Strange’s house…which apparently isn’t that difficult to get into.  I mean, you’d think it would have some defenses against some brainwashed hoods who just bust in, rough up Strange, and leave with the Wand.

Meanwhile, Spider-Man is swinging by in time to see the two silent goons emerge from the rooftop entrance to Strange’s house and figures out correctly that they are up to no good.  Probably because one of them shops at the same store as the Sandman.  Anyway, Spidey manages to follow the goons back to the doofus’s hideout, and then he manages to play keep-away with the Wand until Strange can show up, and whatever that doofus figured, he was no match for both Spider-Man and Dr. Strange.

What a doofus.

Anyway, it is nice to see Spider-Man make a friend like that.

Grade:  A-

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