July 20, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Noteworthy Issues: The Amazing Spider-Man #57 (February, 1968)

An amnesiac Spider-Man has to deal with Ka-Zar.

I forgot to mention last week that the previous issue was the first appearance of Gwen Stacy’s father, retired policeman Captain George Stacy.  He seems like a nice man.  He’s also, with John Jameson, the only Spider-Man fan in town from the looks of things.

Yes, Flash Thompson is still a fan, but he’s off in Vietnam right about now from the looks of things.

Issue:  The Amazing Spider-Man #57, February 1968

Writer:  Stan Lee

Artists:  Don Heck and John Romita Sr

The Plot: Spider-Man can’t remember anything, but that won’t stop Ka-Zar from coming after him.

Commentary:  Ka-Zar?  Really?  This issue brought in obvious Tarzan rip-off Ka-Zar and his pet sabertooth tiger Zabu?  Wow.  I did not see that coming.

Then again, the only reason Ka-Zar would go after Spider-Man is J. Jonah Jameson talks him into it.  Of course Jameson needs to find someone from way out of town to even listen to him anymore, but this is J Jonah Jameson.  Any novelty that looks remotely superhuman that shows up in the city is someone he thinks can maybe destroy Spider-Man.  Or capture him.  Or at least unmask him.  I’m not actually sure what he wants.  He almost talks the amnesiac Spidey into taking his mask off, but then Ka-Zar shows up and ruins everything.

Maybe if Jameson hadn’t spent so much time convincing a single-minded guy who hates all the trappings of civilization to go after Spider-Man, that wouldn’t have happened.

As it is, Peter has problems because he doesn’t remember he’s Peter.  He’s swiping sandwiches from rooftop balcony parties and sleeping in bus stations.  And I’ll bet that costume is really starting to stink.  Leaving the mask on all the time probably doesn’t help there. But one problem Peter thought he had–that Harry would get suspicious if he saw Peter’s Spider-Man stuff out in plain sight–is not a problem because Harry does find a spider-tracer and assumes Spider-Man kidnapped Peter Parker, a story that soon spreads throughout the city, leading to Gwen telling off Spidey even as John Jameson and her father try to help the guy but also think he might be more dangerous.

Why?  I don’t know.

Anyway, Ka-Zar actually prevails despite the fact he’s just a regular guy with a large cat.  But Spider-Man still can’t remember anything.

Hopefully he remembers who he is before Norman Osborn does.

Wait, how often did Stan hit the amnesia plot?

Grade:  A-