I had to do this project for the worst possible reason -- rampant mildew in my collection is forcing me to trash all my comic books from the 1970s. Before throwing them in the garbage, I risked my lungs on one last look at each of these...
Amazing Spider-Man #98 (1971, reprint). “The Goblin’s Last Gasp!” Grade: B+. Smarter-than-average Green Goblin story, thanks to the first serious treatment of drug abuse in comics.
Amazing Spider-Man #128 (1973, reprint). “The Vulture Hangs High!” Grade: A-. A successful way to bring back the Vulture and make him interesting was to have him not be the real Vulture and make it a mystery.
Amazing Spider-Man #133 (1974, reprint). “The Molten Man Breaks Out!” Grade: B. I can see where making the Molten Man actually molten was supposed to make him more interesting, but it doesn’t work and – as Karl Kessel showed 25 years later, didn’t even need doing.
Amazing Spider-Man #141 (1974, reprint). “The Man’s Name Appears to Be…Mysterio!” Grade: A. I’ve always liked Mysterio adventures, as they always challenge Spider-Man cerebrally, where it really counts.
Amazing Spider-Man #147 (Aug. 1975). “The Tarantula Is a Very Deadly Beast!” Grade: B+. My very first Spider-Man comic book from when I was growing up. I’ve always liked the Tarantula despite him being a weak villain, just as much as I’ve always despised the Jackal for being played up as a major villain but being so weak.
Amazing Spider-Man #148 (Sept. 1975). “Jackal, Jackal, Who’s Got the Jackal?” Grade: B. Sigh. Did I mention not hating the Jackal already?
Amazing Spider-Man #149 (Oct. 1975, reprint). “Even If I Live, I Die!” Grade: C. The whole “clone saga” got stupider the longer it stretched on – every time there was a clone saga. You’d think they’d learn…
Amazing Spider-Man #150 (Nov. 1975). “Spider-Man …or Spider-Clone?” Grade: A-. At least the “clone saga” ended with this nice conclusion, with Spider-Man – like many young people – questioning his own identity. Today, his surprise love for Mary Jane seems forced, but back then it read as powerful.
Amazing Spider-Man #151 (Dec. 1975). “Skirmish Beneath the Streets!” Grade: A-. Probably the most exciting Shocker story of all.
Amazing Spider-Man #152 (Jan. 1976). “Shattered by the Shocker!” Grade: B. So what a let down part 2 was.
Amazing Spider-Man #166 (Mar. 1977). “War of the Reptile-Men!” Grade: B+. Oh, secret shame…Stegron was such a goofy character, but he just looked so cool!
Amazing Spider-Man #193 (Jun. 1979). “The Wings of the Fearsome Fly!” Grade: B. What? Spider-Man spends all issue hunting down the Fly, but the police beat him to it? Hmm, if it’s a tribute to Steve Ditko’s brand of storytelling, then I’ll let this pass…
Amazing Spider-Man #194 (Jul. 1979). “Never Let the Black Cat Cross Your Path!” Grade: B. Marv Wolfman really believed in this character, and so did Spider-Man’s editors for a long time, but I never bought into her as a romantic interest for Spidey and, ultimately, neither did most of his readership.
Amazing Spider-Man #198 (Nov. 1979). “Mysterio Is Deadlier by the Dozen!” Grade: A-. Wolfman really got it right here – re-introducing the Burglar after 17 years was exciting!
Amazing Spider-Man #199 (Dec. 1979). “Now You See Me! Now You Die!” Grade: A. The exciting was really building up to the revelation as to why Uncle Ben died. I’ve read a summary of what happened in #200, but never got to read the whole thing.
Amazing Spider-Man #216 (May 1981). “Marathon” Grade: A-. A pretty fun race-against time story.
Wolverine by Paul Smith
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