After rediscovering one of my childhood comics in the used bins at Slackers, this Marvel enthusiast finally gathered the motivation to seek out the conclusion to Spectacular Spider-Man #22, here thirty-five years later. In my defense, I hardly had the financial upright mobility, nor the attention span to do so back in 1978- some things never change :D I finally get to see Spidey and Moon Knight clash with the Cyclone, barely escaping their tornadic tormentor to head for Moon Knight's war room and regroup. Meanwhile, Holly Gillis and Hector Ayayla (the White Tiger) pine for one another alone, Mary Jane gets no answer at Peter Parker's place and hits the disco with Marty, and Betty Brant cries on the bed for Ned after failing to set off sparks with Parker! The drama is palpable! Our heroes track Cyclone down at Grant's Tomb, hoping to nab the elusive crime boss Maggia, but only grab the Cyclone and a roomful of goons. Was he the dark figure peering from it's lid of the General's sarcophagus as the melee raged?? I missed Mike Zeck's pencils, but Jim Mooney keeps the transition smooth here, satisfying to finally read so many years later!
Perhaps as profound as finding Spectacular Spider-Man issues 22 and 23 here in my adulthood was finding issue Amazing Spider-Man 192- yet another comic I instantly recognized released only a year later in May of 1979. Every panel in the comic was familiar, journaling Spider-Man and Daily Bugle Editor Jonah Jameson's struggle, locked together with a bomb by mad scientist Spencer Smythe, now terminal with illness from the plutonium used to power his mechanical Spider-Slayers. Riveting! The unlikely partners run into the fearsome Fly in their race against the clock, knocking Spidey unconscious and indefensible against Jameson's prying eyes... did he look under the mask?? Spider-Man's heroic rescue was smart and selfless, the ungrateful Jameson's stinging criticism replaced with the tears of realization that his webbed nemesis saved his life, and that he was a fool. I remember the blustery, bigoted editor's crying face in this confessional last page. Emotional!
Onto a trail of childhood comic book memories, my luck continued when scoring the following issue #193 of Amazing Spider-Man, another that I undoubtedly owned, the panels so familiar to my eyes. Unbelievable! And the cover is as worth the price of admission at it is today- about two bucks on Amazon. A small price to uncover latent memories of my initial experiences with comics. Wonderful!
Fired by Jameson and fearful of the possibility that his alter-ego was discovered by the furious editor, Parker pursues the fearsome Fly to finish what he couldn't while handcuffed to his ex-boss. After losing the Fly's trail and being dumped on the phone by Mary Jane, our hero seeks solace in his old flame Betty Brant, who discovers Peter's open door while passing by. Late to receive his diploma, the worried girl stopped by to check on the tardy student's whereabouts, shortly thereafter found in a compromising situation when her jealous beau Ned Leeds catches up and knocks Pete on his duff! Oh the tangled web Parker has spun! The angry youth takes to the skyscrapers as Spider-Man, after the Fly with a vengeance uncharacteristic of our hard luck hero, only to be disappointed by the discovery of the villains capture by New York's finest! Is there no satisfaction due our constantly confounded wall crawler?? Hopefully not, as that is why we identify so easily with this legendary character- the weight of his awesome responsibility as Spider-Man and his struggle to do what's right while holding his young life together as Peter Parker. Oh the humanity!
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