etragedy's Amazing Fantasy #15 - Spider-Man! review

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Historical Sigificance vs. Storytelling Quality

Part of CV's Top 100 Spider-Man Universe Stories - reviewed!

This is it. One of the most prized comics in comic book history. The comic that introduced Spider-Man to the world. An original of this baby is worth more than the wealth of some entire nations.

Amazing Fantasy ran for fourteen issues as Amazing Adult Fantasy before there was an attempt to retool it to boost sales. 'Adult' was removed from the title, stories were reduced from six per issue to five, and a new costumed character, Spider-Man was installed as the flagship character just as Thor was for Journey Into Mystery. Did it work? Not exactly. Amazing Fantasy was discontinued (although decades later a few more issues were produced).

Amazing Fantasy was a victim of its own success. The following year, Amazing Spider-Man was launched, and the rest is, as they say, history.

But is it any good?

It depends on how you define 'good'. 'Spider-Man', was probably better than most superhero stories at the time, but it is hardly the best version of the Spider-Man origin ever created - he makes his costume, comes up with the name Spider-Man, and creates his web shooters all in four panels.

Nor is it, objectively speaking, the best fantasy story in the book. While 'The Bell Ringer' is a standard comic fantasy story of the period, and 'The Man in the Mummy Case' a standard horror one, 'There Are Martians Among Us', is a quality sci-fi story worthy of The Twilight Zone. And Steve Ditko's artwork is better on this story than any of the others, including the two part Spider-Man story.

Still, you can't call yourself a comic fan - and certainly not a Spider-Man fan - if you haven't read it. So for sheer landmark importance, I'm giving it four stars - though from an objective standpoint, it probably deserves three and a half - which is still a whole star above average for its vintage.

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