Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) Annual #4

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: From The Beginning

This review was first published on: Mar 2013.

Background...

Our final two-page spread looks from outside through a cutaway in the brick to present Peter and Harry’s apartment.

In Detail...

"Finally... A Visit to Petey's Pad!"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) Annual #4 (Story 5)
Editor:  Stan Lee
Writer:  Stan Lee
Pencils:  Larry Lieber
Inker:  Mike Esposito
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A smiling Harry walks through the living room, which is neat as a pin. (Stan tells us, “It’s not usually this neat, but they tidied up when they heard we were coming!”) It’s a pretty large living room with a couch, coffee table (ashtray and cigarette lighter on the table), a low bookcase with rotary telephone and magazines on top, two chairs, a small TV on a table, a wooden table chair, one of those light poles that goes from floor to ceiling with three lights on it, and two cabinets. One cabinet has a bowl of fruit on it and the other has a flower display with a mirror on the wall over it. (That cabinet, according to Stan, is where he suspects “they store their ever-growing collection of Marvel Comics.”) There are three doors in one wall. One is labeled as leading to Harry’s bedroom. One is not labeled but must be the entrance to the kitchen or the bathroom or both. (Both, I hope.) The third is Peter’s room. It is closed, of course, because Pete is inside doing Spidey stuff. Hearing Harry coming, he thinks, “Uh oh! Harry’s back from his date earlier than I expected! I’d better lock my closet door again but fast!” Spidey’s spare costumes are hung on the inside of the closet door. Within the apparently large closet are shelves with “batteries for flashlight spider signal,” “vital spare cartridges for web shooter,” “wide-angle and special camera lenses,” “web-fluid chemicals,” and “high-speed film for camera.” There is a cabinet below the shelves. Pretty fancy for a closet. And how many closets do you have that you can lock? Quite a set-up. The room itself has a file cabinet, a bulletin board with wanted posters on it (which seems like sort of a giveaway, doesn’t it?), a workbench with a microscope, test tubes, beakers, and chemicals, a shelf on the wall with chemicals, and a stool, but no bed or lamp or bureau for clothes. (And speaking of lamps, there aren’t any in the living room, either, except for the three on the pole. It must get pretty dark in there at night.)

This is a less-than-successful attempt to present Petey’s pad. All it does for me is make me wonder where Pete sleeps, where the bathroom is, and why Harry didn’t kick him out long ago. One look at the closed door and the lock on the closet would be enough for me to decide “this is one creepy guy I don’t want for a roommate.”

At long last, on the very last page, Stan tells us who the penciller is, for the entire issue. Turns out it’s his brother Larry Lieber, “our batty Bullpen’s blushin’ back-up man!” Which makes it sound like Larry got the job because everyone else was busy. If so, then Stan must have liked his work. He goes on to announce, “We wanna tell you one year in advance, that our 1968 Spidey special will feature the long-awaited, mysterious saga of Peter Parker’s parents! It’ll be penciled by Larrupin’ Larry and inked by ol’Ring-a-Ding himself! See ya then, pussywillow!” It’s pretty impressive that Stan can inform us of all this one whole year in advance. And it all turns out to be true! (Except, unfortunately, the part about “ol’Ring-a-Ding” doing the inking.) Can you imagine reading this at the time? “Peter Parker’s parents! I have to wait a whole year! Aaargghhh! Larry Lieber penciling! Hmm, well, no offense, Larry, but I suppose I can wait for that.”

Just two webs for this.

In General...

Let’s wrap up the whole Annual, starting with: Milestones (Landmark events that take place in this story.)

  1. Fifteenth meeting (more or less) of Spider-Man and the Human Torch. (First since Amazing Spider-Man #21, February 1965
  2. Fourth appearance of Mysterio. (We here at FTB are chronicling these issues as if they just came out and don’t consider retcons such as Quentin Beck appearing in Amazing Spider-Man #2 (Story 2), May 1963 or even that Mysterio is named Quentin Beck for that matter.)
  3. Thirteenth appearance of the Wizard (but his first against Spider-Man).
  4. Second time Spidey gets suckered into a phony movie (after Amazing Spider-Man #14, July 1964.)
  5. Second time the Human Torch gets suckered into a phony movie (after Fantastic Four #9, December 1962).
  6. Fu Manchu’s first Marvel appearance (sort of).
  7. Torch’s flame doused four times.
  8. Wizard and Mysterio trot out four useless death traps.
  9. Two Woody Allen references.
  10. The Coffee Bean has one booth and one table, while Peter’s bedroom has no bed.

In case you were wondering, the Wizard next appears in Fantastic Four #78, September 1968, as Stan rips off his own Amazing Spider-Man #50, July 1967 with “The Thing No More!” Mysterio returns in Amazing Spider-Man #66, November 1968 as our hero takes a cue from Steve Martin and proclaims, “Let’s get small!” (Sorry about that last one. It’s been a long Annual.)

Overall Rating...

The extra features are fun and earn decent web ratings on their own but they can’t raise the overall rating by too much. Call it two and a half webs for the whole issue.

Footnote...

Next: Something much, much shorter.