Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #91

 Posted: 7 Apr 2024
 Staff: Dave Sippel (E-Mail)


Captain George Stacy died in an accident during a fight between Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus.

Story 'To Smash The Spider!'

After Captain Stacy’s funeral, a sobbing Gwen told Peter that if it weren’t for Spider-Man her father would still be alive. This of course worried him as he had planned to eventually tell her his secret. Jonah Jameson told Robbie that George had been too liberal for his taste but was a good man. Jonah was going to make the public hate Spider-Man more than it ever had. Even George’s political enemies had come to pay their respects, like Sam Bullit. As he and Gwen were driven home, Peter remembered how George had wanted him to look after her. Gwen suddenly realized that she was to blame for her father’s death. He had been old and trusting and she should have warned him about Spider-Man. She swore that she would hate him forever and wanted to punish him. Sam Bullit was running for office on a strong “law and order” platform and she was going to volunteer for him.

The next day she went to Bullit’s office to speak with him. He wasn’t pleased to have his workout interrupted until he learned who was visiting. He suspected that she would be easy to persuade, just like her father. Bullit thought to himself that Stacy got what he deserved for being soft and coddling criminals. Once Gwen entered the room he turned on the charm, telling her that he hoped she would come to him as a friend. She wanted to help him bring Spider-Man to justice and he appreciated her endorsement. He told her that her father had been a good man but was too soft. Bullit promised to use his political strength to bring Spider-Man and others like him to justice.

After Gwen left, Bullit called Jonah Jameson to ask for the support of the Daily Bugle. If he won election, he would deliver Spider-Man. Jonah put his weight behind Bullit one hundred percent. After the call ended, Jonah told Robbie with satisfaction that a no nonsense district attorney was just what the city needed. Robbie disagreed, calling Bullit a “fledgling fascist” from the 1930s. Jonah suggested that things may have been better in the 30s, when there was law and order. Robbie reminded him about the lynch mobs and breadlines. Jonah again favored law and order and Robbie asked whose law and order it was. Jonah ended the debate by saying they had a paper to run. As he left Jonah’s office, Robbie complained about getting a pay check from a paper that endorsed someone like Sam Bullit.

At his apartment, Peter turned in the TV and watched an interview of Sam Bullit. He blamed Spider-Man for the death of Captain Stacy and promised to crush him swiftly and without mercy. Over the next several days, Bullit only increased his rhetoric of law and order and defeating Spider-Man. As Spidey was out on a nightly patrol, he noticed how dark and empty the streets were. He blamed Jameson and Bullit for making people too scared to leave their homes. He resented that they had turned New York into a city of fear but also wondered if they were right. He still blamed himself for George Stacy’s death. The city feared him, the law hunted him and Gwen hated him.

He changed back to Peter Parker and walked down the street, still pitying himself. Meanwhile, a car followed him and the occupants discussed how Peter took pictures of Spider-Man, so must know more about him. The car sped in front of him and two goons jumped out and grabbed him. They drag him to the car and introduced him to Bullit. Bullit demanded to know more about Spider-Man and Peter wished him luck. Bullit said he was trying to clean up New York and if someone didn’t help him, then they were on the side of lawlessness. Peter called him out for hypocrisy and when Bullit said he was doing his duty, Peter told him that Hitler probably said the same thing. The car drove off and the goons smacked Peter around. He pretended to be hurt followed them after they left.

He changed back to Spider-Man and followed them, eventually hanging one from a lamppost. The other guy went running and was terrified that he couldn’t escape the wall crawler. Spidey webbed him up and told him to pass the message along to his boss. Spidey leapt away, feeling much better. He started to head home to warn Gwen about getting involved with Sam Bullit but when he arrived they were waiting for him. Bullit said he suspected that he and Spider-Man were connected and now had proof.

General Comments

This story needs to be read in the context of several previous stories. Racism had been discussed in Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 1) #69, where Randy and Robbie Robertson argued over the establishment and militance. At one point, Randy said that Jonah Jameson was a racist and Robbie told him he was just a blowhard. Here, we have a genuine racist in Sam Bullit. Stan took a pretty clear stance when he wrote these stories. African Americans faced racism but not everyone was a racist. Still, there were people in power that absolutely used it to target minorities.

Sam Bullit is drawn to look like, in my opinion, Richard Nixon. He has the same hair and jowls, along with the same rhetoric. (“Society today is at war, do you hear? We’re at war with the left wing anarchists who are trying to destroy this great, proud nation of ours!”) Still, I don’t think Nixon practiced martial arts as a workout. The story was published in 1970 while Nixon was president so the satire is pretty clear. It was awfully stupid of him to be in the car as he goons beat up Peter but I guess it made for a better story.

The rest of the story is fine. I don’t know if anyone remembers Gwen blaming herself for her dad’s death.

Overall Rating

I feel like it took guts to write this story.

 Posted: 7 Apr 2024
 Staff: Dave Sippel (E-Mail)