#16 (This Isn’t Spider-Man)

Issue 16
“ Enter . . . Spider-Man” (May, 1966)
Released: March 3, 1966
Written by Stan Lee
Drawn by John Romita
Inked by Frank Giacoia
Lettered by Artie Simek
Cover drawn by John Romita

This issue premieres the John Romita version of Spider-Man, the version that, for some collectors, is the ultimate vision of Steve Ditko’s original design. Reactions to this guest appearance are varied: Aaron is pretty excited about it. Kyle is confused by it (revealing that he doesn’t know as much about Spider-Man as he thinks he does). Rodney is stunned by the beauty of the visual aspect.

None of these reactions, ultimately, matter, though, because the last two pages are so flabbergasting and stupid that we’re led to believe that John Romita had never read a Spider-Man comic before penciling his visage.

Episode 16 is available on Buzzsprout here: https://feeds.buzzsprout.com/2021691.rss

You can find us on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/show/42GINDXqBqGKIT49FZCyz9?si=EdeD4WaIQZ6RoK0RNzPWcA&utm_source=copy-link

Check behind the cut to see our individual grades and artwork from the issue we discuss in the episode!

Our reaction to this issue is, surprisingly, right down the middle for how irritated we are by the last two pages. In decreasing order of letter grade, we have Aaron (C+), Rodney (C), and then Kyle (C-). Our overall average: an even C.

This issue marks the first appearance of a villain named The Masked Marauder. Rodney thinks he looks like a Cylon, from Battlestar Galactica.
Rodney isn’t wrong.
It gets a little confusing, though. This is the first appearance of The Masked Marauder, but they try to make it seem like there’s this long drawn-out history between him and Spider-Man. They even, in the captions, reference The Amazing Spider-Man #16, an issue that had a guest appearance by Daredevil. They recap the history between hero and villain through footage on the television as Foggy, Karen, and Matt are watching the news. So . . . let’s clarify: Masked Marauder has never appeared in any Marvel Comic before this. This history between these two characters is made up for purposes of launching us into the story of this issue.
We learn very little about Masked Marauder in this issue. We learn that he has a totally-fabricated history with a well-established character. We also learn that he has a badass ability. It’s called the Opti-Blast and it shoots a burst of blinding light into the eyes of any adversary. It’s a cool ability, even if it is worthless against a character that’s already blind!
Oh, yeah. We also learn that Masked Marauder has a knack for stupid plans. His plan in this inaugural exploit: piss off Spider-Man. This will serve as revenge against him for the years and years of so-called ass whippings he’s been handed in years of years of battles that never actually happened, right? To do this, he dresses all of his minions up like Daredevil and then sends them out into the street to give Spider-Man a hard time.
Spider-Man falls for it and goes after the real Daredevil. Daredevil tries to reason with him, but since this is a new version of Spider-Man that has never existed until this page, he’s having none of it. Most of this issue is the two heroes beating the crap out of each other.
Masked Marauder actually has two stupid plans in this issue. The second one is to use a vacuum tube to shoot his cohorts into The World Motors Building so that they can steal plans for a new and better engine.
A later drawing of the same vacuum tube shows an X-ray vision view of the tube as the criminals escape the building. We’re talking about the second panel of the top row. There are two people in that tube! Wouldn’t they break their necks when they hit that bend at the top? This means of entering and escaping the building is laughably idiotic.
This is the panel that Rodney references as one he really loves. Daredevil wins the big battle in this issue, and he does it by using his billy club cable to bind Spider-Man to a pole. Daredevil is a little too quippy here for our tastes, but we all agree that the artwork is beautiful.
At the end of the issue, Lee and Romita start pulling some shenanigans with Spider-Man’s abilities. They want us to believe that Spider-Man’s “Spidey sense” has a memory that alerts him to dangers he has encountered before. Aaron, in particular, has been reading The Amazing Spider-Man for decades, and he assures you that this isn’t how it works. At any rate, Spider-Man is . . . ahem . . . alerted to a danger he has encountered before. Namely, it’s Daredevil, but when Spider-Man looks in the window, he sees Karen Page, Matt Murdock, and Foggy Nelson. Naturally, he uses Peter Parker’s notorious piss-poor logic and ignorance of established reasoning and establishes that Foggy Nelson must be Daredevil!
At the issue end, Spider-Man continues to not act anything at all like the Spider-Man that we have come to know and love. He bursts through the window like a psychopath and proceeds to bodily attack Foggy Nelson. It’s a disappointing end to the story.
One last image this week . . . and we’re only sharing it because it’s a strikingly gorgeous image. Masked Marauder would have been so much cooler had he looked like this in 1966!

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