Letters : Editor : 2003 : To the Editor 01/10/2003

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Date: Oct 1, 2003
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Welcome to our letters page. These letters are answered by Jonathan Couper, who uses them as a chance to sharpen his otherwise dull wit. If you want a serious response, your chances will be increased by posing your question, respectfully, to our Spider-Oracle.

This month, we had a little problem with our mail form, and lost all letters sent between approximately 10-20th October. The problem is now resolved. If you used the online form to send us a letter during that time, and haven't had a reply, then we're terribly sorry but you'll need to resend your question.

From Jim Amash

I want to correct your info. I inked part of Lethal Foes of Spider-Man #2, but the credits mistakenly attributed my work to Frank Turner.

Hiya Jim! Thanks for dropping by and clearing that up. We're big believers in giving credit where it's due, so we've tweaked our credits database to show things as they really ought to be.

From Stefano

My name is Stefano and I'm mailing you from Milano (Italy). I am a little collector of Spider-Man comics (American and Italian editions) I have a question about the number 434 of Amazing Spider-Man vol.1:

I posses 3 different copy of that comic, you describe 2.

  1. ...is the normal edition.
  2. ...is the normal edition with Ricochet on cover.
  3. ...is a edition with ricochet on underneath cover.

Is right that you have in your database only two?

Stefano! Sta bene? Hey, I've actually been to Milano. I have wonderful memories of eating ice cream at 1am in the piazza centrale while a jazz band played. I was on a work trip, so I didn't see enough!

But enough of that. Back to your question! We're pretty sure that there are only two U.S. editions around. They both have the same barcode marked 43411. The first version has a Spidey fold-out Spidey cover over the Ricochet cover. The variant has the Ricochet cover stapled on top of the Spidey fold-out cover.

If you have anything else, maybe you have one of the others with the outside cover torn off? Or perhaps a printing glitch?

From David

I was just wondering if I was the only one who noticed that ASM #499 was very similiar of Spider-Man vol.1 #59. It just happenes that on both issues, spider-man is taken to a near future where New-York is in ruins and the first thing he does is checkup on Mary-Jane. While 499 was a far better issue than that clone saga filler, it sure looked familiar to me.

Heh, nice point. Maybe the writers are commenting on a base aspect of human nature. Until we actually discover time-travel, I guess we'll just have to speculate as to whether their description of Peter's actions are consistently accurate?


Wow what a surprise! It wasn't updated when you said it would be. Man, you suck big monkey balls!

I'm sucking big monkey balls? GACK! I thought they were kiwifruit!

But yes, sometimes PPP does get posted a couple of days late. I'm tired of explaining how everybody on the team has many other commitments, and how we do this for fun, not for profit. So instead, may I just invite you to sue me for a full return of your membership fee! Plus, tell your mom I'll be round at the usual time.

From Libby

I was just curious. When you put together the Spider-Man encyclopedia, I wondered if you ever noticed a few small quirks in the original tales? They aren't the kind of things that would go in the book but they made me curious when I read the comics.

  1. When Gwen's Dad died, she decided to go to England and Peter rushed to stop her but learned her apartment had already been rented. I'd always assumed from previous issues that she lived with her Dad in the Stacy house.
  2. It seems like after Gwen's death, Conway sort of inserted MJ into Empire State U. as a student when before that, she'd been a working girl- actress/dancer/ etc. who came to ESU to see Harry, Peter etc. but had never been a pupil. Is that your take on it too?
  3. Finally, I've always felt the Jackal's ability to attack Peter without setting off his Spider sense was an error unless he had some kind of chemical musk or something that nullified it. Even as a "friendly" teacher, he should have activated it when he tried to harm him since even Aunt May or Mrs. Muggins set it off before when they became physical with Peter.

Hmmmm... I do recall seeing Gwen and Peter depicted together at her dad's house. That is an interesting point. However, perhaps in the 60s, even if you moved away from home you might still have more contact with your parents than we might do in modern times.

On your second point... I don't ever recall MJ depicted as a student. She certainly started socialising with Peter's ESU crowd, but I can't recall seeing her attend a class.

Finally, regarding who sets of Peter's Spider-Sense is a bit of a murky area. But I believe you're wrong about Aunt May. She managed to quite successfully bean Spidey with a vase while she was Doc Ock's housekeeper. So there's plenty of other examples of family and friends managing to not set off his danger-sense.

From daveat

Was it in the Yeti episode of Spiderman where Skip was an old man with a birthday cake and he blew out the candles and the Yeti shows up and he says That's not what I wished for! Then Spiderman shows up and he says That's not what I wished for either!

Heh, that sounds like a fun story... but sadly I must confess that I haven't seen an episode of TEC in over twenty years, and I can't recall seeing that one.

Most of our Electric Company info is provided by various people who have emailed info over the past few years. We don't really have a regular expert to answer these sorts of questions, sadly. I also suspect that it's too much to hope for that we will ever see these Spidey TEC segments on DVD. But in the meantime, if anybody out there can help us sort our our The Electric Company (TV) episode guide, just drop us a line!

From Merv

Has anyone tried to make a floor plan to Peter's basement? I'm talking the Ultimate Peter Parker. I always see him in there and I can't help but wonder WHERE he is in there.

The first shot of it in USM #1 gives us this big open maze of test tubes, beakers, bookshelves, and tables. But in the rest of the comics, it's sort of this more rectangular room. Not that big or open. But, I looked closer at (the issue where Gwen spends the night and MJ gets upset in the basement-Captain Stacy still alive) and it looked like a pretty open area.

But Peter was washing his costume in a sink, and my research says there is a sink at the opposite end of the basement as his computer. The entrance from outside the house-not inside-is right right next to his computer. Going down those stares, we see a wall. My guess is, there is a more "out of the way" open and large area on that side of the lab where Peter has his table and does the actually "work" or building. That open area has the sink and what I think is a hot water heater.

There's gotta be a second door or something somewhere that leads to an actual basement for storage. In the end, things are always changing. Either Peter just likes to make a bit of a new environment every now and then (and we both know he's strong enough), or Bagley/Thilbert don't' care about consistency. As long as it looks the same to the average bonehead reader. Too bad for them, I'm not the average bonehead reader.

I think USM #33 will either answer all my questions, or open a whole new realm of them. That's the issue where Peter finds the secret room with the video tapes. Unfortunately, it's the one issue missing from my collection.

If you've actually read/understand al this, then you have my solutes. Cause I barely could.

Yep, I think you've gone that one step beyond what Bagley/Thilbert really considered! I'm sorry to say, but the most likely excuse is that this just slipped past the editors without a second glance.

When creating fiction, there's always a level of reality which is sustained, and others which are neglected. Think of going to the theatre. The costumes and sets are designed to look real from a certain distance. Get to close, and you'll begin to see behind the facade. My advice... just don't look!

From Claire

hey i'm an A level media student studying at The Woodroffe School, in Lyme Regis. I am currently doing a project on how the rise of interest in comic book heroes relates to the public and how. I would be very greatful if you could send me any information that you think would be useful. I would also like to hear your oppinion on it.

Hiya Claire. This is a topic which certainly does seem to pop up now and again as a good research topic. While I often touch on specific aspects of public interpretation of comic-book characters, I don't have any "big picture" stuff to help get you started, sorry. Unless you can be more specific, there's not much I can offer.

One of my goals over the next few months is to review a number of more general books which cover topics such as the history of Marvel comics, the artistic aspects of modern comic-writing, how to start collecting comics, and such like. Along the way, I'm planning to review some work by Scott McCloud, which should certainly skirt around the subject you mention.

Unfortunately, you're just a little too early, and I haven't actually purchased any of those books yet! I don't suppose your tutor will wait six months for your project? No? Well, then I suggest you hit www.amazon.com, and see what you can find. Scott McCloud is probably the best I can suggest right now.

From Matt

I only see information about Spider-Man the Evil that Men Do issues #1-3. This was almost a year ago... wasn't this supposed to be a 5 part series? I checked around the internet and didn't find any good information (though a Graphic Novel with 144 pages (more than 3 issues) on amazon to be sold in January).

Did the series get cut short?

Ah, what sorrow when a man's reach dost outstretch his grasp!

Yeah, Smith bit off more than he could chew. Unless things have started moving again very recently, that TPB on Amazon is probably just a piece of marketing optimism! I hope it does happen, but don't hold yer breath!

From Beverly

My fiance is a huge spiderman fan and comic collector. I want to get him a comic for his birthday but I have no idea as to what to look for. I have an idea of a comic he really wants (Amazing Spiderman #238), as he has not found it with the tattoo. How can I ensure the tattoo is in the comic if I order it online? Is that taken into account with the rating system? What is a rating that would be a good gift/collectable? Any other things I should look for or avoid please let me know.

Overstreet lists ASM #238 at $70 in Near Mint, with our without tattoo. I suspect that what they mean by this is that a copy with tattoo is probably worth more than one without, but they are not prepared to put a dollar value on the tattoo. I can't suggest what premium you would pay for the tattoo. I myself would probably be prepared to pay an extra $20 or so. Maybe more after a double-shot expresso.

If you are bidding on a copy at auction, or looking to buy online, the seller will almost certainly tell you if the copy includes the tattoo. If they don't mention it, you should assume no tattoo. But it never hurts to ask. My copy doesn't have a tattoo, but then again, it isn't quite Near Mint either.

One thing to be careful of. Fantastic Four #252 had the same tattoo, and costs a LOT less than ASM #238. There are people around who are buying FF #252 for the tattoo, and putting it in ASM #238 to boost the price. You'll probably never know if that's the case. Personally, since I wouldn't know the difference, then it wouldn't bother me.

From Henrique

Heya. Omar Karindu over at the Spider-Man Message Board has put together a great list of times where Spider-Man has actually killed. This would be a great addition to the FAQ, yeah?

Indeed! Many thanks to Omar, who's research is now featured in our Has Spider-Man Killed? F.A.Q.