Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) Annual #5 (Story 2)

Background

This little 3-page doodad has no credits (“No credits for this one ‘cause nobody will take the blame.”) but, according to the GCD, “John Romita did preliminary layouts for this feature that were then completely redone by Marie Severin. According to an interview with Marie in Fans of Central Jersey, she wrote this story, which was edited by Stan Lee.

Story 'Here We Go-A-Plotting!'

Stan (“Good Old Smiley”), Larrupin’ Larry and Jazzy Johnny are trying to figure out the next Spidey plot. Stan leans back on a couch, smoking a cigar. He has a “Bullpen Progress Report” in his hand. Johnny is perched on a desk, looking very glum, with his head in his hand. Larry is digging into a big bag of sour balls. “I got it!” he says, to Stan and Johnny’s delight, but it turns out he got a green sour ball that he loves “but they always give me heartburn.” Stan and Johnny glare at him until Johnny gets an inspiration. “That’s it!” he says, “Brilliant! What a great everyday human experience! (First page) Aunt May has heartburn! Spidey must get her green pills!” Larry says, “This is terrible,” since he’s gotten a sour ball stuck in his throat and this now inspires Stan. He grabs Larry by the shirt and lifts him up in the air, upsetting his bowl of sour balls. “Of course, it’s terrible!” Stan says, “Spidey gets her pills (2nd pg.) and one sticks in her throat!” Miming a slap, Johnny says, “He gives her a helpful smack between her shoulder blades! Full page action – whump!”

Larry perches on a bookshelf and tells the other to cut it out. “After the last story conference, I was home sick a week!” Johnny points out that they did get a story at that conference while Stan is into it. “Here’s a twist – Aunt May, rid of heartburn, doesn’t get a heart attack! She breaks her back.”

Now, they’re rolling. Stan and Johnny grab Larry by his arms. Crime is rampant in the city as Spidey stays home to take care of May. When Larry says, “I’d like a suit of armor” to protect himself, Johnny comes up with the idea that Peter “hires a housekeeper who is really Dr. Doom in disguise.” Above the three of them are representations of their ideas: the skyline of the crime-ridden city, Aunt May crying while Peter looks glum, and Dr. Doom in an apron and brandishing a feather duster.

All worked up, Johnny tosses Larry as he conjures up a “3-page fight” after “Spidey catches housekeeper abusing ice box privileges!” This inspires Stan. “Aunt May picks up the phone to call for help and the impact fixes her back! (4 panel continuity),” he says. On his knees, Larry recovers his glasses, lost in the previous panel, and announces that he quits. “Perfect! Spidey won’t let Doom quit!” says Johnny. When Larry says that “everyone around here is nuts,” Stan comes up with the idea that “Doom traps Spidey with an atom bomb hidden in a cashew nut!”

Larry holds his head in his hands and says, “If I play my cards right, I’ll get transferred to Millie the Model.” Johnny rhapsodizes, “We did it again, Spidey’s in a jam he’ll never get out of.” Stan lighting his cigar, says, “Next ish – karate lessons for Aunt May!” Only Larry worries about what will happen to Spidey if he’s in a jam he’ll never get out of.

And then it all becomes moot. Roy Thomas enters in his green slacks, red Nehru jacket (with his name written on the back) and love beads. He proclaims, “Good morning, Stan! Here’s the latest Avengers story – great plot. The Avengers hire a housekeeper who is really Doc Doom in disguise and he causes all kinds of trouble.” And so, with Spidey looking in from the ceiling of the next room, Stan orders Larry to “Eat, eat” from his full bowl of sour balls. “We’re not moving from this office till we come up with another plot!” he says. Johnny, his arms folded says, “Aww – hang loose!” while Larry, eating his sour balls, says, “Sheeesh!”

General Comments

It’s cute, it’s clever, it has that wonderfully exaggerated Marie Severin artwork and sensibility, but it’s so short that it’s hardly worth reviewing.

Overall Rating

Let’s give it three webs. Which makes it better than the lead story, I guess. At least there isn’t a counterspy card hidden within a Skull membership.

Footnote

Next: A classic Avengers issue with a one-panel Spidey appearance. Avengers (Vol. 1) #58. Does it live up to its reputation?