Amazing Fantasy #16


Thirty-odd years ago, Spidey debuted in the pages of the failing anthology comic "Amazing Fantasy" to overwhelming praise. The book was canceled after this very issue (#15, August, 1962) but Marvel Comics readers liked the character so much that the company started up "The Amazing Spider-Man" just months later in March of 1963. This series fills the gap between these two titanic issues, showing how a young Peter Parker adjusted to the changes life had dealt him, preparing him for the challenges to come in the aftermath of his learning of the dogma "With great power comes great responsibility".

Story 'An Amazing World'

  Amazing Fantasy #16
Summary: Story occurs after AF #15 and before ASM #1
Editor: Sarra Mossoff
Writer: Kurt Busiek
Cover Art: Paul Lee
Painter: Paul Lee

The issue opens with a myriad of happenings-- notably a young super-powered being blowing up a series of mailboxes in Patchogue, Long Island; agent Maxie Shiffman waiting in Manhattan for his "client" to call while trying to find a way to pay back debts; and then there is the scene in Forest Hills, Queens where Peter Parker and Aunt May are watching the television program "It's Amazing" while they broadcast news of new superheroes, including the Fantastic Four, Sub-Mariner and the Hulk. Peter thinks about what has happened in his life of late, about Spider-Man and his new responsibility, as well as the funeral of Uncle Ben. At school Liz Allen is sympathetic to Peter while Flash Thompson and his friends still treat him like dirt. Due to his classified ad requesting the presence of Spider-Man, Maxie is bombarded by all sorts of men in crazy costumes.

Eventually Peter discovers a con scheme going on in Forest Hills. (What, you expected no action?) A man tries to convince Aunt May that he is from a furniture store and that Uncle Ben had ordered her some furniture to be delivered as a surprise, but was unable to make the final payments on it before he passed away. The man tries to get May to pay the final installment on the furniture. Peter smells something fishy when later, as Spidey, he web-swings by the same man talking to another person, telling him the exact same thing that he said to May. He follows the man to a warehouse, discovers the total scope of their operations, and is forced into action after confronting the man in charge and trying to call the police. He learns even more about his abilities, using his spider-sense and agility to dodge several bullets, and he realizes that his sense of humor makes the situation less tense. He defeats the men and phones the police, thereafter dodging Maxie and defeating a street hood. The story ends with Peter and May talking about Ben.

General Comments

This series is an effort to go back to the original Spidey stories and re-examine, even expand upon, the legend of what made the character what he is today. Kurt Busiek has made a great start on that.

Overall Rating

Five webs. Great, with the promise of more greatness to come.