Tuesday, 16 April 2013
When this comic hit the stands in April 1963 (the cover date was always three months after the onsale date in those days), few could have known how significant it would be. Written by Stan Lee and drawn (and co-plotted) by Steve Ditko, the most idiosyncratic of all 1960s comics artists, the story involves a mad scientist, and a hero who eventually triumphs. Nothing unusual there- but the treatment given that most overused of cliched storylines, even then, is nothing short of revolutionary! The mad scientist doesn't burst upon the scene a ready-formed villain, he's a good guy, a respected pioneer who suffers an appalling injury which affects his mind. The hero (Spiderman) struggles with his inability to quickly defeat his opponent, and wonders whether to give up, until a casual incognito meeting with another costumed hero gives him the determination to press on and prevail. Phew! Quite a development, and a sign that this funny little comic company with the garish colours and dark artwork was going places- but who knew where?