Here is my latest look at Marvel Comics’ Silver Age, my take on The Amazing Spider-Man #2 featuring the first appearance of the Vulture.
I may have mentioned part of this story before. My first discovery of Spider-Man were the 1967 Spider-Man cartoons. I wasn’t around in ’67 but as a kid growing up in northern New Jersey during the 1970’s, that particular Spider-series (“Spider-Man, Spider-Man… Does whatever a spider can…” Yeah. THAT one!) was rerun often on New York’s Channel 5. I know a lot of animation fans knocked this show and it was admittedly crude, but all in all, I still loved it and for a long time it made Spider-Man a favorite character of mine.
I discovered Marvel’s Spider-Man comics later. I dabbled with a couple of issues of The Amazing Spider-Man and Marvel Team-Up, but the real turning point for me came one day when I visited my most regular comic book outlet at the time, Corner News, a newsstand in my old hometown with three spinner racks, a Marvel one, a DC one, and one shared by Archie and Harvey plus whatever random wildcard books that popped up like the erratic Charlton book. These were the days before the concept of the comic shop would be as ubiquitous as it would become in the 90’s. In those days, I was totally at the mercy of the random, haphazard distribution and availability of newsstand comic books. I was pretty lucky! Corner News carried just about most newsstand books with pretty consistent regularity. I rarely missed anything that I collected consistently.
One evening during one particular visit to Corner News, I noticed that the Marvel spinner rack sported two consecutive issues of Marvel Tales, #’s 137 and 138. I don’t know if I was really aware of Marvel Tales at the time or if I realized that it was Marvel’s regular reprint book. I did however very quickly catch on that those two issues were reprinting Spider-man’s first two appearances. Marvel Tales #137 reprinted Amazing Fantasy #15, Spidey’s first appearance of course, and Marvel Tales #138 reprinted Amazing Spider-Man #1. Even in those early days, I had a curiosity for all things related to comic book history. I really loved first appearances and the early, crude beginnings of long-running characters. I scooped up both books on the spot. As a bonus, Marvel Tales #137 not only reprinted that very first Spider-Man story but it also featured as a back-up Doctor Strange’s origin story as drawn by Steve Ditko. I was never a very avid Doctor Strange fan, but I always found that story a nice tight little tale.
Not long after devouring Marvel Tales #137 and 138, I found Marvel Tales #139 and I caught on to what Marvel was doing. They were reprinting the entire Amazing Spider-Man series in chronological order right from his very first appearance. To that end, Marvel Tales #139 reprinted The Amazing Spider-Man #2 featuring the first appearance of the original villainous Vulture! The cover to this issue is what I am paying homage to with the piece above.
From that point on, I was hooked! I read Marvel Tales regularly and that led me to most of Spider-Man’s other books. It was a fun ride and I was always very happy to have discovered Spidey the way I did. Reading Spidey’s adventures from the beginning was the next best thing to actually being a kid in the early sixties and reading the original books right off the rack.
What do you think of my homage to Spidey’s first meeting with the Vulture? Are there any other Silver Age milestones you’d like to see me cover? Please let me know in the comments below!