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Saturday, January 7, 2017

Silver Age Spider-Man Key Comics Part 1




SILVER AGE
COPPER AGE

MODERN AGE
I've been asked to extend the Spider-Man key issues, and for a while, I've been tinkering with it. Ole Web-Head is surely an insanely popular Marvel character with tons of spin-off titles and characters.

This will be a character based key issues series, so you can see my conundrum concerning that. I surely do not want to do a 30 part key issues series on any comic character whatsoever and the format would just be insanely hideous.

So I've been taking my sweet time in pumping this out, and partly because I want to make sure I limit mistakes or correct them as much as possible. I've spent more hours researching and writing than I really want to, and I am a Spidey fan for sure.

While I've decided to make this a character-based key comics list, I do have some stipulations. Known Spidey villains or characters that appear outside of the Spidey titles will have to have Spidey in them and in the actual story for me to feature them.

For example, Electro's 2nd appearances appears in Daredevil #2 and Spidey is not physically in that story. Spidey is just mentioned in that DD issue. Once again, to cut down on actual parts and to make it look somewhat organized, I will be sectioning this series off by era with each era having their own sequential numbering.

Sound good? Hope so 'cause that's how this one is going to go! Let's do this!
AMAZING FANTASY #15
1st appearance & origin of Spider-Man
1st appearance of the burglar
1st appearance of Aunt May & Uncle Ben
1st appearances of Flash Thompson, Liz Allan, and Sally Avril


Spider-Man is definitely one of the most popular and iconic of Marvel super-heroes. One of the longest running regular titled series with countless spin-off titles and characters, Spider-Man is a creation of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko with some of the most beloved supporting characters and villains in the Marvel Universe.

Spurred by the success of the Fantastic Four and although comics at the time were marketed mainly towards kids, Stan Lee wanted to create a character that would appeal to teens and the everyday problems they faced.

In his autobiography, Lee cited pulp magazine character The Spider as an influence. With his idea in mind, all he had to do was convince then Marvel Comics editor Martin Goodman it was worth pursuing.

In various interviews, Stan Lee has said that Goodman was not keen on the idea for two reasons. One, he balked at the idea of appealing to teens when comics were just seen as "kids stuff" at the time. Two, he thought Lee was nuts to create a character based off a spider when most people hated spiders.

Championing the concept of Peter Parker and Spider-Man persistently, Stan Lee finally got Martin to agree to a try out. Peter Parker and his origin story would debut in the science fiction/supernatural anthology series called Amazing Adult Fantasy.

The hitch was that the character would debut in the very last issue of this comic series, which the "Adult" was dropped from the title and just called Amazing Fantasy. Lee has stated that the only reason Goodman agreed was that he knew Amazing Fantasy #15 was to be the last issue, but the editorial page did state that the title would continue and Spider-Man would be seen every month in the comic.

So whatever the story or the truth, Amazing Fantasy #15 was the last issue and Lee got the go ahead from Goodman. Lee approached legendary Jack Kirby at first, and the argument and story of Spider-Man's creation begins to become convoluted with different versions.

I am not going to get into that. Lee and Kirby had a conference about the character, but when Kirby presented sample pages of his work on Spider-Man, Stan did not like them. He turned to Steve Ditko instead and history was made.

Ditko did the interior art for the Spider-Man story, but Jack Kirby did the cover. After Amazing Fantasy #15 hit the shelves, Goodman was shocked to discover that the issue was one of the highest selling Marvel titles.

Looks like teens did relate to teenager Peter Parker and his adventures and woes. Not only did Parker face everyday normal teen problems, he also faced many as Spider-Man.

Peter was seen as the high-school geek who did not fit in and was bullied and teased by the ever so popular Flash Thompson and his crowd of the popular kids. When he gained his powers after being bit a radioactive spider, Peter Parker could very well have gone the self-serving route of a villain.

However, due to his inaction in stopping a burglar, his uncle Ben lost his life. Having a character that is seen as disliked from the onset was not a normally seen thing in superhero comics back then. Furthermore, having a character that was driven to heroics by a plausible reason other than the character was just good wasn't seen that often as well. In Peter Parker's case it is guilt that drives his heroics.



Spider-Man's first live-action debut was actually in the PBS children's show, The Electric Company, played by Danny Seagren. The Spidey segment on the show was titled, "Spidey Super-Stories" and even had not that well-known actor Morgan Freeman narrate some of the stories.

The 2nd actor to play Peter Parker/Spider-Man was Nicholas Hammond for the 1977 CBS Spider-Man movie pilot and subsequent TV series. Of, course, we all know Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and now Tom Holland as the actors of the character for the big-screen.

Danny Seagren | Nicholas Hammond | Tobey Maguire | Andrew Garfield | Tom Holland

Even though the Incredible Hulk did debut before Spider-Man, a superhero character that was seen as suspect by the media and public at large was not common place. Superman was cheered and applauded by the public, the media, and law enforcement and other characters like Batman, the Flash, Wonder Woman were also depicted in this light.

Parker was bullied by both Flash and J. Jonah Jameson, had money problems, girl problems, and the responsibility of taking care of his elderly Aunt May while also fighting super bad guys.

Among his classmate peers, his biggest antagonist was Flash Thompson, first in high-school and then at Empire State University. There has been three actors to play the role of Flash Thompson live action. The first was for Raimi's franchise and that actor was Joe Manganiello. Marc Webb's Flash was actor Chris Zylka and the new reboot is Tony Revolori.

 
The fact that Parker had problems made him an "everyday man" type of character and easy to relate to. The fact that Parker's problems did not magically disappear just because he gained super powers and even amplified his woes made him exceptionally intriguing.

Definitely one of the best characters and comics to invest in. I know I've said it plenty of times. This comic has surely been in demand for a long, long time, and interest in Spider-Man still continues to grow from generation to generation.

Here's how some of the first told origin of Spider-Man is seen in this classic issue and story:


As Spider-Man and before his acts of heroism. Peter does everything he can to make money off his new identity and powers, even going on a TV show.

It's after filming of this show where his in-action would seal his and his Uncle Ben's fate. 


We all know what would happen after Peter suits up and goes looking the murderer, finding out the same thief he let run by him at the TV studio is responsible for killing Uncle Ben. The rest is Spidey history and the birth of one of comics most revered, memorable and iconic of superheroes.  

I've yet to note this, but this issue also has the 1st appearance of Sally Avril. She is depicted as one of Peter's high-school class mates and would eventually become the costumed heroine Bluebird. Bluebird would debut in 1996. Here's her first appearance in this comic which also shows Flash and Liz Allan.



Love that panel at the end where Peter says "Someday I'll show them! Someday they'll be sorry!" I think most every bullied kid says or thinks that one time or plenty in their lives.

Anyway, Sally Avril's debut is definitely not a retcon. The character actually did first appear in this issue and was named.  

No plucking some unnamed obscure person in a panel and later saying that's so-and-so. Kurt Busiek and Pat Olliffe would just resurrect the character and make her a minor superhero later.

Just some fun knowledge in case you didn't know before. Among Flash's crowd of popular kids was also Liz Allan. Peter Parker definitely had a crush on Liz, and the character also started out as someone who ridiculed Pete though that would change.

So far the only two actors to play Liz Allan live action are Sally Livingstone and Laura Harrier, whom the latter will appear in the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming. Sally Livingstone had a very brief cameo in Sam Raimi's first Spider-Man flick. 

In truth, Liz Allan only shows up in a cameo of sorts in this issue, which is one full beginning splash page and 2 panels on a different page. One of those two panels has her back turned from the reader as shown in the panels above that discussed the character of Sally Avril prior. Liz is the blonde in those panels, of course.

Below is the full splash page that first shows Liz & Flash at the beginning of this very iconic issue.

 

Liz is not ever named in this issue. Actually she isn't named until issue #4 of the Amazing Spider-Man series.

Of course, there are also UK pence copies for this issue. I'll display the cover for the UK version and you can click the image to enlarge it if you want to take a closer gander.

In terms of the comic market, the UK was smaller so there were less copies printed up. These pence copies are considered 1st prints, supposedly done at the tail end of regular cents print run.

They definitely have a lower CGC Census, but pence copies are still a growing niche. Some champion them, but most over-all haven't really bought into them on a wide scale just yet.  

The UK copies for AF #15 are going for some pretty hefty prices though. At least, nothing to sneer at for sure.

Nostalgia and growing up with the regular cents copy might still be just one of the main prejudices currently. Total pence copies in the CGC Census at the time of this writing is only 42 copies with the highest being only one 7.0 Universal.

For the regular cents copies, there are 2,622 total registered copies in the CGC Census with the highest being six 9.6s and twelve 9.4s. Within those grades, there are two Restored 9.6 copies and seven 9.4s so far. 

CGC Census U.S. Cents Stats
   


CGC Census UK Pence Stats





This issue also introduces another important supporting character for both Peter Parker and Spider-Man and that is of Aunt May. Elderly and often frail with health problems, Peter would often worry about his aunt constantly.

In film, she has been portrayed by three actresses. The first was Rosemary Harris, the 2nd was Sally Field, and the newest is Marisa Tomei.  


Ben Parker debuts in this issue but also dies. The memory of his character for Parker is a force of guilt that drives Spider-Man's morality and makes him realize the famous quote, "With great power there must also come great responsibility".  

The character of Ben Parker has been played by actors Cliff Robertson and Martin Sheen on the big screen so far.

 

CGC does note AF #15 pence copies with the date a month after the regular cents if you didn't notice. Not entirely sure why but the regular cents version of Amazing Fantasy #15 has the cover date of August, 1962.






Amazing Spider-Man #1 Cover
 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1
1st Spider-Man in own Series
2nd appearance of Spider-Man 
1st Fantastic Four Cross Over
1st appearance J. Jonah Jameson
1st appearance John Jameson


Definitely the 2nd Holy Grail of Spider-Man comics to own and definitely one of the best Marvel key issues to own. This comic is more than just the very issue that first kicks off Spider-Man's self-titled series. 

It's actually chalked full of key issue goodness. This issue holds the 2nd appearance of Spider-Man and the 1st appearance of the Chameleon and J. Jonah Jameson

Both villains in the Spidey mythos, but J. Jonah Jameson is a huge supporting character and antagonist for both Peter Parker and his superhero alias Spider-Man. Actually, he's probably Spidey's biggest early antagonist as J. Jonah Jameson is widely known for his constant scathing news articles of our favorite wallcrawler at the Daily Bugle.

Also and another big thing is that Spidey can't just pummel J. Jonah Jameson like he does other villains, despite how much our readers would love it if our Webhead pal would just sock Jameson in the mouth. Don't know about you, but I've personally rooted for it many of times. 

Spider-Man was not. J. Jonah Jameson despised the hero for some strange and odd reason and often called him a menace. The character of J. Jonah Jameson was supposdely based on Stan Lee's more cantankerous side as the legend has admitted to, and J. Jonah has been played by three actors live-action that I know of.

The first was David White for the 1977 Spider-Man TV movie. It was a 90 minute pilot to kick off the 1978-1979 TV show, Spider-Man. After, the movie, J.J was played by actor Robert F. Simon. Last and surely not least is J.K. Simons in the first big screen Spider-Man movie franchise, and he was superb as the character. Recent rumors going around is that J. Jonah Jameson in the upcoming Spider-Man Homecoming will be a female version and played by actor Tyne Daly.

David White | Robert F. Simon | J.K. Simons


The Chameleon isn't the most popular of Spidey villains, but he is known and does have quite a lot of appearances. The Chameleon is Dmitri Smerdyakov and is a master of disguise. 

Originally, the Chameleon did not have any super powers. He was just a regular human and a master of disguise, but they would later give him the ability to take the appearance of anyone at will.  



He is even the reason that the Fantastic Four make their 1st ever comic book cross-over in this issue, so he deserves some kind of props for that.Here's where Spidey first meets the Fantastic Four.


Chameleon has also been affiliated with some pretty heavy hitting Spidey and Marvel villains like the Sinister Six, Sinister Twelve, Kingpin, the Leader, and HYDRA!

So there are a bit of copies floating around for this issue in lower grades. It's a bit more attainable than Amazing Fantasy #15, but it's still definitely an extremely sought out key issue. 

High grades copies of this book are extremely rare and extremely expensive! Even low grade copies are valuable.

CGC Census U.S. Cents Stats



CGC Census UK Pence Stats


CGC Census Golden Record Stats


Other key notations not really addressed is that it's the 1st meeting between Spidey and the Fantastic Four. Spidey and Human Torch would often team up together in Torch's stories in Strange Tales.
 

There are the UK pence copies that have a lower CGC Census and the 1966 Golden Record reprints. Quite a few are turning to the reprints just to own a piece of this icnonic and desired comic. At the time of this writing there are 3,089 registered copies in the CGC Census for the regular cents, and the highest graded copy is a single 9.8 Universal.

For the UK pence copies, the highest graded copies are two CGC Universal 8.5s. Total pence copies for this issue is currently 51 copies in the CGC Census.

The Golden Records reprint boasts 452 total registered CGC copies and the highest are 15 non-restored 9.8s, and 39 non-restored 9.6 NM+ copies. 

Just a note but I will not be providing the covers to every single UK pence issue unless the price changes. For this one it's still 9d in the little price circle. 

Some other key issue notes not all that noted or thought of much is this issue holds the 2nd cameo appearance of Liz Allen (2 panels), 2nd Aunt May, and 2nd Daily Bugle but 1st time the office was shown. The actual Daily Bugle Newspaper was 1st shown in Fantastic Four #2.

Liz Allan only shows up in 2 unnamed panels in this comic. Amazing Spider-Man #1 has the cover date of March, 1963. It was most likely published or in stores in December of 1962.






Amazing Spider-Man #2 Cover. 1st Appearance of the VultureAMAZING SPIDER-MAN #2 
1st Appearance of the Vulture
1st appearance of the Tinkerer
3rd appearance of Spider-Man

Another biggie Spidey key issue here with issue #2. Enter the Vulture, Spider-Man's 1st battle with an actual super-villain.

The Vulture is a popular foe among the many, many adversaries the Wallcrawler has faced in his long career as a super-hero. Adrian Toomes is the original Vulture, and was once an electronics engineer.

He was once the business partner of Gregory Bestman, and Toomes had built a harness that gave him the ability to fly and also enhanced his strength. Later, Toomes found out that his business partner had screwed him over and he had no legal recourse to challenge it.

A super-villain is thus born for good ole Spidey. The Vulture does end up becoming a member of the Sinister Six.

Like mentioned before, he is the 2nd recurring villain Spidey faces, but the 1st one that was considered a super-villain. Chameleon would get powers later in comics.

Michael Keaton will play the Vulture in Spider-Man Homecoming





I do not see any hint of actual origin being told in the 1st story with the Vulture, but it would be told in a later issue. The Vulture appears quite early in this issue.




He's pretty much just a common thief that can fly and is out to commit a jewelry heist until Spidey catches up to him. From there, they have a pretty short and underwhelming 1st battle.


Yep, that's pretty much it. Spider-Man hits that electric do-hickey and Vulture's wings stop operating. While Vulture plummets down and lands on a roof-top, Spidey spins a web and breaks his fall.

Po-po show up and nab Vulture. End of that story. 


Regular cents stands at 1,527 registered copies in the CGC Census with only one 9.8 Universal copy and five 9.6s. One of the 9.6s is a Restored copy.



The UK pence copies for issue #2 has only 16 registered CGC copies in the census currently. Only two 6.5 non-restored copies are the highest grades so far. 

 
I think Amazing Spider-Man #2 could be considered Liz Allan's 1st full appearance. Although still unnamed, it's obvious that the blonde is the character, and she shows up in 8 panels on 5 pages in this issue. 

Overstreet notes ASM #4 as the intro of Liz Allan for some reason. Not sure why. 

Onto the 2nd story in this issue and the 1st appearance of the Terrible Tinkerer. Tinkerer is Phineas Mason and mad genius inventor. 

It was later revealed that he was a supplier and repairer of technology for quite a few of Spidey's baddies. He created Mysterio's suit and Grim Reaper's scythe. 

In his first debut and story, the Tinkerer's master plan was planting bugs into radios and stealing military and scientific secrets to help aliens attack Earth.  




Michael Chernus will be playing the Tinkerer in the new Spider-Man Homecoming flick to hit theaters soon this year.

Another character was retconned into this issue in later comics, and that is the character of Quentin Beck. According to his retcon, Beck is one of the nameless aliens that was hired by the Tinkerer to dress up as such and plant all these bugs to blackmail important government officials.

While I'm not a fan of these retconned debuts done decades later, I do feel the need to address them since many comic site resources are starting to do so and adding to the confusion. So far most collectors do not consider retconned 1st appearances as actual 1st appearances, and I agree that they shouldn't.
The issue that retcons all this hoopla is told in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #51. Here's how it unfolds in that comic issue.
So they weren't actually aliens in this issue but out of work actors and stuntmen posing as aliens. One of the men dressed up as aliens was Quentin Beck who later became Mysterio as revealed in Spectacular Spider-Man #51.

With the cover date of May, 1963 and the copyright date of February 12th, Amazing Spider-Man #2 is definitely the 3rd appearance of Spider-Man and one of the best classic Silver Age key issues to own.







Amazing Spider-Man #3 Cover. 1st Doctor OctopusAMAZING SPIDER-MAN #3 
1st appearance & origin Doctor Octopus
4th appearance of Spider-Man


This villain was already in Spider-Man 2, and Doc Ock is one of Spidey's most loved villains.

Dr. Otto Gunther Octavius was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko and was a brilliant nuclear physicist and inventor.

He created mechanical arms connected to a harness that fit around his body to help him in his nuclear research. The arms were controlled by a brain computer interface at first.

During an explosion at his research lab, the harness became infused to his body and his brain mutated so that he could control his mechanical arms without the computer interface. The explosion also damaged his brain and he turned to a life of crime, becoming one of Spider-Man's most recurring and feared adversaries. 

This issue definitely tells an origin for ole Doc Ock. 


When it comes to this issue being the 4th appearance of Spider-Man, that is a debate all to itself. Overstreet and CGC notes Strange Tales Annual #2 as the 4th appearance of Spider-man, but I, and quite a few others, don't think this is correct.

When it comes to Amazing Spider-Man #3 and Strange Tales Annual #2, let me further my case here. I'm sorry, but it will take but a moment so humor me. 

Amazing Spider-Man #3 has the cover date of July, 1963 but the copyright date of April 9th,1963.

Strange Tales Annual #2 has the copyright date of June 11, 1963, same as Amazing Spider-Man #4. I am going by copyright date, and ASM #3 is before the Strange Tales Annual #2 on that one by more than two months.


Doc Ock made his live action debut in the Spider-Man 2 flick, which I remembered and liked. I thought Alfred Molina was a great  Dr. Otto Octavius and actually looked and acted the part.

Not an entirely easy comic to find in high grades. CGC Census only has one one 9.8 Universal and eight NM+ 9.6 Universals so far. 

Surprised there aren't any Restored copies in the 9.6 range yet. Near Mint 9.4s are at 9 copies with two of them being under the Restored label. There are 1,573 total registered copies currently.

CGC Census U.S. Cents Stats

 
CGC Census UK Pence Stats


As for the pence variant or version of this issue, it now stands at only 13 CGC registered copies. Highest grades is a single 8.5 and three 7.5 VF minus at the time of this writing. All are Universal copies, non-restored and cover price for the UK pence is still 9d.
 
The first appearance of Doctor Octopus in Amazing Spider-Man #3 is a definite comic to own and was the first issue to feature one full-length story in the titled series. Doc Ock's 2nd full appearance is in Amazing Spider-Man #11. This comic has always been one of the most sought-out Silver Age keys throughout the decades and has the cover date of July, 1963 and the copyright date of April 9th.







STRANGE TALES ANNUAL #2
1st Spider-Man x-over
1st Spider-Man & Human Torch team up



Once again, I am not sure why Overstreet still continues to note this as the 4th appearance of Spider-Man when the LoC (Library of Congress) copyright date is June 11, 1963, two months after ASM #3. Strange Tales Annual #2 has the same LoC copyright date as Amazing Spider-Man #4, and I have no idea which hit the stands before the other concerning those two issues.

In terms of which story falls before the other, I haven't a clue either as there isn't really any identifying markers to which story comes first. What is definitely clear about this issue is that it is the 1st Spidey x-over to where the wall crawler ends up in a Human Torch story in which hot head gets jealous when an article features our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man over him.

The two do battle and also team up in this issue, and while it's not Spidey's 1st battle with the Torch which happened in Amazing Spider-Man #1, it is the 1st time the two do team up. Still a pretty significant Spider-Man key issue and definitely an early appearance of the webslinger.

4th appearance though? It's a high chance this issue could be his 5th appearance, but Amazing Spider-Man #4 could be his fifth appearance also and both issues seem to tie each other for now with the exception of cover date. I still question this key as his 4th, but the confusion still rages on.

Alright, time for the CGC Census for record purposes. So at the time of this writing, there are currently only 355 copies registered. Highest is one 9.8 non-restored with the 2nd highest being only two 9.6s and only eight 9.4s, all Universal and non-restored.



No info on UK versions that I could find and CGC has no copies of those currently registered or recorded as of yet. 

Strange Tales Annual #2 has the copyright date of June 11, 1963 and Overstreet notes the cover date of July, 1963.







Amazing Spider-Man #4 Cover. 1st appearance of Sandman
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #4
  • 1st appearance & origin of Sandman
  • 1st appearance of Betty Brant
  • Retconned 1st Jessica Jones
  • Liz named 1st time

Another iconic villain for Spider-Man is Sandman, and he was a member of the original Sinister Six. His real name is William Baker but used the alias of Flint Marko shortly after he landed himself in prison.

After escaping prison, Baker finds himself at a nuclear test site and comes into contact with the irradiated sand. He and the sand bond and his molecular structure is forever changed into the substance.





The Sandman is born, and his life as a super-villain begins. This issue has the 1st appearance of Sandman (then known as Flint Marko) and also tells the origin of this highly iconic Spidey villain.

Although Green Goblin is arguably the most iconic of villains for the Webslinger, Sandman is definitely in the top ten of iconic Spidey villains and has already made his live action debut in Spider-Man 3. The villain was played by Thomas Haden Church, and I thought he played a great Sandman for what was given him.

Just watched this movie again on Hulu and can appreciate the special effects they did for Sandman. And check it: While Spider-Man 3 garnered bad reviews and criticism for being over-stuffed with too many characters, villains, subplots, and what nots, it is one of the 1st comic movies to do this kind of complexity and we are still seeing it in comic movies like the Avengers and Captain America Civil War which are getting praise from critics.

Guess the critics just weren't use to it then. I just don't like the fact that Spider-Man 3 got hokey when Parker started turning bad and Venom wasn't up to par for me.

Sandman has been a foil for Spider-Man in many comics, and is definitely one of the more recurring menaces for the wall crawler. 

The key issue goodness does not stop there. This issue also sees the debut of Daily Bugle and personal secretary of J. Jonah Jameson, Betty Brant.

Betty Brant is a major recurring supporting character and even served as an early love interest for Parker and the two actually dated in the comics. While an attraction for each other did play out on the big screen in Sam Rami's first Spider-Man film series, they never took it beyond that unlike that comics.

Betty Brant on film was first played by the beautiful and talented Elizabeth Banks in the first Spider-Man trilogy, and she appeared as the character in all three films. Absolutely love watching most anything with Banks in it since then.

The new Spider-Man Homecoming will have actor Angourie Rice play the role of Betty Brant. This cinematic version seems like it will deviate from the comics, and instead of meeting Peter Parker at the Daily Bugle as Jameson's secretary like the comic books, Betty Brant will be a high-school classmate of Parker.

Alright, now let's talk about the retconned 1st appearance of Jessica Jones. Apparently in Amazing Spider-Man #601, Jessica Jones tells the wall crawler that she was supposedly present the day the Sandman fought Spidey for the 1st time in Amazing Spider-Man #4. Check it out below.


She then explains in that issue that this battle actually inspired her to use her powers as a superhero, in which she was already aware of them at the time. Like most retconned appearances way after the fact, this comic issue pointed to a panel in this very issue depicting an unnamed student that is supposedly Jessica Jones.

Despite this retcon 43 years later by Mark Waid, Brian Michael Bendis and the creator of Jessica Jones has taken up the issue and firmly stated that Jessica Jones' first appeared in Alias #1. Period! 

Anyway, there's the story behind Jessica Jones being retconned into this issue. Seems like a lot of characters end up being retconned as debuting in a Spidey story.

1,507 are in the CGC Census currently for the regular cents issue. Highest are five 9.6s with one under the Qualified label and one under the Restored label. Only ten 9.4s with three being Restored copies. Next grade of 9.2 has only 25 copies and three out of that number are Restored copies.



Pence copies have only 17 currently registered and the highest is a single 8.0 with the 2nd highest being a single 7.5 grade. Both are non-restored. 

 

I've always said that any Amazing Spider-Man within the 1st ten issues is a good if not a great comic to own, despite movie hype or not. They are highly-sought out and valuable for a reason.

Sandman is a classic and iconic Spider-Man villain for sure. Although dwarfed by both Mary Jane and Gwen Stacy, Betty Brant is one of Peter Parker's first loves and before those two ever stole Peter's heart. I think Betty Brant is a pretty important supporting Spider-Man character.

Not sure why Overstreet notes this issue as the intro of Liz Allan. She is named for the 1st time in this issue, but the character does show up in previous Spider-Man stories. As mentioned earlier, she shows up in 8 panels on 5 pages in Amazing Spider-Man #2.

Amazing Spider-Man #4 has the copyright date of June 11th 1963 and the cover date of September, 1963. 







FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #1
  • Retelling of 1st meeting in ASM #1


I'm really not sure about whether this issue should be able to double-dip here. I mean, this is a retelling and extended version of the 1st meeting between Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four that was 1st told in Amazing Spider-Man #1.

Even though this is the 2nd time Spidey appears in another title, I am even hesitant to call it Spidey's 2nd x-over and don't really think it should qualify. Also, this definitely adds more confusion as to which numerical appearance of Spider-Man either comic should be labeled with.

This issue is definitely double-dipping, and if we're going by canonical appearances, it's obvious that the events of the story in this issue precede Amazing Spider-Man #5. However, it's still the same appearance portrayed in issue #1.

Although ASM #5 and FF Annual #1 both have copyrights in July, Fantastic Four Annual #1 has the LoC copyright date of July 2, 1963, and Amazing Spider-Man #5 has an LoC copyright date of July 9, 1963. 

Highest CGC grade in the census are twelve 9.6s and all of them are Universal, non-restored copies. When it comes to 9.4s, there is one Restored copy out of the 16 registered.



This issue has a total CGC registered census of 549. No census info on UK Pence copies if any.  

Fantastic Four Annual #1 precedes ASM #5 concerning that, and although we may never know what numerical appearance this issue should be considered for the webslinger, I don't think it should count as a 2nd x-over. Just my opinion though and I'll let ya decide that for yourself.

Strange Tales Annual #2 has an ad for this issue that claims it comes out early July and somewhat verifies the copyright date above and that it came out after STA #2. 







THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #5
  • 1st meeting of Spider-Man & Doctor Doom
  • 1st Doctor Doom x-over
  • 1st Spidey & Doctor Doom battle


7th appearance or 8th appearance or whatever appearance, Amazing Spider-Man #5 is still an important issue as it's the first time Spidey meets one of the most iconic villains in the Marvel Comics universe. That's right, the wise-crackin' wall crawler meets Doctor Doom here for the first time. 



Seeing that both he and Spidey are outcasts, ole Doctor Doom tries to recruit Spider-Man in joining his cause for evil and that the two of them together could rule the world! Hey, who doesn't want to rule the world?

Well, Spidey doesn't, and he doesn't buy into Doctor Doom's brilliant idea either. Of course, this 1st meeting between our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man and the iconic arch nemesis of the Fantastic Four would evolve into their 1st battle as well.

Actually, there would be two face offs between the two contained in this mighty issue. After Spidey escapes their first skirmish, Doom plans to capture Spidey but captures a certain Flash Thompson dressed as the webhead instead. 

The 2nd battle is definitely longer and more action-packed than the first. Good ole Silver Age action drawn by Steve Ditko. 

 
Definitely a classic issue and a great Spider-Man Silver Age key comic as well. Only one 9.8 in the CGC Census at the time of this writing and it's a Universal. 9.6s only has 9 currently with none of them being restored. Only twelve 9.4s and one is under the Restored label. Total is 1,510 registered copies.



Onto Pence copies for this issue and the highest graded copies are so far are four 7.0s, all Universal, non-restored copies. 2nd highest are also four 6.5 non-restored comics. Only 16 total copies graded to date concerning UK Pence copies of this issue in the registry. Cover price is still 9d in the price box.

Pence copies for these early Spidey issues are rising in price and demand. Needless to say, but the niche is growing and becoming more recognized by collectors. Here's the UK Pence CGC stats

  

The Amazing Spider-Man #5 has the cover date of October, 1963 and the LoC copyright date of July 9, 1963. 





Amazing Spider-Man #6 1963 cover. 1st Lizard
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #6
1st appearance of the Lizard
Origin of the Lizard



The prior spidey reboot franchise featured the Lizard already, but they didn't kill him off. Is there a good chance he'll return in another Spider-Man movie?

Whether he comes back live-action or not, the Lizard is a classic Spider-Man villain and Dr. Curt Conners is a well-known character in the mythos of Spider-Man. I was first introduced to the character during Todd McFarlane's run in Amazing Spider-Man that my feeble memory can remember.

So as most fans know already, Dr. Curt Conners was a genetic biologist who researched reptiles' ability to regrow limbs to basically discover how to regenerate his own amputated right arm. Developing an experimental serum based on reptile DNA, Conners tests his creation on himself.


His arm did grow back, but there were side effects and transformed the good doctor into a  reptilian humanoid monster. The Lizard is born, and the origin in the actual comics was told by the wife of Dr. Conners.



While in human form, Dr. Conners is a good friend to Peter Parker, but in Lizard form, he is a deadly enemy of Spider-Man. This kind of device has been used for several of Spidey's villains. In civilian guise, they are close to Parker for some reason like Norman and Harry Osborn, but they also do become deadly villains as well.

Doctor Conners as the Lizard is one of the first of these villains to use this friend/enemy device. He is different, because Peter learns that Conners is the Lizard very early and in this issue actually.

Because of this reason, Parker as Spider-Man does not want to hurt the Lizard too badly since he knows the creature in human form is also his friend. Always some tough angles Spidey has to face in his friendships and this will further play out with soon to be other characters that debut in the comic series

Only 24 UK pence comics of this issue are registered in the CGC Census. Highest grade so far are two 8.0s, and 2nd highest grade is a single 7.0. Comics for both of those grades are under the Universal label.

Three 9.8 Universals are the top grades for this issue currently and there are ten 9.6 Universals. Only twenty-nine 9.4 copies with two of them being Restored. Total graded comics in the registry is 1,580 for cents copies.

CGC Census U.S. Cents Stats



CGC Census UK Pence Stats



The Lizard has already seen his live-action debut in the Amazing Spider-Man film starring Andrew Garfield. Word was the character was supposed to be a villain in Spider-Man 4 of the Raimi films, but after the critical panning of Spider-Man 3, Sony decided to reboot the franchise.

Curt Conners was first played by actor Dylan Baker in Spider-Man 2 and 3 but never became the Lizard in that franchise. The most recent is Rhys Ifans, and I actually did like the portrayal of the Lizard in Marc Webb's Amazing Spider-Man. I didn't think it was bad. Like the comics, Curt Conners and the Lizard is a bit more sympathetic villain.


In the comics, the Lizard's 2nd appearance is quite a few issues away from this one and in Amazing Spider-Man #44

1st appearance of both Dr. Curt Conners and the Lizard as well as his son and wife, Billy and Martha Conners, in Amazing Spider-Man #6 has the copyright date of August 8th and the cover date of November, 1963. 







AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #7
2nd appearance of the Vulture

Although a 2nd appearance, this comic is pretty much very well-known as the 2nd appearance of the Vulture. Not to mention that this an early key issue within the first 10 issues of the first Amazing Spider-Man series.

Adrian Toomes is Spidey's 2nd ever super villain to cross paths with. Chameleon is technically his first but there wasn't really anything super about Chameleon during this time.  


Vulture's first appearance was in Amazing Spider-Man #2 and he was been an iconic foe for the Webslinger. Definitely no cheap comic investment to snag, but the character will be in the upcoming Spidey flick.

He most likely will be in the line up for the Sinister Six flick if that spin-off is indeed still happening. I haven't heard any news of how many flicks Michael Keaton will contractually appear in as the Vulture.

So far there are no CGC 9.8s, but there are ten 9.6s currently. None of them are restos but one is a Signature Series.

Twenty-one 9.4 copies and one of those is Restored. Two Restored 9.2 copies out of the sixteen registered. Total registered copies are so far 1,159.



Much like the other issues on here so far, UK pence copies for Amazing Spider-Man #7 in the census are pretty scarce or not all that plentiful. There's only 18 registered in the census currently. 9.0 is the highest with three 8.0s being the 2nd highest.  

No Restored copies with those grades just yet, but there is one 5.0 Restored grade? Only one Resto for pence copies?

Wow! Where are all the pence copies hiding, or were a lot of them just thrown in the trash over the years?

  
Amazing Spider-Man #7 and the 2nd appearance of the Vulture has December, 1963 on the cover, but was copyrighted September 10th. His next full appearance is in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1.









STRANGE TALES #115
  • 2nd appearance of Sandman
  • 2nd Spider-Man x-over?
  • 1st meeting between Human Torch & Sandman
  • 1st Human Torch & Sandman battle 

Once again, disregarding the retelling of Spidey's 1st encounter with the Fantastic Four in FF Annual #1, in which the story originally happened in the 1st Amazing Spider-Man issue, I believe this comic here should be counted as Spidey's 2nd cross-over. Once again, it happens in the pages of Strange Tales.

This comic is stacked with with key issue goodness. It has the 2nd appearance of Sandman and the 1st time the Human Torch meets this baddie.



Later in the story, Sandman and the Human Torch have their first battle with one another.

In the end, Torch captures Sandman without Spider-Man's help. Spidey is in the actual story but doesn't team up with the Torch. Sandman does meet Spidey again in this issue but sucker punches him off a building.

On the non-Spidey side of things, Strange Tales #115 also has Doctor Strange key issue goodness as well and tells Doctor Strange's origin for the first time in comics.

Registered copies for the regular U.S. cover totals 524. One 9.8 Universal is the highest to date, and six 9.6s with one of them being a Signature Series. No restos for either grades just yet, but there are two Restored copies in the fifteen 9.4s registered.



Only one pence copy is registered in the CGC Census.

I am a bit surprised when it comes to that. Doctor Strange movie news has already been out there for a while now, and this being an origin issue for Strange, it has been on the radar for most fans.

Any higher grade pence copies of this issue out there? Guess we'll have to see how scarce pence copies of this issue really are in the near future, although it seems like they are.

Just to note: There is a CGC 7.5 UK Edition that's not registered in the census. It's registered as a regular copy with a regular Universal label. One of those 7.5s in the cents data is a UK Edition that just wasn't labeled as such.

I wonder if that has happened for other comics in the CGC Census as well.

 
Doctor Strange or Spidey fan, this is definitely a key worth considering and owning. Sandman's 3rd appearance is in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 which predates Amazing Spider-Man #18. 

You'll find out why I called it that way when we get to that issue and part. Strange Tales #115 has the same cover date of December, 1963 as Amazing Spider-Man #7 and the same copyright date of September 10th as that issue.






THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #8
1st appearance of the Living Brain
1st appearance Dr. Petty


Not the most popular of Spider-Man foes and has recurred here and there as a menace, the Living Brain is still a super-villain that deserves somewhat of a mention. It is a super robot, and at the time of it's debut in this issue, it was the most advanced and intelligent computer/robot ever created.

When two workers hear of the robot's ability to answer any question, they decide to steal it for gambling purposes. Caught in the act by it's creator Dr. Petty, a scuffle happens and one of the workers is knocked into the Living Brain's control panel.

This causes it to malfunction and go on a rampage in which Spidey stops in the end. I do not think the Living Brain shows up again in an actual Spider-Man story during the Silver and Bronze age, but is brought back during the late 80s.

This robot would later become a member of Boomerang's version of the Sinister Six during the Marvel NOW! stuff. The 2nd story to this issue has yet another Spider-Man and Human Torch rivalry, but Spidey ends up going against the Fantastic Four again.

Not counting the retelling of their first battle from Amazing Spider-Man #1 in Fantastic Four Annual #1, this issue may possibly have the 2nd battle between Spidey and the Fantastic Four.

Concerning graded copies and just how scarce high grades are for this issue, there's six 9.8s and all are Universals. Thirteen 9.6s and no restos either.

9.4s does have one Restored copy out of only 29, and the total is 1,273 registered so far. As for UK Pence copies, there's surprisingly 13 total at the time of this writing. 

Two 7.5 Universals is the top grade and one single 7.0 is the 2nd top grade. Thought there would be less pence copies in the census since this isn't the most desired Amazing Spider-Man key within the first ten issues.

CGC Census U.S. Cents Stats
 


CGC Census UK Pence Stats 
 
 
Pretty scarce or someone has a lot of these pence copies buried somewhere. Copyright date is October 8th, and The Amazing Spider-Man #8 has the cover date of January, 1964.







THE AVENGERS #3
1st Spider-Man in Avengers comic
1st Spider-Man & Iron Man published meeting
1st Hulk & Namor meeting & battle
 1st Hulk & Namor team up
2nd Namor x-over outside of FF


I believe that Iron Man was most likely the 1st Avenger that Spidey met, so it makes sense that he's the first one to have met in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Captain America Civil War. Obviously, this is a Spidey x-over but he really just has a cameo in this issue.

Actually, Iron Man is looking for the Incredible Hulk and runs into Spidey to see if the webcrawler has spotted the Jade Giant. For someone who seemingly wants to join the Avengers in his earlier appearances, the Web-Head is pretty much a snot to Shellhead.



Bad day Spidey? Like mentioned before, it's pretty much a very brief cameo, but it is the first interaction between the two on-panel.

This issue actually has a whole bunch of key issue goodness that's not really noted by Overstreet or CGC. Other than Spidey and Iron Man 1st meeting, this issue also has the 1st meeting of Namor and the Hulk, and the two powerhouses do battle before they decide to team up against the Avengers.

Alright, CGC stats time for this issue. No 9.8s yet, so the top grade is 9.6 and there's seven locked in so far. Two Restored copies when it comes to 9.4 Near mint grades, but there's only eighteen of them.  

9.2s actually have the same stats as 9.4s currently. Total graded copies for the regular U.S. cents version of this issue so far is only 861 currently.



Pence copies for this issue are also scarce when it comes to graded copies in the census, and there's only 8 registered CGC copies at the time of this writing. The highest and 2nd highest graded copies are only a 7.5 and 7.0, and strangely once again, the only Restored copy is a 5.0 VG/FN.

 
I'd still love to see Namor on film and think he has great potential, but looks like Aquaman will beat him to the punch. Still, a good ole Hulk battlin' the Avengers on the big screen?

I wish that took place in Captain America Civil War. Wasn't meant to be. Cover date for Avengers #3 is January, 1964 and has the copyright date of November 5th.






When it comes to early Spidey appearances, it gets convoluted around issue #4 and no one is sure if ASM #4 or Strange Tales Annual 2 is the 5th or 6th appearance or not. I still think that ASM #3 is Spidey's 4th appearance.

ASM #3 was copyrighted a little over 2 months prior to Strange Tales Annual #2. If the copyright dates were closer, I'd be less sure.

The problem is that there really isn't anything that references continuity in the stories of either ASM #4 or Strange Tales Annual #2. Even in issues after those two, the relationship between the Torch and Spidey is convoluted.

In issue #3, they seem to get a long just fine. Then in Strange Tales Annual #2, they're somewhat at odds and in ASM #5, they're on good-terms. In issue #8 of Amazing Spider-Man, they're once again at odds and despise each other. Spidey tries to make Torch look like a tool in front of his girlfriend Dorris, and the two duke it out.

The fight is broken up by the rest of the Fantastic Four, and Spidey and Sue Storm flirt with each other. However, Torch and Spidey part on less than cordial terms. 

I can't really find any definite continuity when it comes to Spidey's appearances after issue #3. Ads and readers comments can somewhat give clues but I think they're not that reliable for the most part.

Even arrival stamps can be botched. Ever date a check the wrong year or a day earlier than the actual date? 

ASM #5 has the promotion of ST Annual #2 and FF Annual #1 being on sale the same month in the Special Announcement Section at the end of the reader's comments in that issue. 


Yep, early Spider-Man comics did have the Spidey Signal. Wonder where that idea was jacked from? Batman? Some sources say that it first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #3. 

Swing into Part 2 or any part to this Silver Age Spider-Man key issues series by clicking the links below.

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SILVER AGE | BRONZE AGE | COPPER AGE | MODERN AGE 


 

3 comments:

  1. Still looking to add a single digit ASM key issue to my collection. Just about have every major silver age key issue in the series starting with issue 15.

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    Replies
    1. Damn! That's a lot of key issues you got for ASM...

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    2. Thanks for the response Mayhem. When I got back into comics in the early 2000's ASM is the main title I started collecting and have added to it since then. I also have all the major bronze age keys in the series as well except for ASM 194 which I sold a couple of years back.

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