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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Bronze Age Spider-Man Key Issues Part 3


This 3rd part to this Bronze Age Spider-Man key issues will have a guns blazin' and that means we'll once again see the debut of one of my favorite Marvel characters that I grew up reading. I'm pretty sure you have an idea of who I'm talking about since I have mentioned this quite a lot.

While I initially believed the Bronze Age section might be a bit shorter than the Silver Age, I did forget that quite a few Spidey spin-off titles happened during this era. Marvel Team-Up is one of them and we already featured it in Part 2.

Of course, key issues in that team up comic series will continued to featured in this section if the issue does have Spidey in it. Most do, but Marvel Team-Up isn't a key issue saturated series. There are some, but not like there are in just the Amazing Spider-Man title.
I suppose I could make the parts longer and cut down on the images. Actually whether or not they are longer, I should probably cut back on the images. Too many does slow down loading speed for web pages.

1st appearance & origin of Orb
1st Spidey & Ghost Rider team-up

I think this is the 1st time Ghost Rider and Spider-Man meet in comics, or the first time comic fans saw the two meet in the pages of a comic book. While Mephisto has always been a big part of the Ghost Rider mythos, I don't think the Spirit of Vengeance met any of Marvel's superheroes prior to this issue.

Spider-Man just may be the very first one. I wouldn't say it's an iconic team-up or a fan-favorite Spidey team up. Might be even a stretch to consider it a Spidey key issue.

The Web-slinger has teamed up with virtually everyone, but the Spidey/Human Torch seems to be the most well-known or talked about in comic fandom. Besides meeting Ghost Rider and having their first team-up in this issue, this comic also sees the 1st appearance of the Orb and the character expands on Ghost Rider's origin a bit.

Drake Shannon was the partner of Crash Simpson, Roxanna's pops, and both were the best motorcycle stunt men in the circuit. Their partnership deteriorated but neither wanted to sell their half of the show.

They decided to settle it by a cross-country race in which the winner would gain full ownership. Of course, this is a perfect set up for a tragedy and Shannon ended up crashing.

The accident left Shannon horribly disfigured and sought his revenge to gain full ownership of the motorcycle stunt show he once half-owned. He would come back as the Orb, and his debut would have him cross paths with both Ghost Rider and Spidey, which Peter Parker was dragged to the show by Mary Jane to watch.

In the Marvel Team-Up comic series, this key isn't a slouch in terms of value. Aside from the 30 and 35 cent variants in the titled series, it is one of the more valuable keys in Marvel Team-Up.

Overstreet has the value of this comic on par with the 1st U.S. appearance of Captain Britain. Both are clocked in at $50 for raw, low NMs.

Pretty funky CGC Census. Low over-all total but already 16 9.8s registered in their database.

Probably more of a Ghost Rider key than a Spidey key, but I'll just throw this one in here regardless. Ross Andru pencils this issue and Marvel Team-Up #15 has the cover date of November, 1973.

1st appearance of the Punisher
1st appearance of the Jackal

Alright, although I am definitely a fan of the Punisher, I've been talking about this comic for so long that I am actually getting burnt out on writing about it. That's writing about it, however, but not talking about the character or this comic in particular. 

As most know, I grew up reading the Punisher right when the 1st on-going series came out in 1987. That cover blew me away.

I have to admit that I didn't have the most mentally healthy reasons of why I became a fan of the Punisher. I loved the 1st Death Wish movie, and this character did remind me of that flick. 

Like the Punisher, the movie was extreme and about a guy who was fed up and pushed to the limit until that limit shattered. Did I relate to this as a kid? Abso-mudda-lutely I did. 

Did I fantasize about going all Punisher on my daily bullies back in school? I'd be lying if I said I didn't entertain the idea of it....a lot!

Did characters like Punisher and Wolverine inspire me to finally stand up for myself and fight back against those bullies? Abso-mucking-lutely! 
But that's just me. I have no idea of why other fans took to the character. Most of the text below is taken off the Punisher Key Issues series done not too long ago. 

Don't worry, I will add new information here in this listing.
The Punisher a.k.a Frank Castle is one of the more important and iconic characters to come out of the bronze age on the Marvel side, and this issue is one of the most valuable and sought after Marvel first appearances from that era. 

In terms of value of Amazing Spider-Man keys and comics, the 1st appearance of the Punisher is the top one according to Overstreet's price guide. Even ASM #121 isn't as valuable in OPG, and CGC 9.8s are more valuable for this issue than the latter.

Comparing CGC 9.2 ASM #121 and ASM #129, the average of eBay sales for a 2 year period for the debut of the Punisher at CGC 9.2 are at least $700 higher than the same 2 year sales average of CGC grade 9.2 ASM #121. Overstreet guides the two having a $500 dollar difference which is pretty darn close enough.

Of course, this is at the time of this writing, so that can change. Punisher is still riding high with the whole Netflix thing after all.

If you take into account the 33rd edition of OPG (around 2001-2002), the value gap was actually closer between the two keys. ASM #129 had raw NMs at only $260 while ASM #121 at the same grade was clocked in at $210. 

It's no surprise that the Punisher would be introduced in the Amazing Spider-Man series since quite a bit of Marvel characters made their first appearances in this titled series. As we all know Frank Castle started out as an antagonist for the Web-head. 

Amazing Spider-Man #129 also has the first appearance of Miles Warren as the Jackal, and this is no sleeper comic by any account. It's been more highly sought out recently and definitely no cheap buy at higher grades.

The Punisher was one of the comic characters that came out when the anti-hero begin to infiltrate comics. Characters like Wolverine and the Punisher were definitely more violent and questionable heroes.

Sure, they did heroic deeds but their method or ways of doing things were not acceptable to those around him or seen as dangerous. Both Wolverine and Punisher had no problem of taking life, and the Punisher's willingness to kill was definitely seen as troublesome to others like Captain America, Spider-Man, & Daredevil.
The extremeness of the Punisher has always been a theme for the character in how other superheroes in the Marvel universe see him. Creator Gerry Conway has expressed surprise in the Punisher's rising popularity and had intended him to be a second-tier or one-off villain.

The character of the Punisher was not intended to be a good guy in comics and started off as an antagonist to Spidey plain an simple. It wasn't as simple though.

Despite Gerry Conway's original intention for the character, fan reaction and interest was pretty quick and Punisher did evolve into an anti-hero. As for the Punisher's skull emblem, it was originally smaller.

John Romita Sr. blew up the logo to cover the whole chest. It was a move to make the symbol more iconic and to strike fear in the character's victims.

It also established the character's iconic symbol of a perverted breakdown of justice, no matter how misconstrued it would become to comic fandom. These kinds of characters did help to push comics into a more darker and grittier realm and even helped to birth the Dark Age of Comics that came about during the mid-eighties and lasted 'till present day.

Even though a popular Marvel character, the creation and evolution of the Punisher did make an impact on the actual history and eventual direction of comics. John Romita Sr. also co-created the character, and Archie Goodwin and Frank Miller and Garth Ennis would help to evolve the Punisher character and bring him into darker territory.

As stated before, the Punisher got his name from Stan Lee. He suggested to use the name for one of Galactus' robots who appeared earlier. The Punisher creators are still credited as Gerry Conway and John Romita Sr., yet another iconic contribution the legendary artist has made on the series.

Punisher garnered many headlining comic series and spin-offs since this debut. He was played by several actors an has had 3 movies to date.

The first was Dolph Lundgren in the straight to video in the 1989 The Punisher flick. I remember being so excited when I saw this VHS at the local movie rental place, and this was before my town even got a Block Buster.

I remember being hugely disappointed after watching it also. I can't even remember it all that much now.

Lundgren did look like the comic character for sure, but the direct to video flick had a pretty terrible script and was done poorly.

The 2nd flick was the 1st big screen movie that starred Thomas Jane as the titular character. The film had the same title and was largely based on the Garth Ennis' stories that he did on the character.

Thomas Jane also visually looked more like the Whilce Portacio renderings, a more lean and chisled Punisher. The 2004 flick was a critical bomb.

Some fans did like the movie. I wasn't one of them, but I did like the fan made video in which Thomas Jane reprised the role in Dirty Laundry by Adi Shankar

Can't believe Marvel tried to shut it down, but you know how they be with copyrights. Actually, LK brought this fan film to my attention. If you haven't yet seen it, here's the bootleg version below.

The third attempt was the rebooted Punisher War Zone starring Ray Stevenson who reminded me a lot of how the Punisher looked when Mick Zeck drew him in the 1986 Punisher  limited series. Stevensen slightly reminded me how Klaus Jensen rendered the Punisher in the early issues of the 1st Punisher on-going series back in 1987. This movie also incorporated some characters that Garth Ennis created in his work on the Punisher titled comic.

I thought the movie was gonna be great when I saw the first action scene when Punisher eliminates the mobsters at one of thier meetings. Then shiz got stupid with Looney Bin Jim and drug dealers getting around town doing Parkour. Jig Saw ended up being written as cartoonish. 

The most recent actor is of course Jon Bernthal that appeared on the Daredevil season two Netflix series. The character was immediately spun off into his own Netflix series due to critical and fan reaction.

Visually, Bernthal looks like Tim Bradstreet's Punisher covers, and I did think his portrayal was good enough. He has a certain intensity that made it work. Out of all the actors that portrayed him, I still favor Ray Stevenson and thought he looked the most intimidating.


In terms of CGC, there is a significant amount of total copies in the census already clocked. However, I still wonder how many of these copies were cracked open, pressed, and resubmitted.

Actually, I wonder about that concerning a lot of major keys on the Marvel side of it. I dunno and there's no possible way I could ever gauge that. I'm sure some of those numbers presented were regraded copies.
I've always advocated this 1st appearance, and the cover date to Amazing Spider-Man #129 is February, 1974.

3rd appearance of Molten Man
Liz Allan returns

The Molten Man returns after his 2nd appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #35. Unlike the Silver Age, Molten Man would have more appearances than just 2 in the Bronze Age.

Liz Allan also makes her return in comic books after having quite a hiatus. Her last appearance in an actual new comic story was Amazing Spider-Man #30. After that, her character only appeared in comics that reprinted earlier stories like in Amazing Spider-Man Annual 2 and 3 or Marvel Tales.

This story does reference that Liz Allan is an old friend from high-school who hasn't been seen since graduation. They actually did run into each other in Amazing Spider-Man #30 in which Liz Allan told Peter she was a working girl now.

Definitely not that hefty of census over-all, and this key has a pretty low total submitted copies. Last eBay sale recorded on GoCollect has a 9.8 slabber that sold for $960 back in September of 2015.

Molten Man faces off with Spidey in this issue and would face off with the web-slinger again in the next issue after. So 3rd appearance of Molten Man and the return of Liz Allan, and Amazing Spider-Man #132 has the cover date of May, 1974.

1st meeting of Morbius & Man-Wolf
3rd appearance of Man-Wolf

Marvel's Bronze Age horror characters start to get connected pretty early on. In the 3rd appearance of John Jameson as Man-Wolf, he finally meets Morbius the Living Vampire, and guess who gets stuck in the middle?

Yep, poor Spidey had to deal with these two monsters. So, in this one-shot, Morbius seeks out Man-Wolf to possibly team-up, but Man-Wolf isn't so cooperative at first.

The two creatures have a brief battle, but when Morbius feeds off the Man-Wolf, he somehow gains control of the lupine's mind. They then set off to do what villains do best, but Spidey ends up battling them both separately.

While Man-Wolf fends off our favorite wall-crawler, Morbius heads to see Dr. Harold in order to get his living dead hands on the good doctor's experimental research that can cure leukemia. Our hero battles Morbius, but the lad is destroyed a long with the research.

Everyone loses, and Morbius vows revenge before escaping.

Pretty low CGC Census. Not sure if that many Spidey collectors know of this issue, or if it's just not all that cared about. Overstreet does clock this issue at $95 for a raw low NM 9.2, so it's not exactly cheap.

Not too many eBay sales for this key either on GoCollect. Only on 9.8 CGC sale recorded, and sold for $500 in June of 2016. Giant-Size Super-Heroes #1 has the cover date of June, 1974.

4th appearance of the Molten Man

I'm not sure if this is the first time Liz Allan reveals that the Molten Man is her step-brother, but she does explain that after high-school, she got a job as nurse to look after Mark Raxton. Apparently this was after the accident that turned Raxton into the Molten Man and he had later complications.

So this comic has the 4th appearance of Mark Raxton as the villain, and it might be the 1st time it's revealed that Liz Allan is related to Raxton. I went back and re-read issues #28 and #30 and nothing was ever implied or hinted at that Raxton was her step-brother.

Quite a bit of 9.8s for such a low over-all registered total. Don't think this comic is all that well-known, though. Overstreet nor CGC doesn't note it yet.

Alright, Ross Andru pencils with a John Romita Sr. cover, June, 1974 is the cover date for The Amazing Spider-Man #133. Gerry Conway scripts this one as well.

2nd cameo of Punisher
1st appearance of Tarantula

In the 2nd time that Spidey meets the Punisher, it is on the very last page of this issue. We as readers only really see the Punisher fully in the very last panel.

The character does appear in four panels. Well, two has his boots. The other has his leg, hand, and gun, and the very last money shot introduces us again to the character.

Overstreet and CGC just note this issue as a cameo and I don't think they'll really budge on that. Overstreet does note Amazing Spider-Man #135 as the Punisher's 2nd full appearance, so I'm gonna note this as his 2nd cameo appearance.

The Tarantula makes his first appearance debut in this issue as well, and his origin would be told in the next issue. That issue would also have the 2nd full appearance of the Punisher.

Not a horrendously high number of copies that have been grade by CGC for this issue so far. Guess Tarantula doesn't really have collectors sending in their copies to get graded on a grand scale. Perhaps neither does the "2nd cameo of Punisher" either. 

Dunno, but I am going to assume issue #135 has a heftier CGC total. The end of Amazing Spider-Man #134 does continue the story in issue #135, and this comic has the cover date of July, 1974.

1st Giant-Size titled Spider-Man issue
Cameo of Equinox

The 1st of the Giant-Size Spider-Man comics begins here. Not really all that important like the debut of the new X-Men team, but Marvel put out a bunch of Giant-Size titles.

Spidey did show up in Giant-Size Super-Heroes prior to this, so it's not his 1st story in a Giant-Size titled comic. This is his 1st self-titled Giant-Size issue though. Just wanted to get that clear in case anyone was confused about the semantics with the notations.

Equinox is much of a major villain or character and only appears in shadow in this issue. His first full appearance is in Marvel Team-Up #23.

Both Giant-Size Spider-Man #1 and Marvel Team-Up #23 have the same cover date and copyright date of April 23, 1974. In the beginning of Marvel Team-Up #23, Spidey leaves on a mission in a sky-craft and the Human Torch and Iceman team-up in that issue to battle Equinox.

It is the 2nd time that the Human Torch starred in Marvel Team-Up without Spidey. So the mission that the web-slinger is seen heading towards in the 23rd issue of Marvel Team-Up is told in this Giant-Size Spider-Man issue.

Not really all that much to say except that it's a first issue and pretty much a minor key. Well, it does have the first meeting of Dracula and Peter Parker but the two never meet nor battle when he is Spider-Man.

July, 1974 is the cover date for Giant-Size Spider-Man #1.


2nd full appearance The Punisher
2nd battle Punisher & Spider-Man
1st Punisher & Spider-Man team up
2nd appearance & Origin of Tarantula  

2nd appearances for some characters have gained some attention and values have pushed up some. However, this 2nd appearance of the Punisher has been somewhat sought out for quite some time by Punisher comic fans, so it's no longer a sleeper and will cost you some ducats in the higher graded ranges.

With the Punisher Netflix series coming soon, demand for this comic has gotten more of a boost. The Punisher does have a cameo appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #134. 

A few people are regarding that as the Punisher's 2nd appearance but the collecting industry doesn't so far. Once again, folks, nothing I have any control over.

So, Spidey battles Punisher again for the 2nd time in this issue, and they even team up for the 1st time in this issue also. There is more goodness to this key than that.

Tarantula's origin is revealed in this issue if you're a fan of that villain. Another bit of key goodness about this issue that isn't really made a big deal about is that Harry Osborn discovers that his best-friend is Spider-Man.

Finally grabbed me a copy at East Bay Comic Con recently and hoping it's at least a NM or comes back as such. Haven't sent it in to get graded yet and will probably have to wait till next year to do so. Amazing Spider-Man #135 has the cover date of August, 1974.

1st appearance of Harry Osborn as Green Goblin

A pretty important moment and key issue that should be on the want list of any Spidey fan. This is the issue where Harry Osborn takes up the mantle of the Green Goblin to get revenge.

Harry witnessed his father being impaled by his own glider and blames Spider-Man for his death. Even worse, Harry would find Peter's Spider-Man costume and realizes his best friend is the Web-slinger in the previous issue of Amazing Spider-Man #135.

With his dad's old goblin gear, Harry becomes Spider-Man's arch nemesis and the two would collide in an epic battle for the 1st time.

All these events have played out on the big screen already, but were different than the comics. James Franco as Harry discovered Spider-Man's identity in Spider-Man 2. After getting Doc Ock to capture Spidey for him, Harry unmasks him in the movie.

In Spider-Man 3, Harry takes up the mantle of Green Goblin and fights with Spidey, knowing that it's his best-friend.
Then we have The Amazing Spider-Man 2 flick and that sees Harry Osborn as the Green Goblin. In that movie-verse, it's Harry as Gobby who is responsible for Gwen's death instead of Norman Osborn.

In this issue, Peter does learn that the new Green Goblin is Harry Osborn. At first, Parker isn't sure but Harry gives it away in the panels below.

This key maybe slightly under-valued, but it's definitely on the radar of most fans. CGC Census for this issue is definitely a bit heftier than some of the other keys in this Part 3. Value-wise, 9.8s are still under a grand and the last two recorded eBay sales (GoCollect) of this comic at those grades were both $700.

With the cover date of September, 1974, The Amazing Spider-Man #136 is definitely one to consider for any Spidey fan or collector of the web-slinger.

2nd appearance of Harry Osborn as Green Goblin

Here we are with round two of this super fight. In the red corner, we have everyone's favorite neighborhood Spider-Man, and in the other corner, it's Harry Osborn as the maniacal Green Goblin II

So continuing the feud from the previous issue, Spidey and Gobby II confront each other again, except this time, Harry has an ace up his sleeve and informs Peter that he has captured his Aunt May, Flash Thompson and Mary Jane.

They are rigged to a bomb that's set to go off in only six minutes. Spidey has to delay the beat down to save his friends and Aunt May, and he is successful.

Our wall-crawlin' hero returns to lay the smack down on Harry and wins. While being carted off to the hospital, Harry screams out that Peter Parker is Spider-Man and that he is the real Green Goblin.

Even though Parker sweats bullets, nobody seems to believe Harry and believes he's insane. Harry doesn't show up in several issues after this one, and when he does return from the institution in issue #151, he seems cured of his insanity and is friends again with Peter.

Another good Spidey key issue to hunt for if you yet to have it in your collection. Definitly more over-looked than issue #136, but the 9.8s are kinda getting up there already for such a low total amount of copies graded.

Dunno, but I'll definitely be hunting for issues #136 and #137 at the next comic con I'm at. Amazing Spider-Man #137 has the cover date of October, 1974.

1st issue to Spidey spin-off series

Back in the early beginnings of Marvel Comics during the Silver Age, Stan Lee wanted to write stories that appealed more to teens. With that mindset, the comic industry was revolutionized.

With the success of Marvel Comics, it was no surprise that their influence would stretch to TV. I've mentioned the Electric Company several times and reminisce that my brother and I use to watch the show and hope for a Spidey Super Stories segment to come on.

Of course, they were re-runs since I wasn't even born the time the show and this comic even came out yet. Still, I remember we'd be disappointed when there was no Spidey on the Electric Company.

So Marvel and the Electric Company further teamed up to create a Spidey spin-off comic that was geared more kids ages 6–10. John Romita, Sr. was the Marvel editor of the book to no surprise and supplied some covers of this series.

This Spidey Super Stories comic series obviously did not take place in mainstream continuity. However, it's a bit of nostalgia for most who remember the show and anticipated seeing Spidey pop up.

Will I full on dive into this comic series? Not really, but I will list at least this issue. Spidey Super Stories ran for 57 issues and that's no small run for a comic series based on a kids television show.

It's not really a key or an essential Spider-Man comic in my opinion, but it is yet another Spidey spin-off even if it doesn't take place in mainstream continuity. This comic is just an example of how Spider-Man's appeal began to further stretch into TV and how Marvel used the plat form to reach the kiddies.

Some may have even been introduced to the character of Spider-Man through the Electric Company show and the comic series. John Romita Sr. cover for Spidey Super Stories #1 and this issue has the cover date of October, 1974.

Alright, here is where we're going to take an intermission. I have no idea how long Part 4 will take or how many other parts to this Bronze Age Spider-Man key issues sections will even need.

I am guessing 6 or 7 parts but it could be more. Like mentioned earlier, we haven't even gotten to The Spectacular Spider-Man spin-off comic series. 

It will get even more crazier when we hit the Copper Age section of this Spider-Man key issues series and add in the Web of Spider-Man titled series as well. 

There are definitely some great Spider-Man key comics in Part 3. Of course, there's some minor keys as well and some that a few out there may not even consider keys. Hope this has been massive enough so far, and we still have some more parts to go for this Bronze Age section. Part 4 will be coming soon so see ya soon and happy hunting or dumping.

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  1. Great list mayhem. Jw

    1. Thanks JW, you come up with any more ideas on what to get?