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Monday, February 27, 2017

Bronze Age Spider-Man Key Issues Part 4




BRONZE AGE

COPPER AGE

MODERN AGE
Swinging into the 4th part of this Bronze Age Spider-Man key issues section and we are heading into some crazy clone shit and the reason why all that mess even happened. Gerry Conway and Ross Andru are still the creative team driving Spidey's destiny during this part of the Bronze Age.

There's some pretty minor keys in Part 4 for sure, and if we're talking about some debuts in terms of significance to Marvel Comics or even Spider-Man, one could even debate whether or not they're really keys to begin with. If I was doing it based on what I think keys are (significance), this section would be quite shorter than it is.

I'd say most of the villainous debuts in Part 4 are pretty laughable characters that I wouldn't even bother listing or talking about. That's just my opinion though.

As usual, the navigation over there will direct to you whatever Part of this Bronze Age Spider-Man key comics section you wish to investigate. If you're ready to continue on, let's do this and see the next batch of comics we got. 






THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #138
1st appearance & origin of Mindworm


And we are kicking off this Spider-Man key issues Part 4 with a pretty minor character and pretty minor key or very minor key. This guy is a mutant with limited telepathetic abilities create by Gerry Conway and Ross Andru.

William Turner had an over-sized cranium and could feed off the mental energies from those around him like a psionic vampire of sorts. His mother was the first victim of his mutant ability, and as a child he was sent to an orphanage.

Mindworm is pretty much a sad character. He did not consciously know or tried to kill his mother when he was a child. Like most mutants, he was unaware of his special abilities like many of the X-Men.

Although beginning as a villain, William was really just a lonely character. He would later befriend Peter Parker and reform himself, but because of his loneliness, he was an easy target for criminals to exploit. 

Mindworm would land himself in prison and develop an extreme mental illness. This mental illness left him unable to work when he got out of prison and he ended up being homeless.

A 2006 Special Report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) estimated that 705,600 mentally ill adults were incarcerated in state prisons, 78,800 in federal prisons and 479,900 in local jails across the United States.

In Spectacular Spider-Man #22 volume 2, Mindworm allowed a street gang to brutally kill him and was unwilling to defend himself as to not injure anyone. Spidey did not get to him in time in that issue.

In the U.S., over half-a-million people are homeless and a quarter of them are children. In 2014, around 49,933 or around 8% of the homeless were identified as veterans.

Definitely not a major key or character for Spidey, so I doubt most peeps know about Mindworm or his debut. I doubt this will have an impressive CGC Census. 


I wonder how different William's life would've been if he was discovered by the X-Men as a young child. Well, we'll never know about that.  

Created by Gerry Conway and Ross Andru, Mindworm's debut in Amazing Spider-Man #138 has the cover date of November, 1974.







THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #139
1st appearance of Grizzly


Oh, jeez, I seriously didn't even want to put this one on here. What is the significance of the Grizzly to the character of Spider-Man or his mythos?

Ah, since I already covered the debuts of Gibbon and Kangaroo and they are too members of the Legion of Losers, might as well put this one in here. So Maxwell Markham was a former wrestler and his brutal tactics caught the eye of J. Jonah Jameson.

Jameson wrote a pretty scathing editorial which caused an investigation by the wrestling commission. The investigation resulted in Markham's license being revoked. Enter the Jackal again, and Markham received some kind of Grizzly Exo-Skeleton that augmented his strength.

Revenge time? You bet! With this Exo-Skeleton, Markham went to the Daily Bugle to seek revenge on ole Jameson. 



With the cover date of December, 1974, Amazing Spider-Man #139 sees yet another debut of a laughable and minor villain in the series. Unfortunately during the Bronze Age, there would be a few of them.

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THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #140
1st appearance of Glory Grant
2nd appearance & origin of Grizzly


Glory Grant debuts in this issue but would become quite a quick supporting cast member for Spidey. I mean, she didn't just appear once during this era, disappeared, and came back later in the Modern Age.

Gloria Grant had quite a few appearances in all three of the Spider-Man on-going titles during the Bronze Age. She is first introduced as an out of work model who first meets Peter Parker as a neighbor when he moves into a new apartment. Gloria only shows up in 5 panels on one page. 




And that's it. This issue also sees the 2nd appearance and origin of the Grizzly. It's told to Spidey by J. Jonah Jameson and I'll spare the origin panels since I only really listed this one because of Gloria's debut. 

Glory Grant would next appear in Marvel Team-Up #30 in around 13 panels on five pages. Not sure why this issue isn't considered a cameo and that one noted as a 1st appearance. Glory would then next appear in Amazing Spider-Man #142 in 5 panels on one page just like in this issue.




Peter would later help Glory to become J. Jonah's secretary. Ever since Betty Brant left, he has been going through them because he is a prick after all.

She would later become Robbie Robertson's assistant and become involved with the Lobo Brothers. So, Glory has been around in the Spidey mythos for sure. January, 1975 is the cover date for Amazing Spider-Man #140.







SPIDEY SUPER STORIES #5
3rd appearance of Shocker ever


Okay, 3rd appearance of Shocker ever or in comics. As mentioned before, the Spidey Super Stories comic series was not part of canon or mainstream continuity. 

However, why should the 1st appearance of Harley Quinn in Batman Adventures #12 slide, and this one be discounted? Seems like a contradiction since both comics are based on the TV shows, but then again, maybe it has to do with Harley Quinn actually debuting in comics with that issue and the Shocker already debuted in mainstream continuity?

Dunno and could be a reason why this one wouldn't be considered. I'll let you all decide for yourselves when it comes to that, but here is how the Shocker is introduced in this comic just for the darned fun of it.




So far the Shocker did take a hiatus from comics since his 2nd appearance in an actual story in Amazing Spider-Man #72 back in 1969. Overstreet doesn't recognize this and most likely CGC doesn't either.

Not saying you do or don't have to either. This is not a reprint but a new story that's been designated to take place on Earth-57780 which was also home to Jennifer of the Jungle from the Electric Company TV show.


I didn't expect this one to have a high census whatsoever. Not because I think it's rare, but because I assumed that most didn't have a clue about this issue like me.

I know I said I wouldn't dive into this comic series too much back in Part 3, but then I started wondering, What the hell happened to the Shocker? Did he have any Bronze Age appearances?
Turns out that he does, and he also has a 3rd appearance in actual canon by the end of this year also. Jean Thomas wrote the series and she was the wife of Roy Thomas. Spidey Super Stories #5 has the cover date of February, 1975.






THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #142
1st cameo of Gwen Stacy clone
2nd or 3rd or cameo of Glory Grant?


While we view The Night Gwen Stacy Died story line as a classic story in the Gospel of Spidey, fan reaction was negative back in the day. Stan Lee garnered much flack from fans during this time and insisted that Gerry Conway find a way to bring her back.

Conway definitely objected to this idea and for the reason of plausibility which makes sense. As mentioned before, killing off a major supporting character was not a common thing at all back then and bringing them back from the dead probably wasn't either.

That crap is so common now it makes comics kind of laughable. Well, I laugh when I see that happen. 

Conway seemingly gave in with the stipulation that he could write Gwen out of the book whenever he wanted. The rest is history for better or worse.

So this is how the original Clone Saga came to be and this issue does set up the lead in to that story line. We see a Gwen Stacy clone in about 4 panels in this issue, but she is walking away so her back is turned.


For all the reader knew, it could've just been a blonde girl who looked like Gwen from behind, but as we know now, that wasn't the case. So the clone of Gwen Stacy isn't really full revealed or really shown all that much.

Overstreet recognizes this issue as a Gwen Stacy clone cameo. CGC doesn't just yet.

 

This story line would help to open a whole can of worms for Spidey comics later dealing with clones and even with a clone of Peter Parker himself. 

I put this bad boy on here to help illustrate what's going on with the whole Spidey clone thing and how it all started. Not really all that known or sought-out at the time of this writing. 

Overstreet just notes it as a cameo. I noted it as a 1st cameo, because technically that's what it is. 

For some out there who disregard what Overstreet or CGC distinguishes as a 1st, this is the 1st appearance of the Gwen Stacy clone. I'll leave it up to you to decide.  March, 1975 is the cover date to Amazing Spider-Man #142.








THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #143
1st appearance of Cyclone
2nd cameo of Gwen Stacy clone



Created by Gerry Conway and Ross Andru, the original Cyclone debuted in this issue and was André Gerard. Gerard was a French engineer working for NATO who invented a weapon that could that could produce high velocity tornado-like winds.

Shortly after his brush with Spidey in this issue, he would be employed as an enforcer for the Maggia. There would be three versions of the Cyclone character.

From the get go, we again see the Gwen Stacy clone in the first splash page to this story.

Once again, her back is turned and she is walking away, but we do see another panel of her from the front. Not a very clear look though as it's from a slight distance.


Overstreet just notes issues #142 and #143 as "Gwen Stacy clone cameo". CGC just notes issue #142 as a Mysterio appearance and #143 as the 1st appearance of Cyclone.



Cover date: April, 1975 for Amazing Spider-Man #143.






GIANT-SIZE SPIDER-MAN #4
3rd appearance of Punisher
1st appearance of Moses Magnum
1st appearance of Punisher battle van


We've got triple key issue goodness when it comes to this issue here. Not only does this comic hold the 3rd appearance of the Punisher, it holds the 1st appearance of Moses Magnum and the first appearance of the Punisher's battle van.

Early Punisher appearances are hot right now in the market, and with the character making his way into the 2nd Season of Daredevil's Netflix series, things just may only get hotter for early Punisher appearances. 



As for Moses Magnum, he's been around as a minor foil here and there for several super-heroes like the X-Men. He is actually tied to Apocalypse.

Moses Magnum can generate powerful seismic waves from his hands. In this issue, he is not shown with those powers and is actually depicted as dead. Powerman Annual #1, his 2nd appearance, showed how he survived the events of this issue.

Classic X-Men #25 reprinted X-Men #119 but had altered dialogue and added new scenes that connected Apocalypse in gaining his powers.



A bit surprised that the CGC Census total isn't higher. Thought more people would be getting this one graded.

Punisher and Spidey team up against Moses Magnum. I think this issue is the first time Punisher is seen actually killing baddies. At least, that's what I keep hearing, so here's an example of this from early in the issue.


Boom! Head shot! Those fools aren't the only suckers that the Punisher offs in this issue though.



So 2nd time the Punisher and Spidey team up in comics and a pretty violent issue for back then. Nowadays this seems tame, but a bit surprised it slipped past the Comic Code Authority back in the day. 

April, 1975 is the cover date for this comic and it's a 3rd appearance must-have for any fan of the Punisher.







THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #144
Full appearance of Gwen Stacy clone?
2nd appearance of Cyclone
Original Clone Saga begins



While Overstreet notes this as a "Full appearance of Gwen Stacy clone", CGC only notes this issue as a "Cyclone & Gwen Stacy clone appearance". She only shows up in two panels in which one is a half page at the end.

As revealed in the next issue, it is Gwen Stacy. I could just imagine readers back then going, WTF!!

So she first appears in this issue when Aunt May spots her walking by and is so distraught she's taken to the hosptital. Eh, can't blame her.



Then she finally appears in all her glory at the end of this issue as shown in the panels below.

 

Spidey does go up against Cyclone again in this issue, and it's the villain's 2nd appearance. Not all that big of deal concerning that.




Issue starts off the original Clone Saga and there would be later comics that revisit this whole concept and spawn quite a few new Spidey characters. 

Not really sure why Overstreet decided this is the full appearance of the Gwen Stacy clone, but maybe I'm missing something here. Most likely I am. Perhaps, her legs on the cover counts?

Might be an over-looked comic over-all. The cover month for Amazing Spider-Man #144 is May, and this comic came out in 1975.






THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #147
3rd appearance of Tarantula
Gwen Stacy revealed as clone


When it comes to all the later Clone Sagas or clone stories that deal with Spider-Man, one should start with issues #144 and #149 to understand their origins or roots. In issue #145, the Gwen Stacy clone definitely shows up fully in that story and Parker flips out even more.

The plot further thickens in issue #145 when Ned Leeds informs Peter that they did a check on her fingerprints and it matched the real Gwen Stacy. Furthermore, they checked her grave and the body of Gwen Stacy is left untouched.

We know now it's a clone but in issue #145, Parker nor any of his friends knew what the hell was going on. Apparently this Gwen Stacy has no clue either.

This issue reveals that Gwen Stacy is a clone and how it plays out is shown in the panels below. Not really anything dramatic or anything.


At the end of this issue, we find out that Jackal is behind the crazy and blames Spider-Man for Gwen's death. Of course, he wants to get revenge on Spidey in the exact way that she died.

This issue also has the 3rd appearance of Tarantula who is in league with Jackal or recruited by him. There are five successors to the Tarantula name, but this one is the original Anton Miguel Rodriguez.

Once a a revolutionary terrorist in the fictional South American republic of Delvadia, Anton was exiled from his organization after killing a guard in cold blood during a botched robbery. Anton then went to the other side and became a Captain America-like weapon for the repressive and dictatorial government.

This did not last long and Anton as Tarantula set off on his criminal career. His first villainous scheme was thwarted by Spider-Man and the Punisher in issues #134 and #135 of Amazing Spider-Man (2nd appearances of both the Punisher & Tarantula).


Since then, he has been a somewhat known Spidey villain and appears in Spidey comics a bit. He's definitely not a top-tier villain though but would be the first villain that Web-head faced in the first issue to the Peter Parker, Spectacular Spider-Man spin-off series.



Not a hugely well-known or sought out Spidey comic. CGC 9.8s are still going for under $500. An auction of a CGC 9.8 sold for only $267 back in December of 2015, and most recent sale was a best offer that had the original Buy it Now price of $450 in February. 

Who knows how much that will change or not by the time you read this. I don't feel like coming up with something else or fancy when it comes to stating cover dates, so Amazing Spider-Man #147 has the cover date of August, 1975.






THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #148
4th appearance of Tarantula
Jackal revealed to be Miles Warren


Ta-dah! The Jackal is finally revealed in this issue and imagine the shock Peter Parker has when he finds out it's his own Professor Miles Warren. Not like it should be any shock since he's had several people close to him that ended up being Spidey foes - Norman Osborn, Harry Osborn, Dr. Curt Conners, and J. Jonah Jameson just to name a few.

So why not one more, right? Miles Warren would survive one issue after, but we are talking about a Clone Saga here. Yes, that does mean that his clone would return to be a foil for the Web-head.

Actually, the whole clone thing would be altered into a virus and then back to an actual clone in later comics. Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #8 and Spectacular Spider-Man #149 depicted that the High Evolutionary revealed that these clones were not actual clones but real people who were altered into exact duplicates.

So those issues revealed that Ben Reilly was really Anthony Serba (assistant of Miles Warren) who was infected with this RNA virus and was altered to be an exact duplicate of Peter Parker. The 2nd Clone Saga brought back the cloning aspect and had the High Evolutionary admit that he had lied about the shit he said in those Spectacular Spider-Man issues.

Ah, don't even want to get into that mess at this moment. So the original Jackal is revealed to be Miles Warren in this issue and his clone named Warren Miles would pop up in later comics.

Surprise! Fooled you! CGC Census is shown below and only represents the numbers at the time of this writing. Who knows how it will look if you happen to stumble across this a year from now or later.


So the Jackal is revealed to be Miles Warren and this issue so happens to have the 4th appearance of Tarantula. Cover date for Amazing Spider-Man #148 is September, 1975.






THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #149
1st appearance of Spider-Clone
5th appearance of Tarantula
Origin & Death of Jackal



The first clone of Peter Parker and Spider-Man who would eventually become Ben Reilly or Scarlet Spider and made his 1st appearance in this issue. The real Peter Parker wasn't even sure if he was the real one or not.

So in true comic book fashion, the Jackal reveals all in this issue. The Professor Miles Warren reveals that he was in love with Gwen Stacy and his origin.





Suppose you can also say it's the origin of the Gwen Stacy clone as well.

Both CGC and Overstreet note this as the origin of the Jackal, so the flashback events precede Amazing Spider-Man #129. This origin of the Jackal ties in shortly after the events of the death of Gwen Stacy in Amazing Spider-Man #121.

We also see the first appearance of the first Spider-Clone who would eventually become Ben Reilly. Like the Gwen Stacy clone, the Jackal is behind the creation of this clone.

In the end, the Jackal seemingly dies and the Gwen Stacy clone leaves town to find a life for her own. She would return to comics later.

If you are a fan of Ben Reilly and all the Scarlet Spider, Clone Saga stuff that happened later, all of that does start with issues #144 to this one. As mentioned before, this original Clone Saga is the root of all that mess.




Although CGC does have a census for a Canadian edition, I am not entirely sure about that and could not find any info regarding it. No idea if it's valid or a mistake or what. If you do, feel free to educate us all in comments below and would be much appreciated.

Oh, yeah, this comic also has the 5th appearance of Tarantula if you're a fan of the villain and looking for his early appearances. October, 1975 is the cover date for Amazing Spider-Man #149, and it is already a pretty pricey issue at higher grades.







THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #151
3rd Shocker in mainstream continuity
4th Shocker in comics ever
Return of Harry Osborn



It's the return of the Shocker since the Silver Age. Well, back into mainstream continuity that is.

As mentioned before, Shocker's  previous appearance in an actual story was in Amazing Spider-Man #72. Well, he was caught and sent to the big house at the end of that issue.

Like any good Spidey villain, he must have broke out. I'm getting ahead of myself here though. So from where we last left off in issue #149. Parker does recover the body of his clone who apparently seems dead. In this issue, Spidey takes the body to the incinerating plant and dumps the clone in one of the smoke stacks.

Then we have the return of Harry Osborn from the institution. He was seen as crazy when he was caught after his brief stint as Green Goblin in issue #137. It was a little over a year hiatus, but he was mentioned here and there and probably showed up in flashback a few times.

So Norman returns and he seems fine, even greets Peter as a friend. Then we finally get to the Shocker and Spidey and him have another go with each other in the sewers.


Shocker's 4th appearance would be in the next issue of ASM #152. I won't feature it, but just mention it since nothing of real importance except that happens.

Cover Date of December graces the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #151 and it was released in later 1975.







There are some good keys in Part 4, but I admit that most of the debuts are pretty weak in this list in my opinion. I think Amazing Spider-Man #144 is still under the radar, but then again, I'm not so sure about the notation of "Full appearance" for that comic.

Did not know about most of these villains or even Jackal's origin in Amazing Spider-Man #149. Oh, well, now I do and maybe you too. That key sold in the $2,000 range for CGC 9.8 back in December via bidding auction.

9.6s for issue #149 has a pretty big disparity gap and the most recent sold slightly above the $400 range also back in December on eBay. 9.4s and below are still pretty affordable.

I think I only have one of these on my want list. Can't all be major keys, but hopefully Part 5 will have a better selection of Spider-Man key comics from the Bronze Age. If you missed the previous parts in this section, the navigation links will bring you to where you wanna go. Part 5 will be coming sooner rather than later, so hang on tight Spidey fans.

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