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CSBG Archive

Comics Should Be Good Top 50 Countdown! – #42

Here’s #42! Click here for the master list!

Enjoy!

Amazing Spider-Man #42

As far as I can tell, this issue is the easy choice for this number, with the first full appearance of Mary Jane Watson in one of the most famous panels in comic book history (“Face it Tiger you just hit the jackpot” or whatever the term is).

It it is striking how many notable issues took place so soon into John Romita’s run on Amazing Spider-Man, it is almost as though Stan Lee knew the changeover would be dramatic going from Ditko to a new artist, so he packed these early issues with as many “big” moments as possible.

Within a year’s worth of comics, the Green Goblin’s identity was revealed, Mary Jane Watson, The Rhino and the Kingpin were introduced and Spider-Man famously gave up his identity.

That’s some impressive stuff, huh?

Anyhow, other notable #42s…I dunno…Kirby/Lee, Moore and Gaiman all had good 42nd issues.

Any ones I’m not thinking of?

11 Comments

Well, one of the main reasons there seem to be so many good events post-Ditko is that maybe, just maybe, Romita did what he was told and followed the scripts, whereas Ditko went his own way? Not to say that Ditko was the lesser scripter/artist/creator, just that the working relationship between Lee and Romita was better and had less tesnion.

That’d be fair, but Ditko was doing all of the plotting before Romita took over. So this was the first time Lee was plotting the book in, what, years? That’s why I think he was making a specific point to make the book “important” now that the book’s plotter was gone.

Who’s punching Spidey?

IIRC – that’s John Jameson, JJJ’s son. He gets infected with some ‘space spores’ or similar that give him super strength, but he has to wear the suit to keep everything under control. JJJ gets him to beat up on Spidey, and that’s the cover.

John eventually becomes Man-Wolf – I think he gets a funky moon rock type thing imbedded in his chest that changes him into a white werewolf character and does the hero bit in his own right.

Who’s this Mary Jane, again? I feel like I used to know her, but I can’t quite recall . . .

What about Life with Archie #42? The first appearance of Pureheart the Powerful!

Enough Spider-Man already. This should have been Doom Patrol #42, first cover and origin for Flex Mentallo. The day someone has to tell CSBG that they’re not honoring Grant Morrison enough, you know the universe is really out of whack.

Chris Simpson

July 21, 2008 at 5:33 am

Excellent choice.

You’re right, Matt, it SHOULD have been Doom Patrol 42. Except, y’know, when you go to a comic book store and talk to people who read lots of comics (not just ones by surly Brits who secretly hate the industry), and ask them to name an issue 42 that stands out, few if any will say “the origin of Flex Mentallo!”

So yeah. It should have been Doom Patrol. Except the part where it shouldn’t. Otherwise, you’re exactly right. Cookie for you.

Brian, another excellent choice… at least, for those of us that understand what you’re doing, and don’t accuse you of having a secret-blatant-inherent-pro-anti-Marvel-DC-Gaiman-Morrison-Miller-Kirby bias.

Quasar #42 features the answer to life, the unvierse, and everything. What happens when you get nullified? You go to the White Room with everyone else who’s used the device, where you can never escape. And some schmuck takes your quantum bands and hangs out with the Punisher for two lousy pages, mostly so the Punisher can guest-star on the cover of your book. And Andy Smith, the poor man’s Beart Sears, draws you.

While the main story in Dc Comics Presents #42 is a run-of-the-mill team-up with the Unknown Soldier, the “Whatever Happened to…” backup featured the Golden age Sandman, and resolved the decades-ago dangling storyline about Sandy the Golden Boy’s cursed state, and is still fairly important to JSA backstory for those characters…

“Well, one of the main reasons there seem to be so many good events post-Ditko is that maybe, just maybe, Romita did what he was told and followed the scripts, whereas Ditko went his own way? Not to say that Ditko was the lesser scripter/artist/creator, just that the working relationship between Lee and Romita was better and had less tesnion.”

Couple points:

(A) They were workin’ Marvel style back then. No scripts. (Which you probably knew, but I wanted to clarify for everyone else.)

(B) Romita says he did a fair amount of the plotting. At best, he says, he received a very rough outline. And not always that.

(C) I’m absolutely sure you’re correct on the last point.

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