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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 287

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the comics posted so far!

Did you realize that I had not featured “The Kid Who Collected Spider-Man” yet? What the heck, me?

So today we look at Roger Stern, Ron Frenz and Terry Austin’s classic Spider-Man short story, “The Kid Who Collected Spider-Man.”

Enjoy!

How cool was Amazing Spider-Man #248? Look at the splash page from the first story in the book by John Romita Jr. and Brett Breeding…

How awesome is that?

And that’s not even nearly the coolest story in the book!!!

The comic was split in half, with two stories written by Roger Stern. The first drawn by Romita and Breeding and the second drawn by Ron Frenz and Terry Austin (Frenz would soon begin an extended run on the title as penciler).

The story opens with Spider-Man visiting a young boy after reading about him in a Daily Bugle column…

After proving that he was, in fact, Spider-Man and answering some basic questions (which work to both have Spidey relate to the kid AND fill in any new viewers about how Spidey’s powers and his webshooters work), Spidey begins to talk about his background…

You don’t need a road map to see where the story is going, but still, the last page (which I won’t spoil for you) is still extremely well done.

The whole thing is extremely well done.

Frenz’s work on Peter’s facial expressions (and Tim’s, as well) is magnificent. Stern’s story is simple yet powerful.

Such a classic story. If you want to read it in full, it has been reprinted a few times, but the back issue itself is not exactly super expensive to get, and you get the Romita Jr. story to boot!!

28 Comments

Dang, I tear up every single time this little gem comes up. I first read it off the stands when it was released in 1983. By far the saddest Spider-Man story I’ve ever seen, and that includes the death of Gwen Stacy.

Ron Frenz does a great Ditko Spidey here. He was working in the Sal Buscema style over in Marvel Team-Up during this period and went on to nicely mimic Kirby in the pages of Thor by decade’s end, beginning his long association with Tom DeFalco.

Roger Stern, of course, demonstrates here why he is the best Spider-Man writer of my generation. A genuine classic.

I love this story.

You don’t need a road map to see where the story is going, but still, the last page (which I won’t spoil for you) is still extremely well done.

I won’t lie, maybe it’s due to my age at the time but I was totally blindsided by the last page reveal.

I won’t lie, maybe it’s due to my age at the time but I was totally blindsided by the last page reveal.

Oh true, for a kid, it would be a total shock.

I think I said this when you put this up in last year’s list but I’m still amazed this came out during the Assistant Editors Month stunt at Marvel, when the Assistant Editors (allegedly) edited that month’s titles and every title had some hokey stunt attached to it– from Fred Hembeck drawing Spectacular Spider-Man to an Our Gang version of Iron Man to Aurora fighting a villian in a snowstorm (basically white panels with sound effects) in Alpha Flight.
Amazing Spider-Man #248 was the only comic put out that month that went in a direction other than crazy-concept or humour (it’s perhaps unsuprising it’s the only comic released that month that doesn’t feature the warning stamp other issues had).

I love the references to ’60s Spider-Man stories– laughing at the retraction about Electro– and how it’s written as though it’s still set in the ’60s– they look at a kinescope of Spider-Man’s early TV appearances

Roger Stern is STILL the best Spider-Writer of my generation. JMS did some very innovative stories, but he can’t hold a candle to Stern.

I hadn’t noticed the lack of the stamp – good catch, Graeme!

We start off the issue with top-notch JRJR/Breeding art – just beautiful. Li’l John is absolutely comfortable at rendering the Webbed One, and Brett’s inks just bring a whole new luster to his pencils.

Then…out of nowhere, Rog, aided by Ron Frenz and Terry Austin, bring to us this absolutely awesome tale that just pulls at your heart. If the guys had lied about the credits (at least as far as Rog and Ron – Terry’s work can’t be hidden), I would swear that they got Stan and Steve to put out one more tale.

Brian…that’s another gem you just unearthed.

Alpha Flight 6 was Snowbird not Aurora.

Although Ditko and Romita, Sr. are the definitive Spidey artists (and I love their work so much), I think Ron Frenz will always be my favorite Spider-Man artist. Part of it’s nostalgia– he was drawing the book when I started to regularly collect the title (as opposed to getting random issues here and there). But it’s mostly because of the expressiveness of the work, those facial expressions Brian mentions, and how he always finds the balance between wonderful action and very human character development. Thanks for posting this, Brian.

This was the first comic I remember reading where I felt I’d been punched in the stomach after reading it. The last page is so simple, yet so devastating.

Shame the animated series had to muck up the adaptation.

I was really blown away by this story at the time. Nowadays it feels more obvious and manipulative, but I still like it.

Not every issue had a silly stunt that month. X-Men and New Mutants both had normal stories, but with a goofy one-page strip about Ellito Brown in place of the letter page (I’m wondering if Claremont simply refused to do anything weird for the occasion), and the Defenders had a normal story following a silly prologue about Ann Nocenti. Moon Knight seemed completely normal as far as I can tell, but it’s the only Moon Knight from that time period I’ve read so maybe it is different from the usual issue– it was double-sized and sold on newstands (it was normally direct-sales only). All of those books still had the warning on the cover. Alpha Flight, though, had the warning on the first page instead.

Lt Clutch– Ron Frenz began his association with DeFalco as far back as Amazing Spider-Man, just a few issues after this one. Both Ron and Tom began with the first black costume story in #252.
(They might’ve worked together before that, even. I know they’d both done some issues of Marvel Team-Up shortly before this, but I’m not sure if they did any together. I don’t feel like looking it up right now.)

You don’t need a road map to see where the story is going, but still, the last page (which I won’t spoil for you) is still extremely well done.

I think it’s nice when Timmy is given his signal watch and bowtie and gets a job as copy boy at the Daily Bugle.

Great, great story (one of the all-time best for Spidey), but it’s “The Kid Who COLLECTS Spider-Man”, Brian. Present tense.

“Alpha Flight, though, had the warning on the first page instead.”
Alpha Flight, of course, had the Snowbird-fights-Tundra-in-a-snowstorm sequence.

Hey, I know people like to hate on DeFalco, but his run with Frenz was pretty “cool comic” worthy as well.

The only comic that ever made me cry. To this day it’s still one of my all time favorites. I was shocked at the last page reveal as well. Fantastic issue. Great choice for a Cool Comic!

I will hate Quesada if the spell of mephisto made that the kid forget the real identity of spider-man to.

Ron from up North

October 15, 2010 at 6:33 pm

And of course, Timothy grew up to be… THE SENTRY!
I have GOT to stop doing that.

I will hate Quesada if the spell of mephisto made that the kid forget the real identity of spider-man to.

1. Mephisto did not make people forget Spider-Man’s identity.

2. The kid still learned Spider-Man’s real identity.

Yes, wonderful story, not much to add to all of the comments, and yes, the homage to Ditko’s art by Frenz is also very effective. As to the comments about Stern being the best Spider-man writer of a given generation, I just have to say: that’s because Stern is simply one of the best comic book writers in general…

This comic is awesome. The first story has an incredibly funny moment at the end that made my fiancee laugh out loud, and then the second story made her cry. Roger Stern was born for Spider-Man.

1. Mephisto did not make people forget Spider-Man’s identity.

I’m not sure what you mean by that. No one remembers that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. That was all spelled out in “The New Status Quo” right at the beginning Brand New Day: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=12266

“Absolutely no one knows that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. Not Daredevil, not the Avengers, not anyone. His identity is truly secret. Although some people seem to recall that Spidey unmasked himself during Civil War, no one quite remembers whose face was under the mask.”

That’s pretty definitive. Doesn’t matter whether it’s MJ, Aunt May, Tony Stark or this kid. Nobody knows Peter is Spidey anymore unless they learned it after BND.

Heck, if Ben Reilly were to show up all of a sudden, even HE wouldn’t know. That’s awkward, sure, but there’s nothing about OMD/BND that isn’t awkward.

Honestly, it reminds me a little of the “Ben is Glory” thing on Buffy, except that was more awesome than awkward because it felt more like they’d thought it through.

Buttler– Have you read Spider-Man since Brand New Day started?
The recent One Moment In Time story showed how knowledge of Spidey’s identity was erased from everyone’s memory (and even printed and electronic records). It was done by Doctor Strange, with help from Reed Richards and Tony Stark. Now, you can still make the claim that this only happened because of Mephisto’s deal, but I think this is what Brian was referring to when he said that Mephisto himself did not make people forget Spider-Man’s identity.
You mention Mary Jane not knowing but clearly you haven’t seen any of the many issues she’s appeared in since then, because she is the one person who never forgot, for reasons explained in the One Moment In Time story.
The question of whether Ben Reilly would know is still unanswered, but the other Spider-clone, Kaine, did show up recently and he DID know, for reasons never made completely clear. So I assume Ben would know as well if he ever returns to life (which better not ever happen!)
Some people have since relearned about his identity, most notably the Fantastic Four and at least some of the Avengers. I thought this was a very bad idea– the Avengers knowing is what led to trouble in the first place– but I guess Bendis probably insisted on letting them know again, and he usually gets his way, I’m told.

As for the kid in this story– Well, if you know how the story ends, you should realise the question is probably moot.

was hoping this story wound up on this list. for its still moving after so long not to mention the story became an episode of the spider man cartoon of the nineties. plus the ending is so heart breaking and touching.

Yeah, as Mary notes, it was not Mephisto who made people forget Spider-Man’s identity. And people did not forget Spider-Man’s identity until recently (sort of like how Kurt Busiek had everyone forget Iron Man’s identity in that late-90s/early-00s Iron Man Annual), so the kid still learned it.

Yeah, I only read the first Brand New Day trade collection, and gave up on the series after that. One Moment in Time in particular sounded pretty terrible from everything I read about it.

The question of whether Ben Reilly would know is still unanswered, but the other Spider-clone, Kaine, did show up recently and he DID know, for reasons never made completely clear. So I assume Ben would know as well if he ever returns to life (which better not ever happen!)

Kaine and Ben Reilly are clones of Peter Parker with all of his memories, so I assume there doesn’t need to be any explanation as to how they would still know Peter Parker’s identity. I think it’s self explanatory.

Fantastic Four was dead serious, too. It was the Trial of Reed Richards finale, where Galactus himself came to speak in his defense.

Yeah, this was an instant classic (and we’re only about two essential volumes from seeing it reprinted again).

Shame on the animated series for ruining it. Then again, the animated series turned into a mess rather quickly.

I think the “Assistant Month” thing with that FF was that John Byrne himself entered the story. (Same with the Hulk issue, which broke the fourth wall but was still a real downer).

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