web stats

CSBG Archive

When We First Met – First Anti-Spider-Man Daily Bugle Headline and More Spider-Man Firsts!

In this feature we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic lore. Not major stuff like “the first appearance of Superman,” but rather, “the first time someone said, ‘Avengers Assemble!’” or “the first appearance of Batman’s giant penny” or “the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth” or “the first time Spider-Man’s face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter.” Stuff like that. Here is an archive of all the When We First Met features so far! Check ‘em out!

Today we look at some Spider-Man firsts, including the first anti-Spider-Man headline by the Daily Bugle, the first time that Spider-Man was wanted by the police and the first time Spider-Man pulled a prank on J. Jonah Jameson!

Reader Joe M. suggested two of these three.

The first time that we saw an anti-Spider-Man headline in the Daily Bugle was Spider-Man’s second appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #1 by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee…

This issue was also the first time that Spider-Man realized how darn stubborn Jameson is…

The end of the first story in Amazing Spider-Man #1 also leads to the first time that Spider-Man was wanted by the authorities…

It was not until Amazing Spider-Man #4 that this actually came into play at all…

But even after that, it rarely came up at all. The police really were never HUNTING for Spider-Man, ya know? Like this bit from Amazing Spider-Man #7…

It was not until Amazing Spider-Man #13 when Mysterio impersonated Spider-Man did the police REALLY try to capture Spider-Man…

The first time that Spider-Man pulled a prank on J. Jonah Jameson was after the events we showed above from Amazing Spider-Man #4…

In Amazing Spider-Man #7, we saw the first time that Spider-Man used his webs to shut Jameson up…

If you have a suggestion for a future edition of When We First Met, feel free to drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com


A fun slice of Spider-man history. The reactions of Betty, Flash and Liz to the editorial are interesting – their thoughts about Spider-man and vigilantes were being laid down then and it’s nice to see how consistent these supporting cast members have been over the years.

Spider-man as a property is lucky in having had one of the richest, most consistently portrayed supporting casts in mainstream comics. His supporting cast have been allowed to stay true to themselves and grow, largely at least. There are of course some exceptions and oddities, such as the Gwen Stacy retcon, but the majority of writers have seemed to build on those traits rather ignoring the past.

Is that the first appearance of Glen Talbot in the panel just before the space capsule lands?

As time has gone on I’ve started to realize that Silver Age Spider-Man is the single greatest overall representation of comics as a medium. Not even talking about quality here. These kinds of details and the stories that were wrapped around them are a shining example of what comics have been all about for decades.

If Spidey left the webbing in Jonah’s chair “yesterday” then it should have been long dissolved by then…

Yeah, the narration says “a few minutes later,” but then Peter is thinking “yesterday” and “I clean forgot about it.” Apparently he’s had a lot on his mind.

Good stuff, Brian. Some thoughts on the origin of the JJJ vs Spider-Man dynamic:

1. Stan Lee as creator: Maybe this was another instance of Stan playing handball with DC comics. Superman is lauded by the Daily Planet, so Spider-Man will be attacked by the Daily Bugle.

2. Steve Ditko: Maybe this was another example of Ditko’s interest in Ayn Rand coming out. E.g., look at how in THE FOUNTAINHEAD, newspaper columnist Ellsworth Toohey hounds Howard Roark.

“Yeah, the narration says “a few minutes later,” but then Peter is thinking “yesterday” and “I clean forgot about it.” Apparently he’s had a lot on his mind.”

Confusing the matter further is that caption in between referring to “the day before”. In this case though majority probably doesn’t rule as the few minutes bit makes a lot more sense.

I think there is some space/panels between Spider-Man entering the window to place the webbing on the chair and the panel that begins “A few minutes later…” where JJJ arrives to sit in it.

Also, Spider-Man was setting up his prank well in advance, and obviously covered the webbing in the chair with a thin preservative membrane to keep it fresh (as it is while in the web cartridges) until it was sat upon, at which time the membrane would rupture and the webbing would begin its few hour ‘life cycle.’

nice picks including spider man still willing to try and keep being a hero plus allways pictured jj once spideys webbing dissolved not only with a sticking butt but since he webbed needing some mouth wash

@ kdu2814–You’re right. JJJ enters his office several pages after Spidey leaves his little gift.

Also a first for #4, and repeated many times thereafter: Spider-Man uses a vacuum cleaner to defeat his enemy

Trajan, Jameson’s explanation for how he must destroy Spider-Man in ASM #11 (IIRC) is almost identical with one character’s explanation of wanting to destroy Roarke in The Fountainhead film (which Rand wrote).
I can see why the novelty of Spider-Man being pilloried in the media worked so well at the time but much as I enjoy the Silver Age issues, Jonah’s a painful caricature more than a character for the first year or so.


This reminds me of an item I found on Caveboard on Yuku message boards, in a note on an introduction to a Green Hornet anthology by Martin Grams*: It actually ties in with an Urban Legend which Mr. Cronin profiled.


I find it intriguing that, in fact, by the early 1940’s most of the prominent indigenous comic book heroes stood as deputized or associated with the authorities. (Wonder Woman working with G-2 perhaps or the U.S. military, Captain America obviously did.) In contrast, many of the prominent masked adventurers of prose and radio thrillers such as the Green Hornet (who crafted the cover story of operating as a thief for profit/racketeer, an aspect of the property that stayed intact for television), the Shadow, Zorro and the Spider acted as outlaws, proscribed by the authorities. Max Allan Collins pointed out in Amazing Heroes#119 that they adopted alter egos since the cops would have arrested them on the spot (and in Zorro’s case, the Spanish army would have possibly executed him).



* “In context, since Grams discusses the Adam West show preceding the 1966 Green Hornet series, I will not object to “before him” [as the Green Hornet debuted on radio in 1936, long prior to the debut of Batman in Detective Comics#27 in 1939]. However, since he specifically refers to the Adam West show in this paragraph, I will have to civilly note that he made a mistake”.

“Night without End” also underlines the idea that the police consider the Shadow to be a criminal himself; in this episode the police commissioner reluctantly has to cooperate with the Shadow’s attempt to defeat the plot against the city. Later that same day the Museum screened an episode from the television revival of another proto-superhero’s radio series, The Green Hornet. The Hornet actually pretends to be a criminal so as to battle the underworld from within. Hence the Green Hornet is wanted by the police, just as the Shadow is.

Now, Superman and DC’s other classic superheroes, known in the 1940s as “mystery men,” worked with the police and were hailed as heroes by the public. The Museum’s Shadow and Green Hornet episodes led me to wonder if in the 1960s Stan Lee reintroduced something important to stories about masked heroes when he co-created heroes who were regarded by the police, public and armed forces as outlaws, including Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Hulk.

How does the Daily Bugle stay in business if it devotes its front page to editorials with headlines that take up half the page? Was there no actual news that day? Or were events like the Cuban Missile Crisis kicked to page 2 to make way for Jonah’s ranting?

@Eric Henry: That is exactly what tabloids do.

The Bugle obviously took formatting advice from the Daily Planet.

I remember one of the Spider-Man novels from the 1990s mentioned in passing that Jonah’s rants are considered so laughable by then that SNL parodies them in a recurring feature. Which I could totally see (“My new editorial reveals the real cause of mad cow disease is—Spider-Man!”).

It is kind of weird that Spidey gets all this crap when the Fantastic Four, Captain America, and most of the Avengers get pretty good press. Wouldn’t the other heroes vouch for them? Same thing with the X-Men and mutants in general. You’d think that for the years and years of terrible hatred they got, maybe Captain America and Iron Man would say in an interview, “You know what? Mutants are fine. The X-Men are good people. They’ve saved the entire universe before. The universe, guys.”

It’s weird that you can save the universe and still get crappy press.

The Angry Internet

January 21, 2014 at 6:31 am

@ASD: That is exactly what tabloids do.

They usually have better headline writers though.

Trajan, Jameson’s explanation for how he must destroy Spider-Man in ASM #11 (IIRC) is almost identical with one character’s explanation of wanting to destroy Roarke in The Fountainhead film (which Rand wrote).
I can see why the novelty of Spider-Man being pilloried in the media worked so well at the time but much as I enjoy the Silver Age issues, Jonah’s a painful caricature more than a character for the first year or so.

I actually like him better that way. The jerk with a heart of gold secretly underneath is such a cliche, even back then. I find him so much more interesting as just a genuinely nasty guy.

Hey, Brian, if you’re taking requests, there were lots of follow-up questions asked about Wolverine in the comments of this one way back in 2011 so I’d love to see those re-visited:


Was that also the first time Aunt May describe her fear/dislike for Spirder-Man?

I did enjoy Jonah’s rant about Galactus in Marvels, where he’s implying the whole thing was some kind of con job by Reed.

PB210 –

Actually, both Superman and Batman were considered outlaws by the cops in their first year of comic book existence. Probably a holdout from the pulps, but people often forget that about Superman. He wasn’t only a socialist, he was a socialist vigilante! He would run afoul of cops and even the mayor (usually portrayed as corrupt and/or opportunistic).

penguintruth –

I think the explanation given in MARVELS was pretty good. To us readers there isn’t a lot of difference among the FF and the X-Men. But to people inside their universe, the social difference can be huge. The FF are common joes that were elevated by their accident, the X-Men are a whole different superior species that will replace you.

But I get what you’re saying. Why doesn’t Captain America and Reed Richards become more engaged in mutant rights? Well, who is to say they don’t? I remember at least a few issues where Captain America defends mutants in public. I can think of a lot of reasons why their word alone isn’t enough to change people’s minds.

There is a lot of celebrities that speak in favor of homosexuals, and yet there are many people who want nothing to do with gays, but still are fans of said celebrities.

T. – I like Jameson best when he is between those two extremes. Not quite a heart of gold, but still a man with some admirable qualities.

The whole point of Uncanny Avengers in-universe is to use the Avengers brand to give mutants a better rep. It’s, uh, going poorly.

The FF are common joes that were elevated by their accident, the X-Men are a whole different superior species that will replace you.

I never buy this rationale of “mutants will replace us” because mutants ARE humans. They’re just the next level of human. A mutant comes from the mating of two regular humans. So even if you were to eradicate every last mutant on earth, as long as humans keep mating, they will produce new mutants. This is different than when people apply similar rationales toward other races. For example if you kill every last white person on earth, the remaining Asian, brown and black people wont produce white children from their unions. Mutants aren’t a separate species, and they aren’t a separate race. They’re humans with a random birth defect that isn’t inherited from the parents.

@Rene- I agree, I like human JJJ. He’s not a non-powered villain, but he’s also not just a really nice guy with a Spider-fetish. The mentioned early motivation covers it perfectly. He’s a small man who can strive to be as good as people like Superheroes, so he must tear them down. Spider-Man is an easier target than Captain America or someone like Reed Richards. He hides behind a mask, a full mask, picked a creepy animal as his name, and deals with more street crime level stuff. Plus he keeps seeming to be involved around things with the Bugle and there’s a supply of photos of Spider-Man where no one seems to be following around Daredevil taking pics. (Is Peter his own worst enemy?)

@T- are mutants “human?” Originally they were just people like the Hulk and Spider-Man who had their radiation accident in the womb or to their parents genes. Then they became homo-superior, like homo-mermanus and others, a separate brance of humanity. Maybe as different as homo-erectus et all were from us. And homo-sapien helped make them extinct. Now you have mutants who can have mutant babies with the same powers as their parents. Where if it was just a genetic defect if they had the same powers they wouldn’t be mutants, they’d just have inherited it, no different than getting black hair. Quicksilver would be a mutant; Polaris (when she was on again instead of off again Magneto’s daughter) wouldn’t be. Rachel Grey shouldn’t be a mutant. Unless it’s a different species with the X gene that makes one a mutant. Which considering we’ve had mutant towns and mutant countries now would pose a real threat of being replaced. Under Morrison they stopped being a minority and became an army. (If every mutant is as powerful as 100 normal people, you don’t need that big an army). For all it’s failings, “no more mutants” certainly got them back to be the oppressed instead of oppressors. But then they all got the Phoenix Force powers, and flipped everything around again. My head hurts.

@ Eric Henry- Tabloids do work like that…have you seen the NY Post, which the Bugle is based on?


Yo, Brian. I was wondering something: Superman had a cleft chin in Action Comics #1, but that was because Joe Shuster drew EVERYONE that way. Do you have any idea when it was first established that Superman did in fact have a cleft chin and that it wasn’t just a stylistic choice, i.e. the first time he was drawn with the cleft chin in a comic where that wasn’t a universal feature?

Leave a Comment



Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives