Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Script & Pencils: Bob Layton

Photo finish?
Shrewd move that, writing "SPECIAL ISSUE" across the top of the front cover, when in fact this one is the polar opposite – it's a filler strip while the intended episode was apparently still being finished.

In fact, this story is so self-contained that it has the look of 21 pages that have been left on a shelf at Marvel and forgotten about for a few years.

Not that the sudden absence of references to developments in the wider Marvel universe makes this a bad story or anything, just a slightly pointless one. As a stand-alone tale, it cannot affect anything beyond the end of page 21.

Evil photographer "Dirty Jake" Jones takes a clear photo of Peter Parker half-dressed as Spider-Man, and sets about exposing his secret in the most profitable way he can.

Narration: The car is at top speed when Spider-Man sights his quarry. Both men throw caution to the wind realizing that the outcome of this race will change forever... their very lives!


Though Jones is obviously no match for the human arachnid, what's really surprising is that he's not much of a match for anyone else either. Whenever Jones finds himself haggling over his price for the negs, or even just advertising that he has them, he loses his cool in terror.

It's no big revelation really when, at the end, Spidey plays on that fear to rattle Jones into keeping his identity secret, and returning the roll of film. (I guess Jones never even took copies)

The photographic cover to this issue (above) is a risk, because obviously Scott Leva doesn't look that much like the drawn version of Peter Parker, and breaks the illusion somewhat. Nice that it wasn't the last time he took the role though.

This is not a bad issue, it's just that neat self-contained stories are not what I read Spider-Man for.

However, I don't speak for everyone. There was a group of people at the time who seemed to really love self-contained Spider-Man tales with no continuity at all.

Yes, Marvel UK.

Does the guy in the right image sorta look like a drawing of the version of Peter Parker in the left one to you?
Their reprinting of this tale mere months after the original US publication kinda' sent signals regarding what they were really looking for in a reprint strip.

Aside from the traditional respelling of color and the excising of any page-numbers, this one got represented fairly faithfully. I mean the biggest change was clearly an accident. (and one the coloUrist may not have been too grateful for)

US original on the left, UK reprint on the right:

Put your 3-D glasses on now!
This was, after all, one strip that they clearly didn't want to mess with too much. I say this more than anything else because of what didn't get changed – the final US "NEXT ISSUE" panel.

NEXT ISSUE: At last! Due to absolutely no demand whatsoever, mighty Marvel is
proud moderately pleased to present... THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-KID! (PLUS! The fate of Harry and Liz's baby! And, a certain web-swinger changes his costume again! Be here in 30 days!)

Yep, Spider-Man Weekly #628 finished-off that issue by also boldly inviting all its readers to buy their next weekly issue in a month's time. I could make some crack about how it was no wonder that sales figures subsequently dropped, but I'd prefer to applaud them for their inspiring honesty.

Y'see, five issues later, in #633, they actually did reprint that strip!


2 comment(s):

At 1:27 am, Anonymous Hampers said...

Your blog looks wonderful. It was nice going through your website. Keep it up the good work.

At 9:56 am, Blogger Steve Goble said...

Thanks for the kind words Hampers.



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