Friday, 15 October 2010
As my first contribution to Paul and Rob's Austerity Comics blog, it may seem a bit strange that I'm choosing to review a 25 year old comic. The reason for this is because I don't buy an awful lot of comics nowadays, so I'm going to review comics that I get on the cheap, however old they may be. I realise this may mean I'm robbing the blog of its topicality, but we'll see how it goes.
So, The Amazing Spider-Man 275. This is one of those anniversary issues, proclaiming that its a 37 page epic, and the return of the Hobgoblin. At the time, the identity of this imitation Green Goblin was the subject of fevered speculation, as can be witnessed from the letters page. With the benefit of hindsight, it seems that this fevered speculation was also taking place in the Editorial Department. Roger Stern, the original creator of the character, had left, and nobody had thought to ask him how the storyline was going to play out.
In the hands of Tom DeFalcol and Ron Frenz, this issue is a fine traditional Marvel comic. It's got the mystery of the Goblin, it's got the soap opera. It's filled with supporting characters from Spidey's past. It's even got one of those cliffhangers where Spidey is done for, the villain is gloating, and the 'Next Issue' caption is titled 'Unmasked At Last!'. Who could they possibly mean? Oh, and they find a way to shoehorn in the original Lee / Ditko origin story as well.
The more sophisticated comics reader spots the hints and misdirections that are littered throughout the issue, but at 15 years old, I thought it was a all a marvellous puzzle. With hindsight, it's solid Marvel superheroics, but nothing more. If it wasn't for is part in the Hobgoblin puzzle, this could be just any old issue from the mid eighties.
However, the comic was essentially a freebie. An old schoolfriend has upped sticks, and passed on his comics collection to me. There's a couple of boxes of comics, mostly Marvel, from the 2 years that he read them. This issue is one of them, and I have to say, it's well worth the nothing that I paid for it.