Monday, December 1, 2014

Arc of Triumph? Amazing Spider-Man 176-180


Doug: Here's a little run of comics that I actually just sold about three weeks ago. What recollections do you have of this 5-parter? I recall it being very exciting, and especially liking the redemption of Harry Osborn. The Ross Andru art was just very steady throughout the 1970s, and this arc was no exception. I'd have to read this again, but overall I have fond memories.




18 comments:

William said...

I very clearly remember reading these comics when they originally came out. It made a big impression on me because for that time it was a major epic. A single story that ran for five straight issues (nearly half a year) was a real rarity back in those days.

The story was really exciting as well. With lots of action, and plot twists, and surprising reveals. I couldn't wait for each new issue to hit the stands so I could see what happened next. It's a great example of a really good Bronze Age Spider-Man story. From a time when Spider-Man was still the hero we knew and loved.

I own the TPB called "A New Goblin", which collects the entire story in one handy volume. I highly recommend picking it up. You can get it on Amazon for a decent price right now.

Colin Jones said...

I remember this from when it appeared in Marvel UK's reprint title 'Super Spiderman' in summer 1978 and I instantly recognised the covers of #176, 178 and 179 but not the other two - a quick look at Comic Vine shows that Super Spiderman never used the covers from #177 and 180 preferring UK exclusive covers instead for some reason. Actually, those three covers is the only thing I CAN recall about this story - I'm intrigued now as to who the other Goblin was...

Humanbelly said...

I remember buying them. I remember enjoying them. I remember it as a "good" Spidey era. . .

But I'll be darned if I have anything but the vaguest recollections of any specifics or details at all!

It does appear to have a lot of throwback tropes to an earlier (even for then) era, doesn't it? Silvermane & Green Goblin both from the Silver Age. Ya got yer Aunt May at death's door, and only the sight of her beloved nephew can keep the reaper at bay (I mean, Aunt May's health issues were a lovingly-derided cliche' by 1968-!). The whole "you won't believe Spidey's foe's revealed identity" thing.

Ahhh man, I do wish I could take the time to pull it out and read it myself, too-!

HB

Doug said...

Colin --

Let's just say that Harry's therapist got some news he could use. And ran with it!

Doug

david_b said...

This was a few years after I stopped caring about ASM, but I've been eager to pick up the issues (will probably just grab the TPB, thanks William..).

I'd like to see the end of the original 'Harry-as-Goblin' storyline (yes, I know he donned the costume later on..), but oddly was never a fan of 'Silvermane'.

He just never seemed like that strong or memorable of a villain.

Anonymous said...

Showing my age here - I had just begun reading comics again after a three or four year break. Amazing Spider-Man had been a favorite so naturally it was one of the first titles I returned to with this run. I found the story to be too similar to stuff I had read years earlier and the Andru art did nothing for me - having been spoiled by growing up with John Romita art in the monthly book and Ditko reprints in Marvel Tales.

J.A. Morris said...

I read this in back issues a couple years later. Like William, the "epic" length of it has always made it one of my favorites. It's probably the first 5-part story I ever read. I'd rate it as a good Bronze Age Spidey tale rather than a great one. The tpb is also recommended, you might say Wein was "writing for the trade" 30 years before that was the norm.

david_b said...

Anonymous, my thoughts on what I've seen of this arc, Andru, and Romita EXACTLY.

I started with Romita myself.., so I felt Andru's art got a bit stale after his first dozen issues for my tastes.

pfgavigan said...

Hiya,

I was always amazed that anybody could put on the Goblin costume and go ten rounds with Peter.

Heck, I was amazed that anybody without superpowers could fly around on that funky little scooter of his, especially in that squatting position.

Preparation H anybody? Could go a long way as to explaining why Norman Osborne was such an a-hole.

pfgavigan

Humanbelly said...

Heck, he started out on a rocket-powered broomstick, pfg! The guy must've come up with an adamantium protective cup before he attempted a second test-flight. . .

I do know that the Goblin's exact power set and strength levels were never quite as defined (or recapped) in those middle-years appearances. . . 'cause I could never myself exactly figure out what he could do or why he was so formidable. But Norman actually had put himself through a heck of an enhancement process from the get-go. He was a seriously super-powered individual. The writers just seemed to lose track of keeping us informed on that front. IIRC, though, Harry didn't have any such enhancements when he took up the mantle, and his ability to zip around on that bat-glider did indeed stretch even comic-book credibility.

HB

pfgavigan said...

Hiya,

Hey Humanbelly, I think I figured out not only how Norman Osborne was able to get himself in such physical condition that he could battle Spider-man and ride the Goblin . . . whatever the hell it was called, and finance his criminal endeavors.

Osborne first invention must have been the Thigh Master . . . which would be a great name for a villain.

pfgavigan

Anonymous said...

Aside from the various Goblin weapons Gobby had at his disposal like stun pumpkins, the suit itself was never actually described as enhancing his strength or durability levels. Did Norman have an exoskeleton built into the suit to enhance his strength and durability? I think the Vulture's costume had something like that, at least to a small extent.

I can understand a costume like the Beetle's with its 1 inch steel armour standing up to Spidey's Spider strength but the Green Goblin's outfit always looked like it was just a simple cloth costume, with Gobby's glider and bag of weapons his main threats.


- Mike 'Spider sense tingling now' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Humanbelly said...

No, no-- Norman really was extremely "super" himself. Like, much greater than Super Soldier Serum super. The first Spiderman film (Rainey) did a pretty good job of creating a process that owed a lot to the original stuff that Norman did to himself back in the early issues of Spidey's book. Injections, "rays", electricity, mist immersions-- he didn't hold back.

I wonder if there might have been a retcon at some point where he actually was working with a SupSoldSerum-inspired process? I've always enjoyed how that scientific holy grail permeates so much of the Marvel Universe. I mean, Man-Thing, for cryin' out loud-! A result, at least partly, of an accident involving a botched attempt to recreate it yet again-!

HB

Doug said...

Are Cap (and Nick Fury?) the only Marvel Universe types to use a Super Soldier-like formula and not have some wacky side-effect from it?

The Goblin glider is one aspect of comics that could not be recreated for film without the use of CGI. As others have said, a man would be torn apart -- either from the forces of gravity, or from hitting brick walls!

So that Bart Hamilton just hopped on that thing and mastered it seems silly. At least one could argue a genetic advantage with Harry. And Harry was certainly crazy enough to do it after his years of drug abuse.

Doug

Anonymous said...

I have parts 2, 3 and 4 but not 1 or 5. I guess I somehow made it through. I was familiar enough with the cast, stories and, oh heck, the nuances, that I was able to keep up. According to the old list, I had up to 173, then 177-179 and my next issue is 192? And I have a boatload, and by boat I mean the other word, of Peter Parker Spectacular Spider-Man. Remember when he was Spectacular AND Amazing. Those were the days.........


The Prowler (And I felt a rush like a rolling bolt of thunder spinning my head around and taking my body under Oh, what a night).

WardHillTerry said...

Ah, this was where I came in! I think part two was the first issue of Amazing that I bought. I had been buying Spectacular for over a year by then, but not Amazing. My friend Russell had recently gotten a subscription to Amazing, so I would read his copies, after he had already told me the plot over the phone! I really like this story. I think I had read the Goblin's origin, (maybe in Bring On the Bad Guys?), so I knoew the significance of him as a villain. It was stories like these that ruined future comics for me. Len Wein built on established characters and moved them forward. Harry came through this very trying time. It was great character growth. So many stories over the last 25 years re-cycled old stories and reverted characters just to use them. As far as I'm concerned, Norman is dead, Harry is healthy, but another goblin-glider hangs in a closet waiting...
Oh, the glider; I'll bet some writer somewher wrote something about a "built-in gyroscope" or some such Marvel science.

Doug said...

Good morning, friends --

I had nothing to do last night, so sat down and curled up with my Kindle to read this 5-issue arc. I would declare it a triumph, even if I thought it easily could have been six issues. But wow -- did Len Wein pack a ton of characterization and action into this story! Yes, the Aunt May at death's door trope grew tired, but it was just suspenseful enough to be a meaningful story element. And the big reveal at the end of #179, that Harry was NOT the Green Goblin Spidey had been fighting, was handled quite well. I didn't even mind the retcon that it had been Harry who had photographed Peter getting rid of the Spider-clone and then later sending those photos to JJJ. It fit in nicely with this long storyline.

I'd, as others before me have, recommend this to all Spider-fans.

Doug

Dave said...

A very late reply, but it wasn't a retcon with Harry and the photographs. Wein had it planned from issue #151 what was going to go down with that situation.

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