AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #100 September 1971
John Romita and Frank Giacoia original artists
|Now, THIS was an Anniversary issue! While hardly the greatest century-marker ever produced in the field of comics, Marvel's second shot at breaking out dangerously hefty amounts of candles was cause for considerably more merriment than the seemingly moribund cloud hanging over the earlier FF #100. Even though this landmark issue too meant the end of an era...|
|But to the good news first. Jazzy John Romita--the
dad, for you younger folk--really outdid
himself with that crazy cover! Now, there
was just no way I was going to be able to
duplicate the reversal of black to white
enveloping the entire assembled cast of supporting
characters and villains in the background,
so I opted for drawing it the way the senior
JR undoubtedly did himself on my own silly
redo. But the production decision that put
the colorful figure of Spider-Man front and
center, symbolically crawling across the
many lives he'd touched over the previous
100 issues was a brilliant one, and made
for a memorably striking image.
Sadly, the book is Romita-less on the inside, even in terms of inking. Still, our hero could do far worse than the team of Gil Kane and Frank Giacoia--and believe me, he HAS!--so Peter Parker's little drug induced stroll down memory lane was in capable hands! No, no--not THOSE kind of drugs, silly! Our junior chemist was trying out an untested potion, please understand, hoping to finally rid himself of his dreaded spider-like abilities, cause as they were to him for so much pointless heartache. And wouldn't you know it, Professor Leary--the concoction took him off on all manner of hallucinogenic side-trips whilst on the long and winding path to what the cover boldly promised as the "Wildest Shock-Ending of All Time!" And I'll be blamed if good ol' Stan and Gil didn't actually deliver the goods!...
You might recall that stunningly iconic final panel--Petey and his four extra (and desperately unwanted) arms? It almost sounds silly when I type it in, but believe me, at the time, it was a perfectly logical--and totally unexpected--twist on Parker's amped-up arachnid existence!! Glomming onto that riveting image, I could only begin to venture a guess as to how Stan was ever going to get his friendly neighborhood nebbish out of THIS fine fix!?! Turns out, it was gonna be one heckuva wait for the Lee solution...
Y'see, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #100 was Stan Lee's last regular shot at the Wall-crawler, at least in his original environment. He left it to Roy Thomas to dig Spidey out this one final Man-made mess (which, I'm happy to report, he did admirably), leaving the (...coff coff...) everyday excitement of sitting behind a typewriter, chronicling the larger-than-life exploits of his myriad co-creations behind forevermore! EXCELSIOR! And, need I add, whew!...
But by continuing to maintain such a high--and effervescent--profile at the House of Ideas merely by BEING Stan Lee, his abdication guiding Aunt May's nephew's antics didn't seem nearly the bummer that the FF's loss of Jack Kirby--and subsequent move over to DC Comics--had seemed little over a year earlier. Lee could be proud--saying it was merely a good run understates the case tremendously, true believers.
Though the actual name for this celebratory story was in actuality "The Spider Or The Man?", given the historic circumstances, author Lee could've just as easily borrowed an earlier title from himself for this notable episode: "Lo, There Shall Come An Ending!"
And, boys and girls, Stan Lee has hung happily loose ever since!...
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