AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #12 Splash Page May 1964
Steve Ditko original artist
Look at the guy. Just look at him. Has there ever been a more vulnerable, downcast, and yes, absolutely pathetic looking costumed do-gooder than the one standing center stage in this powerful splash page? I don't think so--and certainly not up that watershed point in the hallowed history of union-suited super-doers, I guarantee you! And for that very reason, we loved him all the more for it!
You may've read about that particular issues landmark adventure in my previous piece accompanying ASM #12's cover.(And if not--get thee to it, pilgrim!) It was quite the escapade. They ALL were, back then.(..sigh..) But Ditko's masterfully symbolic illustration certainly sets the proper tone for what was to be yet another boundaries-bursting Spider-Man episode--and THIS time, he does it by the numbers!

Dr. Octopus! Lions, gorillas, and bears (Oh my!)! Aunt May, Flash Thompson, Liz Allan, and, debuting her brand-new hairstyle (bringing her look all the way up to, oh, I don't know--the early fifties, perhaps?...), Betty Brant! And madly pounding out words of hate aimed towards the unappreciated adventurer, the cigar-chomping J. Jonah Jameson! Standing in the middle of it all, head hung 'neath a revealing (if ultimately misleading) Artie Simek inscribed title blurb is poor ol' Petey himself! Wow! Take one quick glance at THIS numerical chart, and then just try NOT to read the story herein!! I assure you, in back in 1964, it plainly could not be done!

(But I've just gotta wonder--exactly how much typing can a person actually accomplish using but one hand to dance antically across the keyboard while the other is utilized primarily as a fist to shake at the target of one's venomous vitriol, as our good pal Jameson is depicted herein? Or perhaps I'm reading too much into the symbology of the drawing, y'know? Because then my next two question would have to concern the new-found ability of our simian brothers to walk down the side of city buildings in an upright position--and to inquire as to exactly WHEN Spidey's amiable associates became disembodied heads, floating freely in space?...)

(But then, that would be extremely silly, wouldn't it?,,,)