AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #13 Splash Page June 1964
Steve Ditko original artist
|Like the Stan Lee scripted copy breathlessly
asks, "Can we believe our eyes? Has
the amazing Spider-Man turned to crime?"
The short answer: no.
|Y'see, it's not our hero making off so easily
with that thoughtfully labelled sack of cash
(shades of the Beagle Boys!!) at all, but
actually a fellow by the provocative name
of Mysterio in a clever disguise! In case
that name seems familiar, well even though
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #13 proved to be the renegade
Hollywood special effects wizard's debut
appearance, even those folks picking up that
issue upon it's initial publication would've
immediately felt a connection with the crafty
creep, due primarily to some artful Artie
Simek display lettering prominently announcing
the villain's awe-inspiring arrival into
the Marvel Universe not once, but TWICE,
on this sensational splash page!
Fact is, as much as I go on and on about the unquestioned architects of the Marvel Age of Comics--Lee, Ditko, and Kirby--the contribution letterer Simek (and second in command, Sam Rosen, as well) made to the look and feel of those early books is far from negligible. Just look at how deftly the name "Mysterio" is swaddled in atmosphere under Artie's legendary lettering pens! Calligraphically speaking, the guy was my all-time favorite, and the reason shouldn't be much of a (ahem...) mystery to anyone with eyes as to just exactly why!
Oh, and incidentally, that particular first page is NOT merely a symbolic introductory illustration like those often found in many a Ditko's story. The very next page finds our false fugitive Webhead successfully fleeing the law through the canyons of the big city, a series of actions that grow organically right out of our scene-setting splash. True, we never again glimpse the two webbed-up bank officials, but one can only assume they eventually managed to free themselves, and gotten back to the important business of giving out toasters to new customers and foreclosing on old ones, particularly little old ladies and starving orphans!
(Care for some toast, junior?...)
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