The Amazing Spider-Man – Enter Dr. Strange (1972) This is Marvel Comics No. 109, an old comic book I had since I was a kid. Somehow, through 40 or so moves and a lot of lost stuff, I managed to hold onto one box of childhood comics. Unfortunately, this one is in bad shape, since it goes for nearly a dollar on eBay—it looks like I used it for a cutting board. But it's still readable, so I did my best to try to figure out the appeal of Spider-Man. There is a lot of writing in this thing—first bringing us up to date on the story, about some Asian monks who are going to kill this guy, and Peter Parker's dilemma: that he can save him by being Spider-Man, but then this woman he likes, Gwen, would find out he's Spider-Man, and not just this wimpy guy who always disappears when things get tense. So he's got to lie, which in most popular culture has dire repercussions, but not here? Anyway, he teams up with this Dr. Strange, who looks kind of like the gray-templed Fantastic Four guy dressed for Mardi Gras. There's a lot of action, which is boring beyond words. Toward the back there's a letters page, and some news and a “Soapbox” column by Stan Lee, which is pretty fascinating—a lot of personality—it really feels like his personal zine. Most interesting to me of all, though, are the ads—most geared toward adolescent boys, of course. There are five different ads for various body building programs! Also, a lot that are trying to direct kids into heinous career choices, the most prominent being sales. There are several ads that offer fantastic prizes for selling their products—I don't know how young kids used to sell stuff—maybe to their friends, or relatives, or door-to-door? Anyway, the most nostalgic thing here is the of-the-time multitude of prizes they are offering—I'm going to page through and list some: Jr. Typewriter, guitar amp combo (I wonder what kind of guitar?), two-man rubber boat, Estes rocket kit, Mini Bike (does anyone remember these? They were tiny motorcycles), “banana seat” bikes, chemistry set, microscope, telescope, small open-reel tape recorder (like the first one I had), cassette tape recorder (like the ones everyone had), GE Wildcat stereo (which I had), Aurora model motoring set, Kodak Instamatic, Cox dune buggy and Corsair airplane (I'm guessing these were the gas powered, radio controlled ones), rock tumbling kit, Polaroid Colorpack camera, Magnus electric organ, Panasonic Bolero radio (which I'm guessing you might be able to sell for something, now)—and it just goes on and on. Kids, if nothing else, you can be a superhero in sales!
Books I've Finished Reading