Issue: The Amazing Spider-Man #1 – story A
Published: March 1963 by Marvel Comics
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Steve Ditko
Letterer: Johnny Dee
The Good: Spider-Man, John Jameson, Aunt May
The Bad: J. Jonah Jameson
In the A story of amazing Spiderman number one, Spider-Man runs afoul of his greatest nemesis…J. Jonah Jameson. But in realistic terms, there are 2 main pieces of this tale. First is Spider-Man’s dilemma trying to fill in for his dead Uncle Ben in supporting the family and the second is dealing with saving the son of someone who hates him.
First though, we get a very short and to the point recap of Spidey’s origin story and I for one am glad it barely lasted a couple of panels. Then we move on to the money issue. With Uncle Ben gone, Peter needs to do something to make money to support Aunt May. His suggestion that he leave school is shut down immediately by his Aunt who exclaims that would be the last thing his Uncle would want. He turns back to performing as Spider-Man but when he can’t cash a check, it prooves pointless, and then Jameson writes up an editorial.
J. Jonah Jameson wants to run Spider-Man outta town. Why? Jonah doesn’t want masked vigilaties taking the law into their own hands. Or is it that he doesn’t want children to imitate him? Or is it that he just doesn’t want him to be a hero? Who can really tell, but his newspaper begins the fight to have Spidey outlawed while promoting John Jameson’s (his son) trip into space.
With performing out of the question now that he can’t cash a check and Jameson has made him persona-non-grata, Peter looks for a part-time job. Too bad they were only looking for men to do part-time work in 1963 – high schoolers need to stay in school. And as Peter is turned away from the job, he sees Aunt May pawning her jewelry to keep them afloat. He’s really frustrated and angry.
The next day is the day John Jameson heads into space. Everything is going perfectly until the guidance system fails and he starts flying out of control. The military tries to save him but things prove too difficult for them to stop the space capsule from crashing. This looks like a job for Spider-Man! Spidey heads to the launch facility, grabs a backup guidance system, and forces a pilot to fly him close to the capsule. Slinging a web on the capsule, Spider-Man jumps aboard and installs the new guidance package and the capsule lands safely.
That should take care of Jonah’s editorials…right? Nope. Jameson is even more pissed that Spider-Man is taking the spotlight away from his son. JJ accuses Spidey of sabotaging the launch and stealing a plane so he could be the hero that day rather than his son. With Jameson shouting about the menace of Spider-Man, the FBI has no choice but to issue a warrant.
And Peter is crushed. No matter what he tries to do with his powers, he can’t make money to support Aunt May. And with all the bad public relations, even she thinks that Spider-Man should be locked up. What is he gonna do?
What did I learn:
- J. Jonah Jameson has a son.
- John Jameson is an astronaut.
In the first issue of Amazing Spider-Man, Peter runs up against the man who will be his arch-nemesis for a long time. J. Jonah Jameson is definitely the villain of this first story and from my limited exposure to comics, I know he’s gonna try to thwart Spider-Man for years to come.
I suppose the basis of Jameson’s agenda of delegitimizing Spider-Man stems from his own son. Jonah only wants what’s best for his son and part of that is the recognition that he’s a true hero by being an astronaut. And I agree – putting his life on the line to advance the space program of his country is definitely something to be proud of and he should be hailed as a hero. That shouldn’t prevent others from being heroes as well.
Jameson seems to think that by taking headlines from his son, Spider-Man is diminishing John Jameson’s accomplishments. That’s pretty misguided in my view. Nothing Spider-Man can do will take the honors that John deserves away from him. Sure, the public may attend to Spider-Man because of his own heroics but Jonah, like most of the press, wants to be the one to decided who gets the public’s attention. This aspect of the issue is very reflective of today’s society and I’m surprised that it was similar in 1963. Why does the press, who are supposed to be reporting the news, insist on making the news?
I suppose in this instance, Jameson is being selfish and proud and wants the rest of the country to heap adoration on his son – as he does. But by abusing his power as a journalist, it seems he thinks the only way to make people honor his son is to vilify another hero.
My Rating: A
This comic can be found on Marvel Unlimited, Comixology or at your local comic book shop.