Thursday, June 15, 2017

Throwback Thursday: The Amazing Spider-Man #350 (1991)

The Amazing Spider-Man #350 (1991) - Throwback Thursday

Writer: David Michelinie
Art Team: Erik Larsen, Randy Emberlin, Bob Sharen
Letterer: Rick Parker
Marvel Comics
Release Date: August 1991
Cover Price: $1.50 

Throwback Thursday
@bmur3660’s First Comic Book

I know, I know most of your initial responses to seeing this article on a Thursday are god damnit Branden your Marvel nonsense is now infecting my god damn week on more than just Mondays.  Well there’s a reason behind all this nonsense that will come to fruition in the future but in the meantime this article is a teaser of sorts and a hint of what’s to come.

Long story short I got a random DM from Jim earlier this week asking me “what was the first comic I ever read/owned?” Much like that awkward first kiss with a little tongue involved it’s just something you don’t forget, and the Amazing Spider-Man #350 (a Giant Sized issue nonetheless) came right to mind immediately. Buried in the depths of my mom’s basement, I decided to do what any hard working American would, downloaded it off Comixology instead of entertaining looking for that nonsense, to bring you some thoughts. Jump in and see what’s up.

The story is framed as a one shot, setup as a Dr. Doom vs Spider-Man story (based on cover art), and doesn’t make you wait very long to get right to the reason you likely purchased this issue. Spider-Man is in pursuit of a pesky old thief named the Black Fox (who wears blue and is a white guy so the names perplexing) and while tailing the crook notices Dr. Doom is also doing the same.  Their conflicting interests in this individual obviously cause a huge dust up, with Spider-Man really taking a molly whooping at the hands of the ruler of Latveria. 

We discover when Doom catches up to the thief that the Black Fox is responsible for stealing Doom’s family heirloom, belonging to his mother, and he wants it back or else!  Spider-Man steps in again and after nearly getting beaten unconscious decides its in his best interests to instead make a deal with Doom to save his own ass. Spidey guarantees that he will get the jewel back for Doom in 24 hours, to which Doom obliges, since the Black Fox has escaped during the pairs most recent dust up with each other.

A concust Peter has a conversation with Mary Jane whose appearance most definitely moved the needle for 10 year old me (boing!!!). As Peter’s (and my) lady love heads off to work, Peter hallucinates a conversation with Uncle Ben, due to effects of a concussion. Despite the experience landing him in a doctor’s office, it does make Peter realize he has taken it easy on Black Fox to his own detriment in the past, as Uncle Ben sheds some light on the decisions that lie ahead for Peter.

Back on his feet Spider-Man uses a Spider-tracer he placed on Black Fox to track him down, they locate the jewel for Doom together once confronted with danger, leading to another giant battle for the majority of the third act to begin our issues conclusion.  As this strange pairing fight these cultists, who happen to tie into a past Spider-Man story in a cool callback featuring the Avengers, Doom arrives noting to Spider-Man his "time period for recovering the jewel has passed."  Doom however gets sucked into the fight with the cultists, distracting the ragtag group of baddies enough to allow Spider-Man to recover the jewel, who hands it over to Doom to end the conflict. 

Our issue wraps up with Doom and Spider-Man agreeing to go their separate ways, Spider-Man breaking the news to Black Fox, that after years of feeling bad for the old man, this time he’s hauling his ass to jail, and a good end cap of Spidey coming to terms with letting down MJ (again) who was only concerned for his health along the way. Just a great classic Spider-Man tale that touched all the cliches for little me to enjoy ... and I just may have liked revisiting it after all these years again even more than I did back then.

Since this is a giant sized extravaganza this hallucination of Peter’s with Uncle Ben also provides a brief recap of Spidey’s origin too, and looking back on it this made it an ideal issue to grab for someone just grabbing something that interested them as their first comic.  The writing was classic Marvel comics, with a lot more dialogue than is present in today’s coming, but much less perceived fluff if you ask me.  This was a one shot story that didn’t feel rushed, happened organically, while providing my favorite plenty of action, and even some character development along the way.  This was a rare case of a comic book cover living up to the hype with a great companion story inside.

Without looking at the credits before reading I thought for sure this was a McFarlane production as far as art duties go but I was wrong (just young me playing tricks on old me I guess).  However the art throughout the book it still great none the less, even going as far as giving us some throwback feeling Spider-Man panels when recapping the origin story. Towards the end of the book you’re provided several pinup photos that I distinctly remember trying to draw, trace, and re-draw endless times.  This was a comic book that Mama Dukes paid $1.50 for and I received way more bang for my buck than I bet she ever even anticipated, so it was a win for everyone involved.

Bits and Pieces

Overall revisiting my first comic book was something I had a great time doing. The art and story was classic 1991, just a perfect little one shot versus tale, that entertained 35 year old me as much as 10 year old me. I didn’t regret buying it back in 1991 and I don’t regret re-buying it in 2017 … god damn I’m getting old.


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