"Just A Guy Named Joe!
Scripted by Stan Lee.
Plotted, drawn and inked by Steve Ditko.
Lettered by Artie Simek.
After 38 issues, Steve Ditko leaves behind the strip he helped create and, judging by the front of it, he couldn't wait to get out the door, as it's clearly cobbled together from panels taken from the comic within. All of which implies he left before even doing a cover for it. Did he leave in a huff over the planned revelation of the Green Goblin's true identity? Did he leave in protest at publisher Martin Goodman not honouring financial promises he'd made? Did he leave over both? Did he leave over neither?
I've no idea.
Did he leave on a high?
Well, not really. I don't think the story's going to be regarded by many as an all-time classic, although it's entertaining enough, as Joe Smith, a no-hope boxer-come-wrestler, lands a small job as an extra in a movie, only to get zapped by a mixture of electricity and chemicals , giving him the inevitable super-strength and a temper to match. Needless to say it's all resolved with a punch-up and - restored to normal - he gets the good news that the movie company loved the footage they got of his rampage and're offering him a film deal on the strength of it. Hooray for Hollywood and everyone's a winner.
Well, no. Spider-Man's not. He's discovered Betty Brant didn't leave to be with Ned Leeds, meaning Peter Parker has no idea what happened to her. On top of that he's discovered there's a twenty thousand dollar reward out for his demise. On top of that, he's just seen some bloke called Joe Smith land a movie deal while all anyone wants to offer Spider-Man is a knuckle sandwich.
Meanwhile, Harry and Flash are still Peter Parker's fiercest critics and Gwen Stacy's still obsessing about him. I mean really obsessing about him. Every time we see her - every time we've ever seen her so far - there're no thoughts in her head but thoughts of Peter Parker. I'm telling you, that's one girl he needs to avoid like the plague.
If only there was another girl, around, one who's so far stayed behind the scenes, maybe a neighbour or a relative of a neighbour...
Aw but where's he ever going to meet a girl like that?