Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Amazing Spider-Man #124. Man-Wolf makes his debut

Amazing Spider-Man #124, first ever Man-Wolf
(Cover from September 1973.)

"The Mark of the Man-Wolf"

Words by Gerry Conway.
Pencils by Gil Kane.
Inks by John Romita and T Mortellero.
Lettering by Artie Simek.
Colours by David Hunt.

Werewolves are like London buses. You go for years without seeing one and then two come along at once.

Only weeks after Spider-Man encounters his first Lycanthrope, in the form of Werewolf By Night (Marvel Team-Up #12), he's now up against another. Quite why Marvel Comics' powers-that-be decided our hero needed such a crash course in lupine savagery is anyone's guess. Still, it could have been worse. They could have given him a crash course in lupin savagery. Now there would have been a story to fear. In truth, the overdose of wolfmen's probably pure coincidence but who cares? For once, it gives Spidey a chance to fight villains who don't answer back.

So, that settled, which wolf is best?

For me it's got to be Man-Wolf. Leaving aside the fact he's got a snappier nomenclature, he's also got a costume - and his head actually looks like a wolf instead of a coconut. On top of that, the dramatic potential of him being J Jonah Jameson's son is far stronger than that of him being someone we'd never heard of (Jack Russell) until he got the mark of the beast.

Still, you have to feel sorry for John Jameson. Seemingly a decent chap, on his first appearance, way back in Amazing Spider-Man #1, his space capsule nearly crashed. In a subsequent appearance, deadly space spores turned him into a mad super-villain. And now, moon beams have turned him into a wolf. Clearly outer space and John Jameson don't mix. All the more unfortunate then that he's an astronaut.

I have to admit the era of the strip we're in now's my all-time favourite. I mean, the Ditko era has a charm all its own and I've always viewed the Romita epoch as "classic" Spider-Man but the months - and even years - in the wake of Gwen Stacy's death, and Peter Parker's subsequent romance with Mary Jane - not to mention the shifting in his relationships with the other characters, and with himself - grabs me the most.

And this issue? Highlights of the month have to be the closing panel, with Spidey looking the wrong way as the Man-Wolf leaps at him, and also Peter Parker, in class, snapping his pencil in half. Who would've thought that a man snapping an HB in two would grab you so much? It just goes to show it's a strange old world.

But then, John Jameson could have told you that.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails