Monday, 1 February 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #13. Mysterio makes his debut

Amazing Spider-Man #13, unlucky for some, Mysterio makes his first appearance, in a cloud of smoke, and threatens a recoiling Spider-Man
(Cover from June 1964.)

The Menace Of Mysterio!"

Written by Stan Lee.
Drawn by Steve Ditko.
Inked by Steve Ditko.
Lettered by Art Simek.

Thirteen. It's unlucky for some.

Or have I already said that?

It seems to me I have. So, instead I'll merely say that, for Spider-Man's baker's dozen, we get the debut of one of my favourite Spider-villains of them all, as Mysterio makes his first appearance.

I mean, what's not to love? The man wears a goldfish bowl over his head, has eyes on his chest and walks around in a cloud of smoke. He also talks like a prize cornball. After all, how many people have you ever met who say things like, "Bah!" and refer to themselves in the third person? Quite frankly, if there's one Spider-Man villain I'd choose to be, it has to be Mysterio.

Mysterio, oddly enough, is more interested in being Spider-Man, as he starts the tale by committing a string of crimes while disguised as the arachnid adventurer. This being The Amazing Spider-Man, our hero doesn't respond in the time honoured manner by assuming there must be an imposter on the loose. Instead, he assumes he himself must be behind the crimes and doesn't know about it because he's going mad. Cue a trip to the psychiatrist.

Happily his malaise doesn't last long as Mysterio turns up and gives him a good pounding before Spider-Man escapes, hoping to fight another day. Oddly enough, this seems to put our hero in a better mood.

The fight scene in the second half of this story's fantastic. Steve Ditko was never a conventional super-hero artist and proves it here as Spider-Man and Mysterio battle each other on a movie set. The studio's clearly playing host to a science fiction movie when they barge in, meaning the fight takes place against a whole barrage of unworldly backdrops before the menacing master of illusion gets his come-uppance. Steve Ditko's in his element with this story, his background in drawing horror and fantasy comics coming in perfectly for his handling of Mysterio who, in his early panels, really does seem like some kind of supernatural, Dr Strange type, being.

On Peter Parker's domestic front, not only does our hero have Betty Brant swooning all over him but now Liz Allan's got the hots for him too.

And this is the man who claims he's unlucky in love.

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