Monday, 22 March 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #36. The Looter

Amazing Spider-Man #36, the Looter throws a punch and hits Spidey in the jaw as our hero leaps at him, Steve Ditko cover(Cover from May 1966.)

"When Falls The Meteor!"

Script by Stan Lee.
Plotted, drawn and inked by Steve Ditko.
Lettered by Art Simek.

A wiser human being than me once said, "Names are for Tombstones, baby," and someone else once said, "A rose is a rose by any other name."

Well, they might've both been wiser than me but they were both wrong.

If you suddenly gained super powers from hitting a meteor there's only a small range of names you could call yourself. Right? You could call yourself Meteor Man or The Living Meteor. If you were a complete and total imbecile who'd been reading too many Stan Lee/Jack Kirby monster comics of the early 1960s, you might even call yourself Meteoro; The Asteroid That Walks. Well, having got his powers from just such a source, Norton G Fester knows exactly what to call himself.

He calls himself...

...The Looter.

Not only does this demonstrate he doesn't have a clue what a good name is but such a hum-drum appellation guarantees he's never going to achieve any kind of immortality as a Spider-Man foe.

And, you know what?

He doesn't.

The truth is he's a rubbish villain, no more than a petty crook with just enough strength to make Spider-Man take three pages to pummel him unconscious instead of one. His total naffness is exemplified by the fact he has a helium balloon built into his costume.

Oh yes, and, as usual with Ditko plotted tales, Spider-Man defeats him simply by beating him up.

Thankfully, things are more interesting on the domestic front, where the only recently introduced Gwen Stacy's doing an impression of a top-class loon.

First, for no reason other than he doesn't seem to fancy her, she starts stalking Peter Parker, then she starts randomly bursting out in fits of laughter to try and convince everyone else that she doesn't fancy him. Trouble is, in the process, she also manages to convince Peter that she doesn't fancy him, which isn't necessarily the best way to get a date. At this stage in her development, she's certainly a more interesting character than Betty Brant ever was and a zillion times more interesting than the simpering wimp she herself later became. The only problem is, she comes across as being half-deranged and totally unlikeable. There can't really have been any readers, way back in the Spring of 1966, who were hoping Gwen Stacy and Peter Parker were going to get together, could there?

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