First and (for now) Last – The Amazing Spider-Man


With the (temporary) end of new Amazing Spider-Man comic strips it seems a good time for this.

Stan Lee had a few runs at comic strips earlier in his career. In the early 1950s he wrote My Friend Irma and Hoody Doody. Later in The Fifties and stretching into the early Sixties he was trying his hand at Mrs. Lyons’ Cubs and Willie Lumpkin. Stan preferred The Funnies over Adventure Strips.

About that time Stan seems to get sidetracked from comic strips with editing and writing and co-creating the Marvel Comics Universe. Lee stayed deeply involved with that distraction for a dozen or so years before turning day-to-day duties over to Roy Thomas. After a few years acclimating himself to being publisher of Marvel, he found he had some free time and turned his attention back to comic strips.

In 1976 he created two comic strips unrelated to Marvel, Says Who and The Virtue of Vera Valiant, and got them syndicated. When these proved none too successful Stan returned to an old partner and revived an idea they had had about eight years earlier.

above: the first two Amazing Spider-Man dailies, January 3 and January 4, 1977

This time Stan succeeded. The Amazing Spider-Man was at the vanguard of a resurgence of the action comic strip genre. Soon the newspaper “funny pages” was becoming as exciting as Ron Goulart’s Adventurous Decade.  For a short glorious period Science fiction (Star Wars, Star Hawks, others), Super-Heroes (Superman, Hulk), Westerns (Latigo, The Lone Ranger), and other adventures (Best Seller Showcase, Encyclopedia Brown) were being syndicated.

The continued success of Spider-Man encouraged syndicates to keep trying adventure strips for years (Terry and The Pirates revival, Ghost Story Club, more).


above: the last of the current version of The Amazing Spider-Man comic strip (March 23, 2019)

Unfortunately, the death of Stan Lee last year has brought a decision from the-powers-that-be (Marvel?) to change the direction of the strip. So the current incarnation will be replaced, after rerunning an old story or two, by a what will be a New Direction. But the 42 year run of Stan and Roy’s version has to be considered outstanding in terms of endurance if nothing else.

above: the last Sunday of the Lee/Thomas and Savuik run (March 17, 2019)


Earlier I had mentioned that Stan had REVIVED an idea for a Spider-Man comic strip, let me explain.

Around 1968 or 1969, I’m guessing, Stan Lee and John Romita first explored the idea of a Spider-Man comic strip. (Batman, from 1966 -1970, had a revived comic strip running in newspapers due to the popularity of that whacky TV show of the time.) So Stan and John worked up a two week Spider-Man segment to show around.

Apparently by the time they submitted the strip to the syndicates, the time had passed.
The strips did eventually appear in a couple 1970 issues of Marvelmania Magazine.


Of course decades earlier, in 1934, the first Spiderman had appeared in newspapers:



But let’s get back to today’s March 24, 2019 Sunday Amazing Spider-Man comic strip.

“siesmic-2” in the comments has noted that

Today’s strip was originally run on 16 November, 2014. Someone added the narration box “Peter dreams of good times” to the first panel, replaced Doc Ock’s image in panel 2 with an image of Killgrave, and changed the word ballon to say “Killgrave” instead of “Dr. Octopus”. Other than that’ everything’s the same. (MJ’s play closed because the Mammon Theater was damaged, and she got the movie job in “Marvella 2” only a couple of days later. Since The Mammon Theater has now been damaged again (once more, thanks to Spidey!), this is a logical strip to choose to kick off the repeats.

So today is an old strip with a small bit of reworking to transition to the forthcoming reruns.

above: November 16, 2014 Spider-Man comic strip (hat tip to Joseph Nebus for the improved image).


To supplement siesmic’s comment, the Purple Man image is recycled from the February 10, 2019 strip:



And finally…

It had been reported that last Sunday’s Spider-Man comic strip lead into the retirement of inker Joe Sinnott. Let it should be noted that that announcement was a bit premature.

Today’s Mutts comic.


Look closely.