When I recently re-discovered my childhood love for Comic Books there was no more obvious place for me to start than this particular issue. As a child there was only one superhero that really interested me and that of course was The Amazing Spiderman, however the characters that captured my fascination even more so than the titular hero were of course the Villains. Particularly the two Goblins, The Green Goblin and The Hobgoblin. Although originally I only knew of the Hobgoblin (mainly due to repeats of the 90’s cartoon series) when I discovered the Green Goblin I became equally as obsessed, particularly due to the wealth of material available on this Goblin as oppose to his orange counterpart. Being only 8 or 9 I wasn’t in the position to spend great amounts of money on Graphic Novels and so had to settle for the cheaper ‘Marvel Pocket Books’ and Issues of The Astonishing Spiderman. Now for those across the water unfamiliar with that title, we in the UK have two ways of purchasing our Comic Books. One is to go to your local Comic Shop which will have the issues shipped in; however this is sometimes problematic as not everyone has a local Comic Shop. So most News Agents stock titles such as The Astonishing Spiderman, which (when I was a kid anyway) was published monthly and collected the Spiderman titles published in the previous month and collected them together.
However for reasons I don’t really know there came a point when they started publishing reprints of the classic Stan Lee and Steve Ditko Spiderman tales in the back pages. They didn’t publish the complete run, only a select few but imagine my joy when the back of one issue features an advert saying that the next will feature Amazing Spiderman #17, the first Return of the Green Goblin! To say my 9 year old self was overjoyed would be an understatement. I raced out to my local newsagent the day it was released and devoured it in the car on the way home. At that age it was probably the most beautiful thing I had ever read. Upon re-reading it I was amazed by just how much it holds up to day. This issue concentrates on the issues of being both Peter Parker and Spiderman, now admittedly the art and dialogue is to a certain extent ‘Simplistic’. However this is by no means an insult, these early issues are TIMELESS. These are when it all started when everything is so exciting, so amazing, and so fresh!
First let’s discuss the Goblin himself. This issue features the first appearance of his Glider, something which would soon become a trademark of the character and perhaps one of his most notable features. There’s also a heap of new gadgets and it adds to the feel that this is the return of a classic character but he is twice as dangerous as he was before. The issue also doubles the mystery of just who the Goblin is with a great little moment where Parker senses danger in a crowd but does not realise that the cause of that danger is that an unmasked Goblin is mingling among the unsuspecting public. It’s a very tense moment and adds to the mystery that will increase in future issues. On a side note I found it quite interesting going back to an issue when the Goblins identity still hasn’t been revealed, knowing that the Green Goblin will eventually be revealed as Norman Osborn, a character that hasn’t even been introduced yet! Also I don’t know if it’s just me but when reading these early issues I always have the Goblin voice from the 60’s Spiderman Cartoon in my head particularly when the Goblin has vocabulary like “You’ve sneered at my Prowess for the last time Spiderman!” I can understand why the child goblin fan in me loved this issue, he has some great moments and its fun to see him taken on The Human Torch was well as Spiderman. Speaking of the Human Torch...
I’m just going to come out and say it. I’ve never been that much of a fan of the Human Torch, I find him to be arrogant, vain, rude and completely unlikeable. Admittedly I’ve never really read much Fantastic Four but he was one of the main reasons why I didn’t! I remember when I read this as a child he was one of the only things I didn’t like and I was expecting to feel the same when I re-read it. However although he does have his moments of being an asshole here his concern for Spiderman and the fact that he recognises the fight with the Goblin as not being an act give him a few points in his favour and present him as being more than a guy who simply likes being a superhero just for the attention. I still found him pretty unlikeable but I found myself a lot less irritated by him this time round than previously. I’ve never read any Fantastic Four but this has made me want to check out a couple, possibly The Galactus trilogy, which has always caught my attention not to mention constantly being hailed as one of the greatest comic stories of all time.
One of the great Joys I had whilst reading this again though was a chance to look back at all the things I missed when I kid. At the time I skimmed all the stuff concerning Peter Parkers life and daily issues yet when reading again I actually found this stuff interesting. There was a scene where Aunt May tries to set Peter up with Mary Jane Watson and having the ability of Foresight I found this incredibly amusing. I think I made the right choice when using this as a starting point for getting back into comics; it’s a great, classic and most importantly, incredibly fun issue.
Welcome one and all- Please leave sanity at the door
A Teenage boy with a passion for all things nerdy! Expect a lot of Doctor Who, Cult/Horror Movies, Literature and Novels, History, Comic Books and random thoughts. Posts published weekly on a Friday evening. DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of the items reviewed on this site and i also do not own of the pictures (unless stated so). If you own one of the photos and wish for it to be removed contact me at this adress: Super.firstname.lastname@example.org. However all of the written work is my own and is protected under copyright law.