One of the things that made Spider-man unique amongst the heroes of the Silver Age was that he often didn’t want to be a hero. When he first got his powers, he wanted to make money. It was the death of Uncle Ben that left him feeling obligated to fight crime. But even then, he would have much rather have been Peter Parker. Often times, when Spider-Man swinging across New York and fighting folks like Electro and the Sandman, he would have much rather have been at home, taking care of Aunt May or studying for a midterm or out on a date with Gwen Stacy or Mary Jane Watson. Unlike the similarly angsty Hulk and The Thing, Spider-Man actually could had the option of abandoning his secret identity and trying to live a normal life if he wanted. That Peter Parker not only felt obligated but often resentful made him a hero to which readers could relate.
He finally did try to walk away in 1967’s Amazing Spider-Man #50 and it led to a classic cover from John Romita. This cover, with both Peter and Spider-Man turning their backs on each other, perfectly captures the inner conflict that Peter dealt with every issue. When he was Peter, he didn’t want to be Spider-Man and when he was Spider-Man, he didn’t always want to be Peter Parker. In Amazing Spider-Man #50, exhausted from being continually condemned by J. Jonah Jameson and worried about Aunt May’s health (as always), Peter tried to walk away.
It didn’t last, of course. At first, Peter enjoyed not being Spider-Man but, as crime increased, Peter realized that he still owed it to the people of New York City and the spirit of Uncle Ben to fulfil his “great responsiblity.” At the end of the issue, Peter retrieved his costume and once again took to the streets. It wasn’t a minute too soon because this issue featured not only a classic cover. It also featured the first appearance of the crime lord known as the Kingpin. New York needed Spider-Man more than ever.
Previous Great Moments In Comic Book History:
- Winchester Before Winchester: Swamp Thing Vol. 2 #45 “Ghost Dance”
- The Avengers Appear on David Letterman
- Crisis on Campus
- “Even in Death”
- The Debut of Man-Wolf in Amazing Spider-Man
- Spider-Man Meets The Monster Maker
- Conan The Barbarian Visits Times Square
- Dracula Joins The Marvel Universe
- The Death of Dr. Druid
- To All A Good Night
- The First Appearance of Ghost Rider
- The First Appearance of Werewolf By Night
- Captain America Punches Hitler