Cobwebs #13: Spider-Man vs. Fantastic Four – Extended Edition


asm1coverQuestion: What could be better than a Stan Lee/ Steve Ditko Spider-Man vs. Fantastic Four story?

Answer: A longer version of the same story! 

Amazing Spider-Man #1 proudly features the fight on the front cover of the first issue, but only gives us a paltry three pages (packed, of course, but still only three).  This you know.  This is you are familiar with.

What you may not know is that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby revisited that same fight and expanded it to twice the length just a few months later.  Interested?  Then read on for the Spider-Man versus Fantastic Four Extended Edition!

 

Or should it be Director’s Cut?  How about Special Edition?  Who cares?  We have classic Spidey and FF to read!

 

We’ll need the TARDIS to make two stops this post.  Both are in 1963.  Amazing Spider-Man #1 hit the shelves with a cover date of March 1963 (putting probably in January).  As soon as kids grew tired of playing with their Etch-a-Sketch and wood burning kits (hottest Christmas toys of 1962), they tore in the now famous first fight between Spider-Man and Fantastic Four, which in classic Spider-Man Friday Nights Fight tradition, he comes in and beats the crap out of the first family in comics.  If you need a refresher, click on these to see the pages:

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Even after all these decades, the story is pretty cool, although there are some silly moments  I always thought it was odd that Reed is so concerned with the cost of his plexi-glass (should be plexiglass, but who am I to criticize Johnny Dee’s lettering skills?) cage defense system instead of how the defense system isn’t doing its job.

This fighting between heroes has been a staple of Marvel all the way to the original Human Torch and the Submariner fighting each other (and destroying New York in the process) back in the Golden Age.  It is one of the things that separates Marvel from the Distinguished Competition.

Four months later, the Fantastic Four Annual #1 is released.  Not the first Marvel annual to be produced, but close.  That distinction belongs to Millie the Model Annual #1, which, according to Marvel Database, was published in January of 1962.  The annual has a Submariner story *yawn*, but has this intriguing image on the bottom of the cover:

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After flipping past the main story and hidden in pages of Kirby pinups, we find Spidey.  Scaling the walls with this editor’s note:

editorsnote

Note that fans were more polite in the 1960s and merely requested stories rather than demanded them as they do now.

So here we get the same Lee/Ditko story, but now told by Lee/Kirby with Ditko inks and with more panels.  The original was 3 pages (despite Lee’s instance that it is only 2) and this version doubles it.  Read the new and improved version here (click to see larger version):

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ff4 ff5 ff6

 

If you were not aware of this, then this is just plain awesome!  Plus, thanks to the magic of photo editing, we can see the styles of Ditko and Kirby side by side.  In each of these the Ditko version is first.

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Then we have this weird scene where Spider-Man seems to have control over his webbing and can make it slither along the floor.  I’m thinking we’ll be seeing this soon enough in the current issues.  “Web cartridge 3 – Slither Webbing! Thanks to the keen minds at Parker Industries!”

whattheheck

wi1coverOf you can’t get enough of this fight and want to see it from a different artist, then fire up your Marvel Unlimited and pull up What If? #1.  We see the original Lee/Ditko tale, but drawn instead by Dave Cockrum?

In this tale, everything happens the way it did in the original, but as Spidey swings off embarrassed, Sue decides to stop him and give him a chance.  He soon become friends with the Torch, gets tolerated by the Thing, and earns the respect of Reed because of his science ability.  This quickly makes Sue the fifth wheel and she is more open to Submariner’s courting than before.  It’s a good read and I encourage you to find it.  The issue was such a success that we get a few more What If? stories that continue their exploits (well, until the Inheritors come and kill them all…).

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Since I did not wish to pay the $2,800 needed to get my own copy of the FF Annual, I relied on my subscription to Marvel Unlimited.  If you are a Marvel comics fan, I highly encourage you to try this service out.  It’s buggy and it will take you several frustrating attempts to find what works best for you (Firefox browser for me if I want to read anything), but once you get it worked out, the sheer amount of comics available and becoming available is outstanding.  Plus you give you get a chance to read series that you would never have given a shot otherwise or that you just missed altogether (like Irredeemable Ant Man).  Just thought I’d pass that along if you were thinking of trying it, but not sure if it was worth it. 

Anyone else out there using Marvel Unlimited?  What are your views? Also, how many of you knew about this extended version?

 

 

credible hulkSources:

“1962 Vintage Toys from the Sixties.”  The People History.  N.p., 2016. Web. 8 Feb. 2016.

Fantastic Four Annual #1.Go Collect. N.p., 2016. Web. 8 Feb. 2016.

Huddleston, Mike. “Marvel 1960s Annuals: Reprints.” Comic Book Daily. N.p., 2015. Web. 6 Feb. 2016.

Millie the Model Annual Vol 1 1.”  Marvel Database. Wikia, N.d. Web. 6 Feb. 2016.

Sjoerdsma, Al, and Stuart Vandal. The Amazing Spider-Man: Official Index to the Marvel Universe. New York: Marvel Worldwide, 2010. Print.

Images:

All scans from Marvel Unlimited

Credible Hulk

(15) Comments

  1. Mark Alford

    @#14- That's a fair assessment. I love it when he makes stuff out of the webbing. I remember one Marvel Fanfare where he made little people out of it because he was bored. I think one was Al Milgrom. Even though I can't really fathom how he gets it to mold and not turn to slop, I'm happy to see it. Dan Slott, if you are reading, a web shield, please!

  2. Al

    @#13: To be honest I've never had a problem with the idea that Spider-Man could use his webbing the way Ditko used it. It makes sense that between controlling the nozzle on the web-shooter and whipping up the formula himself it'd have multiple applications. I draw the line when you play it like Batman's utility belt or Iron Man armour like with the Z-metal webbing. that's too tech based and makes stuff too easy. Spidey should have a small arsental yet one with a lot of applications. E.g. web nets, web gloves, impact webbing and most especially, my favourite, the web-shield. I honestly dunno why people don't use that one more often, it's such an obvious thing in fight scenes. Then again creators ignore the fact that Doc Ock's arms can turn into tasers, buzzsaws, etc. I think we'd accept the use of the webbing the way Ditko did because it is an established thing. Again though Z-metal webbing is going too far.

  3. Mark Alford - Post author

    @#11- What I find interesting is that when Ditko inks Kirby, the lines are thick and dark. When Ditko inks Ditko, the lines are thin and light. I wonder if it is because Kirby pencilled heavy or if Ditko just spent more time on inking when it was for others. Sure I'll grant you a no-prize for that. Currently the Craawlspace is out of them and they are on back order from Marvel. But I like you, so I'm going to shine up this No Prize I won from Neil Bogenrieder's last ASM review, and ship it your way ASAP. Be on the look out! It's not cheap shipping that stuff over seas, you know. BD doesn't give us an expense account! @#12 - I've thought about that some. What would the reaction be if in the new ASM comics Spidey is using his webbing like he did in in the old 1960 issues. Would we like them like we do when we see Ditko's silly drawings of a web bat or web pillar, or would we cry foul since today's comics have different expectations?

  4. PeterParkerfan

    Whoa! I didn't even know about this version of the classic Spidey/FF encounter... Wow. Spider-Man should use these "solidified web pillar" and "Web with super glue" techniques more often.

  5. Al

    I actually read the Annual version of the scene before I read ASM #1. It's great although Kirby Spidey looks odd...then again Ditko F4 look odd too. And yet when Ditko inked Kirby it was magical. Can I try to No. Prize the webbing slithering across the floor? Spidey adjusted the nozzle to make the fluid more....fluid. It wasn’t hardening like it normally does and was slithering across the floor like glue. The propeller then caught it up and got tangled in it.

  6. Mark Alford - Post author

    @#7 - It was new to me too. I can't believe I had never heard of it before. I figured there just might be one or two of you guys out there who also hadn't read it. @#8 - He looks rather wimpy! @#9 - Yeah, but picking up a What If? comic back in those days meant that you were not going to look too closely to reality. :)

  7. hornacek

    @5 - That What If issue with Spidey's clone living did have a happy ending (a rarity in What Ifs) but it was ridiculous when you really thought about it. SPOILER. Spidey and the clone alternating who plays Spidey and who plays Peter by the days of the week would involve so much recapping amongst the two of them at the end of each day. And what would happen when Peter dated someone? We're getting into Dead Ringers territory here, folks.

  8. herbiepopnecker

    @ #4 Funny how the original Captain America was often drawn almost like the original Spider-man, slim and lithe! (I think)

  9. Mark Alford - Post author

    @#4 - You snuck that one in while I was responding to the other three. I agree. Kirby's Spider-Man definitely looks odd compared to Ditko's. I' betting that is why Lee had Ditko ink Kirby's pencils too. You can look at AF#15's cover by Kirby and, as iconic as it is, it just doesn't look like Spider-Man swinging.

  10. Mark Alford - Post author

    @#1 - But it's more dramatic to give the higher prices. :) Plus, I found that site and took the time to sign up for an account and they still only gave me the top listed price. At that point I figured I had spent more time on it than was worth what I was going to get from it. Anyway, I still don't want to spend $47.50 for a crappy copy just to read them! Free? I thought we were on subscription service. I guess that explains why BD hasn't sent me a check yet... @#2 - Sure it makes sense. Science! As far as the paddling remark, well, I'll just leave it alone.... @#3 - I always liked the What Ifs when I was younger, but they do tend to go to the bad endings. The What If Spider-Man's clone had lived had a happy ending. Much happier than the whole Clone Saga that came afterward. I think we'll have to visit Spider-Man's appearances in What If? before too much longer now that Marvel Unlimited has uploaded most of them.

  11. Bill

    Awesome stuff. I almost forgot about that one, so I just went and checked it out again. Ahhh, the good old (fun) days. My only complaint is that, for one of the greatest comic-book artists of all time, Kirby never could draw a decent Spider-Man. Don't know why. Under the King's pencil, Spidey always looked stiff and awkward, instead of agile and sure-footed. I wish Stan would have had Ditko draw the extended version as well.

  12. xonathan

    That What if was depressing. And I guess it also started the tradition of making the endings sad. With the exception of v2 105.

  13. hornacek

    I had no idea this alternate version existed. "Have you ever seen an electrified web?" Wait, what? Spidey can plug his webbing into an outlet? Even by 60s science, this makes no sense. "I've decided that what you need is a good paddling!" There's so much wrong with Reed saying that.

  14. herbiepopnecker

    You <i>can</i> pick up the annual for less - just not in pristine condition! http://www.newkadia.com/?ipgss=1387|1|Annual By the way, my mum used to say, "cobwebs are free" - in your case, I'm glad they are! ;)

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