Page 3 of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #33 by Steve Ditko
Amazing Spider-Man #33 is possibly my favorite issue of Spider-Man ever. It’s definitely the culmination of the original run by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.
It’s the third issue in a storyline where Spider-Man had to track down a rare serum to be used in a cure to save his Aunt May who is dying. The serum ended up being in the hands of Doctor Octopus and after the fight Spider-Man was left pinned under a massive piece of machinery.
For the first 5 pages of the issue Spider-Man is struggling to lift it. He almost gives up, until he forces himself to do it. He can’t let his Aunt May die after letting his Uncle Ben die (making this a great bookend to his origin).
Here he is realizing he can’t give up.
He spends the next X pages just trying to get out of the collapsing, flooding underwater base.
Ditko’s art has such beautiful motion in it. Here Spider-Man is getting thrown forward by a flood of water.
After he gets to the surface he is attacked by a bunch of Doctor Octopus’s Henchmen. He is so exhausted he doesn’t fight back letting his strength keep him from getting hurt so that he can rest. And then when he starts fighting back he is so out of it he can’t even tell when he won the fight. The moment Spider-Man realizes he’s beaten them all is one of many panels from this story that is etched in my memory.
After he leaves the base it’s off to see Dr. Curt Connors (the man who is sometimes the Lizard) to help make the cure. Spider-Man is a scientist, high school student, photographer, super-hero.
Then he runs into his girlfriend Betty Brant. Before Mary Jane, before Gwen Stacy, there was Betty Brant. A nerd who could never get a girl to notice him, finally met someone and he has to lie to her. She worried that Peter’s job taking photos of Spider-Man was too dangerous (her brother’s dangerous life led to his death) and because of that Peter is too afraid to tell her the truth and that his life is even more dangerous. Though he wants to.
In the end Aunt May lives, Spider-Man goes back to fighting other villains, but Steve Ditko would only draw a handful more issues. This feels like his last issue. This feels like a season finale.
I love it. I assume only my two brothers read this post and clicked on all the links.