I hope you're liking our trips down memory lane with all these old letters. Don't forget to leave a comment below with any comments or requests.
As for today's entry...
For many the 70s are the heyday of post-Lee/Ditko/Romita Spidey era. I hear from fans all the time who swear that this era was the best ever and can never be topped (and some suggest we should stop even trying)!
Here's a comment published in ASM #204 - cover date May 1980 (in regards to ASM #199).
Dear Marv, Sal, and Jim:
Well, next issue will be the Big One—the 200th issue of the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. But before that dramatic moment becomes history, I would like to impart some of my thoughts about how the story has progresses so far by focusing on SPIDER-MAN #199.
Although when I first realized that Spider-Man’s 200th anniversary was finally to become fact I was very excited, I have found that now, just one issue before the event, I am not that excited, but have already started to feel twinges of disappointment.
One reason why I feel this way is because I am not happy that it looks like Mysterio will be sharing at least a third of the stage with Spider-Man. Personally, I feel that Mysterio is one of Spidey’s dullest and most uninteresting villains. Mysterio, with his bubblehead, weird eye buttons for his cape, and odd gloves is one of the funniest-looking super-villains in the Marvel Universe: and funny villains don’t seem that threatening or imposing. The other possibility is that Uncle Ben’s killer will be taking up another third of the center stage. From the beginning this is the direction that this story seemed to be taking, but somewhere along the way it appears to have gotten sidetracked. Up to this point, Spider-Man doesn’t even know his uncle’s killer is on the loose, let alone partly responsible for his aunt’s supposed death. (Yes, I’m one of those who doesn’t think that Aunt May is dead—yet.) If Uncle Ben’s killer is going to take center stage next issue, I feel that the meeting with Spider-Man will lack enough depth because of the lack of sufficient build-up.
And sufficient build-up is the one most glaring problem with this Spider-Man saga—there hasn’t been much.. Unlike Marv’s FF opus where the story did build (even though it took too long to build) this Spider-Man epic has lacked the momentum to keep the reader coming back issue after issue until the big ending when the reader is supposed to be perched on the edge of his seat waiting for the dramatic finish. But I haven’t been waiting on the edge of my seat; in fact, all these issues leading up to the 200th issue have been like any other issues long before them. This saga hasn’t had any big crescendo like most lead-ins to anniversary issues try to attain. And it’s a shame, because I know that Marv has the ability to make something like this special.
To add to the problem, the art hasn’t been too great. This issue’s cover was much better than any of the Interior since the stuff Starlin and Byrne did for this book. One reason why this cover looked so good was that there was a good Inker embellishing Keith’s pencils, namely Pablo Marcos. Keith’s (and Sal’s) interior work has been shoddy to say the least, and Jim’s inks don’t really work all that well with either of these artists. All I can ask is that either you give the book a good Inker like Pablo—or maybe Bob McLeod (he really looked good over Keith on the cover of the newest annual)—or finally make John Byrne drop the X-Men so that he can take over this book (he also looked great in the annual).
Unless something phenomenal happens—like a miracle—next Issue to make this epic memorable, I can safely day that this epic has been very disappointing. And considering that this book is Marvel’s mainstay, I can only reiterate: It’s a shame.