THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #9 (1964)

first electro

First appearance of Electro.

People make fun of his first costume, but I love the design–especially the “top” lightning bolt being so much bigger than the others, and the lack of symmetry in this version created by Ditko.

Here’s something that gets overlooked about this issue: In the beginning of the story, Aunt May is sick and Peter Parker is racing home to give her her medicine—and doesn’t stop along the way to squash a shoot-out between cops and bad guys.  This, of course, recalls his origin, where Spider-Man let a villain go free because he was busy counting money he’d earned in a wrestling match.  Granted, it’s medicine here, not money, but surely Pete could have taken a minute to knock out the thugs?

And then, later in the same issue, Peter goes after Electro because he wants to earn some reward money.  And then, as Peter Parker, he forges some shots of Electro to sell to the Bugle because it was raining too hard for his “automatic camera” to get real shots.  Again, he has good reason: Aunt May’s medical insurance sucks, and she’ll die without expensive care.

But still, three examples in one comic of Spider-Man being less-than heroic.  It’s these kinds of moral/personal conflicts that gave this character a depth never seen before in comics, and it’s what makes Spider-Man—more than The Fantastic Four—the true game-changing book of the Silver Age.

Continuity note: I’m nowhere near 2010, and probably won’t ever get there, but in that year Marvel published a wonderful Spider-Man anthology called “Web of Spider-Man,” and in issue #2 we see that Electro met with The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants after he’d been beaten by Spider-Man in this issue to see if Magneto could help him increase his power set.  Neat-o!

Creators: Steve Ditko and Stan Lee
First appearance: Electro
Grade: A

For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.

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