Tuesday, August 3, 2010

1984 - Amazing Spider-Man #248

"The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man!"
Writer: Roger Stern
Artists: Ron Frenz/Terry Austin

While the first story wraps up a two-parter that pitted Spidey against Thunderball of the Wrecking Crew, Amazing Spider-Man #248 is known for the 11 page back-up story. It’s a personal favorite and recognized by fans as one of the more memorable tales of the 1980s. If you haven’t read this issue, I won’t spoil it. Go out and pick up a copy. Go ahead, I’ll wait… Okay, I still won’t spoil this story, so you can read through without fear of spoilers.

In an interview with Roger Stern in Back Issue #10:

“I literally woke up one morning with that story in my head. (…) It was definitely the first time I got to work with Ron – although thankfully not the last. He perfectly captured what I was imagining; scripting the story was just a total joy. (…) I wrote the entire ‘Conover’s Corner’ column when I wrote the plot. (..) I’m flattered that people are still talking about it. At the time, I was just enjoying myself, writing Spider-Man stories, and hoping that the readers would enjoy them too.”

Also, from an interview at spiderfan.org:

“Partly, I'm sure that it sprang from a desire on my part to do a short human-interest story in the style of Will Eisner -- that's why the story is partially advanced through newspaper clippings...I was trying to be Eisneresque.”


It’s not hard to see that Ron Frenz did his best “Ditko” impersonation in these pages. And Terry Austin’s inks do a wonderful job finishing that homage. The last dialogue-free page is powerful and demonstrates what kind of dramatic story telling can be accomplished with solid artwork.

Hopefully this is one Spider-Man story that will remain sacred and no writer will ever touch.

Jacob Conover, the reporter who wrote the framing newspaper story within this back-up story has actually appeared a few times, particularly in the 1990s, throughout the Spidey titles, including Stern’s Spider-Man: Hobgoblin Lives.

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