Ross Andru

Holiday War of the Reptile-Men

Now here’s how do to a holiday issue.
The Amazing Spider-Man #166
March 1977 print date but came out December of 1976.


Writer/Editor: Len Wein
Artist: Ross Andru
Inker: Mike Esposito
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Glynis Wein

Cover: John Romita

Starts out with a beautiful splash page.
Note: This comic is over 40 years old, so don’t mind the wear and tear.


No time wasted – page two and we jump right into the action…


Need a brief synopsis with plot points if you missed the previous issue?
I’ll see if Mrs. Connors can’t help us out with that…


The pages that follow have some plot threads that will lead into subsequent issues so I’m going to skip those and throw you right back into the thick of things.

No more interruptions from here on in…


A fun roller coaster of a story courtesy of Len Wein and Ross Andru – with enough dinosaurs to make the ten-year-old in me just giddy.

“And God bless us… every one!”

Ramblings & Reviews

Superior Spider-Man: Spoilers (among other things)

spoiler |ˈspoilər|
1. a person or thing that spoils something.

This can be said of a number of writers that take on mainstream well-established characters. And yes, there is an implied spoiler later on, so if you haven’t read Superior Spider-Man #1 yet be warned.

And just so you don’t think I’m exempting myself (in regards to being slammed for working on an established character), here’s a review of my work on Flash Gordon from back in 1999, and I quote, “The art was awful and the plots worse. You will notice that I, always the optimist, refer to the strip in the past tense. I can’t imagine it surviving long.”


Now… To be honest, I haven’t kept up on the continuity of Spider-Man on a month-to-month basis in ages. Back when I was reading it, Gwen Stacy died and it was quite the game changer.

Art by Gene Colan and Tom Palmer
Art by Gil Kane and Tom Palmer

Fans went crazy – and then she reappeared.


Except it wasn’t her, but a clone.
Once that’s realized, she ends off walking off into the sunset.


Now the originally clone saga was fun enough for what it was – as long as you didn’t think about it too much. One thing it did lay down was that Gwen Stacy didn’t return, that in the Marvel universe once you were dead you stayed dead, otherwise – what’s the point?

Note: Once you introduce one clone, much like locusts, a plague of them usually follows. To see the many Spider-Man storylines infested with clones (that I intend to gloss over) check out the Den of Geek.

One of the outcomes of Gwen Stacy dying was an epic battle between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin. The Goblin tries to impale Spider-Man with his glider and misses somewhat.


Green Goblin: Dead.
Or is he? Let’s just skip ahead a number of years, where we find…


Ends up his regenerative powers (???) are pretty freakin’ awesome.
And Gwen Stacy?


But that was just a misdirection – actually that’s Gwen Stacy’s daughter.
And the father..?


A brief intermission.


Now you might be saying, how could this get worse?
Well – how about if they shot Aunt May?


Oh, and then Peter and Mary Jane fix that whole Aunt May being shot in the chest thing by making a deal with the Devil. In exchange for saving Aunt May, the Devil erases Peter and MJ’s life together (i.e. marriage).


Which in effect also wipes out the existence of their future daughter.


Of course, what that does to years worth of continuity is up for grabs.

Reissuing new updated covers to past issues could become a headache.
Reissuing new updated covers to past issues could become a headache.

SO… when I heard about the CATACLYSMIC EVENT that happened in Spider-Man #700 – with Doc Ock and Spidey changing bodies, then Spidey in Ock’s body being killed – I wasn’t really that shook up. The character that I knew left the building some time ago.


And just to be clear, I mean no disrespect to Dan Slott or his writing, it’s an interesting premise and I hope the readers have fun with it.

And as far as the spoiler concerning Superior Spider-Man #1, Bleeding Cool already leaked it, but here’s my take on it…


John Romita

John Romita – Creating Mary Jane

Shortly after the first Spider-Man movie came out in 2002 I had the fortunate opportunity to work with John Romita on a Flash Gordon strip (more about that later). One of the things he really took pride in regarding that first Spider-Man film was the prominent role Mary Jane had.

Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane - Spider-Man 2002
Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane – Spider-Man 2002

Romita did so as he was the one who created her in the comic book. The character had been alluded to during Steve Ditko’s run, but Romita gave her life.

An iconic moment from Spider-Man #42 - November 1966
An iconic moment from Spider-Man #42 – November 1966

Here’s John Romita talking about his inspiration for Mary Jane. The clip is from the 1992 series Comic Book Greats with Stan Lee. This particular episode focuses on the Romitas – Junior and Senior.

Note: Inserts from “Bye Bye Birdie” and Romita’s original art were not in the original version.

In a previous post I mentioned how much easier a character is to write and draw once you have a clear image of them in your head – that it ends up changing your story in ways you hadn’t ever imagined. I’m sure when they initially introduced Mary Jane, Lee and Romita never imagined this…

Promo piece done by Romita for Peter Parker and Mary Jane's wedding - 1987.
Promo piece done by Romita for Peter Parker and Mary Jane’s wedding – 1987.

During his three decade tenure at Marvel Comics, John Romita would be a guiding force – drawing and/or designing almost every major character. The best cartoonists are the ones who introduce characters that set the standard for the ones to follow – one of John Romita’s is Mary Jane Watson.

John Romita's model sheet for Mary Jane.
John Romita’s model sheet for Mary Jane.

UPDATE: Just got word from Mike Burkey that he actually owns the Mary Jane artwork featured in this post. With that said, if you want to check out the mother lode of Romita art, check out Mike’s site at: