A post from my decade-old Marvel blog, one of a series in whic I discussed early Marvel purchases that didn’t make me a regular reader.
Concluding this week’s reflections on Marvel issues of the past that I sampled as a boy, but which failed to capture me as a reader.
My great uncle Jerry Blazer was a house painter by trade, as well as being an interested and supportive participant in my upbringing. He was one of the few adults who took an active interest in my reading comics, even if he never quite completely understood the appeal.
So one Saturday afternoon, on a visit to our suburban house, he brought me a pair of comics that he’d found left behind in a house he was painting. One was WORLD’S FINEST #226 from DC, and the other was this issue of MARVEL TALES featuring Spider-Man.
My impression of Spider-Man had already been largely formed by my earlier encounters with the wall-crawler when I read this story, a reprint of a classic tale by Stan Lee and John Romita (and almost certainly the first Stan-scripted book I ever read), so that tended to color the experience a little bit, I think in retrospect. Again, I found Spidey to be somewhat off-putting–I didn’t like that he was on the run from the police, who didn’t trust him, and that he seemed to be so miserable all the time. But I can’t deny that certain scenes carried an impact–most notably the ending, in which a pissed-off Spider-Man swings down to confront an angry J. Jonah Jameson, and Jameson has a heart attack.
Still, this wasn’t enough to get me past my Marvel bias. I hung onto the book, but didn’t seek out any additional issues. This kind of illustrates how important first impressions can be on a reader, as this was an issue from one of the most classic Spider-Man runs of all time. It also, in a way, illustrates another of my recurring adages: “Not every comic book is for every reader.”