Forgotten Masterpiece: EL SORPRENDENTE HOMBRE ARANA #165

I came across another stash of these Mexican issues of LA SORPRENDENTE HOMBRE ARANA that were published in the early 1970s, many of which contained new never-translated stories created exclusively for the Spanish-speaking marketplace by local talent, so popular was Spider-Man in those regions at the time that it had exhausted the supply of American stories available for translation. So we’ll be looking at a few more of these in the weeks ahead.

I wanted to being with this one almost entirely for this first page, which depicts the editorial director of La Prensa, the publisher of these stories, Mario Santaella on the left, and artist Jose Luis Duran on the right. There are a bunch of swipes of classic Marvel figures surrounding them including ones based on work by Steve Ditko, Gene Colan and John Buscema. There was a lot of swiping in these stories. But this is very true to the Marvel style of the period, where the creators would occasionally become figures within the stories themselves.

This story also features a character at least initially based on the Jim Steranko character Madame Hydra Here, she’s a blond called Hidra, and doesn’t appear to have any direct connection with Marvel’s secret army of villains, despite them appearing on the cover. That’s a Steranko swipe, followed by at least one Gil Kane swipe. This story is set (and was published in-between translations of ) AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #118 and #119. We’re holding back in the death of popular supporting character Gwen Stacy.

Some strange Gil Kane swipes here, with the characters changed a bit from the source material. Kane inked by John Romita seemed to be Duran’s go-to source whenever possible, with solo Romita being a second option.

It really is interesting just how Peter Parker-focused these stories are. In the average issue, Spider-Man is often absent in costume for just huge swaths of pages, more so than in his American adventures of the same time. Some John Romita swipes of JJJ here.

A couple big time Gil Kane swipes, notably the second panel. It’s difficult to make out, but those are other La Prensa titles on the magazine rack, including EL SARGENTO FURIA and PEPITO, as well as issues of LA SORPRENDENTE HOMBRE ARANA, of course! I’m told that in addition to these new Spidey stories, La Prensa also produced a bunch of never-reprinted new localized Sgt, Fury stories as well–something i’m investigating further.

Pete and Gwen looking a bit off-model here, especially in that first panel.

Hey, look! Spidey! With at least one Gil Kane swipe.

That’s a Dick Giordano swipe in Panel 2, possibly from an issue of the mod WONDER WOMAN run. Duran and La Prensa weren’t really much concerned with who owned what–they took their inspiration from whatever American comics they could find.

Gil Kane swipe in Panel 2. And Hidra is beginning to look an awful lot like Sharon Carter, I suspect there’s some swiping going on there as well.

John Romita swipe in Panel 4 followed by a Gil swipe in Panel 5.

Ending on a Kane swipe in Panel 4, then a Spider-Man John Romita swipe from ASM #50 to finish the story off.

16 thoughts on “Forgotten Masterpiece: EL SORPRENDENTE HOMBRE ARANA #165

  1. I’ll bug you again! Get marvel to reprint these! I’m sure they will be sellouts.a couple of guys on Facebook regularly post these stories so I’m sure they wont be that hard to find.with current digital technology I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard to clean up the art..and I’m sure there are plenty of writers would love to translate..I know Gerry Conway is not doing much..I’m sure the mouse house would love to make more spider cash..

    The other tom.tom sciacca…

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    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually there are at least twice as many swipes as the man pointed out. But not all of it is, and yes, the Gwentush is original.


  2. Wow, a comic book so obviously filled with swipes. Makes it seem anyone with tracing paper can do a comic. Absolutely love this. Time to get a tracing pad!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Figures on page 1, at the top of panel 1 and centre of panel 2, are swipes from “The Success Story” from Creepy #1, art by Al Williamson


  4. Sheesh, talk about a broad range of swipes – Hidra poses on P 19 panels 2 and 5 are frome Daredevil #83 by Weiss and Everett.


  5. Are these Mexican Spidey issues, the La Prensa stories where Gwen is alive; are they public domain since La Prensa is kaput?


    1. That’s not how it works here in the U.S. Rights revert to next of kin. Unless I’m mistaken, most public domain properties are very old, like early 20th century or older. And even then, there are some that remain private. A Princess of Mars came out in 1915, but Edgar Rice Burroughs’ family still holds the rights.

      I’m sure a copyright expert could tell you more. But it’s not likely El Sorprendente Hombre Araña belongs to the public domain yet, nor that it will anytime soon.


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