Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Web And The Flame!


The Amazing Spider-Man and The Human Torch have long been amigos in the Marvel Universe. The two teen heroes were simultaneously rivals and comrades. They were were rivals in that they were both ego-driven heroes who didn't necessarily shy from public attention.

One was a public hero, his face and name well known, part of a team mostly trusted by the community and well known for having saved folks far and wide from harm. The other was an infamous masked vigilante who was the target of a focused media attack and who was grudgingly accepted by the authorities for the good he accomplished. They were alike and they were different.


They were both young men, both misunderstood in their minds by the larger adult community which sometimes branded them rash and reckless. Whatever the reason, Johnny Storm and Peter Parker seemed to find a connection, one which would flicker through out the early years of the burgeoning Marvel Universe.

Below is a cover gallery of most of those meetings, presented in chronological order. As the years pass, the Torch's star dims somewhat, but Spidey's burns brighter and brighter.

March 1963

September 1963

September 1963

December 1963

January 1964

October 1964

December 1964

February 1965

Summer 1965

November 1967

February 1968

April 1965

October 1969

In 1972 the two heroes were joined "permanently" in the pages of Marvel's new comic "Marvel Team-Up". The first three issues of the comics featured the duo. With the fourth issue the Torch gave way, and the book became largely a Spidey team up vehicle. The Torch did get the starring  gig  several times a year, but that eventually fell to the wayside.

March 1972

May 1972

July 1972

June 1973

November 1975

December 1976

I close out this gallery with this bicentennial year comic. Spidey and the Torch would co-star on other covers, but with the Marvel Universe having grown and filled with heroes, their special bond would become less and less prominent and of less significance for the fans. It didn't make it less special though.

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9 comments:

  1. I always felt that Marvel missed a sure bet with these two heroes (also with Captain America and Iron Man, for that matter). I figure they should've had a counterpart to DC's World's Finest, with Spider-Man and the Human Torch, and/or with Captain America and Iron Man.

    I think both books would've sold like Gangbusters! Ah, well! :)

    Great post, Rip! :)

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    1. I think Marvel Team-Up was intended to be a World's Finest sort of affair, but for whatever reason, that was abandoned and a more Brave and Bold approach was used. I really liked those issues which featured the Torch as the lead, but that period didn't last long.

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  2. I don't think I've ever seen a sales gimmick like a "special tribute-to-teen-agers issue." I guess that means there are no parents anywhere in the issue? :)

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    1. Know your audience. This is one of the earliest indicators I've seen that Marvel knew they had something special going on.

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  3. One of the few Marvel series I've liked over the past decade has been the mini-series featuring the two heroes. Throughout, we see retold scenes and stories from the issues you highlight above and we end up with Pete, MJ and even Aunt May having (I believe) Thanksgiving dinner with the FF.

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    1. I used to really like that ret-con stuff, but after years of it I got weary. You can only a revise and add on to a sequence so often before it gets screwy. An extreme version is what happened to the Superman origin with all the Weisinger era add ons. But for new readers it can be a fresh take.

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  4. I haven't read those Strange Tales. I got the Essential, gotta read them.

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  5. Rip, very nice post! It reminds me that I need to get some of those old Strange Tales.

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