Late Nights in the Silver Age

Part Two of Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962)

Part two of Amazing Fantasy #15 begins with Peter Parker, dressed as Spider-Man, dazzling an audience in a tv station. Spider-Man becomes a nationwide sensation as people cannot believe that a man is able to climb walls and sling webs. As Spider-Man becomes popular, Lee makes Parker more arrogant around other people. The bullying has taken its toll on Parker and Parker is using the Spider-Man identity secretly to prove to people how meaningful he is. Sometimes bullying and wanting to belong can cause people to forget those who are always there for us or neglect doing something right. 

Parker leaves the studio in costume and lets a thief get by him. Parker and the security guard that was chasing the criminal get into an argument over the incident. Parker’s selfish anger leads him to blame the security guard and to blow the guard off as if he’s nothing. Parker gets home and he sees his aunt May and uncle Ben, who have purchased him a new telescope. Parker’s anger and frustration has masked how well aunt May and uncle Ben have treated him. Parker realizes their worth to him again, but it’s sad to see that it took a telescope to do so.

After an event one night, Parker comes home to the police. A cop informs Parker that uncle Ben was murdered by a burglar and the burglar is holed up in a warehouse downtown. Parker becomes filled with rage and decides to get revenge as Spider-Man. Steve Ditko does a fantastic job of drawing Parker’s rage by including layouts of Parker crying angrily while putting on his outfit and making Parker menacing in the Spider-Man suit towards the burglar inside the warehouse. Speaking of the warehouse confrontation between Parker and the thief, Lee constructs a twist that’s completely heartbreaking and shocking. The thief is the same thief that Parker could’ve stopped at the tv station. Uncle Ben’s murder could’ve been avoided if Parker would’ve controlled his anger.

The page above is the final page of Amazing Fantasy #15. Lee didn’t end the story on a high note like a lot of superhero comics did during that time. Yes, the criminal is captured, but Parker has to live with the regret of never stopping the first time around. Ditko draws a gloomy, saddening final panel of Parker walking the dark streets of New York towards his home knowing that the Parker household is now without one of its important pieces. This story shows that a hero will not always win or will not always be smiling at the end. Spider-Man is a character that is familiar to people, not far away.


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