Mountain Comics #37 – Amazing Spider-Man #234

Rob welcomes podcaster Laurel Phillips to discuss "Now Shall Will-O'-The-Wisp Have His Revenge!" by Roger Stern, John Romita Jr., and Dan Green, from THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #234! Plus a special bonus!

Check out images from this comic by clicking here!

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13 responses to “Mountain Comics #37 – Amazing Spider-Man #234

  1. I’d have been turning 9 years old when this comic hit the stands. Spider-Man was by far my favorite character at the time. I had access to almost all superhero titles both Marvel and DC thanks to my uncle, but Spider-Man was the absolute priority. I did not like all the subplots. In fact, I hated them! I couldn’t have cared less about what was happening to Peter Parker, I wanted Spider-Man swinging through the city and fighting bad guys! It’s why Marvel Team-Up was my favorite book. It focused more on the adventure and less in the drama.
    Any Powell’s whole deal was to make her boyfriend jealous by dating Peter Parker. Her boyfriend friend was also a photographer who was always being outdone by Peter. I don’t believe that subplot went in for very long.
    I didn’t become a comic book collector until I was 10. Maybe if I had this neat little guide to collecting comics, I’d have started a year earlier. Hmm probably not… my 9 year old self wouldn’t have been interested in all those words. Not unless Spidey was punching a villain on every page…
    Thanks for another trip back in time to my favorite era of comic books.

  2. I had read some of Mark Burbey’s other work, so I checked the GCD and did some Googling before writing this response and learned even more. From what I could find, she transitioned at some point and is now known as Dana Marie Andra. She had some other comic credits under her former name, but they’re so far outside the Marvel/DC wheelhouse that it’s even more surprising that she’d do this collector’s guide for Marvel.

    In the 1970s, she wrote several stories for the “underground” horror comic “Dr. Wirtham’s Comix & Stories,” including stories drawn by Gene Day (of “Master of Kung Fu”) and Marc Hempel (of “Sandman”) early in their careers. In 1991, Caliber Comics collected those stories into a one-shot anthology called “Horror Show,” which is where I read them.

    Later on, she was the editor of “Street Music,” a slice-of-life anthology title from Fantagraphics (also writing some but not all of the stories in each issue)…about as far removed as you could get from Marvel!

    From what I could gather, it seems that she also did a fair amount of comics journalism (interviews, articles etc.), which would probably explain why she wrote this collector’s guide.

  3. Fun discussion! I never had this comic, which is odd, because I regularly bought ASM at this time, but…newstands. Whatcha gonna do? I do recall seeing the Tarantula’s transformation in OHOTMU, and finally read the comics recently on the Marvel Unlimited App. Read those next two issues Rob, but be prepared…it’s grim!

    Even weirder…I SWEAR I had this Guide to Collecting Comics! I think I had it as it’s own comic, all newsprint with no slick cover, as if it were pulled from the insert, or maybe Marvel printed extra and gave these away at comic shops? I didn’t get to a comic shop until late 86 or 87, but for some odd reason, my Mom briefly got me comics from some kind of distributor advertising in my comics. I think it may have actually been FantaCo, because I got their FantaCo Chronicles issue on Spider-Man (#5) through the same deal. I recall getting an odd cardboard print of the splash page to Batman Annual #8 around this time, and it was released within weeks of ASM #234. I seem to recall that, the guide, the Spider-Man index, and a stack of comics coming in one big box.

    My memories of this are very foggy, but I do recall some of the pages posted here, and I know I never owned this issue of ASM!

  4. Yeah, I remember this issue quite well – it was pretty early in Roger Stern’s excellent run. And yeah, as Chris noted above, the conclusion to the Tarantula story is pretty heavy.
    And yes, I remember comic collecting guide quite well. I particularly loved Simonson’s cover illustration. Otherwise, I had discovered my first comic book shop about a year earlier, so I learned the ‘proper’ way to store comics just by observing the way the back issues were bagged and held in long boxes there, but this guide was the first place where I had the finer points of collecting and storage explained to me. It did not, however, change the way I stored my own comics at the time, which pretty much corresponded to the “poor way” in picture C, i.e., I stacked them flat in cardboard boxes. I’m still kind of a rule-breaker in that regard, and like Laurel, I also hold most of the small number of single issues I own two to a bag (usually with no board).
    Another thing I remember first learning thanks to this guide is the definition of the various grades – before the only one I understood was ‘mint.’
    In conclusion, I have to say that this was yet another excellent installment of Mountain Comics.

  5. What a fun episode, everyone! Laurel is such a great guest and it was interesting to hear her problems with motion sickness. I definitely get sick reading in a car but nothing compared to what Laurel has, so I feel for you, Laurel!

    Wow, this really hit me in the feels as I’m pretty sure this might have been one of the first comics I ever read (or, more likely, remember reading). There are two villains from my youth that I thought were way bigger than they actually were: Will-O’-the-Wisp and the Atomic Skull. Wisp had such a striking, simple costume that it really stuck in my head and wouldn’t let go. I was confused when he didn’t show up again with other villains, like Hobgoblin.

    Thanks for bringing back some great memories! Keep up the great work!

  6. This is incredible because this is one of my ‘beach comics’, comics I know I bought during the summer when we stayed at the shore of Rhode Island. Comics were purchased off a spinner in the local convenience store. I was a big DC guy even then but Spidey was the one book that I would occasionally dabble in. Throw in a free insert and this was a must buy.
    Like you, I was amazed by the horrific ending page and thought for sure I would get the next part. But either I ignored it or never saw it on the rack because I didn’t purchase it.

    But most importantly, this was a key moment when I feel I changed from comic book fan to a collector. First off, I was doing a bunch of small odd jobs that summer – mowing lawns, working in the local church, helping out at yard sales – and so had a weekly income. While my parents made me save most of it, I did have pocket money and suddenly changed from a ‘what is the coolest cover on the rack’ buyer to a ‘seek this title out monthly’ reader. That was the year of Fury of Firestorm and the new Swamp Thing book. I was reading New Teen Titans. I had a small growing monthly collection of those books and a couple more (like Night Force and oddly GI Joe).

    This book made me change from the first image of a collection (I literally had a huge cardboard box in the home I would throw my comics into) to somewhere between 2 and 3, kept in folders, standing upright, in file boxes. I was going to start reading them more gingerly. If I had never read this book maybe I would be carefree with my books now! Curse you Marvel!!

    Anyways, I remember this one vividly as, like most beach comics, I read it over and over. So fun to hear you discuss it!

  7. Great episode! Such fun to listen to. I would’ve like this issue if I had it as a kid. There was a lot of action and characters in the issue. Although that final panel of Tarantula would have been horrifying!

    I get vertigo as well at some movies. I was in the third row to watch The Blair Witch Project (1999) – I was so sick from all the camera movement.

    1. My wife is very prone to motion sickness. She refers to Michael Bay’s style of cinematography as Barf-o-vision.

  8. Hey I finally know how this story began. In high school, I found issue # 235 of Amazing Spider-man in box of comics in very poor shape. Weirdly, it hat the cover of #251 instead of the correct one.
    I was instantly fascinated with the Willow-O’-The-Wisp character. I actually made a version of him for a Mutants &Masterminds RPG .

  9. Great episode, I remember this comic, mainly for the cover. Boy, I miss subplots so very, very much.

    And it’s always excellent to get Lauren’s point of view… the motion sequence sounds such a pain!

  10. Oh my gosh, it’s SO GREAT to see a rare appearance by Spidey’s most powerful, most infamous, most popular villain, Will o’ the Wi–wait, what? Will o’ the Wisp is little known and even less loved?!? How can this be? I only ever saw him in terrific comics stories from the AMAZING (pun fully intended) Stern/Romita Jr. run on ASM! They made all the villains seem awesome–and everything else!

    Seriously, this might be my favorite Spider-Man run in any comic. I’m sorry my comment is so late, Rob and Lauren, but I really enjoyed your review of ASM #234 and the walk down memory lane. I might have to get those out here soon.

    Lauren’s a great catch as a guest host. I’m glad she could fit it into her schedule, since the Longbox Crusade is constantly tasking her (whether she accepts the tasks or not).

    I miss sub-plots too, Martin.

    I’m very much looking forward to the remaining Mountain Comics episodes this year. Hear you soon!

  11. Great episode! Sorry to be late. Fun discussion on the comic but even better on the collecting comics guide! I had totally forgotten about that! Near the end Lauren (great job co starring by the way) mentions some FCBD issues by CBG. I don’t recall the CBG ones but even now Overstreet does something similar for FCBD “Guide to collecting comics”. Just a side note.

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