> Amazing Spider-Man Masterworks Volume 4

From the Mouths of the Marvels:

"Actually, I've never met a modest costumed scrapper before! Usually, they start off by saying 'Nobody can defeat the Purple Panty-Waist!', or 'You fool! Don't you realize you have no chance against the Human Windshield Wiper?' "

- - Spider-Man, to Joe Smith, page 7

Take a good look, ‘cause that's your last Ditko Spidey!


Amazing Spider-Man #38
July 1966 • 20 pages

Publication Date: April 12, 1966

Letters Page: Not currently in supply.

I: Feature Story: "Just a Guy Named Joe!"

Pages: 20

Script: Stan Lee
Plot: Stan Lee
Pencils: Steve Ditko
Inks: Steve Ditko
Letters: Artie Simek

First Appearance: Joe Smith, Tommy Tomkins, JJJ's post-Betty Brant secretary #3

Guest Appearance: Joe Smith, Tommy Tomkins, Aunt May, J. Jonah Jameson, Ned Leeds, Harry Osborn, Norman Osborn, Gwen Stacy, Flash Thompson, JJJ's post-Betty Brant secretary #3

Cameo Appearance: Mary Jane Watson (face obscured)

Synopsis: Joe Smith is not a winner, even though he earnestly hopes and dreams of being a successful boxer. A well-meaning manager gets him into a match, but he gets knocked out in the first minute of the first round! He can't even win a rigged wrestling match. He simply has no killer instinct. His long-suffering manager Tommy Tomkins is out of options so he lands Joe a job as an extra in a TV movie. Joe goes along with the plan even though he's humiliated by the other fighters.

The film casts him as an alien monster and he's directed to smash props on the set. When he punches one it splinters and shatters a light. The light drops into a spill of chemicals and electrocutes him. Joe is unharmed but feels "different."

Peter arrives at the Bugle as yet another secretary quits due to J. Jonah Jameson's ranting and raving behavior. Peter decides to avoid JJJ and runs straight into Ned Leeds. A heated discussion starts, wherein it's revealed that each boy thought Betty Brant had run off with the other. They then get into an argument about their romantic entanglements that JJJ has to break up.

Joe is set to shoot another scene, even though he doesn't feel well. He's directed to fight some space explorers and, delirious from the chemical electrocution, he pummels them and smashes his way out of the studio. He shows his new killer instinct by tipping over cars in the street. Something in the chemicals has increased his strength!

Peter is almost hit by flying debris and, after changing into Spider-Man, drops a web on Joe. Joe tears the webbing apart and is ready when Spidey throws a punch at him. He swings at Spider-Man telling him, "The angrier I get, the stronger I get!" Joe wins the fight by kicking Spider-Man in the face and tossing him in a garbage dumpster. Tommy hurries Joe away before Spider-Man can climb out of the dumpster.

In another part of town, Harry and Flash Thompson drop off Norman Osborn. Once they have gone, Norman dons a disguise and heads to a gangster's hideaway, where he offers a group of thugs $20,000 to kill Spider-Man.

Peter gets caught in a meaningless student picket on his way to class, where the hippies accost him as a square for not protesting along with them. Harry and Flash deliver a few harsh words to Peter, while Gwen thinks about how there's something strong about Peter, no matter what the others say.

While Tommy tries to help Joe Smith recover, the gang at "Hoods, Incorporated" organizes the mob to announce Osborn's offer. Peter changes to Spider-Man to clear his head. The mob spots him but Spidey takes them on easily.

Joe is still delusional, getting caught up in his newfound super-powers as well as his insane desire to show all the people who have ever picked on him that he's finally gotten tough. He tosses Tommy aside and storms off into the street. When he gets to the gym, he challenges all the fighters who once laughed at him. Spidey swings in, and the fighters - having heard about the reward money - turn on him. Spider-Man is forced to fight Joe and the boxers all at once. Inevitably, Spider-Man knocks Joe back to his senses. Joe gives himself up to the police but the television studio has dropped all the charges. In fact, they love the footage they've shot and want to make him a star! The other fighters swarm around Joe in admiration.

Spidey leaves the gym and runs into more mobsters out to get him. He's bitter that things worked out so well for big, dumb Joe, while he's an authentic hero and is forced to fight through every day. He knocks out all the mobsters and punches a grinning mannequin that reminds him of Ned Leeds. Like Joe, Spider-Man thinks, Ned is free to get what he wants, while Peter must suffer.

He comes home and Aunt May tells him he's just missed Mary Jane Watson (again!) He turns on the TV to learn that Joe Smith has been given his own TV show after fighting Spider-Man to a standstill. Depressed, he goes upstairs to bed.

--synopsis by Jonathan Clarke, aka doesitmatter, and Gormuu

Issues Reprinted
Amazing Spider-Man #31-40

Click on cover image to learn more about each issue.


ASM #31

ASM #32

ASM #33

ASM #34

ASM #35

ASM #36

ASM #37

ASM #38

ASM #39

ASM #40


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