Those early issues of The Amazing Spider-Man were gold on every level. Spider-Man was such a great character (still is, for that matter), the supporting cast worked, and the villains were just out of this world. As a kid, getting the Marvel Masterworks collection with the old Marvel comic books reprinted was like having Christmas on my shelf.
I loved these stories.
The Spider-Man stories, in particular, were really special. Issue #33 has a famous sequence where our hero finds himself trapped under a ton of machinery. Not only is the weight killing him, but the room is filling with water. Escape feels impossible. And to make matters worse, if he fails, his Aunt May is going to die. The “trapped” sequence is four pages long and is often cited by fans as one of the defining moments of the character.
I’ve selected only one of the pages because in these seven panels writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko reminds the reader what makes Spider-Man one of the greatest comic book characters of all time:
It’s not often that one page (an action sequence at that) can perfectly capture everything you need to know about the hero. Also, there’s the brilliance in Ditko’s page design, with the six tight panels to emphasize the claustrophobic setting, and finally the wide seventh panel to help reflect Spider-Man’s change in attitude and his perserverance.
This page is a thing of beauty.