Some classic runs produced legendary key issues that stand the test of time, like those early issues of Amazing Spider-Man, the cornerstone of any Silver Age collection.
Doctor Octopus, the Green Goblin, Kraven, Mysterio. The early issues of ASM set the standard for Spider-Man’s rogue’s gallery, giving rise to villains that could rival Batman’s. That is why today’s spotlight is all about the bad guys.
True, these early incarnations of the core Sinister Six members are dated. Everything about these issues screams the 1960s, but that is what I love about it. It is classic Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, and it makes it a pleasure to watch how other creators mold these characters for each generation.
As we await their arrival as the MCU’s Sinister Six, let’s take a closer look at this stretch of issues that are so filled with keys, it is the stuff of collecting legend.
ASM 11 & 12
The run kicks off with the second appearance of an iconic villain, Doctor Octopus. While he debuted in ASM #3, fans were eager to see him re-emerge in the comic pages. Although they had to wait, readers were treated to two classic Ditko covers. These are two of the more underappreciated covers from the Silver Age, and I am surprised there are no homages to either, considering that is the trend in recent years. The Doc Ock story wrapped up in ASM #12, so these should be collected as a pair.
After decades, the master of illusions got his due on the big screen in Spider-Man: Far From Home. While I had my complaints about the Homecoming series, Mysterio was not one of them. The costume design and his falsified past fit the original version of the character, who debuted in ASM #13. The movie helped inflate prices, but this has always been a key issue for hardcore Spidey fans.
I had a low-grade Amazing Spider-Man #14. It was only a 2.5, but I drove all the way to Dallas, Texas, Fan Expo, and had it signed by Stan Lee. Then I sold it for slightly more than I had invested, and I have lamented that decision ever since.
Of all the Silver Age foes, the Green Goblin is the most iconic. Doc Ock runs a close second, certainly, and Venom would eclipse both characters by 1988, but the Norman Osborn/Spider-Man feud is what drove comic sales in the 1960s. It eventually gave rise to the Death of Gwen Stacy story, which is among the best classic ASMs ever written.
Kraven the Hunter looked like something out of a Tarzan movie, and I would guess that was the point. The ultimate big game hunter, Kraven ventured into the streets of New York City in ASM #15, giving readers yet another classic cover in this string of key issues.
These days, ASM #15 has been inflated due to the rumors that he will be coming to the MCU. I have covered that topic, so I won’t bog down this post with that. Safe to say, whether it is in the Sony-verse or the MCU, Kraven will have his day in live-action, and hopefully this character will get an upgrade in terms of importance.