Episode 138: How do superheroes pay taxes? (Amazing Spider-man #14) -- July 1964
In this episode:
Mike and Ed discuss the production of the latest superhero film - this time starring Spider-Man. When Spider-Man gets paid, how does he declare it on his taxes? If he does not declare this income, does that create an additional incentive to never reveal his secret identity (because he is guilty of tax fraud)? Also: How deeply involved is the mafia in film production in America? And why are there so few superhero movies?
Behind the comic:
This is the first appearance of the Green Goblin, who is arguably Spider-Man’s archenemy. The Goblin is eventually revealed to be Norman Osborn, the industrialist and father of Peter Parker’s best friend. But in this first appearance, none of that is even hinted at. Stan Lee does not tell us who the Goblin really is (unlike most of the villains he introduces, for whom he spends a few pages on their back story and motivations). By all appearances it seems like the Goblin is just another disgruntled scientist, and his motivation seems to be best Spider-Man just for the sake of it.
This issue is also the first encounter between Spider-Man and the Hulk. We don’t talk about either set of events in the episode as they seem to be secret. But in a later issue of the Avengers, the team is looking at newsreel footage of the Spider-Man/Hulk battle. This seems weird given that the entire battle happens inside a cave. Consistency was never Lee’s strong suit.
In this issue:
The Green Goblin stops by a sleezy hotel room where the Enforcers are hanging out and takes over their gang by demonstrating his power. He then explains that he has a plan to get revenge on Spider-Man. The Goblin then convinces a Hollywood producer to shoot a movie starring himself (a costumed man on a flying broom) and Spider-Man. Next, he meets up with Spider-Man to tell him to meet with the Hollywood producer about starring in this movie. Spider-Man meets with the producer, signs the contract for the film, and then heads to Hollywood. He realizes during the movie shoot that the three Enforcers are the criminals whom he sent to jail (as they try to kill him). The fight ends up in a cave, where the Hulk happens to be. Spider-Man evades the Hulk, but is then attacked by the Green Goblin. Spider-Man escapes alive, as does the Green Goblin, and so begins a multi-decade rivalry. The movie is also cancelled.
Assumed before the next episode:
People are disappointed that the Spider-Man movie did not get finished.
This episode takes place:
After Spider-Man defeats the Enforcers and his movie is cancelled.