Episode 164: Is Spider-Man a Coward? (Amazing Spider-Man #18) -- November 1964
In this episode:
Mike and Ed discuss the claim that Spider-Man is a coward. The hero clearly ran from at least two fights (with the Green Goblin and later with Sandman). Does that make him a coward, or just concerned for his own safety? What makes someone a coward? Even if Spider-Man is not a coward, if he is now afraid to engage with supervillains, is he just in the wrong line of work? If you are afraid of driving fast, that is okay, but maybe do not chose to become a race car driver …
Behind the comic:
Most of the issues in this time period - across all the titles - are standalone. The hero ends each issue in a very similar place to where he started. This issue is different. In Spider-Man #17, Peter ran away from the Green Goblin because he had to help his aunt. This issue builds on those events. Peter is now worried that he should not be Spider-Man because if something happens to him, his aunt will have no one to care for her. These dilemmas that Stan thrusts on Peter are what make the early Spider-Man titles stand apart from so many of the other titles at the time. Peter’s issues continue into Spider-Man #19.
In this issue:
The Daily Bugle publishes a story on how Spider-Man is a coward, and the world at large appears to believe it. J. Jonah Jameson is really playing up the story, and Spider-Man’s reputation is really quite damaged. Peter struggles with what he should do, staying on the sidelines while his aunt is ill. She eventually recovers, and Peter decides that he can return to his duties as Spider-Man.
Assumed before the next episode:
People are wondering if they are being a little hard on Spider-Man. I hope.
This episode takes place:
While Spider-Man is considered to be a coward.