AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #14 (1964): 1st Green Goblin

Not sure why, but the cover to this issue is one of my all-time favorites. I think part of it is how Spider-Man is hanging from the cave ceiling.

Also: Another great Ditko splash.

Ini fact, this is one of the greatest comics of all time.  Seriously.  It’s perfect from beginning to end.  

It starts with Green Goblin being introduced.  The sequence is so thrilling–who is this man in shadow?  Look at that costume!–that you don’t even wonder…Why is a goblin riding a broomstick, and why does the broomstick look like a vacuum cleaner? It’s odd and makes no sense but it’s so damn cool that it just doesn’t matter.

Goblin hires the Enforcers, who will be a small part of the story.

Then, the issue moves to Hollywood where there’s this patently offensive homophobic panel.  But, hey, it’s the 1960s so a flaming gay guy named BJ passes for lowbrow humor.

Peter Parker sees Green Goblin flying through the sky and wants to check him out so, for the first time, Spider-Man creates a human web catapult.

They meet for the first time:

Still trying to decide between being a hero and being a breadwinner, Spider-Man decides to take a movie deal.

There’s no explanation for why Green Goblin thinks Spider-Man could be lured into a trap via a Hollywood deal. Perhaps that’s because Stan Lee was such an L.A. fanboy that he just assumes everyone is–so there’s no reason Green Goblin wouldn’t think that Spider-Man either had enough money or was being a hero for the same reasons as The Avengers or the Fantastic Four.

Big fight against Goblin and The Enforcers…

How much more cool stuff can they cram into a single issue? Glad you asked.  Because the answer is: One Hulk. He’s just hanging out in a nearby cave when the big fight above moves too close.

Yes, this is the first time that Spider-Man meets Mr. Green, and it’s some of Steve Ditko’s best Hulk work.  We get an actual fight sequence, masterfully drawn…

And finally, in the end, the mystery of “who is Green Goblin” is unanswered.  This begins one of the longer-running slow-reveals in early Marvel history.

One of the best single issues of all time, truly.  Such a great comic.  If you only ever read one Lee/Ditko book, this is the one.  Actually, probably Amazing Fantasy #15.

But if you read two…..This one offers the power of chest expansion!

One of my 100 favorite single-issue stories of all time. Full list here.

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