Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 (1964)

Yeah, now we’re talking.  There are many great Stan Lee and Steve Ditko Spider-Man stories.  Amazing Fantasy #15.  The issues introducing Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus and Vulture.  The one where Hulk and Spidey fight for the first time.  But this may be the most best.  Most best.

People remember this annual as the one that introduced The Sinister Six.

But it was also the one where he caught a cold and lost his powers.

A superhero’s health had never before been shown to impact his abilities. This was a big deal. He rejects help from his boyfriend…

And gets briefly attacked by the X-Men.

But OK, I get why the villain team-up was an even bigger deal…In this annual, Doc Ock gathers together the best villains created by Lee/Ditko in a single team: The Sinister Six. Why is this such a great issue?  Well, for one thing, it’s action packed.  For another, Ditko drew tremendous splash pages for each “chapter” in the story, each one a full-page action shot of each of the villains being punched by Spider-Man.

Storywise, it’s pretty savvy.  For example, guys like Kraven say they will only work alone, so Otto Octavius comes up with the idea that they’ll each fight Spider-Man alone, hoping to wear him down. Doc Ock basically makes them his lackeys, so Spidey takes each one down before hitting Otto himself.

There’s also some good character moments of the villains arguing over who goes in what order, and which of them is the strongest.

This is one of the 100 best single-issue stories of all time, according to this objectively accurate list.

This is also the issue where Aunt May meets Dr. Octopus and is treated as her “guest,” which Ock uses as a lure for Spidey.

Interesting side note: Doc Ock’s trap for Spidey is a giant fishbowl, and tribute to this is paid decades later in Spectacular Spider-Man #72.

Also, Giant-Man and Wasp had a cameo.

And finally, there’s some bonus stuff…

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