PETER PARKER THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #1-3 (1976-1977): 1st Lightmaster

PPTSS #1 was the first comic book I ever read (other than Tintin or Asterix).

My parents went to another couple’s house for dinner and dragged me along.  The man of the house took me downstairs to a room filled with white longboxes, and told me I could read whatever I wanted.  The first box I opened, first comic I picked up had an amazing cover.  Or should I say a “spectacular” one.

I was hooked.

As I read this now, looking back, it seems kind of stilted and silly. 


But the first issue had the significance of making Gloria “Glory” Grant a regular castmember, and the second recurring black character in a Spider-Man title.

It was also the first time one character got two solo series simultaneously. Sure, we could see some characters in both solo books and team ones, but this was a first. Here’s the editorial explanation:

Interesting that Amy Carter was reading Spidey Super Stories, eh?

So even if PPTSS issues weren’t great comics, they were fun and special for me.

In issue #1, Tarantula is hired hired to kidnap the Chancellor of Empire State University, and fights Spider-Man. Yeah, the accent is definitely racist.

Spidey saves the Chancellor, and we see the mystery employer up his game to recruit Kraven in issue #2.

Spidey electrocutes him.

Issue #3 finally reveals the identity of the guy who so desperately needs the Chancellor of a community college. And he’s more powerful than his employees.

It’s the first appearance of Lightmaster.

He’s like Green Lantern with light.

And his motive was, let’s face it, stupid. The Chancellor was doing a bad job at fundraising and wasn’t supporting certain light-based research projects, so Lightmaster, Professor Edward Lansky, wanted to kill him.

Like I said, these aren’t great comics. They’re fun and good enough, for sure. But not great.

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