Web of Spider-Man #8-9 (1985)



This is a bit of an over-plotted story, but it’s good.  Peter Parker goes to a small town on a news story to learn about a local superhero named The Smithville Thunderbolt, who got his powers from an asteroid in the 1960s. 

The effects have now worn off, but he longs for his glory day so he’s been staging crimes to look like a hero.

Meanwhile, another local youth finds another piece of the same asteroid and gets fresh Thunderbolt powers.  (I guess the radiation stays in the rock but fades out of human flesh over time?)  The new guy is bad, so he and the de-powered old guy clash, Parker turns into Spider-Man, and the beef gets squashed.  However, in the process, a local reporter learns what Old Thunderbolt was doing (faking crimes) and publishes the story.  Peter, who really needs money, rejects publishing the same story because, you know, ethics.

As a result of seeing it in print, Old Thunderbolt kills himself.  And the local reporter snaps a pic.

You don’t see stories like this anymore at Marvel.  Everything has to be big and world-changing.

The cover is by the great Charles Vess, and here’s how it evolved:



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