Today sees the publication of Amazing Fantasy #1000, for the 60th anniversary of Amazing Fantasy #15, the first appearance of Spider-Man by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee. I first came to Marvel Comics through the Marvel UK reprints, published by the likes of Dez Skinn and Neil Tennant, and sold in British newsagents, reprinting the American comic books, in a variety of black and white and offset colour schemes. But Neil Gaiman is of the half-generation before mine, when there wasn’t a Marvel UK, and rights were licensed to Odhams Press’ Power Comics imprint in 1967 and 1968, which featured a mixture of British originated action-adventure strips and American reprints including Spider-Man, Nick Fury, and the Fantastic Four. And, as is the British tradition, a free gift with the first issue.
And that’s how Neil Gaiman discovered Spider-Man, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, as we get one life, furnished in Steve Ditko.
And yup, that was Pow #2 as well with the Spider-Man iron-on transfer, rather than an Iron Man iron-on transfer.
And while the comic books were very colourful on the outside, on the inside it was the traditional British black-and-white. Like the television and the old movies.
And we also get a jump into a television programme by Jonathan Ross, In Search Of Steve Ditko for BBC 4, in which he took Neil Gaiman as his “Etta Candy” to try and meet Steve Ditko. They did not get an on-camera interview, but they decided to go and see Steve Ditko anyway. Or rather Jonathan did. This is how we saw it go down, about three minutes in.
And now Neil Gaiman tells his own side. How Steve Ditko had told them not to come up to his apartment, but Jonathan Ross is, at his heart, a journalist, and never takes no for an answer.
And it turns out okay. Almost always the story of Jonathan Ross’ life. Almost.
And, in Amazing Fantasy #1000 sees Nel Gaiman able to revisit his original inspiration from then-forty-something years previously.
There’s more of course, Neil Gaiman’s relationship has changed. He has written Spider-Man in 1602. But today, Neil Gaiman very specifically gets to write his Spider-man. And Steve McNiven gets to draw it…
AMAZING FANTASY #1000
(W) Kurt Busiek, Various (A) Jim Cheung, Various (CA) John Romita Jr.
The comic that brought you SPIDER-MAN hits issue #1000! We’re going big to celebrate in this, our thousandth issue of AMAZING FANTASY! An ALL-STAR roster of creators – Anthony Falcone, Dan Slott, Ho Che Anderson, Jonathan Hickman, Kurt Busiek, Michael Cho, Neil Gaiman, Rainbow Rowell, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Jim Cheung, Marco Checchetto, Olivier Coipel, Ryan Stegman, Steve McNiven, Terry Dodson, Todd Nauck, and more – are coming together to celebrate Peter Parker and Spider-Man’s birthdays!
RATED TIn Shops: Aug 31, 2022