Every other week, Jason Shayer will highlight an issue or a run of issues pulled from the horde of comic book long boxes that occupy more room in his house than his wife can tolerate. Each of these reviews will delve into what made that issue or run significant as well as discuss the creative personalities behind the work. “Long Box” refers to the lengthy, white cardboard boxes most comics find themselves stored within – bagged, alphabetized and numerically ordered.
In retrospect, Amazing Spider-Man #238 was the most important issue of Spider-Man of the 1980s. At the time though, no one was expecting the birth of a new supervillain who would plague Spider-Man for years to come.
This issue featured the first appearance and origin of the Hobgoblin and set into motion a storyline that would keep readers guessing his real identity for years. That’s right, the real identity of this new antagonist was kept a secret, much like the early appearances of the Green Goblin. Using the familiar but new approach, writer Roger Stern had this new antagonist find a Green Goblin’s weapon cache (you might recall that back in the 1980s, Norman Osborn was still dead) and use these weapons to pick up where the Goblin had left off.
Amazing Spider-Man #238 was a great jumping on point for new readers. Roger Stern, approaching the peak of his run on the title, wove a wonderful story that brought out Peter Parker’s character with a clear and distinct voice. Stern always made great use of Peter’s supporting cast, making them seem far more real and playing stronger roles than the usual cardboard cutouts.
And in the art department, this issue featured the legendary art team-up of John Romita Jr. and John Romita Sr.. Their style is so clean, dynamic, and classic. The Stern and Romita run of the 1980s will always stand as my favorite take on Spider-Man.
Not bad for $0.75 Canadian. Can’t believe that was almost 30 years ago! This issue can be picked up these days for just over $100.
Jason Shayer has been trying his best not to grow up for that last 30 years and comics books are one of the best ways to keep him young at heart. He’s also known as the Marvel 1980s guy and has probably forgotten more than you’d ever want to know about that wonderfully creative era. Check out his blog at: marvel1980s.blogspot.com.