April 22, 2009

Marvel Tales #167 [1984]

This issue features a reprint of "The Wondrous World Of Dr. Strange" from THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #2 [1965], obviously the team-up between Ditko's two main Marvel characters of the 1960s. It's a real blast to see Spidey juxtaposed with all those weird and wonderful mystical visual effects that were at their peak at this time.

The villain of the story is Xandu, a mystic who has stumbled onto half of the powerful Wand of Watoomb and wants the other half, currently in the Sanctum Sanctorum of Doctor Strange. He mentally controls some thugs, who manage to get the other half of the wand but fortunately for the cosmos also attract the attention of Spider-Man, who manages to delay Xandu long enough for Strange to catch up and they can team up to defeat Xandu.

Lot of great little touches in how these two worlds mix, with a good old fashioned rooftop fight in the first half for the Spidey side, and then one of the best mystic realm scenes Ditko ever did later in the book.

The cover to the Annual is also reprinted, though with some of the little Spider-Man figures moved around, and not looking quite right with the colouring on the giant Spidey head. Also, since they had an extra page, they were randomly reprinting some of the pin-ups each issue, this time the Lizard pin-up from THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #1 [1964].


  1. An excellent visual of Spidey in the alternate dimension. One of my favorite lines from Stan as well: "It's gonna take more than a 15 cent bus ride to get me back to Forest Hills..."

    Nick Caputo

  2. If one is a big fan of Ditko's years on Amazing Spider-Man, then s/he might like to check out the first edition of my new comics-related e-zine, The Comics Decoder (google for it). In the illustrated essay 'Webs in Lynch's Closet?', I discuss the uncanny similarities between the early Spidey stories/artwork and David Lynch's classic 1986 film Blue Velvet....



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