My Dad was a huge Spider-Man fan and would get any comic with Spider-Man in it during the 80’s and early 90’s. I was often sitting in his closet reading these adventures, and stumbled on this one. I begged Dad to give me his copy, until he could stand it no longer, and bought me my own.
This was a huge deal for me. I grew up in the sticks, and there were no stores for me to look through comics. Dad brought them back from the city where he worked.
This wasn’t my first comic, but it was the first that made a big impression on me. In addition to the main story in the comic (Which sucked) Marvel Annuals would often have back-up features. Pin-ups, stories featuring supporting characters, or any number of filler (including Peter Porker, the less-than Spectacular Spider-Ham) to make the few extra bucks seem worth it.
But it was the below three pages that made me a Marvel Fan for life.
The feature that got me was the Top 30 Spider-Man villains, as of 1989, in order of greatest threat to the Web-Slinger, illustrated by Fred Hembeck. This was a gold mine for an 8 year-old boy. Each villian was drawn special for the feature, and packed into just three pages, with a rediculous amount of information. It probably doubled the amount of words I had read up to that point. And rather than the ‘Marvel Way’ of illustrating the characters, they’re portrayed in a more cartoony, stylized version, that was perfect for my tastes at the time. Which included Cartoons and Fruit Loops.
Seeing all these imaginative, and colourful villians in one spot, had a huge influence on my illustration style for the next few years, with lingering effects to this day. Thank you Fred Hembeck. You are Appreciated.