FROM THE VAULT: Amazing Spider-Man #252


The Toylab Vault holds a large collection of comic books and every once in a while one is pulled out, and dusted off.  Lets see what secrets this one holds...

FROM THE VAULT: Amazing Spider-Man #252

Published:  May 1984
Writer: Tom DeFalco, Roger Stern 
Artist: Ron Frenz

This comic was the reason why I learned about symbiotic relationships before I took biology....thanks Marvel :).

This is a very cool comic that I have had for a long time.  I remember buying it for 15 dollars after finding it in a booth at a shopping mall.  My mom was none too pleased that I picked out a 15 dollar comic but she got it for me anyway. The comic now sells between $80 and $700 depending on quality.  My copy has not been rated but is very high quality, it actually looks perfect.

Amazing Spider-Man #252  may be my most recognizable comic as its cover is as iconic as the story within.  The cover is one of 32 featured in the 2000 videogame Spider-Man.  The cover is an homage to Amazing Fantasy #15 the first appearance of Spider-Man.  The idea was to give a new Spider-Man a start in a black costume and draw back to the famous historical cover.  It was done so well that this is cover may be more famous than that of Amazing Fantasy #15.

Why is Amazing Spider-Man 252 cool?

The Amazing Spider-Man #252 is known primarily for being the first comic where Spider-Man wear's his black symbiotic suit.  The change at the time was a really big deal at the time.  This was the first major change to Spider-Man's costume in his nearly 25 year existence.  The suit itself has started a legion of other characters and even another planet in the Marvel universe.  While numerous characters have worn it, the most famous is Eddie Brock's Venom who becomes Spider-Man's main nemesis through most of the 90s.

What makes the suit and its story even more remarkable is that it was born out of an idea from a fan.  A fan sent Marvel a letter about Spider-Man getting a special black costume.  Longtime editor at Marvel Jim Shooter liked the idea and offered to buy the idea from the fan.  The fan Randy Schueller and Marvel writer Tom DeFalco worked awhile on trying to get a plot together where the suit could be used.   While the two came up with good ideas the timing was off and so the black suit idea sat around at Marvel for a couple of years.  This changed when Marvel signed a deal with Mattel.

Letter from Jim Shooter to fan Randy Schueller for Black Costume idea

As part of the Mattel deal, Marvel was running a special story called Secret Wars.  They wanted each character to come from the Secret Wars with a special change to show that they had in fact been somewhere.  When thinking about what to do with Spider-Man they decided to pull out the black costume idea.

In Amazing #252 Spider-Man has returned to Earth and begins to wear this special suit.  He finds that it has some pretty cool powers.  It can automatically shift between clothing and his costume.  It also adds to his strength and makes it so he no longer needs web fluid.  It also gives Parker and Spider-Man a bit more of an edge.  In some sense Amazing Spider-Man #252 is a pivotal moment for Peter Parker because after this issue he feels a little older, wiser, and perhaps darker.  Many have commented that they felt that Spider-Man looked more like a villain in the black suit than he did a hero.  The villainous angle ended up being more than skin deep though as the black symbiotic suit was found to have enhanced his urges and bended his values.  In the end Peter famously casts of living suit.  The suit is angry at being rejected and finds a new host in Eddie Brock who also hates Spider-Man.  Eddie and suit take on the moniker of Venom and become one of Spider-Man's most famous and dangerous villains.  The black suit story is one of Spider-Man's most famous and has been depicted over the years in cartoons, and even in the film Spider-Man 3.

Within the scope of Amazing 252 we don't get much of an inkling of all that this suit has in store for Spider-Man.  This comic is mostly Peter and the suits honeymoon.  He takes it out on the town like a 16 year old being handed the keys to Dad's sport car.  It is much more whoooo hooo than booo hoo.

Amazing Spider-Man #252 is well remembered as both an iconic piece of art and also for being a neat piece of Spider-Man and Marvel history.

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