What I Remember: Like the first appearance of Anarky, This was also a back issue that I picked up years after the initial publication date. I then found again as an adult in the for $5 at a local comics shop. These issues focused on the relationship between Robbie Robertson, editor for the Daily Bugle and the hit-man, Tombstone. Somehow, Robbie helps Tombstone and is arrested and then protects him in the prison yard. This week we’ll focus on issue 150. Next week, part 2, issue #151.
Spectacular Spider-Man # 150 “Guilty!”
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artist: Sal Buscema
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Editor: Jim Salicrup
Publisher: Marvel Entertainment
Publication Date: May 1989
Cover Price: 1.00
Re-Collecting Price: $3.00
Is It Any Good?
What I like about old issues of Spider-Man is there’s always overarching subplots that stretch out over months, perhaps years, yet a reader could pick up a random issue and have a pretty good idea of what is going on. At the time, most people still bought comics off the newsstand and some months they’d carry Spectacular Spider-Man and some months they wouldn’t. Each issue had to stand alone and still feel like it mattered.
This issue is part of the albino assassin, Tombstone’s introductory story arc. He is a former childhood classmate of Joe “Robbie” Robertson and tormented him while in school. While in Philadelphia, Robbie witnesses Tombstone commit a murder and does not report it out of fear and is convicted for withholding evidence in a felony.
This issue is great because it advances multiple subplots in a mere 22 pages. There’s the main plot of Robbie going to jail, as well as Peter’s rivalry with tabloid-style photographer, Katzenberg. Katzenberg’s J. Jonah Jameson’s new favorite shutterbug and is shutting Peter out. The rivalry comes to a head as Peter and Katzenberg nearly come to blows in the courtroom after Katzenberg snaps a shot of their editor, Robbie in handcuffs.
Speaking of JJJ, everyone keeps remarking that he’s acting funny and aligning himself with a weasel like Katzenberg. I'm not sure if I’m remembering exactly where that’s going but I think if I remember correctly is resolved in issue #151. There’s also a werewolf subplot.
Spidey also comes across a massacre of the Kingpin’s henchmen in a subway and he spots a werewolf that appears to be the culprit. The wolf disappears and he is kind enough to go to the Kingpin and warn him that a giant man-wolf is bumping off his men.
The werewolf is spotted going into Jameson's secretary, Gloria Grant's, apartment. He attempts to enlist her in his war against the Kingpin
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Bonus: Classic Bullpen Bulletins!
Yes, I’ve always had a fondness for Sal Buscema’s distinctive art. His style is classic Marvel, yet easily identifiable. He inks his own work and uses dark lines, silhouettes and shading wonderfully.
I’m glad I picked up the next issue as well, I may even attempt to collect the entire run. I’m interested to see if the Jameson subplot lead in the direction I suspect. (after the Anarky bait-and-switch a few weeks ago, I’m assuming nothing) Conway seems to have a mapped out his entire run on the book, starting one story while another climaxes, a hallmark of Spider-Man books from their beginning that can be lost in the modern era as stories tend to wrap up in 4-5 issues for the trade. This is a serial story, that a reader can either pick up as their first issue and get engrossed or an installment in the ongoing adventures of the Spectacular Spider-Man!
Next Issue: Robbie’s cellmate is Tombstone? Will Glory Grant help her Werewolf boyfriend take down the Kingpin? Will JJJ ever buy another of Peter Parker’s pictures? See you in Seven!