Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Gallery Of Spider-Man's Most Famous Foes!


It was a little sad to see the "Rogues Gallery" feature steadily disappear from Marvel annuals and specials, to be replaced by collages and special commissions--just as the annuals themselves were phased out over time, redundant in the light of oversized comics published more frequently and making a once-a-year special less anticipated and, yes, special.

If memory serves, Spider-Man had the most extensive gallery of foes presented, with the Fantastic Four coming in a close second (though I could very well have that switched around). It wasn't until I started putting together Spidey's gallery that I realized how popular the feature had become in his annuals. Have a look at the collection of one-page portraits published over a span of fifteen Spider-Man annuals:


(Missing from this group is "Jonah's Robot," which would go on to become the Spider-Slayer.)


No doubt just about any of us could quibble over which of these foes should occupy an honored place in such a gallery; for instance, I'd probably boot out the Living Brain, the Man-Wolf, and the Kangaroo--and the Crime-Master didn't really measure up to the build-up he got. Jonah's Robot was also hardly one of Spidey's more memorable foes.  But of course it all depends on your memories of these stories.

If I can ever find the wall space, the full set is going to be matted and framed to brighten up the room it hangs in. Until then, it will proudly serve as a desktop wallpaper slide-show.

6 comments:

Colin Jones said...

Does the burglar really count (and I've deliberately written him as the burglar not The Burglar)? He's hardly a "foe".

david_b said...

I vividly recall getting the Giant Sized Superstars 1 with the FF (1974, Thing and Hulk swapping brains...) and seeing those for the first time in the back of the issue.

I loved them and discovering later that they were once a proud, yet kooky part of the Marvel Universe now scarce due to focus towards page counts and more ad pages made me quite annoyed.

Case in point..: Daredevil Annual 1 (1967) chock FULL of very cool extras.., and it's Bronze reprint (Giant Sized DD 1).

Colin Jones said...

Next week is exactly 40 years since I first read a Spidey story which was Part 1 of The Kingpin vs. The Schemer. As a result I've always had a fondness for The Schemer so he'd be in that rouges gallery too if it was up to me :) well, he's as much a worthy opponent as the burglar !!

Comicsfan said...

I think the Schemer belongs in the gallery, too, Colin--but for now, I can at least link you to his villain profile in an earlier post.

renfield75 said...

Web of Spider-Man Annual #3 (1987) contains an abundance of these pin-ups, focusing primarily on the forgotten foes (mostly Marvel Team-Up novelties and Scourge fodder). After portraits of Hobgoblin, Kingpin, and the Rose, the "forgotten foes" gallery covers Basilisk, Big Wheel, Black Cat (forgotten???), Cyclone, Dark Rider, Drom, Grizzly, Human Fly, Jeremiah, Jigsaw, Man-Killer, the Men-Fish, Midas, Mindworm, Mirage, Monstroid, Moondark, Moondog, Rocket Racer, Stegron, White Dragon, Will O' The Wisp, and the Wraith. It's worth tracking down if you want to add portraits of some bronze age obscurities to your wallpaper slide show!

Comicsfan said...

renfield, yes, that's an excellent footnote to this post. It's almost like a "rogues annual," given that it only contains supplemental info on Spidey and there was no story in the whole thing! It came in handy for posts on Jeremiah, the Mindworm, the Human Fly, and even the Big Wheel, and I'm glad it featured characters like the Rose, the Rocket Racer, Will O' the Wisp, et al. who deserve their place in the gallery just as much as the Enforcers or the Tinkerer. Thanks for mentioning it!

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