Friday, September 15, 2017

Appendix: Spider-Man #24 Chronology

Day 1 (Pages 1 – 5)

Spider-Man takes delivery of Aunt May’s hat.

“Five minutes later” he is out looking for criminals.

He swings to Manhattan.

After stopping the burglary, he heads to the Bugle to see Betty.

He swings back to Forest Hills in order to be home “before Aunt May returns.”

Day 2 (Page 6, panels 1 – 2)

“The very next day” Jameson sends reporters out to collect anti-Spider-Man stories.

Day 3 (page 6-7)

Flash confronts the reporter, Liz asks Peter for a date, Flash confronts Peter

“Meanwhile” the first interview hits the streets; Rinehart goes to the Bugle offices and Jameson tells him to come back “tonight at 8”.

Stan’s “meanwhile” is a huge problem.

In panel 1 of page 6, we see a reporter asking a crowd for quotes; on panel 3 we see Flash Thompson berating the same photographer. The natural implication is that panel 3 follows on directly from panel 1. But Stan clearly says that while Liz, Flash and Peter are having their chat, the interview is published, and an interview obviously can’t go from tape to news-stand in a few seconds. So we have to assume that J.J.J. conducts several sets of vox pops over several days, and that Flash’s encounter with the reporter happens a day after the reporters conversation with the lady who “never said she did” hate Spider-Man.

I don’t think either Lee or Ditko have noticed this problem. Narratively Flash’s “I wanna talk to that crumb...” follows on from “...but I never said I do hate Spider-Man”. But realistically hours or days must have passed.

Day 4

Morning/afternoon: p 8-15

Panel 3 “The next day” Peter Parker reads the first interview with Rinehart.

Peter rushes out of the house “to find that Doc”.

Flash Thompson is waiting outside his house.

Peter distracts him and swings all the way to the Madison Avenue because because “I should learn where to find Rinehart at the Daily Bugle.”

Somewhere near the Bugle offices, he encounters the first hallucinations.

Decides the “can’t go to Jameson now” and swings all the way home again!

Realises how sick he is, rushes out of the house and heads to Rineharts house. His address was in the paper all along!

Panel 7 on page 9 is a huge problem. In between Peter Parker distracting Flash and Spider-Man seeing the hallucinations, there is a single picture of Betty speaking on the phone – telling J.J.J that Rinehart wants to arrange another interview. (Why?) Stan takes this to mean that pages 9-12 takes place somewhere near the Bugle offices, which creates the silly situation that Spider-Man swings all the way to Manhattan to find out where Rinehart lives, swings all the way back to Forest Hills because he isn’t feeling well, and then remembers that he knew the address all along. I submit that the whole thing would make much more sense if Betty were simply taking a call from her boyfriend “Yes, Peter, Dr Rinehart is staying at 221b Queen Boulevard, quite near your Aunt’s house”, and the whole of pages 9-24 take place on Peter’s home turf.

It makes more sense for Rinehart to have his spy-cats and his hologram projectors set up near his base than for them to be randomly on a rooftop by the Daily Bugle.

In the first Spider-Man Annual, Stan Lee states that Spider-Man can swing from Forest Hills to Manhattan in 3 minutes – about 200 miles per hour. Over the years, Spider-Man has been shown catching up with moving cars and even trains, so speed of 50 mile per hour seems a lot more believable. This would been that he could commute from home to the Bugle in about 15 minutes – a lot quicker than the subway!

Evening p16-29

?6PM Betty wonders how much overtime she will have to put in “tonight” – so it must already be passed her normal working hours – say 6 pm?

Foswell and Jameson leave, leaving Betty alone in the office.

?6.30 Foswell and Jameson get a taxi to Rinehart’s; Flash Thompson happens to be there. Rinehart’s offices must be in Forest Hills, somewhere near Peter and Flash’s school, which is maybe a 30 minute cab ride from the Bugle.

Again: it seems clear that Peter Parker leaves the house as soon as he reads the morning paper and, realizes Flash is tailing him pretty much as soon as he walks through the door, then Flash must have been aimlessly walking the streets for seven or eight hours. 

?7.30  It's hard to see how Spider-Man can have spent more than an hour in Rinehart's offices. After the big denouement, Peter bumps into Liz and Connie, and agrees to give Liz a jolly good science lesson.  Even though it can’t be earlier than 8pm, Aunt May says she will wait up for him.

The next issue follows on directly, with Peter leaving Liz's after their date. And Aunt May has waited up, watching a Joan Crawford movie on the TV. I am sure this won't create any continuity problems at all next time round...

A Close Reading of the First Great Graphic Novel in American Literature
Andrew Rilstone

Andrew Rilstone is a writer and critic from Bristol, England. This essay forms part of his critical study of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's original Spider-Man comic book. 

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Amazing Spider-Man was written and drawn by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko and is copyright Marvel Comics. All quotes and illustrations are use for the purpose of criticism under the principle of fair dealing and fair use, and remain the property of the copywriter holder.

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