This time Spider-Man makes his first of four visits to Assistant Editors' Month Online!
The Assistant Editor at the time was Bob Denatale. If you visit his website, you'll see that he has left comicdom and has worked as a musician, stage performer and filmmaker. Denatale was "filling in" for Danny Fingeroth, who was Editor on all the Spider-Man titles at this time.
In case anyone doesn't know, 'Marvel Tales' was a long-running reprint series, issue #1 came out in 1964, the final issue was cover dated November 1994. In the beginning, the series reprinted adventures of multiple Marvel characters, but Spider-man was the only constant. Beginning in late 1981, the series was "rebooted" and went back to the beginning, reprinting Spider-man's first appearance from 'Amazing Fantasy' #15, and continued reprinting early issues of 'Amazing Spider-Man', featuring the first appearances of Spidey's classic villains and Peter Parker's struggles to fit in at Midtown High. It was a great way for 80s kids like me to read classic Spider-Man stories written by Stan Lee and drawn by Steve Ditko.
The stories were reprinted in their original form, but every now and then, out-dated pop culture references would be changed for the 80s audience. For example,in this panel from 'Marvel Tales'#150(which reprinted 'ASM' Annual #1) , Aunt May frets about missing 'Dukes Of Hazard':
In the original story , 'The Beverly Hillbillies' was the show she missed.
Which brings us to #159, which reprinted 'ASM' #21. How much "damage" can an Assistant Editor do to a comic that simply reprints an old Lee-Ditko tale?
The main story reprinted in this issue isn't changed. The fun starts on the 'Marvel Mails' letters page. A fan writes in and suggests they should go further with the edits and update 1960s slang and fashions for 1980s readers:
Now take out a look at the "new and improved" 80s version!:
You'll notice Aunt May is wearing sweats, Liz Allan has a mohawk and Flash Thompson is a skinhead punk. But even in 1983, "Puny Parker" is still rockin' the sweater vest!
Denatale added this note after the "updated" pages:
I think he's right about not changing the stories and I believe they never added another "update" to reprint stories after this. But I'm glad that Denatale & co made sure 'Marvel Tales' participated in AEM!
In our next installment, we'll look the first and only appearances of Bernie America and Moskull!