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Category Archives: Lists!

Top Ten Comic Book Lists.

Top 10 Longbox Graveyard Posts Of 2016

Thought I’d start the New Year off by looking backwards at the best performing Longbox Graveyard posts of 2016. Most are legacy posts from the early days of this site, with a new article elbowing in at the top of the list.

Drumroll please …

10) Guide To Comics Bargains On Ebay

A testament to loading your blog title with powerful keywords, this post is four years old, but still pulling respectable search engine traffic. Mostly it is an ode to why I can only seem to buy high and sell low on eBay, which means I’m no roadmap for that place …

eBay

9) Top Ten Spider-Man Battles, Part II

“Top Tens” and “Spider-Man” are among the most most attractive content on this site, so it is no surprise that a post containing both of those things ranks so highly. It is a formula that will appear several times in this list. Guest author Mark Ginocchio of Chasing Amazing hit it out of the park with this 2013 article, calling out Spidey’s fights with Hobgoblin, Green Goblin, Venom, Morlun, and … (click to find out!) as the top web-head battles of all time.

ASM 122

8) Marvel Unlimited Updated Review

I remain an enthusiastic subscriber of Marvel’s Unlimited digital subscription service. I first reviewed the service in 2012 — this updated review looked at the service after it evolved into an iPad-native format. If I was really chasing clicks, this would be one of the articles I’d gin up with keywords and new information, as there seems to be a hunger out there for information about Marvel’s service.

Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited

7) Top Ten Spider-Man Battles, Part I

Remember how I said that Spider-Man Top Tens drew my best traffic? Well, here you go. Mark mentioned that he’s working on a Spider-Man book — hopefully he will raid the fine work he’s done for Longbox Graveyard for print.

Sinister Six

6) Top Ten Loves Of Peter Parker (Part 1)

Liz Allan

And the Spider-Man trend continues! Spidey isn’t my specialty, and I’d really be lost without generous guest-bloggers to cover Marvel’s top hero. In this case, it was was Dan Gvozden of Superior Spider-Talk who rode to the rescue. And, yes, Dan does tackle MJ vs. Gwen, but not in this post … you’ll have to scroll down a bit to find that one.

5) Top Ten Superhero Lairs

The Baxter Building

Everybody loves a good secret base. Did I really rank the Pet Avengers Mansion above the Bat Cave? Yes I did. (Sort of). Nice to see this post is still drawing comment three years after publication — I suppose I deserve my comment section censure for omitting the Legion of Superheroes cool rocket ship clubhouse from my list.

4) Confessions Of A Marvel Puzzle Quest Addict

Marvel Puzzle Quest

The sole new article from 2016 was this article from last January about the popular Match-3 Marvel puzzler. Quite a few addicted players of this one out there (and I remain among them, despite the take-this-game-and-shove-it conclusion to the post). Maybe 2017 is the year I quit this game. Maybe.

3) Top Ten Loves Of Peter Parker (Part 2)

Gwen Stacy

Here’s where you’ll find Dan’s MJ vs. Gwen opinion. (I would have wimped out and picked Aunt May).

2) Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game Vs. DC Comics Deck-Building Game

DC Comics Deck-Building Game

Gaming content has generally fared pretty well here at Longbox Graveyard. My post on Capes & Cowls was a good performer for many months, and this comparative review of two comic book deck-builders keeps getting views (and is due for an update, as both games have evolved quite a bit since my review). I’m not playing either game right now for lack of opponents, but Legendary is supposedly coming to iOS in 2017, and that might reignite my interest.

And finally, the #1 Longbox Graveyard Post of 2016 was …

1) Top Ten Captain America Villains

Captain America!

This has been my top post since it was first published — it caught a Google search wave on the run-up to release of the second Captain America movie, and it’s been chugging along ever since. It’s another post long overdue for an update, especially in view of Baron Zemo’s appearance in Captain America: Civil War. But I’m not changing the bad guy at the top of the list … and no, it’s NOT the Red Skull! Want to know who ranks as the baddest Cap villain of all time? Add a click to my pile, I’m not proud!

And with the old year taken care of, I wish all Longbox Graveyard readers a Happy 2017. See you back here every month or so for more nostalgic comics goodness!

Happy New Year!

 

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Top 10 Super-Dogs!

Longbox Graveyard #147

Longbox Graveyard goes to the dogs with this Top 10 List of the greatest comic book super-dogs of all time!

It’s Super-Blog Team-Up time again! Super-Blog Team-Up is a loose collection of comic book blogs and podcasts that come together several times a year to opine on a common topic. In the past, we’ve tackled superheroes calling it quits, ret-cons, bad guys, team-ups, and alternative time lines. This time, we’re offering Top 10 Listsa subject near and dear to my heart!

Super-Blog Team-Up

My past Top 10 lists have been (mostly) serious … or as serious as things get in funnybooks. I’ve listed my Top 10 Captain America Villains, Top 10 DC Comics Characters, Top 10 Marvel Comics Characters, Top 10 Superhero Lairs, and many more. With the Longbox Graveyard Super-Animal Showdown recently drawn to a close, this Super-Blog Team-Up seemed the ideal opportunity to add the Top 10 Super-Dogs to my roll of honor!

Before we get to the list, a few ground rules.

First, I am interested only in characters that appeared first or primarily in comic books. Animation is a whole ‘nother business … so you won’t find characters like Underdog or Dynomutt here. While some of these characters would also appear in animation, they are first and foremost comic-book dogs. Get it? Got it? Good!

Second, this list is heavily biased by the Bronze and Silver Age superhero sensibilities of Longbox Graveyard. Most (but not all) of these mutts are traditional comic book canines that have been around for decades, and all but one of my pooches hails from the comic book “Big Two” publishers. My apologies to all the contemporary, hip, indie comics hounds that I have unfairly consigned to the dog house!

Third, there is no third rule … aside from the restriction that David Letterman used to offer when introducing his nightly Top Ten — “Please, no wagering!”

Without further ado, and in reverse order (to help preserve the suspense, natch), here’s the Longbox Graveyard Top 10 Super-Dogs!

HONORABLE MENTION

The list leads with an honorable mention for DC’s Space Canine Patrol Agents!

A product of DC’s wonderfully unhinged Silver Age, the Space Canine Patrol Agents (SCPA) were a kind of all-dog counterpart to the Legion of Super-Heroes. First appearing in Superboy #131, the group included a dog you know — Krypto — and a whole bunch of C-list canines, like Tusky Husky, Prophetic Pup, and Chameleon Collie. Close your eyes and you can imagine this lot opening their meetings with their sacred oath — “Big dog, big dog, bow wow wow! We’ll stop evil, now now now!”

SCPA!

I can’t begin to parse through the SCPA membership for this list, so they all get in with an honorable mention (and one member of the crew will shortly get much more than that). For more on the too-weird-not-to-be-true SCPA, head on over to the indispensable Dial B For Blog, which has enough vintage SCPA art to get your tail wagging!

#10  Dogpool

Wilson was an alternate-universe mutt experimented upon for cosmetics testing. With the experiment deemed a failure, poor Wilson was thrown away … only to rise as Dogpool!

Dogpool

Animal testing for the cosmetics industry? On dogs? Now, there’s some true villainy!

Dogpool appeared in an astonishing 29 issues of various Deadpool comics (if Comic Vine is to believed), which either says something about the staying power of this character, or the vacuous nature of Deadpool books! Fingers are crossed that Dogpool gets some spotlight time when Deadpool comes to the silver screen in his 2016 movie debut!

#9  Max

Did you know that the Punisher had a dog? And did you know that this dog was so tough, even the Punisher couldn’t kill him? Meet Max!

Meet Max!

Max was totally off my radar until Dean Compton — frequent Longbox Graveyard guest columnist, host of The Unspoken Decade, and the world’s biggest Punisher fan — convinced me that Max deserved a place in the Round of 32 in last month’s Super-Animal Showdown.

Max is a savage Rottweiler who guards the Punisher’s safe house. He was wounded in the line of duty — so badly wounded that the Punisher put him down with a knife. But wait! So outraged was fan reaction to Max’s death that a retcon later established that hard-hearted Punisher actually performed some kind of surgery on Max and saved his life!

And so there you have it … Max, the dog even the Punisher couldn’t kill!

(And let’s not be exploiting any more poor Rottweilers to guard our safe houses, OK?)

#8  Destructo

As near as I can tell, Destructo only appeared once — in 1961’s Superboy #92 — but if you’re Lex Luthor’s dog, and you wear a Jolly Roger cape, you’ve got to make the list …

Destructo!

Gaining super powers by a run-in with young Lex Luthor’s time machine, Destructo went on a rampage, impersonating Krypto and ruining the Dog of Steel’s good name! This adventure alone was enough to earn Destructo the title of Krypto’s arch-enemy … this is one super-dog overdue for a comeback!

#7  Vegas

The honor of being the sole non-DC or Marvel comics dog in my top ten goes to Archie’s loyal dog, Vegas!

Vegas, by Francesco Francavilla

If we were just talking about the classic, canonical, Riverdale version of Archie’s pet, he likely wouldn’t make this list … but Vegas’ stand-out appearance in the zombie-infested Afterlife With Archie was emotional and unforgettable. I reviewed that surprisingly impactful series here — and I don’t want to give too much away about Vegas, in case you haven’t yet read Archie’s excellent undead adventure — but this image should give you an idea of why Vegas rates the seventh spot on my list!

Archie's best friend

#6  Cosmo

Now, this is pure cool. A Soviet space dog that drifted off course, mutated into a super-intelligent psychic that projects his thoughts with a stereotypical Russian accent, still wears his CCCP space suit, and serves as security chief on the space station the Guardians of the Galaxy calls home? Damn, it’s all I can do not to make Cosmo #1 on my list!

Cosmo

I just about leapt out of my seat when Cosmo made a cameo appearance in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, as one of the many captors of the dread Collector. When the Collector’s headquarters went boom, I turned to my son and said, “If Cosmo bought it, I’m walking out!” Fortunately, a quick shot showed Cosmo trotting to safety, and so the dream is alive that we will see Cosmo facing down his frenemy, Rocket Raccoon, in the inevitable Guardians of the Galaxy sequel!

#5  Pizza Dog

Also known as Lucky, Pizza Dog is the lovable mutt that Hawkeye rescues from the Russian mob in his recent breakout series by Matt Fraction and David Aja.

Pizza Dog

Lucky becomes a memorable supporting character in the series, and even stars in the brilliant issue #11 of the run, a book that told the kind of story that comics do better than any other dramatic form — a story related from Lucky’s point of view, using only the senses and sensibilities of a single and extraordinary dog. A great story about a great character, from a team at the top of their form (and good enough to snag an Eisner, too!)

Hawkeye #11

#4  Rex The Wonder-Dog

We need to fire up the Wayback Machine for the #4 hound on our list …

Rex vs. T-Rex

Debuting in 1952’s The Adventures of Rex The Wonder Dog, and appearing in DC adventures right up into the 21st century, Rex would have a serious pedigree even if his early adventures hadn’t been created by comics legends Robert Kanigher and Alex Toth! Rex’s forty-six issue run through the 1950s benefitted from some terrific Gil Kane covers, too.

Rex The Wonder Dog by Gil Kane

A kind of canine Captain America, Rex was a German Shepherd in the U.S. Army’s K-9 Corps who received a super-soldier serum injection, serving in World War II and Korea before becoming a crime-fighter, battling aliens and dinosaurs, and fighting alongside the future Justice League of America. A wonder dog, indeed!

#3  Ace the Bat-Hound

Ace hasn’t the resume of Rex the Wonder-Dog, but he gets on the podium of our Super-Dog Top 10 because … Batman!

Ace the Bat-Hound

Because nothing that works in comics isn’t worth over-doing, Ace’s appearance was a foregone conclusion when Krypto took the comics world by storm in 1955. A scant four month’s later, Superboy’s dog was joined by Batman’s hound, Ace, in the DC universe of super-animal stars!

Ace never caught on like Krypto, but c’mon. He wears a Batman mask, and he hangs around the Batcave. Ace is awesome just walking into the room …

#2  Lockjaw

The surprise winner of the Longbox Graveyard Super-Animal Showdown rates the penultimate position on our list!

Hugs For Lockjaw!

Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and making his first appearance in 1965’s Fantastic Four #45, Lockjaw is the unforgettable teleporting super-dog of the weird and wonderful Inhumans. That alone would ensure that Lockjaw made this list, but the four-footed Inhuman has had a long and surprisingly successful second act to his career, first headlining his own book in Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers, and then playing a supporting role in the new fan favorite Ms. Marvel series.

Fifty years after he was born, it seems that Lockjaw is still a pup. Respect!

#1  Krypto

And respect is what it’s all about for the #1 entry on the Super-Dog Top 10.

It’s Krypto, of course!

Krypto by Alex Ross

C’mon, who else could it be? Krypto is the sine qua non of dogs in capes!

First appearing in Adventure Comics #210 in 1955, Krypto was an instant hit as Superboy’s pet. The pilot of Jor-El’s prototype rocket that would eventually bring baby Superman to Earth, Krypto was knocked off course and reached our planet later than baby Kal-El, but still in plenty of time to partner with Superboy in many of his Silver Age Adventures, and even becoming leader of the Legion of Super-Pets!

Lockjaw may have (narrowly) defeated Krypto in their recent showdown, but in the long view of history, there’s only one possible Top Dog when it comes to super-pets. All hail Krypto, the greatest Super-Dog of them all!

to be continued ...

That will do it for my Top 10 Super-Dogs. Please share your thoughts in the comments section, below! And also take a look at the many other fine Top 10 Lists on offer from my fellow Super-Blog Team-Up colleagues:

PLUS! Catch up with the Super-Blog Team-Up crew in their very own Sub-Reddit!

Thanks for reading! And if you are ready to make room for a super-dog in your own home and heart, remember that there are thousands of awesome shelter dogs looking for a good home! Please visit my friends at Adopt-A-Pet.com to find your new best friend!

Adopt-A-Pet.com

NEXT MONTH: #148 Longbox Soapbox

Six Signature Superhero Sound Effects!

Longbox Graveyard #136

One of the singular pleasures of being a comic book fan is puzzling out their onomatopoetically-rendered sound effects!

Sound Effects by Wally Wood!

Sound Effects” from MAD, by the brilliant Wally Wood

While sound effects have somewhat fallen out of favor in contemporary comics writing, I still love them. And while I love a good BLAM! or WHAM! as much as the next guy, I particularly enjoy sound effects that are strongly associated with a specific character or comic. While most comic book sound effects are made up by a creator on-the-spot, a signature sound effect is always the same, and as much a part of a character as their costume or name.

My criteria for calling something a “signature” sound effect is simple — you have to know it in the dark. If all you have is a black panel with a single sound effect, but you still know what is happening (and who is making it happen), then that’s a signature sound effect!

Here are Six Signature Superhero Sound Effects! Why only six? Because I love alliteration even more than onomatopoeia (and I couldn’t think of a seventh)! But my draconian rules have doubtless caused me to exclude your favorite sound effect, so be sure to take me to task for my cruel exclusions in the comments section, below.

In the meantime, in rough and reverse order of their fame and recognizability …

… drum roll please …

Dudley Serious Saves The World!

(drum roll sound effect courtesy of my very own Dudley Serious Saves The World!)

… here are Six Signature Superhero Sound Effects!

6) POW!

All right, this is a little bit of a cheat, but it’s my blog and I get to make the rules. “Pow” is a generic sound effect, and not especially associated with Batman, but the use of visual sound effects was a signature element of the classic Batman TV show, so “POW!” gets an honorable mention.

POW!

5) KTANG!

I know full well that the real Captain Marvel is the Big Red Cheese, but my favorite Captain Marvel is still the enlightened Kree man of war that I have celebrated several times here at Longbox Graveyard. Just as Billy Batson could change into Captain Marvel by shouting, “SHAZAM!” (a term that would top list list, if it were a proper sound effect!), so for a time could Rick Jones trade places in the Negative Zone with Captain Marvel by clashing his “Nega Bands”together … with the characteristic sound of KTANG!

KTANG!

4) PING PING PING!

One of the coolest things about Jack Kirby’s New Gods is that it is full of things that Jack never fully explained. What was the Source? What was the Anti-Life Formula? Most intriguing of all … what was a Mother Box?

The indispensable gadget of every New God, a Mother Box was one part computer, one part iPhone, and one part genie-in-a-lamp. Built by hand and customized by their owners, Mother Boxes seemed able to do just about anything. But the one thing they all seemed to do was to go PING PING PING when activated!

PING PING PING

3) BAMF!

Nightcrawler’s characteristic teleportation sound effect is as recognizable as his devilish tail and three-toed feet. BAMF became such an X-Men stand-by that I’m convinced someone eventually referred to Nightcrawler “bamfing” someplace, rather than teleporting … but I can’t find that particular reference (and a Longbox Graveyard No-Prize to someone who does!)

BAMF!

2) THWIP!

This one goes way back — all the way to Amazing Spider-Man #36 — which means it is almost certainly a Steve Ditko invention. It is the perfect expression for the sound of Spider-Man’s web-shooters — suggesting speed, a rushing of escaped gasses, and the sound of a whip, all-in-one!

THWIP!

Bonus … a clever bit of sound effects-oriented meta storytelling, from Amazing Spider-Man #43, as suggested by Mike W in comments, below!

Amazing Spider-Man #43

1) SNIKT!

A second X-Men sound effect tops this list, which makes me wonder if X-Men scribe Chris Claremont had a particular affection for sound effects. Or maybe it was Dave Cockrum? Regardless, the sinister sound of Wolverine’s adamantium claws sliding from their sheath is scary enough to make bad guys wet their britches all by itself! More than any sound effect on this list, if you “hear” SNIKT, all by itself, in the center of a dark panel … you know all Hell is about to break loose!

SNIKT!

What did I miss? Sound off with your own sound effects in the comments section, below!

IN THREE WEEKS: #137 Thing vs. Thing!

Top 10 Loves of Peter Parker (Part 2)

Longbox Graveyard #128

Last week, Longbox Graveyard welcomed guest blogger in Dan Gvozden of Superior Spider-Talk to count down the Top 10 romantic interests in Spider-Man’s life. With bottom half of his Top 10 complete, Dan gets down to the nitty-gritty in this concluding column, highlighting the most important women in Peter Parker’s love life, and giving his answer to the eternal question: MJ, or Gwen?

Take it away, Dan! 

5  Betty Brant

Betty Brant has always been an interesting character, particularly when it comes to her tumultuous love life. She was Peter’s first love during high school and who Peter initially shows interest in during Amazing Spider-Man #5 and begins dating in Amazing Spider-Man #7. Peter is head over heels in love with Betty, a young secretary at the Daily Bugle who fantasizes about becoming a housewife and settling down with Peter, remember these stories were originally published in the 60’s, long before Betty would go on to be a hot-shot reporter and unrepentant adulterer.

Betty Brant

Peter and Betty’s romance was doomed for failure due to Peter’s life as Spider-Man. Betty liked Peter for his shy, bookish side, the persona he often put on to distract those around him from noticing he was Spider-Man. Betty was fearful that Peter would end up like her brother Bennett, who was murdered by Blackie Gaxton during a gang war.

Betty Brant

When Peter continuously comes back from “taking pictures of Spider-Man” and is bruised and beaten up Betty becomes hysterical.

Betty Brant

Eventually she begins to look for attention elsewhere and begins dating Ned Leeds without officially calling things off with Peter, a habit she will continue to display with all the various men she ends up dating over the years.

After marrying Ned Leeds in Amazing Spider-Man #156, Ned was frequently reporting overseas and away from Betty. Ned eventually gets stationed in Paris for a prolonged duration and Betty grows homesick for New York. She rushes home and back into the arms of Peter, who doesn’t really know what to make of the situation but also doesn’t actively fight it. He encourages her to get counseling and to return to Ned but Betty won’t hear it. When Ned returns home and confronts the two Peter quickly ends the affair, regretting his involvement.

Betty Brant

What I find most interesting about Betty’s relationship with Peter is that if the radioactive spider had never bitten Peter he probably would have been the perfect man for Betty. His maturation and development due to his powers pushed him into dangerous situations and out of the arms of Betty. It is this rejection that pushes Betty into the arms of Ned Leeds, who for a while was thought to be the Hobgoblin, and damages her psychologically for quite awhile. 

Betty and Peter are best of friends now, but what could their future have looked like without Spider-Man?

______________________________________________________________________________________

You Might Also Like: Top Ten Spider-Man Battles (Part 1) (Part 2)

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4  Ultimate Kitty Pryde

Women, for the most part, are portrayed terribly in comic books, often only operating as male sexual fantasies and wish fulfillment. Unfortunately this is also true for most female characters that have appeared in Spider-Man comics. Much of this treatment really depends on the specific writer of each book and their own depiction of women young and old. Brian Michael Bendis, author of Ultimate Spider-Man, does an absolutely wonderful job with fleshing out the female characters of Peter Parker’s world, even allowing them to have conversations that have nothing to do with Peter or his world of superheroics.

Kitty Pryde

Perhaps my favorite new idea from Bendis was how he handled Peter Parker’s dating life, a real focus of his Ultimate Spider-Man series. Gone is the truly deceitful Peter who hides his secrets away from the women in his life and instead readers are given a realistic young man who is emotionally honest with the women he chooses to spend his time with, outside of all the normal teenage dramatics that come along with dating.

After Mary Jane is nearly killed by the Hobgoblin, Peter breaks up with her to protect her from the dangers of his world. He is looking for someone who he can spend time with that he doesn’t have to protect. After meeting Kitty Pryde during his debacle with the car-exploding Geldoff, Kitty (aided by Storm and Jean Grey) decides to call Peter and set up a date.

Kitty Pryde

Kitty has been secretly obsessed with Peter for awhile, decorating her bedroom with images of him in his Spider-Man costume, despite not really knowing him beyond their brief initial encounter. That obsessive quality would come to define Kitty’s feelings towards Peter during their brief relationship. The two meet up after school and spend the day chatting at the mall before getting entangled in a battle with the Shocker.

 It is this battle that cements for Peter that he could date Kitty without having to protect her. The relationship that follows is one of the most honest depictions of teenage dating that I’ve ever read in a comic. The two young adults are both coming fresh off of very important and significant first relationships in their lives and begin dating, with their exes still playing a large part in their lives. As is common, the two are almost dating so as to prove to their previous significant others that they still have value to the world. Despite enjoying each other’s company, the relationship possibly moves quicker than it normally would as they are kind of using each other to prove something. These situations inevitably lead to jealousy, heartbreak, and infidelity.

Kitty Pryde 2

Kitty is consistently insecure about their relationship, due to her obsession over Peter and his own insecurities about how public their relationship soon becomes. This insecurity propels Peter back into the arms of Mary Jane, when a fight with vampires unsettles him more than any recent battles of his have. This upsets Kitty greatly as she feels that he should have come to his girlfriend rather than his “friend” Mary Jane. During the “Ultimate Clone Saga” story Kitty discovers Peter kissing Mary Jane and becomes furious over his infidelity. The two are eventually able to reconcile but would never date again.

3  Felicia Hardy (Black Cat)

To detail all of Felicia Hardy’s relationship with Spider-Man would take pages and pages of incredibly detailed notes. Of all of Peter Parker’s relationships, his time with Felicia Hardy has to be the most complicated and tumultuous. Their relationship is made difficult for a number of reasons:

1. Black Cat remains a criminal, taking after her father, for quite some time.
2. She only likes Peter Parker when he’s in costume and would rather not know about his secret identity.
3. She’s constantly putting herself in danger to augment her powers or to prove something to Spider-Man, with disastrous results.

Black Cat

Spider-Man doesn’t fully trust her, after failing to stop several of her robberies, until the “Owl/Octopus War” in the pages of Spectacular Spider-Man. Felicia learns that the Kingpin is in control of an incredibly powerful detonator that the Owl plans on using to hold New York City hostage whereas Doctor Octopus plans on using it to reduce the city to rubble. She manages to steal the detonator and turn it over to Spider-Man and in the process puts herself on the top of both adversaries “Must Kill” lists.

Doctor Octopus’ men open fire on Black Cat, forcing Spider-Man to rush her to the hospital. As she is being operated on, Peter realizes just how much he cares for her, eventually starting to love her. While she is recovering the two begin a relationship and Peter reveals his identity to her, something that Felicia has an especially hard time with. The two remain together and become almost sickeningly in love with each other, with many issues of Spectacular Spider-Man detailing just how obsessed with each other they had become. It even leads to a particularly bizarre issue where Spider-Man meets Felicia’s mother and gets her approval to date Felicia.

Black Cat

When Spider-Man disappears to fight in the “Secret Wars,” Felicia seeks out a way to gain powers similar to his so that they can safely be together. She undergoes the same procedures that were done to the Scorpion and The Fly thanks to the Kingpin. The powers she gains begin to permanently affect Spider-Man, essentially jinxing him. Sensing the lies growing between them, Peter calls off the relationship between him and Felicia and has Doctor Strange remove the hex that she put on him and in the process gives her new powers.

The two would continue to have a rocky relationship moving forward, particularly when Felicia finds out that Peter and Mary Jane have married. For awhile she taunted and threatened Peter and Mary Jane and even dated Flash Thompson just to get even. The two eventually managed to settle their differences and even developed a casual sexual relationship after Peter and Mary Jane’s marriage was undone by the events of “One More Day,” but the less said about that the better.

Black Cat

Peter’s love of Felicia is notable for its intensity and the drama that it introduced into the series. While it might not be as honest or relatable as Ultimate Peter Parker’s time with Kitty Pryde it certainly helped to inspire that story.

Now, let’s get to the moment you’ve all been waiting for:

2  Gwen Stacy

As much as Betty Brant was Peter’s first relationship, there is no mistaking that Gwen Stacy was Peter’s first true love. The two meet in Amazing Spider-Man #31 when Peter first attends college. With Ditko as the artist on the book, Gwen is initially presented as a sultry, popular blond who is clearly assessing the potential of all the new young men at Empire State University. She begins by flirting with Flash Thompson and is turned off by Peter’s casual disregard for her and her friends, as he is too busy being worried about Aunty May’s need for a blood transfusion.

Gwen Stacy

Peter is thought to be “too good” for everyone else, a notion that Flash Thompson is happy to reinforce. Regardless, Gwen remains attracted to Peter, who whether he intends it or not is becoming quite the “man of mystery” in her life. Tensions rise between the two and Gwen even attempts to slap Peter at one point. Even though Gwen has “girlfriend” written all over her, things aren’t getting off to a good start.

Eventually all of Peter’s problems get smoothed over with the introduction of John Romita Sr. as the new penciler on the book. Ditko’s Ayn Randian worldview was one that is portrayed as being full of anger and spite and it manifested itself in the characters’ relationships. The introduction of Romita cast the world in a distinctly different light. Peter and Harry patch up their differences over shared familial experiences and Gwen begins to see Peter in a different light.

Gwen Stacy

However it is at this point that Mary Jane finally enters Peter’s life, with a vivacious “Face it Tiger!” This would trigger a love-triangle in the spirit of Archie, Betty, and Veronica in Amazing Spider-Man. Gwen would date both Flash Thompson and Harry Osborn due to the murkiness of her relationship with Peter and his sudden disappearances. However, when they were together Peter and Gwen were an unstoppable couple who faced innumerable threats to their lives.

Gwen Stacy

When Gwen eventually leaves for England to visit her Uncle Arthur it is only then that Peter realizes just how much he loves Gwen and thinks silently about the possibility of marrying Gwen. However, this wasn’t to be as the Green Goblin famously put an end to her life by dropping her off the Brooklyn (or was it George Washington?) Bridge.

Gwen Stacy

I’ve always felt that Gwen started out as an interesting, if antagonistic character, that slowly became less and less interesting as time went on. The world of Spider-Man was changing, with the introduction of some modern problems and situations that only served to make her character seem more and more like a relic of the past. Peter was growing up as well and the only next logical step for the two of them was marriage.

Gwen Stacy

Her death in many ways ended Peter’s innocence as a character and properly launched him into adulthood. It was the catalyst for him to enter the adult world of superheroics where it was no longer just fun and games but a world full of consequences. As great as their relationship was, it will always be remembered for how it ended … Tragically.

1  Mary Jane

If Gwen Stacy was Peter Parker’s first true love then Mary Jane should be his final true love. From the minute she first entered Peter’s life in Amazing Spider-Man #42 with her famous, “Face it tiger… You just hit the jackpot!,” there could be no other girl for Peter. Sure, her early appearances cast her as a flaky party girl with little time for anyone but herself but she always had something that Gwen didn’t, she was a ton of fun.

Mary Jane

However, what solidifies Mary Jane as the girl that is the best love of Peter Parker occurs in Amazing Spider-Man #122. Mary Jane goes to visit Peter at his apartment after hearing about Gwen’s death. She attempts to console him but he pushes her away saying, “Don’t make me laugh, Mary Jane. You wouldn’t be sorry if your own mother died. What do you care about straights like me and Gwen? Go on — get out of here. I know how you hate sick beds. And believe me – I wouldn’t want to spoil your fun.”

Mary Jane hesitates for a moment before leaving but decides to stay and silently closes the door. This is the moment that not only comics grew up, with the death of the innocence in Gwen, but also that Mary Jane matured to become the woman Peter would eventually be with.

Mary Jane

Gwen was reliable and consistent but Mary Jane could push Peter in ways that he hadn’t been pushed before. If Gwen was an innocent love, Mary Jane was the real thing with all the ups and downs that come in a real romance.

Mary Jane

This very concept was incredibly documented in the original graphic novel Spider-Man: Blue, as Peter talks to Gwen posthumously and tells her how Mary Jane has taught him to love again. To chronicle how the two got to this deep level of understanding and connection is to recall the entire story of Peter Parker as Spider-Man, that’s just how essential Mary Jane is to the series. 

This is why it is so unfortunate to see all the things that have been done with her character over the past several years. Their marriage was sold to Mephisto in exchange for Aunt May’s life and just when it was about to be rekindled Doctor Octopus took control of Peter’s body and messed it all up again.

Mary Jane

Now, Mary Jane seems fit to no longer have Peter in her life, complaining that his responsibilities aren’t hers and that she can no longer be endangered by having Peter in her life. These are all intelligent sentiments from a character whose life has been continually torn down by Peter Parker’s chosen lifestyle, but sometimes love knows no dangers too perilous and no chasms too wide. That’s the kind of love that Peter and Mary Jane have for each other. That’s the kind of love that made Mary Jane such a great character. That’s the kind of love that places her at the top of this list. That’s the kind of love I wish would return to the world of Spider-Man.

Mary Jane

That being said, all of these qualities that I enjoy about both Gwen and Mary Jane are both alive and well in the Ultimate Universe where perhaps the best versions of these characters exist. I wonder if Peter Parker can ever move beyond Mary Jane or if comic creators can ever create an honest and loving character in this more modern world of complicated relationships, especially since both Gwen and Mary Jane came from a simpler and more pure era of comics. That feeling of nostalgia and innocence might be key to both characters’ appeal and perhaps Spider-Man’s appeal as a character. I fear that the more that the writers and editors at Marvel push these characters further into Spider-Man’s past the more they lose what makes Spider-Man so appealing.

These are just my Top 10 but I would be remiss in forgetting to mention all the other wonderful (or not) women that Peter has been romantically linked to. See if you can recognize them all:

  • Amy Powell
  • April Maye
  • Caryn Earle
  • Sophia “Chat” Sanduval (Marvel Adventures Spider-Man)
  • Cissy Ironwood
  • Fallon
 Skye (Hostess ad)
  • 
Lisa Skye (Hostess ad)
  • Firestar (“Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends”)
  • Miss Kay
  • 
Jillian Blythe
  • Invisible Woman
  • Janine Godbe
  • Jessica Carradine
  • Marcy Kane
  • Marrow
  • Michele Gonzoles
  • Silver Sable (What If Spider-Man Married Black Cat?)
  • Virginia Dare (Spider-Man: 1602)

Thanks again to Dan Gvozden for filling yet another hole in my scandalously-thin knowledge of Marvel’s greatest superhero! Keep an eye out for Dan’s work when he returns with Super-Blog Team-Up next month, and in the meantime, please be sure to visit Dan’s home blog — Superior Spider-Talk — for even more Spider-Man goodness (and Dan’s signature podcast, too!)

NEXT WEEK: #129 Who’s the Boss?: Kingpin as Daredevil’s Arch-Nemesis

LONGBOX GRAVEYARD TOP TEN LISTS

Top 10 Superhero Spoonerisms

#10

Clack Banary

#9

Fick Nury

#8

Maptain Carvel

#7

Jellow Yacket

#6

Haven The Krunter

#5

Wack Blidow

#4

Octor Doctopus

#3

Ted Rornado

#2

Caron Sharter

#1

Fister Mantastic

And because it’s Friday, there has to be a Flipagram …

LONGBOX GRAVEYARD TOP TEN LISTS

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