Classic Comic Cover Corner (#MaskUp Edition): Amazing Spider-Man #12

When current events collide with comic book history we showcase a classic comic cover, complete with compelling pop culture commentary, for your cordial contemplation. It’s the Classic Comic Cover Corner!

Amazing Spider-Man #12 – May, 1964

Cover art by Steve Ditko

Amazing Spider-Man #12 – May, 1964

As the coronavirus pandemic keeps cruelly marching on, you’ve likely been asking yourself, “Hey, why isn’t the government issuing Doc Ock style social-distancing arms to everyone?” And astute classic-comic fans are probably also asking why Doctor Octopus so closely resembles the current Secretary of the Treasury, Steve Mnuchin. Could the two things possibly be related? (I think there’s a high potentiality!)

While our politically divisive culture is arguing about the civil common sense of wearing a mask to protect each other from sickness and/or death, back in 1964 the aforementioned Doctor had his own ideas about the subject, especially when it came to the Amazing Spider-Man.

One could say that Spidey has faced the “mask debate” his entire career, with every other odd super-villain wanting to pull that thing off – and during Marvel’s Civil War event (2006–07) Peter Parker even volunteered to take it off himself – but it was in Amazing Spider-Man #12 that Peter first had his mask forcibly removed.

This classic comic was written by Stan Lee and illustrated by Steve Ditko, and, strangely enough, Doctor Octopus was only able to overpower Spidey because the hero was suffering from a virus, “the one thing even (his) spider strength can’t resist.” (Take note, young people!)

When Doc saw it was just the nerdy teenager, Peter Parker, underneath the mask, he knew the kid had to be an imposter and just tossed him aside as a “weakling brat” – not unlike the way much of the “Trump base” looks at mask-wearers who are trying to protect themselves and others from the COVID-19 disease.

For almost 60 years, Spidey has wore a mask to protect the people he loves; and if Peter Parker can do it then we can do it and stop pretending our freedoms are being attacked. Be a hero to the people around you and the people you love and mask up!