Cover Price: $.20

July 1972

Value: $85 (Near Mint-)


Supporting Cast:
 Gwen Stacy, Flash Thompson, Harry Osborn, Aunt May


1st Gibbon, Kraven

"The Birth Of...The Gibbon!" - 20 Pages

Writer -
Stan Lee
Artist - John Romita
Inker - John Romita & Tony Mortellaro
Cover - John Romita
Lettering - John Costanza

The Green Goblin!, Doctor Octopus!, Mysterio!, The Vulture!, The Kingpin!, and many, many more villains that can be categorized as villainous, down-right scary, and very threatening to our favorite wall-crawler that send chills down the readers spine. They are all classic Spider-Villains that would make his hall of fame at any time, if ever there was one. This almost endless creation of these classic villains could not go on forever, and thus some "lesser" baddies are created. Probably the first of which was the Living Robot in Amazing Spider-Man #8, with the Kangaroo in Amazing Spider-Man #81, and Gog in Amazing Spider-Man #103 also coming top mind. I'm sure everyone has their favorite "lovable losers", as far as Spider-Villains go, but there is good chance that the villain introduced here in this issue is amongst them. The cover depicts a character that looks much more ape than man, throwing Spider-Man from atop a building, but as we will learn, the Gibbon is much more human.

The "Birth Of The Gibbon" begins with a declaration that they introducing one of the "Greatest Super Stars" in the Marvel Universe. Talk about Hype! Anyway, we see Spider-Man recuperating from last issue. Peter feels that he lost Gwen to Flash Thompson, and learns that his camera wasn't exactly working too well in his attempt to get some sellable photos of Dr. Strange from last issue. He tosses his camera from atop a building in disgust, but he is surprised when a mysterious man comes out from nowhere to catch it. Who??, a startled Spider-Man, wonders is this man. The man greets Spider-Man with agility similar to his very own, and introduces himself as Martin Blank, a "freak". Spider-Man responds that he is no freak to him, but Martin puts himself down for being "ugly and creepy". After Spider-Man swings away, we learn more about Martin, after he returns to some kind of boarding room. Martin takes a look at himself in the mirror and thinks to himself that he may be better off locked in a cage in a zoo. As he lays down, he fondly remembers his time at the zoo when he was in an orphanage, especially at the Gibbon cage. He showed off his uncanny agility and climbing powers to the other kids who made fun of him, daring them to catch him.

Over the years, Martin became the only child not to be adopted, until he became old enough to go and be on his own into a world that didn't want him. Afraid to face his fellow man, Martin wanted to get away, but did not have the necessary funds to do so. He had one place that he could possibly fit in: As an acrobat in the circus. He wore a monkey suit, but soon found out that the circus only wanted him more as a clown to make children laugh, more so for him acrobatic skills. All that he was to the audience was a "Monkey Man", and Martin could not take the laughing any longer. He took his first and only paycheck and took the circus train out of the circus with nothing but his monkey suit. Martin now has something else in his plans, especially after his meeting with Spider-Man.

Spider-Man, by the way, retrieves his clothes and returns home as Peter Parker. Aunt May and Gwen Stacy are there waiting for him, thinking that he would never come back. Peter at this point, is exhausted, and falls over. Gwen is very upset until Harry Osborn and Flash Thompson walk on in. Flash takes Gwen home, and when Peter wakes up, Harry tells him that she didn't want to disturb him. Peter then is upset about his Aunt May, then calls her without any answer. Peter then suits up as Spider-Man, and swings his way over to her apartment. Just a few blocks away from his Aunt, Spider-Man has his second visit by Martin, but this time dressed in his monkey suit. Spider-Man doesn't seem to notice Martin at first, as the Gibbon just wants to talk to Spider-Man, but Martin re-introduces himself with a deal to become Spider-Man's partner. Spider-Man breaks out in a hysteric laughter after hearing the Gibbon's offer, and this of course infuriates the Gibbon. The Gibbon gets so angry until he reaches his "boiling point": He attacks Spider-Man by grasping him around his neck until his grip is easily broken.

Spider-Man tries to leave, but Martin is offended by being ignored. He grabs Spider-Man and throws him off the building, but Spider-Man easily webs his way to safety, and swings away from the Gibbon. To Spider-Man, this entire encounter is nothing but "fun", never taking the Gibbon seriously. The Gibbon on the other hand, is completely angered and belittled, feeling again like a complete "Blank" or nothing. Full of emotions of anger and hatred, the Gibbon is still atop a rooftop, but he is not alone. A man in the shadows appear, claiming that he has found someone full of the very hatred and anger that he has been looking for. "I will harness his energy, nurture his hatred, and give him power beyond his wildest dreams!" says the mystery man to himself. "He shall truly become the Gibbon" he follows up to himself, with plans on using Martin Blank as a tool in causing the death of Spider-Man.

Who is this mystery man? It wasn't too obvious to those who read the original story back in 1972, but looking back with 20/ 20 hindsight vision, it all makes sense when we return to read what happens next. Don't miss it!

Quality Rating: 4
Significance Rating: 4

Overall Rating:


Reprinted In:
Marvel Tales

Amazing Spider-Man #109

Also This Month:

Marvel Team-Up #3
Marvel Feature

Incredible Hulk

Amazing Spider-Man #111