Thor’s Day Comics: The Spectacular Spider-Man #190

I am remiss in that last Thursday, I was so wrapped up in my Face(mask) Off posts, I forgot all about Thor’s Day Comics. I will have to make up for it by writing about an issue that holds significance for me. While Spider-Man isn’t a favorite character of mine, this particular issue was given to me when I was 9 years old.

My parents were trying to help me correct some behavioral problems, and in an effort to entice me, my dad offered to buy me comic books as a reward. Based on the level of my excitement at the very idea of getting such a treasure, my dad went out and bought me a comic book, before I had done anything on my part. It was the first comic book that I ever owned, and I read it every day until it fell apart. I remember the day cover came off; I was devastated.

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The Spectacular Spider-Man vol. 1 #190 “The Horns of a Dilemma”

When my dad handed me this issue, I was amazed.  I had always known Spider-Man to be the hero, but something about the way that he is being squeezed by the Rhino made me root for the bad guy.

This issue is about the Rhino attacking Peter Parker. Though he ends up fighting Spider-Man, the Rhino is only after Peter. He has been paid to take out Peter, at the bidding of Harry Osborne. The Rhino has a very human element to him, as he is motivated by his desire to support his family. Harry, after all has offered him a great deal of money, if he can destroy Peter Parker.

His initial attack is actually on Peter, but Peter is saved by his reflexes. However, this reaction plays into the scheme that Harry has laid out. The Rhino has supposedly been told about Spider-Man’s identity, for he yells at Peter that he knows his secret, which causes Peter to mistakenly think that Harry has told the Rhino his identity. Thus he runs away, only to return as Spider-Man.

I remember how much I wanted the Rhino to win the fight, when I first read this. The image on the cover is so powerful, and it was far-fetched, in my nine-year-old opinion, that Spider-Man could win. Yet he does when he knocks the Rhino out and covers him with web.

This issue was so important to me as a child. It wasn’t that the characters appealed to me, or that I was engrossed by the story. Rather it was my dad’s gesture that endeared this issue to me.

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