Thursday, October 20, 2016

The mystery of Federal Comics' The Amazing Spider-Man #1 solved!

If you’re still looking for a copy of the Federal Comics edition of The Amazing Spider-Man #1 you can cross it off your list. It doesn’t exist. In its place you can file Marvel Tales starring Spider-Man # 1 – this is the first issue of the series.
Marvel Tales starring Spider-Man # 1 begins with a reprint of Spider-Man’s origin story. Of course this famous story originally appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15, but this reprint is sourced directly from the US reprint in Marvel Tales #137, March 1982, as is the modified, recoloured cover.
The second story in this issue is “The Uncanny Threat of the Terrible Tinkerer!”, which originally appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #2, May 1963. I expect this Federal reprint is sourced from Marvel Tales #139, May1982.
The next two stories are “Let Fly These Aged Wings!” and “Fools...Like Us!”, which originally appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #224, January 1982 and #225, February 1982 respectively.
The Amazing Spider-Man #2 begins where Marvel Tales starring Spider-Man # 1 left off, reprinting the main features from the US The Amazing Spider-Man # 226, March 1982; #227 April 1982; and #228 May 1982.
It appears Federal had the right idea – launch a current series of The Amazing Spider-Man with the most recent material available from Marvel, and begin with the origin story which had also conveniently become available courtesy of the Marvel Tales reprint. But, having proceeded to begin the new series with the Marvel Tales cover, they neglected to modify it so that it read The Amazing Spider-Man #1. That would have ironed everything  out smoothly.
Looking at Federal Comics’  Marvel Tales issue, it’s curious that they padded it with the Terrible Tinkerer story from Marvel Tales #139. They could have opted for “Duel to the Death with the Vulture”, a similarly vintage Spider-Man story which also appeared in Marvel Tales #139, and would have provided a neat segue into “Let Fly These Aged Wings!”. Maybe they didn’t have all the material from the Marvel Tales series at their disposal. Who knows – I’d have to dig a little further to see what other Marvel Tales material was published by Federal. I don't think there were any more issues of Marvel Tales published by Federal Comics, but some of the material may have found its way into other issues.
But that’s for another time. For now the Junkyard is happy to have solved yet another little mystery.

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