This post is dedicated to Ben Herman – we were issues apart from being twins (having first purchased almost the same issue of Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man).
He first purchased PPTSS #32; I purchased PPTSS #34 (you can see the excitement at Brian Cronin’s awesome corner of Comics Should Be Good at CBR). Amazingly, both books were the bookends of a three-part story on the Lizard, one of Spidey’s earliest foes, and one of my favorites.
So…as you can see by the covers, a new character had been added during the arc. Dr. Curt Connors was performing yet another experiment to see if he could grow back his missing arm, and was testing some theories upon an iguana, when he accidentally stumbled into the path of his enervator, imparting some of his Lizard persona to the reptile. The iguana became…
Here was a creature with the same powers as the Lizard, but without any of his humanity, which often worked to stop his predations. After a number of battles, Spidey realized that he needed to siphon the Lizard persona from the Iguana. He disassembled Connors’ enervator and constructed a portable unit that fit on his back. But, like Reed Richards, back on the fateful rocket ride that turned him and his cohorts into the Fantastic Four, he neglected to ensure that there was proper shielding.
He used the enervator on the two reptile-men, and achieved his projected result.
Now, let’s fast-forward to PPTSS #39, drawn by John Romita, Jr. and Jim Mooney:
Chip Martin, the sone of Senator Robert Martin, looses control after Morbius’ attack on Spider-Man last issue, and becomes the Schizoid Man. He unleashes an onslaught of insanity against the campus, until Spider-Man intervenes…painfully.
Spidey beats the Schizoid Man like a red-headed stepchild, and is admonished for his attack. Uncharacteristically, he storms away to a rooftop, where a startling transformation takes place…he turns into the Spider-Lizard!!!
PPTSS #40 is drawn by Frank Springer (the penciler of Dazzler, and Jim Mooney’s inker here on PPTSS) and Ricardo Villamonte.
My question is…was this a hastily created fill-in? If so, what was the original plot, and why was it scrapped? Like PPTSS #34, I got this issue long before #39, so I wasn’t aware that I was missing some vintage JRjr magic.
Will I ever get to the bottom of this mystery?!?
If anyone has an idea about this, let’s get chatty.