Lot 35 of 417:
AMAZING FANTASY #15 * CGC Purple Label 3.0 * Signed by STAN LEE  
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Lot closed - unsold
AMAZING FANTASY No. 15 (Signed by Stan Lee)






Marvel. August, 1962. CGC certified: Purple Label C-1 (Restored) 3.0 (Good/VG). Off-white pages. Restoration includes small amount of color touch on cover. Right edge trimmed. Cover features Jack Kirby pencils and Steve Ditko inks. Scripting by Stan Lee. Steve Ditko art. Origin and first appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man. Signed by Stan Lee in blue ink in bottom margin of first page.

Now that the character is a massive worldwide icon, it's hard to imagine how strange Spider-Man must have seemed to comic book readers in his debut appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15. Fans of monster and mystery mags would have been familiar with Steve Ditko's idiosyncratic artwork from various Marvel fantasy titles, including Strange Tales, Amazing Adventures, and this comic's previous iteration as Amazing Adult Fantasy. Older fans might have remembered his heavily-stylized horror work for titles like Charlton's The Thing!. Readers might have had certain expectations from a Ditko story, but superheroes wouldn't have been among them (Ditko's only prior superhero work was on ten issues of Charlton's Captain Atom and some inks over Mort Meskin's pencils on Harvey's Captain 3-D).

Whatever they expected, what they got was something that had never been attempted before in comics: a misfit teen hero whose powers seemed more of a burden than a gift. It was a strange and counter-intuitive twist on the usual comic book wish-fulfillment fantasies, and Marvel's publisher Martin Goodman was so sure it would fail that he scheduled it to appear in the final issue of a comic slated for cancellation.

Sean Howe describes the novelty of Lee and Ditko's new creation in Marvel Comics: The Untold Story: "Amazing Fantasy #15, featuring the first appearance of Spider-Man, reached newsstands in June 1962. It strayed far from superhero conventions, further even than The Fantastic Four had. Unlike Kirby, whose heroes had a stocky majesty, Ditko populated his stories with rail-thin, squinting malcontents, placing the protagonist, Peter Parker, in a constellation of sneers, jabbing fingers, and angry eyebrows. On the very first page, Parker—tie, vest, big round eyeglasses and tightly combed hair—is ostracized by his letter-sweater classmates, a nightmare vision of high school life in which Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica have teamed up against one four-eyed weakling."

Amazing Fantasy #15 is perhaps the most influential and certainly the most highly-valued comic book of the Silver Age, and it's one of the most significant popular cultural artifacts of all time. The original artwork to the book is enshrined in the Library of Congress, and a near mint (9.6) copy was sold in 2011 for $1.1 million, making the issue one of only three comic books to break the million-dollar mark. The trimmed edges of the present copy make it ideal for those who prefer to buck the slabbing trend, and Stan Lee's autograph in the bottom margin of the first page confers both great power and great historicity. Here are the consignor's remarks regarding the signature's provenance: "I got it signed when I went to my first ever convention which I'd seen advertised in the back of the latest issue of Amazing Spider-Man. It was at the Sheraton Hotel in New York City. I think it was 1989 but I'm not 100% sure. My sole purpose in going was to meet Stan and get him to sign my book. I had asked my mom to take a picture of me with Stan but the signing table was an unregulated mob scene and the picture she took had neither me nor Stan in it. However, to my delight, when he was signing he was just going book to book, writing his name and saying nothing (almost everything he was signing was Punisher related), but when he got to me he stopped and said, 'Hey, this is the first Spider-Man book I did!' I cannot tell you how my heart leaped at that moment of recognition...."

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