Lot 54 of 250:
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #13 * CGC xx * 1st MYSTERIO * Method to Stan's Madness  

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$800 - $1,200





Marvel [Indicia: Non-Pareil Publishing Group]

June, 1964


CGC certified: VG+ (4.5). Off-white pages. Not cleaned and pressed. Cover: Steve Ditko pencils and inks, Stan Goldberg colors. Story: Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Art: Steve Ditko. Colors: Stan Goldberg. Lettering: Artie Simek. First appearance: Mysterio. First official use of the diminutive "Spidey" (the nickname first appeared in the letter column of ish #12, but its use on this mag's cover is, according to Rilstone, its first occurence "in the body of the comic." GPAnalysis: A 4.5 sold for $1425 in 7/22.

Mysterio gaslights Spidey into thinking he's gone nuts. Spidey visits a shrink but splits before spilling his guts: "Oh NO! What a MISTAKE I almost made! If I just relax and say whatever I think of, I'm liable to give away my secret identity!"

We're not experts on Ayn Rand, but we're pretty sure a crackpot hero is contrary to the spirit of Objectivism, which, according to an online wiki, "emphasizes reason as the ultimate virtue." Stan Lee's un-Randian preference for flawed heroes must have nettled the prickly Ditko, another factor, we daresay, in their deteriorating relationship. In about half-a-dozen issues Ditko would assume full control over Spidey's plots. Soon, the spectre of Ayn Rand would loom ever-larger on Spidey's horizon, held in check only by Stan's dialogue and captions. It's ironic that Stan became Amazing Spider-Man's bulwark against Ditko's all-consuming Objectivism, since it's Stan who hepped Ditko to Rand in the first place: "[Ditko discovered Rand] through Stan Lee who took particular note of the writer's definition of a hero." — David Currie, Ditko Shrugged. Hermes Press: 2020, p. 70.

Why was Stan foisting philosophical novels off on freelancers, anyway? Typically, when bosses suggest books to employees, it's self-improvement stuff geared towards boosting loyalty and productivity. Was a Svengali-like Stan, in full Ringmaster mode, dropping bait for an idea-hungry Ditko to consume? Did Stan feed Ditko a pro-capital philosophy, designed to appeal to idealistic loners, in hopes of making him more deferential to Marvel publisher Martin Goodman's position as an economic "producer"? What was Stan's game?

And how about Ditko — why was he so ready to to be radicalized? What sort of fellow reads a book, goes nuts over it, allows it to pervade every aspect of his life? Was there a void in Ditko's life that he was eager to fill? Or, as one Spidey-savvy blogger suggests, was Ditko's balls-to-the-wall Ayn Randism a psychological ploy to out-do Stan? "Ditko resented Stan Lee for exploiting his labor and yet he clung to Rand who was introduced to him by Stan Lee. Ditko’s immersion into Rand... seems like a kind of displaced rivalry. Ditko can’t beat Stan Lee in fame and wealth, but in terms of Rand fandom, Ditko can overgo him, and so he did at the detriment of his artistic calling." — Jack Elving, "Ditko and Rand: The Objectivist Spider-Man?" Elvingsmusings.wordpress.com, June 7, 2022.


Enjoying the Spidey Sale? Order a fully-illustrated softcover catalogue for 30 bucks. Only about 100 copies were printed and they're going fast. To reserve a copy, contact PBA's Director of Comics: [email protected]

Consign to PBA Galleries. Our comic sales average a 98% sell-through rate, our prices realized are top-of-the-market, and our research-intensive catalogues are the best in the business. Seeking Silver Age Marvel, Golden Age superheroes, and pre-Code horror. Contact [email protected]


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