Preeeeeesenting…The Clown, and his Masters of Menace!
Written by: Stan Lee
Illustrated by: Steve Ditko
Lettered by: Artie Simek
Originally published: March 1965
The big theme of this issue is being female, and we learn all about it with Princess Python. Her super-power is that she is a woman and, therefore, Spider-Man can’t hit her. Furthermore, we learn that, when cornered, Princess Python has another super-power: seduction. Finally, we learn that the word “female” can never be overused, and can even be a euphemism for “bitch”. (Seriously, has Stan never heard the word “woman”? Why is everyone always called “female”? It’s so weird.)
This is something that’s been bothering me for awhile, actually; I almost wrote something along these lines for Fantastic Four #36 as well. In that issue Madam Medusa’s superpower is having hair. Sue Storm often gets written/treated like shit too, as do Betty Brant and Liz. These old books could use a little Joss Whedon touch. I think Stan Lee might have been a total jerk, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s simply a reflection of the times and not necessarily him.
The writing for this issue was not particularly good to begin with, and it’s even worse considering all the sexist crap. I’m not normally the type to be offended, but even I was taken aback by the really atrocious way women are written and written about here. On a more positive note, I really liked some of the art in this issue. There were some awesome close-ups (and I always love Ditko close-ups), and the fight with the snake looked really good.
This rating is based on 1.5 for the writing and 3.5 for the art.