August 1987

Amazing Spider-Man 294

A friend of mine recently returned from an academic conference eager to speak with me about a panel he attended on Ernest Hemingway in comics. This panel focused on comics where Hemingway appeared as an actual character, such as Joshua Hale Fialkov’s The Life After, Larry Hama’s Wolverine, and Peter Milligan’s Shade the Changing Man, as well as appearances where Hemingway was (not so) cleverly disguised, most obviously as “Ham Ernestway” in Cerebus’ Form and Void. I was surprised to hear that J. M. DeMatteis’ “Fearful Symmetry: Kraven’s Last Hunt” wasn’t mentioned during the panel.

I was in high school when these issues came out, so didn’t make the connection, but reading it now it seems almost too obvious to me. Think about the image of Kraven the aging hunter, looking back on his life, fetishizing honor, desperate for one last adventure… And of course this makes the ending – which was genuinely shocking to me the first time I read it – utterly inevitable.

On a less depressing note, I was pleased to note that Doctor Octopus wasn’t the first Superior Spider-Man – and I couldn’t be more confident that Dan Slott took his lead from this very page.

Justice League International 7

Four in a row! Looks like its DeMatteis month here at Random Access Memory. Weird to think that the same month that his most dramatic super-hero work concluded, his silliest super-hero work was just hitting its stride.

This was the end of the first major story line, and the first issue to carry the “Justice League International” title, but it also features the first appearance of “Nice Guy” Gardner. After hitting his head on a table (*after* being knocked out by Batman) Guy Gardner’s brain appeared to have rebooted in “Captain Marvel” mode, and the formerly cantankerous Green Lantern was now the kindest person on earth. Brilliantly, this personality was no less annoying to his teammates than his previous one.

And, taking a page from every fifth issue of the Avengers, this issue ends with a full-page splash introducing the new team. Too bad the JLI never got around to creating a battle cry.

Other Comics I Read from August 1987

  • Avengers 2858
  • Badger 31
  • Cerebus 101
  • Classic X-Men 15
  • Doc Savage 1
  • Grendel 11
  • Incredible Hulk 337
  • Marvel Fanfare 35
  • Marvel Graphic Novel: The Big Change
  • Nexus 40
  • Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man 132
  • Phantom Stranger 2
  • Punisher 4
  • Question 10
  • Scout 22
  • Swamp Thing 66
  • Vigilante 47
  • Yummy Fur 6

Comics I Read from August 1992

  • Amazing Spider-Man: Soul of the Hunter
  • Animal Man 52
  • Army of Darkness 2
  • Batman: Night Cries
  • Batman: Sword of Azrael
  • Cerebus 161
  • Doom Patrol 59
  • Flash 69
  • Grendel: War Child 1
  • Hellblazer 58
  • Incredible Hulk 398
  • Milk and Cheese’s Third Number One
  • Miracleman 23
  • Robocop vs. Terminator 2
  • Sandman 42
  • Shade the Changing Man 28
  • Spectacular Spider-Man 193
  • Swamp Thing 124
  • X-Factor 83
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About Author

Rand Bellavia is half of the Filk Pop Nerd Rock band Ookla the Mok. They’ve been playing at science fiction and comic book conventions since 1994. Their clever, media-savvy lyrics, catchy melodies, and accessible power-pop sound have made them a cult-sensation with nerds everywhere. With song titles like Super Powers, Welcome to the Con, Arthur Curry, Kang the Conqueror, and Stop Talking About Comic Books or I’ll Kill You, it’s easy to see why. Rand and Ookla the Mok have won four Pegasus Awards, and the 2014 Logan Award for Outstanding Original Comedy Song. Ookla the Mok had the most requested song on Dr. Demento in 2012 (“Tantric Yoda”) and 2013 (“Mwahaha”). Rand co-wrote the theme song for the Disney cartoon Fillmore, and his vocals are the first thing you hear on Gym Class Heroes’ Top Five hit “Cupid’s Chokehold.” In his secret identity, Rand is the Director of the Montante Library at D’Youville College in Buffalo, New York. He has lectured and presented at international conferences on the subject of comics and libraries. Rand is like the Internet, except he smells nice.


  1. Feargal Gallagher on

    This is one of the first comics I ever read, and one of the handful that made me a fan for life. I’ve read the series around this issue piecemeal since then, so wouldn’t have realised that Thor as Deus-ex-machina was being over-used.

    I have since learned that Thor was off on a long exile from Earth, traveling through the cosmos in his own comics during these issues, so the creators had to push to have him in the Avengers at all (I guess they really wanted him there. Also the whole point of the Nefaria saga was to have them face an opponent who seemingly outclassed them all, and part of that would be letting the viewers see that even Thor couldn’t beat him.) So him appearing suddenly out of nowhere is a function of him having to zip across the galaxy for half an issue and then back again in time for his next appearance in his own comic.

    The last page above is still one of the best superhero entrances in all of comics, though.

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