The Daily Comic Book Coffee, number nine: Hey, hey, the gangs all here… here being today’s artwork by John Romita & Mike Esposito from Amazing Spider-Man #53, published by Marvel Comics, cover-dated October 1967.

After co-creator Steve Ditko’s departure from Amazing Spider-Man a year earlier, scripter & editor Stan Lee took the series even more in the direction of soap opera. This was a good fit for the book’s new artist John Romita, who had recently come off of an eight year stint illustrating romance stories for DC Comics. Lee & Romita revealed the previously-unseen Mary Jane Watson, and began setting up a love triangle between Mary Jane, Gwen Stacy and Peter Parker. In the 1960s there was undoubtedly many a teenage boy reading Amazing Spider-Man who fell head-over-heels in love with Romita’s gorgeous depictions of Gwen and Mary Jane.

Effectively inking Romita on this issue is Mike Esposito, using the pen name of “Mickey Demeo” as he was still working for DC at this time. Lettering is courtesy of longtime Marvel staffer Art Simek.

Following a battle with Doctor Octopus at the science exposition, Spider-Man changes back into his civvies and heads over to The Coffee Bean with Gwen for a cup of coffee. Peter and Gwen arrive to find MJ, Flash Thompson, and Harry Osborn already present, with even Aunt May and Anna Watson popping by to say hello. You just gotta love that sign with the skull & crossbones-ish beatnik coffee bean with beret, sunglasses & paintbrushes, accompanied by the warning “Abandon hope all ye who enter here.” Sounds ominous… their espresso must be extra-strong.

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The Daily Comic Book Coffee, number nine: Hey, hey, the gangs all here… here being today’s artwork by John Romita & Mike Esposito from Amazing Spider-Man #53, published by Marvel Comics, cover-dated October 1967. After co-creator Steve Ditko’s departure from Amazing Spider-Man a year earlier, scripter & editor Stan Lee...