Cover Price: $.12

March 1964

Value: $2,300 (Near Mint-)
Enforcers, 1st Big Man


Supporting Cast:
Aunt May, Flash Thompson, Liz Allen, Betty Brant, J. Jonah Jameson, 1st Frederick Foswell


1st Enforcers (1st Fancy Dan, 1st Ox, 1st Montana), 1st Big Man (Frederick Foswell)

"The Enforcers!" - 22 Pages

Writer -
Stan Lee
Artist - Steve Ditko
Cover - Jack Kirby & Steve Ditko
Lettering - Sam Rosen

After introducing Electro last issue, Stan and Steve kept their creative juices flowing by introducing not one, but two separate villainous identities: The Big Man and the Enforcers. Technically, this can be seen as four but who's counting?! The Big Man didn't really turn out to be so big in the future (no pun intended) but the Enforcers would go on to annoy Spider-Man for years to come. The major question in this issue is just who the Big Man is. This character can be seen as the very first in a long line of mystery "what's my line" villains in the Spider-Verse even though it took just one issue to reveal his identity.

The story opens with a mysterious looking man wearing a white mask talking to a cowboy about "Operation Hi-Lift". At the same time, Spider-Man tries to capture a jewel thief before the thief is taken by the Big Man by helicopter and evades Spider-Man rather easily making a fool of him in front of many on-lookers. A little later in a smoke-filled room, The Big Man and gang leaders have a get-together where the Big Man declares that he is now the head of the crime syndicate in the city and has his own little gang called the Enforcers to back himself up. Of course, the gang leaders get a little ticked off of this news and try to attack them, but in the end, they all learn their lesson well. The first Enforcer introduced to the leaders was Fancy Dan, a small yet very quick and agile master of Judo. Second, the humongous Ox, whose brute strength alone is enough to bring an entire gang down. Last, but not least is Montana, the aforementioned cowboy, who is an expert with a lasso and wraps the gangsters up.

We now change to the Forest Hills Hospital where Peter is visiting his ill Aunt May and learns that she needs a blood transfusion from a doctor. Peter worries that his radio-active blood may have a bad effect on his Aunt but he goes through it anyway (See the ramifications of this blood transfusion in Amazing Spider-Man #31-33). In the city meanwhile, a crime-wave hits the city as many mobs of criminals hit it lead by the Big Man. Any underworld members that refuse to be lead by him has to answer to the Enforcers. When the police ask J. Jonah Jameson to help find the Big Man, Jonah responds that he must be Spider-Man in disguise and even goes as far as ordering one of his best columnists, frail looking Frederick Foswell (introduced in this very issue), to write a column that "proves" that the Big Man is Spider-Man. Secretary Betty Brant leaves the Daily Bugle building and meets Fancy Dan of the Enforcers who wants loan money back that Betty already paid off. After things get a little nasty, Peter comes to her aid and is held by the Ox until Betty states that she will pay them the money. Things are a bit different after Peter changes into Spider-Man and goes looking for the Enforcers and learns of their location from a thug on the street. Spider-Man battles the Enforcers before he weakens from the blood transfusion. He then goes in search of the Big Man and sees J. Jonah Jameson and soon enough Peter begins to wonder that Jonah may be leading a double life.

Later at school, Peter and his big mouth get him in trouble as he blabs to everyone that he may know who the Big Man is. An informant overhears this and tells the Big Man who states that he knows who Peter Parker is. Looks like Jonah huh? The Enforcers later "pick-up" Peter and take him away. This is just what Peter wanted all along as he hopes they take him to the Big Man. Peter is later thrown into a room where he changes into Spider-Man, but he is discovered by a horde of gangsters that are there with the Big Man. What ensues is a major battle between many common gangsters, the Enforcers, and the Big Man himself. Spider-Man uses a spider-signal from his belt to alert the police to where he is. When the police arrive they scare most all the common gangsters but the Big Man is still after Spider-Man. The police capture many of the gangsters and the Enforcers but the Big Man gets away.

Back at the Daily Bugle, Spider-Man peeks in to see what's taking place there. Jonah is on another one of his tirades and still wants the "proof" that the Big Man is Spider-Man from Foswell. The police arrive surrounding the place and at the very moment that Spider-Man thinks that this means Jameson is definitely the Big Man, he and the readers are shocked to learn that the police are after Frederick Foswell instead. The police found clothes and an amplifier to disguise his voice in Foswell's car. Spider-Man never thought of Foswell as a candidate for the Big Man at all.

Jameson on the other hand is very embarrassed about the events and goes into detail as to why he hates Spider-Man, and this is probably the reason why even to this day, he despises him. He compares himself to Spider-Man. He is a man interested in one thing: Making money, yet Spider-Man risks his life every day without reward. "I can never respect myself while he lives!" moans J.J.J. and he envies Spider-Man as he is everything that he is not. "I'd give everything I own to be the man that he is!" and "All that remains for me is to try and tear him down, because I'm jealous of him!" cries J. Jonah Jameson. This is a great summary as to why Jameson has always hated Spider-Man throughout the years.

Great issue if just for the ending with Jameson, but we get the first appearances of Frederick Foswell and most importantly the Enforcers. The Enforcers would show up next chronologically in Untold Tales Of Spider-Man #8 and then next working with the Green Goblin in Amazing Spider-Man #14. The Big Man doesn't show up again, but in Marvel Team-Up #39 & #40, Foswell's daughter became Big Man II. Frederick himself would go on to play a supporting cast role for awhile until he died in Amazing Spider-Man #52 giving his life to save J. Jonah Jameson. He is seen next in Amazing Spider-Man #23 where Jameson offers him his job back as a Daily Bugle reporter.

Alternate (Unused) Cover
By Steve Ditko


Quality Rating: 5
Significance Rating: 4

Overall Rating:


 Reprinted In:
Marvel Tales
Marvel Tales
 Spider-Man Classics #11
 Marvel Masterworks Vol. 5
Spider-Man Essentials I

Amazing Spider-Man #9

Also This Month:

No Other Spider-Man Comics this month.

Amazing Spider-Man #11