Ha! Issue #47.Romita art and Kraven were my clues. Spider-Man sure did have a good rogues gallery! So many distinctive, memorable villains. (Compared to, say, Daredevil.)There's a great panel the page before, same deal. J Jonah's pupils are set a little too far apart, and he looks crazy or hypnotized as he talks into a phone receiver, with 7 word balloons coming out of his mouth.I see some lovely Mary Jane and Gwen panels in that issue.
I enjoy Romita's art in these issues, so it's a shame that it's often covered up with too much text. And can I say I prefer Gerry Conway's run as writer?
My Essentials collection stops with Vol. 5. I see Conway's name only at the very end of that, with #111 (another Kraven issue!). Is that the era you're thinking of?Never having seen Conway, I subconsciously picture him as actor Jeff Conaway from his days on the TV show ‘Taxi’ (as ‘Bobby Wheeler’).Wikipedia says his work on Spider-Man spanned issues #111–149 (August 1972 – October 1975). It links him with Ross Andru and credits him with introducing The Punisher (also mentioning The Death of Gwen Stacy).Interesting quote: ‘Precocity is a well-known curse; most of the pressure I felt as a younger writer was self-imposed. I wanted to be accepted by other writers and artists as an equal, which put me in some awkward situations — pretending to be more mature than I was, emotionally and professionally. As it happened, I was pretty good at faking a maturity I didn't have, which had advantages and, obviously, some disadvantages. I think people often forgot how young I was, and expected me to perform at a level that was actually beyond me. The result was, I was pretty stressed for most of my early career as a writer, and I often felt like I had no idea what I was doing —which was true. I wrote instinctively and from the gut; when those instincts were appropriate to the material I was writing – for example, when I was writing [The Amazing] Spider-Man — the results were something I was quite proud of, then and now. When my instincts were off, I didn't have the experience to either recognize it, or to compensate for it, with results that were more uneven.’
I have 6, 7 and 8 of the Spider-Man Essentials, that is mostly Ross Andru.Lee and Ditko created these characters, so all due credit, but I think Conway, besides not filling each panel with too much text, made Peter, M.J., Flash and Harry into more rounded characters.
Well, all I can say is: Somebody better tap you to write the introduction to a Gerry Conway or Ross Andru collection. If only I knew who to bug about it.
I see Conway himself did the introduction to Ross Andru's The Amazing Spider-Man Artist's Edition, so you're off the hook for now.