The venerable Bill Boichel has done it again. He has possibly unearthed the real secret origin of Spider-Man. Over on his Copacetic Comics site, he has posted a Harry Lucey story from Archie #126 published in March of 1962. He posits that Harry Lucey… err, wait, let me just cut and paste what Bill sez. Or just go to his site – which you gotta do anyways to read the Harry Lucey comic he’s riffing on. Please enjoy.
“Here for your consideration is the six page story, ‘Follow the Bouncing Ball’ from Archie Comics #126, with a publication date of March 1962. Produced by the peerless penciller, Harry Lucey, this story appeared on the stands five or six months before Amazing Fantasy #15 (AF15 had a cover date of August, but states September 1962 in the indicia).
“This story involves the accidental introduction of radioactivity into a high schooler’s life, with supernatural results. Not only that, but the throwaway gag panel that concludes the story introduces the concept of the so-gained supernatural power interfering with the teen’s normal romantic life, which is a central theme to Spider-Man, and critical to the long lasting success of the character. And then there’s the use of the word ‘tingling’ which came to be associated with Spider-Man’s ‘spidey-sense.’ It kinda of makes you wonder…
“Zeitgeist? Coincidence? Or, perhaps, this story was read by Stan and/or Steve during a lunchbreak, leading to the conscious or unconscious sparking of an idea. The timing is just right. We’ll never know, of course, but it’s something to ponder. Now’s your chance to read it for yourself, and see what you think.”