Spider-Man’s First Crush Disappeared From Comics

By z20z.com 9 Min Read

Summary

  • Gerry Conway, a second-generation comic book writer, brought back Spider-Man’s first crush, Liz Allan, and connected her to an early Spider-Man villain.
  • Liz Allan debuted in Amazing Fantasy #15 but didn’t get a name until Amazing Spider-Man #4 and was overshadowed by Betty Brant as Spider-Man’s love interest.
  • Liz Allan’s connection to the Molten Man was revealed in Amazing Spider-Man #133, where it was discovered that she was related to him and tried to keep him under control.


In “I Remember Well,” we spotlight instances where writers pull out long-forgotten plots, characters or attributes of comic book characters. Today, in a dual entry tying into “Foundationed Deep,” a feature where we look at particular odd/strange/interesting instances of retroactively connecting different comic book characters, we look at how Spider-Man’s first crush returned to the comics after many years, which revealed a hidden connection to an early Spider-Man villain!


It’s funny, when we think about second generation comic book writers (the writers who wrote comic books after growing up READING comic books, which was different from the first generation of comic book writers who didn’t read comic books because they were the ones who CREATED comic books in the first place), the generation that became famous for writing stories that specifically resonated with their fellow comic book readers (I have a whole feature for this called Always Kind of Wondered, about comic book writers comic book writers doing stories designed to resolve questions fans had, like, “Who’s faster – Flash or Superman?”), Gerry Conway isn’t often discussed as a guy who was all that into continuity.


However, Conway pointedly noted that when he started as the writer of Amazing Spider-Man as a young man in the early 1970s, that he DID make a point of going back to the original Spider-Man stories for influences (like deciding to introduce the Jackal and have his reveal be like the Green Goblin’s reveal). That was the same impulse that led to him bringing back Spider-Man’s first crush, as well as tying her into an early Spider-Man villain!


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How did Liz Allan leave the Spider-Man comics, and how did she return?

Liz Allan actually debuted before almost every other Spider-Man character, as she’s right there on page 1 of Amazing Fantasy #15 (by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee), mocking Peter Parker…


Liz Allan made her debut


She wasn’t even NAMED in that first story. She didn’t get a name until Amazing Spider-Man #4 (by Ditko and Lee), which established that Peter WAS definitely into her, as he even made a date with her that he had to break…


Liz Allan is named for the first time


The problem is that soon Ditko and Lee introduced Betty Brant, J. Jonah Jameson’s secretary, and she clearly became Spider-Man’s main love interest…


Spider-Man and Betty Brant getting cozy


Peter even specifically noted how he was not interested in Liz as much over Betty in Amazing Spider-Man #18 (by Ditko and Lee)…


Peter likes Betty over Liz


Well, in Amazing Spider-Man #28 (by Ditko and Lee), Peter and Liz both graduated, and she gives him a big goodbye…


Liz and Peter say goodbye


Now, you see, Steve Ditko had this big thing about high school graduation. He felt that when you begin college, you’re essentially an adult, and therefore, you should be treated like an adult. In Ditko’s specific view (colored by his belief in Objectivism), this meant that Peter should stop being a goofball, and become a serious adult. I assume that that is also why he wanted to cut ties with Peter’s past in the person of Liz Allan.


She made one final appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #30…


Liz makes her last appearance


Liz then didn’t appear for over a HUNDRED ISSUES of Amazing Spider-Man! Gerry Conway, though, felt that he needed more young people for Peter, Mary Jane, Harry Osborn, and Flash Thompson to hang out with (especially since Conway had, you know, killed off Gwen Stacy), and so in Amazing Spider-Man #132 (by Conway, John Romita, Paul Reinman and Tony Mortellaro), Peter runs into Liz…


Peter meets Liz again


Her name was spelled wrong here.


Okay, so why did Liz show up NOW, you ask?


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When was Liz Allan first connected to the Molten Man?

Interestingly enough, the issue that Peter and Liz graduated high school was Amazing Spider-Man #28, the debut of the villain known as The Molten Man…


The cover of Amazing Spider-Man #28


Conway cleverly went back to that original story and saw that Liz was definitely actually super weird, right? Ditko’s intent at the time was simply that she was antsy about graduating, and wanting to get away from both Peter and Flash, and just get on with her adult life (as, again, in Ditko’s estimation, once you were done with high school, it was time to put away childish things, etc. etc.), but Conway obviously asked the question, “What if it was something ELSE?” and what if it tied in with that issue’s new villain!


So in Amazing Spider-Man #133 (by Conway, Ross Andru, Frank Giacoia and Dave Hunt), we learn that Liz Allan was actually RELATED to the Molten Man, and that she was upset way back when about the fact that she was being forced to become her step-brother’s nurse, in effect, the only thing keeping him under control, and, well, that obviously didn’t work out, because the Molten Man was back, and on a rampage, in the previous issue (amusingly, Peter just drops Liz off with Mary Jane, who Liz barely knows, and essentially just tells MJ, “Okay, go deal with this hysterical lady neither of have seen in years, and you only BARELY know from when she was stalking you back in the day because she wanted to see what you looked like, because she was jealous”)..


Liz reveals her connection to the Molten Man


Liz wants to get past being tied to the Molten Man, so Spider-Man decides to hunt the villain down, for the sake of Liz…


Spider-Man tries to capture Molten Man for Liz's sake


Instead, at the end of the issue, the Molten Man is seemingly killed, as he dives into the East River while he is essentially melting to death (he had hoped to cure himself, but it looked like he was too late). So while it was a tragic ending, it at least left Liz with a fresh start, and she soon became a regular friend of Peter and Mary Jane’s, and eventually started dating Harry Osborn (who she would marry years later).


Thanks to reader S-S who asked me when Liz and Molten Man were first tied together. S-S also recently asked me the question about when Spider-Man’s greatest rogues first appeared in other superheroes’ titles. If anyone has a suggestion for a future I Remember Well (or Foundationed Deep), drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com

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