These are the last three pages of The Amazing Spider-Man #248, January 1984. I will never forget this particular issue, because it included “The Boy Who Collects Spider-Man”, one of the most beautiful and touching superhero stories I’ve ever read. I remember that, when it came out, I was myself a young boy avidly reading and collecting comics, dreaming to be a superhero with a secret identity. I was used to immerse myself in tales filled with thrilling fights and amazing powers, but there was no trace of these elements in this one. It was all about Spidey’s special encounter with a little boy, a young fan that desperately needed to meet his hero. It was told in a more realistic tone than usual, it had a lot of sweetness that couldn’t really overcome the sadness of the final reveal.
That day, after finishing it, I felt an immense sense of admiration for Peter Parker and, more importantly, I was greatly moved and inspired to help people in need, especially children.
Even as an adult, I occasionally find myself reading “The Boy Who Collects Spider-Man” and still being touched by its magic, every single time. This is the power of art.
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