If This Be My Destiny...!

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"If This Be My Destiny...!"
Amazing Spider-Man 33.jpg
Cover to The Amazing Spider-Man #33 the final part of the storyline with cover art by Steve Ditko.
PublisherMarvel Comics
Publication dateDecember 1965 – February 1966
Title(s)The Amazing Spider-Man #31-33
Main character(s)Spider-Man
Doctor Octopus
Creative team
Writer(s)Steve Ditko
Stan Lee
Artist(s)Steve Ditko
Letterer(s)Art Simek
Colorist(s)Stan Goldberg
Editor(s)Stan Lee

"If This Be My Destiny...!" is a story arc from The Amazing Spider-Man #31–33, with plots and art by Steve Ditko and scripts by Stan Lee, most well known for the introduction of supporting characters Harry Osborn and Gwen Stacy as well as the mysterious villain the Master Planner. It was published in 1965 by Marvel Comics.

Plot synopsis[edit]

Peter Parker attends his first day at Empire State University meeting classmates Harry Osborn and Gwen Stacy, while Aunt May succumbs to a mysterious and life-threatening illness and a new evil mastermind named The Master Planner begins his crimes by stealing various technological devices.[1] After a fateful battle, the Master Planner is revealed to be Doctor Octopus who has stolen a rare isotope that could be the only means to save Aunt May's life. Trapped under heavy machinery, Spider-Man musters enough strength to free himself by sheer force of will in order to save her life.[2]


The storyline ran in The Amazing Spider-Man #31 through #33, with a single interconnected story arc, being one of the first of its kind in Spider-Man's history.

Lee recounted that he and Ditko jointly plotted the acclaimed sequence in which Spider-Man lifts the heavy machinery off of him, but that stretching the sequence out for several pages was purely Ditko's idea.[3] Having anticipated that Ditko would spend just two or three panels on this plot point, Lee said that when he saw the art for the scene "I almost shouted in triumph."[3]

In the letters section of the September-October 1998 issue of Comic Book Marketplace, Ditko pointed out that he was credited as sole plotter of series starting with issue 26, and that the sequence in question was in issue 33. He further stated that Stan Lee never knew what was in Ditko's plotted stories until he saw the artwork.


One of the most celebrated issues of the Lee-Ditko run is #33 (Feb. 1966), the third part of the story arc "If This Be My Destiny", and featuring the dramatic scene of Spider-Man, through force of will and thoughts of family, escaping from being pinned by heavy machinery. Comics historian Les Daniels noted that "Steve Ditko squeezes every ounce of anguish out of Spider-Man's predicament, complete with visions of the uncle he failed and the aunt he has sworn to save."[4] Peter David observed that "After his origin, this two-page sequence from Amazing Spider-Man #33 is perhaps the best-loved sequence from the Stan Lee/Steve Ditko era."[5] Steve Saffel stated the "full page Ditko image from The Amazing Spider-Man #33 is one of the most powerful ever to appear in the series and influenced writers and artists for many years to come."[6] and Matthew K. Manning wrote that "Ditko's illustrations for the first few pages of this Lee story included what would become one of the most iconic scenes in Spider-Man's history."[7] The story was chosen as #15 in the 100 Greatest Marvels of All Time poll of Marvel's readers in 2001. Editor Robert Greenberger wrote in his introduction to the story that "These first five pages are a modern-day equivalent to Shakespeare as Parker's soliloquy sets the stage for his next action. And with dramatic pacing and storytelling, Ditko delivers one of the great sequences in all comics."[8]

In other media[edit]


  • The story and the iconic lifting scene from The Amazing Spider-Man #33 were recreated in The Spectacular Spider-Man episode "Shear Strength."


  • The iconic lifting scene from The Amazing Spider-Man #33 was recreated in the 2017 film Spider-Man: Homecoming when the Vulture destroys the support beams in his secret lair, pinning Spider-Man under the debris.[9]

Collected editions[edit]

  • Marvel Masterworks #16 (264 pages, hardcover, Marvel Comics, August 1991, ISBN 0-87135-730-5)
  • The Essential Spider-Man volume 2 (530 pages, softcover, Marvel Comics, July 1997, ISBN 0-7851-0989-7)
  • Marvel Visionaries: Steve Ditko (352 pages, hardcover, Marvel Comics, 2005, ISBN 0-7851-1783-0)
  • The Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus volume 1 (1096 pages, hardcover, Marvel Comics, April 2007, ISBN 0-7851-2509-4)


  1. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #31
  2. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #33
  3. ^ a b Thomas, Roy (August 2011). "Stan Lee's Amazing Marvel Interview!". Alter Ego. TwoMorrows Publishing (104): 9.
  4. ^ Daniels, Les (1991). Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World's Greatest Comics. Harry N. Abrams. p. 129. ISBN 9780810938212.
  5. ^ David, Peter; Greenberger, Robert (2010). The Spider-Man Vault: A Museum-in-a-Book with Rare Collectibles Spun from Marvel's Web. Running Press. p. 29. ISBN 0762437723.
  6. ^ Saffel, Steve (2007). "A Legend Is Born". Spider-Man the Icon: The Life and Times of a Pop Culture Phenomenon. Titan Books. p. 22. ISBN 978-1-84576-324-4.
  7. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2012). "1960s". Spider-Man Chronicle Celebrating 50 Years of Web-Slinging. Dorling Kindersley. p. 34. ISBN 978-0756692360.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Greenberger, Robert, ed. (December 2001). 100 Greatest Marvels of All Time. Marvel Comics. p. 67.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  9. ^ Abad-Santos, Alex (July 11, 2017). "Spider-Man: Homecoming honored one of the best Spider-Man issues ever created". Vox. Retrieved July 13, 2017.

External links[edit]