Here's #33! Click here for the master list!
Amazing Spider-Man #33
This is remarkable among most of the other comics on this list because it is not here because it is the first appearance of some notable character and nor is it the first issue that a famous writer or artist did on a title - nope, this issue is on the list and is such a stand-out number because of the story that happened in the story, a story that ended up becoming perhaps THE story that epitomized Spider-Man.
In the story, the conclusion of the three-parter that saw Spider-Man matched up with the Master Planner (Ditko seemed to love using mysterious bad guys), who is revealed to be Doctor Octopus!
Both Doc Ock and Spider-Man are searching for a serum called ISO-36. Doc needs it for his radiation research, while Spider-Man needs it to save Aunt May, who has become sick due to a transfusion she had received in the past from Peter - his radioactive blood now has bad side effects on his aunt, and you better believe Peter is feeling guilty about that!!
So at the end of last issue, Spider-Man managed to get the serum from Doc Ock, but not before the villain knocked a huge iron unit the size of a battleship down on Spider-Man, pinning him mere feet from the serum. The bad news gets worse when the underwater base is beginning to leak - not to mention that Octopus leaves his henchmen behind to shoot Spider-Man if he somehow escapes.
Not a pretty situation to be in, eh?
So #33 shows the mastery of Steve Ditko, as he depicts Spider-Man slowly but surely getting the gumption to free himself. Stan Lee's dialogue for Spider-Man's thought balloons are good, but this issue is almost all down to Ditko.
This issue has been re-done many, many times over the years - Spider-Man is in a tough spot and forces himself to dig deep into his inner resolve and sense of responsibility to get out of it.
Beautiful comic book storytelling.
As for other notable #33s...Detective Comics #33 had the first telling of Batman's origin, Space Adventures #33 had the first Captain Atom, Flash Comics #33 had the first Shade, plus there were a bunch of good issues of Moore's Swamp Thing, Morrison's Doom Patrol, Gaiman's Sandman, Lee/Kirby's FF...lot of very good #33s, but none nearly as great as this one!