In "When We First Met", we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic lore, like the first time someone said, "Avengers Assemble!" or the first appearance of Batman's giant penny or the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth or the first time Spider-Man's face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter. Stuff like that.
Today, we look at when Spider-Man first ran out of web fluid while mid air!
Spider-Man running out of web fluid has long been one of the standard tropes related to the web crawler. This almost certainly ties into an interesting approach to the character that Stan Lee and Steve Ditko would often differ on. Stan Lee felt that it was imperative to keep Spider-Man as down to Earth as possible. Steve Ditko was okay with that approach at first, but he had a real problem with the idea that Spider-Man never seemed to grow up. One of their big disconnects was on how to handle Spider-Man going forward once he was in college and on his way to adulthood. This is why, when he agreed to actually return to Marvel to do a special Spider-Man project in the 1990s, Ditko insisted that the story be spent during the summer between Spider-Man's graduation from high school and the start of college. This was both because he knew that he and Lee didn't really do very much on that period in the comics (the way that comic book time works, pretty much no time passes between Peter's graduation and his college start, while, of course, like three months passed in real time, which made sense for him to be staring college) and because he felt that was pretty much the last time he could do the "classic" version of Spider-Man in his mind.
Anyhow, the fact that Spider-Man had webshooters that would not always work was a big part of that "everyman" approach to the character. It is something that actually first occurred in Spider-Man's first issue of his ongoing series...
For a while there in the Spider-Man films, Spider-Man had organic webbing. He then returned to mechanical webshooters for the Marc Webb Spider-Man films. Stan Lee said at the time, "The one thing I liked about Peter's web-shooters was the fact that they made him more vulnerable,""At any crucial moment he could run out of web fluid and be forced to rely on his wits." Thus, he liked the mechanical ones better than the organic webbing (although, to be fair, I would not be shocked at all if there was a quote from Lee about how great the organic webbing was when it was introduced. Stan liked to be a people pleaser).
The first time we KIND of got the trope I'm looking for came in Amazing Spider-Man #23 (by Ditko and Lee), when Spider-Man ran out of webbing BEFORE he jumps into the air.
That would have done the trick if it had just happened a few seconds later, but alas, it really doesn't count.
Over a hundred issues later, Spider-Man ran out of web fluid a whole lot of times, but never in mid-air.
A similar situation, though, occurred in Amazing Spider-Man #127 (by Gerry Conway, Ross Andru, Frank Giacoia and Dave Hunt), when Spider-Man was dropped by the Vulture where there was nothing for him to latch his webs on to...
The next issue, he finds a way out of it...
But he is then shocked to see that he was almost out of web fluid when it happened! Yikes!