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Essential Spider-Man Vol. 1 Paperback – August 11, 1998

4.6 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: Essential (Marvel Comics)
  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics; 6th edition (August 11, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785109889
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785109884
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #842,755 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jeffrey A. Veyera on July 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
Now that Marvel Comics has picked over the bones of its original lineup until there is not a sliver of meat left on them, it is refreshing to reread the original stories and realize what a mighty, graceful beast Marvel once was, back when its writers and artists gave a damn.
"The Essential Spider-Man" harkens us back to the early 60s, when an angst-ridden teenager first was bitten by a radioactive spider and learned that with great power comes great responsibility. Stan Lee is often ridiculed for his overwrought prose, but his Spider-Man tales remain extremely poignant and affecting some four decades after they were written, while their postmodern successors seem dated already.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about the amazing Spider-Man is that Lee creates a supporting, non-superpowered cast which is often more compelling than the heroes and villains. Flash Thompson, Peter Parker's archenemy, is also Spider-Man's biggest fan, willing to undertake reckless acts of courage to keep his hero's name from being dragged through the mud. Betty Brant, whose brother died after an ill-considered criminal career, loves Peter Parker but despises his alter ego, building a wall between her and Parker that neither can breach. "The Essential Spider-Man" is packed with such realistic contradictions.
The collection covers Amazing Fantasy # 15 (the first appearance of Spider-Man) through Amazing Spider-Man # 20 and Annual # 1. The tales feature some incredibly fluid artwork by Steve Ditko, Stan the Man's superlative writing, and the first appearances of such characters as Sandman, Kraven the Hunter, Dr. Octupus, and the Green Goblin. Lee and Ditko's creativity is to be marveled at, given the number of characters they created during these twenty issues which are still viable in 2000.
If you're sick of the gorgeous garbage that passes for comics today, pick up this collection and see what the medium is capable in the hands of men who love it.
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Format: Paperback
I am sure I am not alone in going back and re-reading "The Amazing Spider-Man" from the beginning as a way of both preparing for the blockbuster movie version and critiquing its fidelity to the original comic books. When he first appeared in "Amazing Fantasy" #15 the promise was that we would find the character to be "just a bit...different." Although there were similarities to those who had come before (e.g., the motivation of a loved one's death just like Batman, the use of radioactivity to provide superpowers), it was ultimately the difference that made Spider-Man so popular. However, the key element of that difference did not not emerge until issue #1 of "The Amazing Spider-Man," when J. Jonah Jameson begins his public crusade against the Spider-Man menace Ultimately, what made Spider-Man "different" was that he was considered to be a menace rather than a hero by the public, and usually neither Peter Parker nor his web-slinger alter-ego had any luck other than bad. Here was the comic book superhero as underdog.
What is amazing as you re-read these stories is how well these comics stand up (with the glaring exception of "Spider-Man" #1 where they drop a net to try and capture John Jameson's errant space capsule and Spidey catches a ride from a jet fighter using his webbing). I was never a big admirer of Steve Ditko's artwork, especially the stuff he did after he left Marvel, but in going over these early Spider-Man comics I am very impressed with his compositional skills. Maybe it is because these are in black & white rather than in color that this strength of Ditko's
artwork really emerges, but Ditko deserves a lot more credit than I had given him the first time around.
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Format: Paperback
After having read this volume (which collects Amazing Fantasy #15, Amazing Spiderman #1-20 and Amazing Spiderman Annual #1) the conclussion I must draw is that this is probably the best choice for someone who wants to get old Spidey stories sheer for the fun of reading them. Collectors and people who want their stuff to look good on their shelf might rather choose for the more expensive Marvel Masterwork volumes (which are more than twice the cost per volume, very hard to get, collect half the stories that are collected in here per volume, but are hardcover and in color), but if you're solely getting a collection to read these issues THIS is your best choice I think. Given, the art is in black-and-white but it's solid and detailed enough for that not to be a problem (although I'll be the first one to admit it doesn't work that way with every artist). The issues collected in here are ALL written by Stan Lee and drawn by Steve Ditko. Although some of the stories are, when compared to many stories written since then, maybe a little old-fashioned, it's good to see there are a lot of issues in here which are surprisingly good compared to a lot of other Marvels that were published at that time (of which a lot would be considered very corny today). I think some of them would even be considered 'reasonably good' if they were printed today. The art by Ditko is also very solid (you can really see how detailed he worked in black-and-white) although in all honesty his successor, John Romita sr. was just a tad better. For persons who've been reading Spiderman for a longer period of time there are very nice reads here about, for example, the first appereances of Doc Octopus, The Lizard, Kraven the Hunter, Mysterio and of course the original Green Goblin.Read more ›
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