UNTOLD TALES OF SPIDER-MAN ‘96
We set out in the 1996 UNTOLD TALES Annual to create a package similar to the great Marvel annuals of the early 60s, and I think we succeeded admirably. Our not-so-secret weapon was Mike “Madman” Allred, who had spoken to Kurt Busiek about doing a story with him at some point. It was Paul Dini who suggested the story idea—Spidey and the Invisible Girl go out on a date following their meeting way back in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #8. Mike was game, as long as we could get legendary inker Joe Sinnott to ink the book. I’d worked with Joe numerous times in the past, mostly on licensing artwork, so it wasn’t very difficult to get him on board. The end result was a tale ripped right out of the earliest Marvel comics, with broadly-drawn characters interacting in wild, fun, fascinating ways. To put it simply, it was a gas.
Backing up the lead story was a gallery of villains drawn by great Spidey artists of the past (Alas, Steve Ditko turned us down.), a three-pager on how Kurt and regular UNTOLD TALES artist Pat Olliffe produced the book every month (in the tradition of a similar Stan Lee and Steve Ditko feature), and a guided tour of the world of Spider-Man, which climaxed by revealing the recipe for Aunt May’s famous wheatcakes (actually provided by Kurt Busiek’s mom.)
The annual actually came together at a con in Portland OR, where Mike had some very Silver Age artwork he’d done for Marvel pogs, and Paul Dini made the fateful suggestion. I put the two together, called Tom to set it all up, and bam! Great annual, and it practically fell into my lap.