A post from my Marvel blog of years past, this one the final entry in a sequence on the Marvel books that made me into a regular Marvel reader.
Finishing up our series on the comics that made me a Marvel reader.
Through everything else I’d been exposed to and had picked up on, I still wasn’t really a Spider-Man fan. I was entranced by the cover of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #178, but not enough to buy it (though I thought about it for weeks afterwards.) I did buy the next issue, #179, but I still didn’t get what all the hubbub was about. Spidey didn’t seem like a put-upon average joe. If anything, he seemed a lot more in-crowd than I ever was.
During this time, Marvel began coming out with paperback book-sized collections of the earliest stories of the various characters–the Pocket Books line. I first picked up the FANTASTIC FOUR volume, which reprinted issues #1-6 (and wherein I first got to read FF #1), and read the thing over to the point where my personal copy is crumbling.
It was on some subsequent shopping trip to the local mall that I stopped into the bookstore, and came across the book to your left. This was the second SPIDER-MAN POCKET BOOK, collecting issues #7-13, though I didn’t realize that when I bought it. And I did so pretty much on the spur of the moment, because I either had some money in my pocket or an offer from my parents to buy me a book, and it was the only thing I had the remotest interest in.
I can remember going to eat lunch at a Jack-In-The-Box fast food restaurant, and paging through the paperback. I was somewhat disappointed that this was the second volume, and I would therefore be coming in on the middle of the series run. But I put that aside, and started reading. And that’s when I fell in love with Spider-Man.
These early Spider-Man stories resonated with me in a way that no others I’d encountered earlier ever had. This was the formative Spider-Man, the guy who was a geek in High School, who still lived with his elderly Aunt, and for whom everything seemed to go wrong–all of which were elements that had largely departed the series by 1978. And they also had the quirky, distinctive, slightly disturbing artwork of Steve Ditko, who truly defined the character, as well as the inviting, punchy, funny writing of Stan Lee, then at the top of his game, when this entire approach to super heroes was new.
I have a greater personal fondness for the vaster Stan Lee/Jack Kirby collaboration on FANTASTIC FOUR, but I have to admit that Lee and Ditko’s AMAZING SPIDER-MAN was the quintessential triumph of the Marvel age, the best, most innovative thing to spawn out of it. So I’m ecstatic that Marvel is not only doing an OMNIBUS of this material, but it’s the largest thing we’ve ever done in this format, collecting the entirety of the Lee/Ditko Spider-Man run, including all 38 issues, the Annuals, AMAZING FANTASY #15 and a couple of other Spidey-related stories that Ditko inked over Kirby. It’s the closest thing I can imagine to a Marvel Bible.
This is the 200th entry in this blog, all produced in the space of less than a year. So far, so good.