WHAT IS THIS?
This is me reading and commenting on every Spider-Man comic I own. Maybe. At the very least, this is me reading a whole lot of Spider-Man comics and talking about them, hopefully in a way that is interesting and entertaining.
WHO ARE YOU, ANYWAY?
I’m just a guy with a lotta Spider-Man comics. I’m Dewey Bass, I make comics at Comics From Space! And now I apparently do this. Spider-Man is my favorite superhero, and has been since before I could even read his comics. My Mom got a handful of comics from a garage sale when I was very little. Most of them were Marvel’s Star Wars series, but there were 2 Spider-Mans and a Hulk in there. Oddly, the Hulk is lost to time. I don’t have it anymore. Probably traded to another kid in school. But the Spider-Mans really caught my tiny eye. They were both from before I was born, Amazing Spider-Man #148 and #180. The middle of a big story and the end of a big story. Weird places to start, but I obsessed over them as a kid. The fact that they were referencing all these events I didn’t get to read only made them seem more mysterious and interesting. When I got a little older, I found out the local library had monthly comics, and so I started reading them. Batman, Captain America, Fantastic Four, a bunch of ‘em, but especially Spider-Man. This was in 1988, and Todd McFarlane was changing the look of the entire superhero industry, and it got my attention. After reading out of the library starting around, I believe, Amazing Spider-Man #316, the first comic I ever bought with my precious allowance money was Amazing Spider-Man #320. And it just went from there. I bought, and continue to buy, all kinds of books, but Spider-Man was always my favorite, so I have more of his stuff.
Reading comics really heightened my love of drawing. I started trying to emulate the art. I ended up choosing graphic design as my profession. Those 70s Spider-Man comics wound up seriously influencing the whole course of my life, as silly as that sounds. I still have almost every comic I ever bought (I did some trading as a child, as mentioned above, some I regret!). It’s… a lot.
WHERE DID THESE COMICS COME FROM?
So, as a kid, I started with Amazing Spider-Man, and was soon getting most or all of the absurd four monthly Spider-Man titles of the era. Some months I only bought ASM, some months maybe 2 titles, but some months I bought all 4. Very rarely, I skipped ASM in favor of a different series. Soon, I got interested in older issues. Once upon a time, I was on a trip with my family and bought a 3-pack of comics at a gas station, and for some reason, even though this would’ve been like 1992 or something, in the middle of that bag was ASM #239 from 1983, the 2nd appearance of The Hobgoblin. It was a mystery story. Who was the Hobgoblin? I suddenly really wanted to know. This was probably after I’d seen other early Hobgoblin material in the trade paperback collecting The Saga of the Alien Costume (ASM 252-259). This began years of looking for the Roger Stern/John Romita, Jr. run of Amazing (Which wound up being 224-251, though I had no way of knowing that in those pre-internet days). Any time I went to a new comic store, I’d head straight to the back issues for comics in this era. This quest lasted into my 20s, the internet finally helping fill in the gaps. Along the way, I found a bunch of other old issues here and there, some reprints and stuff, found out Roger Stern did a run on Spectacular and got that, while still getting the new stuff monthly. Jump forward a couple decades and I had 5 comic boxes of nothing but Spider-Man.
In 2018, I was at the excellent Heroes Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina (You should go sometime!), and I saw a box of comics marked “Silver Age ½ Price.” I had no idea what that meant. I just kind of assumed any book that old (Silver Age meaning the 60s, basically) was out of my price range. I was shocked to discover that was not the case, and walked away with ASM #30 for like $12 (And Captain America #101, but that’s less relevant here). So then I was scouring every booth for “Silver Age ½ Price,” and there were a lot of them. I got about a dozen 60s Spider-Man comics, some as cheap as $5. None of them in great shape, but these are all things I assumed were out of my reach. I was stunned.
I told a friend about it, and he told me I should be looking on eBay for this stuff. Now, friends, I’m a pretty frugal person, but just this once, I decided I would do some frivolous spending. I decided to just try to get whatever old Spider-Man stuff I didn’t have (that I could find a price I was willing to pay) until I felt like I should stop spending money. That, combined with a string of shockingly cheap deals on ebay, almost doubled my ASM collection, as well as filling in tons of other stuff. I mean, I got 75 issues of Marvel Team-Up for $48. Some crazy deals.
Alongside that, seeing that I was getting a lot more comics than I expected, I bought some other books from Lone Star Comics at mycomicshop.com, my online retailer of choice, to fill in some stories and really solidify what I had won off eBay (This is not a paid plug or anything. I just think their selection and prices beat anyone else I’ve seen, if you happen to be in the market). Now, the great eBay hysteria of 2018 is over, and I’m left with a way more complete picture of Spider-Man’s history than I used to have, and a ton of old comics I haven’t read yet. So, why not read the old and new together and write about it? And here we are.
WHAT WILL THIS BLOG COVER?
To start, this blog will focus on Amazing Spider-Man, Vol. 1, and all the Spider-Man comics published while it was going. That’s plenty. If I actually ever cover all those, I’ll move on to Vol. 2 and so forth. But covering everything from 1962-1998 seems like a pretty big target already. This means we’ll be hitting all the major series:
Amazing Spider-Man – The original. Marvel’s flagship title for most of its existence. The Cadillac of superhero comics.
Marvel Team-Up – Starting in 1972, Spidey got a 2nd ongoing title. Every month, he would team up with a different superhero. This gave us a chance to see him interact with people from all over the ever-growing Marvel Universe in stories that would, by necessity, focus more on superhero action than Peter Parker drama.
Spectacular Spider-Man – Two titles just wasn’t enough, so in 1976, they added Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man. As the title implies, this one would often have a heavier focus on Peter Parker. Which… also happened in Amazing, but they found ways to make them different each month.
Web of Spider-Man – In 1985, Marvel Team-Up was cancelled to make room for this one, Web of Spider-Man, which went through a few format changes over the years trying to make itself different from the others.
Spider-Man – In 1990, as the comics industry was booming like never before or since, Spider-Man got a 4th monthly comic. It was launched as a vanity project for superstar artist Todd McFarlane, but once he left the company, it just sort of became another fix of Spider-Man every month.
Sensational Spider-Man – Finally, in 1995, Web of Spider-Man was retired to make room for Sensational Spider-Man in 1996.
In 1998, Marvel rebooted the Spider-Man line for the first time ever, with Sensational and Spectacular cancelled and Amazing and Spider-Man restarted at Vol. 2. The 4 main titles crossed over into a storyline that served as a kind of ending. So that’s a nice stopping point for now. If I ever get there.
HOW WE GONNA DO THIS?
I gave this a lot of thought. Part of me wanted to start as close to the beginning as possible and just go. But, for one thing, that would mean reading a bunch of random issues since my collection is pretty sparse before ASM#51, and still full of holes until #86. Additionally, uh, no more slight than necessary to the creators involved, but there are some ROUGH patches in there, and I don’t know that I want to be stuck in them for their whole running time. So I broke it up by the major writers of ASM: Stan Lee, Gerry Conway, Len Wein, and so on, which gives me 10 different sections. Ten distinct eras is pretty good. Then I broke those runs up into smaller pieces and now I got a format. We’ll cover a selection of work from each writer’s tenure, as well as all other titles published alongside them. Then we’ll jump back in time and go through them all again, over and over until we run out of comics. That way it won’t get too predictable for you or me.
In addition to the main titles, we’ll be checking out annuals, short-lived additional series, miniseries, one-shots, graphic novels, Spidey appearances in other titles, whatever else I might have in my pocket. If that sounds like something you’d be into, you’re in the right place.
Various circumstances have kept me from launching this site a lot longer than I meant to. As a result, as this page goes live, I have over 360 posts already done! A year of posts! In other words, there’s no need to worry that I’m gonna flake out on this. I’m pretty committed.