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Paperback The Essential Spider-Man Book

ISBN: 078510299X

ISBN13: 9780785102991

The Essential Spider-Man

(Part of the Spider-Man Series, Essential Marvel Series, and Amazing Spider-Man 1963-1998 Series)

The second volume in a collection of graphic novels featuring the Marvel Comics superhero, Spider-man, which have been reprinted in book format.


Format: Paperback

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Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Spidey Rawks!

Stan Lee's, Steve Ditko's, and John Romita's "Essential Spider-Man, Vol. 2" is an awesome graphic novel of Spider-Man's original comic book series! This volume contains the exciting issues #21-43 and Annuals #2 & 3! This book introduces lots of new changes for Peter Parker. His love for Betty Brant changes to Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane Watson. It also brings lots of different villains to light for Spidey to battle, like: - The Beetle - The Clown, and his Masters of Menace - The Green Goblin - Mysterio - The Crime-Master - The Molten Man - Xandu - The Scorpian - The Cat - Kraven the Hunter - Doc Ock - The Looter - The Rampaging Robots of Dr. Stromm - The Rhino What's really cool about this book is when you read the 3-part series of Spider-Man battling Doc Ock for the very life of his Aunt May, and when Spidey and the Green Goblin are both unmasked to each other! Another cool thing is the guest-appearances of The Human Torch, Dr. Strange, The Hulk, and the Avengers! Even though the pages are all in black and white, I was still able to greatly appreciate Steve Ditko's and John Romita's art of drawing Spider-Man and his villains. I sped through this novel faster than I thought, wishing it wouldn't end! If you're a fan of Spider-Man, you'll love this great volume!

Goodbye Steve Ditko

Steve Ditko leaves the Spiderman series on issue 38. No longer can we witness the great storytelling arc of Ditko as well as the everyday looking characterizations that Ditko does so well. Ditko always believed that crime occurs with strangers and left Marvel simply because he did not want Norman Osborne to be the Green Goblin. Unfortunately, John Romita turned the entire cast of characters extrodinarily handsome and changed the entire tone of the comic. Don't get me wrong, Romita is a superb artist, but like Jack Kirby his style was totally wrong for the comic. Ditko's art is a treasure and I sometimes wonder what would have happened to the series had Ditko stayed on board instead of Romita who turned the series into more of a romantic soap opera instead of Ditko's variation which put Spiderman in a world of complete ridicule and animosity where you laughed at Spiderman one minute and then realized in the next minute how hurting the character was. This series is again another time capsule into the mind and art of Steve Ditko.

The best Spider-Man story ever vs. Doc Ock in issues #31-33

Volume 2 of "The Essential Spider-Man" offers up issues #21-43 of the "Amazing Spider-Man" along with the original stories from Annuals #2 & 3. These are the issues that offer some big changes for both the character and the comic book. For the character, besides the introduction of new villains we see Liz Allen and Betty Bryant replaced in Peter Parker's affections by Gwen Stacy and (at long last) Mary Jane Watson. For the comic book it is artist John Romita (Sr.) taking over for Steve Ditko with issue #39, "How Green Was My Goblin." Of course, this is one of the most famous Spidey issues of all time as Spidey and the Green Goblin are both unmasked and things become very, very interesting. I understand why some would complain that these reprints are in black & white but I have discovered at least one benefit to reading these comics without color, and that is a greater appreciation of the artwork of Steve Ditko. When I was reading these comics in 1965-67, I was happy to see Romita replace Ditko as an artist. However, as I re-read the Spider-Man comics drawn by Ditko I realize that although his figures are not exactly drawn in the most realistic style, he is a master of composition and pacing. Just look at the cover of #24 for example, but leaf through any of his issues and study what he is doing and I think you will be as impressed as I am as you watch Spider-Man tackle the Beetle, the Clown and his Masters of Menace, Mysterio, the Crime Master, the Molten Man, the Scorpion, the Cat, Ka-Zar, the Rhino, and even J. Jonah Jameson and the first of his killer robots. Yes, the two-part confrontation between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin that begins Romita's tenure on the comic book is a classic story, which is at the heart of this summer's blockbuster movie (notice they do an homage to the cover of #39 in the film). However, I would make a case that this collection includes another of the greatest Spider-Man stories in issues #31-33. Peter Parker has parted ways with Betty Bryant and Gwen Stacy has appeared upon the scene, but that means nothing because Aunt May is very sick. Spidey gets Doc Connor to help with a formula that can save her life, but then it is stolen by the henchmen of Doctor Octopus. As the last of these three issues begins Spider-Man "is now trapped beneath tons of fallen steel, with the precious serum lying just out of reach, as the fatal second's tick by..." (quoting Stan Lee of course). But Spider-Man already is responsible for the death of his Uncle Ben and he is not going to fail Aunt May. There are other Spider-Man stories as good, but none better than this one, which finds both Lee and Ditko at their peaks.

Here's where the action is, effendi!

Flying by the seat of their collective drawers, Stan 'The Man' Lee and 'Sturdy' Steve Ditko transcended the whole of the comics industry with the issues presented in THE ESSENTIAL SPIDER-MAN, VOL. 2. The impact that Ditko's work in this period made left mighty big shoes for his successor, 'Jazzy' Johnny Romita, to fill...and we get to see the first issues of that decidedly different direction here, as well.'Nuff said.

Simply Amazing!

For any latter-day comics fans who wonder why Spider-Man, and not the X-Men, remains the most visible character in Marvel's stable today need to pick up "Essential Spider-Man vol. 2" for a primer on how comics are written and characters established. (Chris Claremont, call your office). Spider-Man was always obviously the first love of writer Stan Lee. Rather than crank out the usual superhero nonsense displayed over at Marvel's Distinguished Competition for most of the 60s, Lee and artist Steve Ditko created in Peter Parker a character as unique and compelling as his alter ego. As a high schooler blessed with great power but constantly struggling to balance the demands of his life, Parker is a poignant and realistic hero. I will illustrate this with just two examples from this collection. In the first, Parker's beloved Aunt May is dying of an incurable disease he unwittingly introduced to her bloodstream. To save her, he needs a rare isotope recently stolen by an enigmatic crime figure. After frenetically rampaging through New York to unravel this criminal organization, Spider-Man battles his foe in his headquarters, only to be buried under tons of machinery as the ceiling collapses and the river begins to flood in, the isotope a few feet away. Spider-Man struggles to free himself despite the enormous weight of the machine, his exhaustion, and his own nagging self-doubts, knowing that he alone can save the woman who raised him. Powerful stuff, indeed, powerfully illustrated in Steve Ditko's swan song on the series. Fast forward to his next encounter with the Green Goblin, a madman who discovers his identity and attacks him at his house. Peter Parker, terrified of having his identity exposed or having his frail aunt exposed to danger, battles the Goblin in his own front yard, eventually allowing himself to be beaten and dragged away to the villain's hideout, where he discovers the shocking secret identity of his foe. New artist John Romita turns in an incredible performance here. I highly recommend this collection to all comics fans. Excelsior!
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