Spider-Man Products You Must Have

So you've taken a bunch of friends to see Spider-Man, and now they want to know a little more. After watching the movie, your girlfriend (or boyfriend) finally wants to read a comic. Maybe all you know yourself is that you came to this site for the wrestling and noticed Randy "Macho Man" Savage has a small role in the movie.

What kind of fanboys (and shameless pimps) would we be if we did not offer you a guide to essential Spider-Man reading? It isn't all gold, and if you walked into a bookstore without us you could likely pick up crap with the Spider-Man name on it. We've winnowed our selections down to some key enjoyable books, and were you to click on over to Amazon and buy one, we wouldn't stop you. In fact, we'd write you a glowing note of thanks.

  • The Essential Spider-Man (Volume 1): It's always best to start at the beginning, and this thick paperback offers the first 22 appearances of Spider-Man, from his origin in Amazing Fantasy #15 (recounted and updated nicely in the film) to his early battles with The Green Goblin. Some of it may seem a little quaint, as it was written in 1962 and 1963, but original artist Steve Ditko's work still has a cool power to it that most Spider-artists try to recapture today. And though he didn't know it at the time, Stan Lee was making myth. You can follow the series up through further Essential Spider-Man volumes; The Essential Spider-Man, Vol.2 includes the change over to the artwork of John Romita (his son now draws The Amazing Spider-Man) and the unmasking of The Green Goblin.

  • The only drawback to The Essential Spider-Man is though it packs a lot, it's all in black and white. If you want to read the stories in the best presentation possible, we recommend the first volume of Marvel Masterworks, which reprints the first 11 Spidey stories hardbound on fine glossy paper. It's pricier, but it's beautiful.

  • You casually mention to friends that the climax of the movie looks familiar, but the girl doesn't. Finish the saga of The Green Goblin with Spider-Man : The Death of Gwen Stacy. Death in comics may seem passť today, but back in 1972, this storyline rocked the industry. Yes, Peter Parker had a great love before Mary Jane Watson, no matter what the movie says, and it's notable for both its tragedy and the fact that 30 years later, she's still dead. Most of the third act of the Sam Raimi film "borrows" liberally from this.

    Okay, so that's all in the past, what about Spider-Man today? After a period of intense stupidity, Marvel Comics has given the wallcrawler a revitalization, and these trade paperbacks will help explain why you still read comics, and why your friends should.

  • Amazing Spider-Man: Coming Home: Last year Marvel brought in Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski to breathe new life into a tired book. The results were fantastic. In six issues, JMS turned what we thought we knew about the character upside down, and strove to bring back what makes Peter Parker the schnook we love to root for. In this collection, Spider-Man encounters an older man with powers apparently identical to his who warns him of an ancient enemy coming his way. Refusing to take the older man's advice, Peter faces off against Morlun, a vampire-like being who feeds on superpowers.

  • Spider-Man's Tangled Web: Reprinting the first few issues of Marvel's latest Spider-series, and they're pretty thought-provoking. This title isn't about Spider-Man directly, but the effect he has on the people around him. It opens with the tale of a high school bully who tried to duplicate the accident that gave Peter his power (the creepiest Spider-Man story ever), and includes the tale of what crime boss The Kingpin does to those who fail him. Every story is a winner.

  • Ultimate Spider Man: For those who think that a 40-year-old character holds no appeal, Marvel revamped and rebooted Spider-Man for the 21st Century. Peter Parker is once again 16, unsure of himself, and still learning the implications of his power and responsibility. But before he can do that, he has to save Harry Osborn from the murderous creature his father has become. The Spider-Man here more closely resembles the movie version, and the series itself provides a great jumping on point for new readers. Once you finish with the first volume, there's always Ultimate Spider-man: Power and Responsibility.

  • Spider-Man - The Ultimate Villain Showdown: Buena Vista has just released this collection of episodes from the animated series of the late '90's. Get a taste of the rest of Spider-Man's rogues' gallery, including rumored Spider-Man 2 villains Doctor Octopus and The Lizard.

    What makes this DVD more fun is the inclusion of the origin episode from the original 1960's cartoon, including that funky theme song.

    Of course, this is the age when a DVD might not be enough...

    Never want the adventure to end? That's what Activision, Sony, and us are counting on. You can get Spider-Man: The Movie The Game for every platform but Macintosh. (Screwed again.)

  • Spider-Man: The Movie for PS2
  • Spider-Man: The Movie for Nintendo Game Cube
  • Spider-Man: The Movie for Xbox
  • Spider-Man: The Movie for Windows 95/98/ME

    Thank you, and remember that all proceeds and kickbacks to Fanboy Planet go to send an underprivileged child to comic book camp this summer. Never mind that that underprivileged child is editor Michael Goodson.

    Excelsior!

    Derek McCaw

    Discuss this and more in the Fanboy forums.

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