Sunday, November 23, 2014


This book, as I noted way back when I began the Stern reviews, is one titanic tome. It's almost 1,300 pages long and weighs over seven pounds! We've already spent the better part of a year on the issues collected within, so now I'd like to briefly touch on the quality of the book itself.

The Omnibus is edited by the great Cory Sedlmeier, Marvel's Masterworks guru. Due to Sedlmeier's involvement, the reproduction on these issues is tremendous. On the occasions where I read an issue then went into my Marvel Unlimited app to snag screen captures of various panels, the difference was night and day. Without a doubt, this book is the best these issues have ever looked and will ever look. Another benefit to Sedlmeier's involvement is that, as with all Omnibus volumes he has personally overseen, the letters pages for every issue are included. And not only are all the published pages there -- Sedlmeier actually found a SPIDER'S WEB column for AMAZING #238, which was put together more than thirty years ago but wound up not seeing print at the time, and included that in the book as well!

Aside from the letter pages, extras are relatively skimpy in the book, however. Which is fine, since the stories are the main draw. There is, of course, the introduction by Roger Stern -- six whole pages, making it possibly the longest intro I've ever seen in an Omnibus. Beyond that, we have bonus material from the various annuals, such as those old "Gallery of Spider-Man's Forgotten Foes" pages, maps of the Daily Bugle and Peter's apartment, and the like.

There are also a handful of original art pages reproduced at a quarter of a page each, mostly from John Byrne's SPECTACULAR #58, as well as design sketches for Byrne's revamped Beetle, John Romita Jr.'s Hobgoblin, and Rick Leonardi's black costume for Spider-Man. The book is rounded out by more quarter-page reproductions of various MARVEL TALES and SPIDER-MAN MEGAZINE covers, which reprinted Stern's issues in the early nineties, plus the covers of more recent collected editions as well.

Anybody else remember a time when the Punisher was categorically
nothing more than one of Spider-Man's foes?!?
Incidentally, the cover of this volume, a shot of Spider-Man and the Hobgoblin dueling high over Manhattan by John Romitas Jr. and Sr., was originally set to adorn SPIDER-MAN MEGAZINE #6, but the series was canceled with issue 5. The illustration was run in that issue as a bonus pin-up, but was never used for its intended purpose -- a cover -- until now. Kind of a neat "full circle" occurrence, and another example of Sedlmeier's dedication to his work.

Having already raved about the stories it contains, I don't know if I can do anything further to recommend this book. It is the definitive package of some of the most definitive stories ever printed about Marvel's webbed wonder. I hesitate to indulge in hyperbole, but in this case I think it's simply the truth when I say that if you consider yourself any sort of a Spider-Man fan, you're doing yourself a massive disservice if this book isn't on your shelf.

Available now at


  1. // Anybody else remember a time when the Punisher was categorically nothing more than one of Spider-Man's foes?!? //


    I’m all for reviewing the book itself. Nicely done. The never-published lettercol being included — I love that; good for Sedlmeier. Covers of previous reprints of the material, including periodicals like Marvel Tales, are great too. I’ve always preferred those original sketches of Leonardi’s for the new costume, solid black with red insignia and shooters, to how it ended up; plus, they’re a great example of why he was right there with Byrne and Pérez as favorites and influences on my own drawing circa 1985.

    1. Thanks! I've reviewed a few of the larger Omnibus books, which can be found here. I'd like to do more, but snapping and uploading all the pictures can be a pain sometimes.

      Marvel is really the best at this point when it comes to archival bonus materials. It's rare to come across a vintage reprint that doesn't include all the reprint covers, house ads, backup features, etc., that they can get their hands on. This is actually one of the skimpier books I own in terms of bonus features. Probably the best in that regard are the two Omnibus collections of the Chris Claremont/Marc Silvestri/Jim Lee X-MEN stuff, which are packed to the gills with Lee's metric tons of sketches, fanzine covers, trading cards, and the like (I really want to post a photo-review of those books someday), and the AVENGERS BY KURT BUSIEK & GEORGE PEREZ volume one that came out earlier this year.

      If you haven't already, I hope you'll take a look at all the Stern Spider-Man issues I covered here. Of all the issue-by-issue stuff I've done so far, I enjoyed that project the most.


    2. @Matt: // If you haven't already, I hope you'll take a look at all the Stern Spider-Man issues I covered here. Of all the issue-by-issue stuff I've done so far, I enjoyed that project the most. //

      Actually, I’ve skipped them while scrolling through your posts from where I left off last time (save for the odd new post that catches my eye when I visit) in the hopes of getting to read along — which at this point will only happen if they’re on Marvel Unlimited since I don’t think I have a complete run of the issues, and they’d be inaccessible anyway, but I’m not gonna drop coin on the Omnibus in the near future. I’d also like to read along to the Iron Fist and now Marvel Team-Up stuff you’re reviewing, set as it is smack in my personal Golden Age of Comics Experience. Honestly, I really should settle for getting to read and comment on the posts themselves in timely-ish fashion, especially since I’m still planning to get to that Wolfman/Pérez Titans run.

    3. No problem, I understand. It's more fun to read along and comment, unless you have the issues more-or-less memorized somehow (which I do with a very few runs).

      The Stern stuff is mostly on Marvel Unlimited, but there are a few gaps. About half of the SPECTACULAR run is there and all of the AMAZING stuff is, but I don't think the annuals are all there.