Sunday, June 25, 2017

THE UNBOXING - JUNE 2017

Two books, both from Marvel, and both starring Spider-Man, comprise this month's Unboxing. You'd think the guy has a movie coming out in a couple weeks or something!

First is a trade paperback collecting SPIDER-MAN BY TODD DEZAGO AND MIKE WIERINGO. Some sources have labeled this as "volume 1" while others have not. It collects SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN #7 - 24, which is the bulk of the two creators' work on the web-slinger. A second installment would be very significantly shorter, as their run concluded with SENSANTIONAL #31. It'll be interesting to see how Marvel collects those remaining issues.

(Though it should be noted that SENSATIONAL #25 - 28 were collected in the SPIDER-MAN: SPIDER-HUNT and SPIDER-MAN: IDENTITY CRISIS trade paperbacks from a few years back, along with issues of the other ongoing Spider-titles of the time.)

(And it should be doubly noted that the Wieringo-free SENSATIONAL 32 and 33 can be found in the SPIDER-MAN: THE GATHERING OF FIVE trade, while the earlier Dan Jurgens-created SENSATIONAL #1 - 6 are avaialable in the various trades and Omnibuses containing the "Clone Saga" -- meaning that the SENSATIONAL entire series is currently collected aside from issues 29 - 31!)

I really like the era of Spider-Man comics represented in the Dezago/Wieringo collection. It gave us a sort of "back to basics" approach for the character across all his various series, and while sloppy editing mangled a lot of the inter-title continuity, I nonetheless have a huge soft spot for this post-Clone Saga, pre-relaunch period of 1996 - 1998, to the point that I would happily pick up trades collecting the full runs of the other core Spider-books of the time as well should Marvel eventually offer them.

(In particular, I'd love a book or two covering PETER PARKER, SPIDER-MAN from that time. Though many have issues with Howard Mackie's writing in those stories, I really liked them back when I read them as they came out while I was in high school/college -- but more importantly, I feel very strongly that those couple years on that title represented -- hands down -- the best artwork of John Romita, Jr.'s long career.)

Another Spider-era for which I have a ton of love is covered by this month's second book, the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN OMNIBUS volume 3. The book collects issues 68 - 104 of AMAZING, featuring the works of Stan Lee, John Romita, John Buscema, Jim Mooney, and Gil Kane.


I was born more than a decade after a lot of this material, but nonetheless, this stuff holds a massive nostalgic place in my heart, and is one of my all-time favorite stretches for Spider-Man. It opens up with the epic ten-part "stone tablet" storyline, which I owned in full via Marvel's digest reprints in the eighties. There's also AMAZING #80, an appearance by the Chameloen which was reprinted in a book I had called SPIDER-MAN: THE SECRET STORY OF MARVEL'S WORLD-FAMOUS WALL-CRAWLER, a sort of grade school-age primer on Spidey. The saga of Morbius and the six-armed Spider-Man, circa issue 100, was reprinted in MARVEL TALES when I was in my early teens. Along with the previous Omnibus, this stuff represents, for me, the definitive Spider-Man, and I've been waiting a long time for this book!

Quite honestly, it's going to be very hard for July to top June's Unboxing, but I look forward to seeing it try...

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