Sunday, September 24, 2017


I bet you thought that with FLASH GORDON coming to an end last month, we were done with newspaper strips around here, didn't you? Well think again, true believers! As noted last September, I have the first two volumes of IDW's "Library of American Comics" reprints of the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN newspaper strip, covering strips from 1977 - 1981 by the all-star team of Stan Lee and John Romita, and the time has come to crack them open.

(This is the point where I go into a quick sidebar to note that, as I've probably mentioned before, Lee & Romita are the definitive Spider-Man team as far as I'm concerned. Others have done great work on the web-slinger, and I technically consider Roger Stern's AMAZING SPIDER-MAN run to be more of a favorite than the Lee/Romita stuff due to nostalgia, but if we're talking the most iconic version of the character, his supporting cast, and his status quo, then it's Lee/Romita all the way for me.)

When I was a youngster -- say, maybe seven or eight years old -- I had a book called THE BEST OF SPIDER-MAN, which reprinted a handful of story arcs from the earlier years of the Spidey strip. I very nearly read the cover off that thing, to the point that it became one of the most battered, dog-eared books I owned. In a way, it was more formative of my understanding of Spider-Man than the monthly comics, since I had never really been a regular ongoing reader at that point. So while I've read some of the stuff we're about to embark upon, it's been over thirty years now -- and really, the material covered by that beloved old paperback is only a fraction of what appears in the IDW collection.

Note that while there are a total of four volumes available at the moment, I'm only covering the first two -- the Lee/Romita stuff -- for now. Someday I'll probably check out the post-Romita material as well, but for the time being, all I'm interested in are the first four years. Like most strips, this one is broken into story arcs, and my plan is to look at two arcs per week. Unfortunately, unlike FLASH GORDON, I can't find a nice list of arc titles for the Spidey stuff, so I'll just use the strip dates as identifiers instead.

So get ready, because I expect this will take us through the end of the year.

Available on Amazon: Volume 1 | Volume 2
Also available: Volume 3 | Volume 4

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