Tuesday, 5 June 2012


It’s been fifty years.

Fifty years since a new character took the comics world by storm. And he didn’t stop there, going on to feature in novels and newspaper strips, star in many cartoons, a live action TV series and of course three blockbuster movies.

And he’s still going strong today. In about a month’s time a new movie will hit the cinema screens whilst his first series is now into the 680s.

Spider-Man (and not forgetting his alter ego, Peter Parker) is an amazing character, pun intended, who has been put into numerous different scenarios and yet always manages to retain his basic everyman appeal. And he’s had so many adventures - SpiderFan.org: Spider-Man Core Titles lists over twenty different titles (ignoring multiple volumes), and that’s just for his own headline series.

I first discovered Spider-Man via the cartoon Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends but later discovered the comics. And above all else there’s one series that delivers so much all at once - the Essential series of reprints that present all the issues of a series in order from the start. It allows one to see a character being built up and developed, and the arrivals (and departures) of the various members of their supporting cast and Rogues’ Gallery. Over the years I’ve enjoyed reading the successive Essential volumes and decided to finally take the plunge and present my thoughts on each volume.

So over the coming days and weeks I’ll be working my way through the various Spider-Man volumes in the Essential series, working through in approximate order, and offering my extended thoughts on each volume. There’ll also be a few diversions along the way to cover other matters of interest and questions. I’ll also put up a few background information posts.

(Be warned that this blog will be full of spoilers. I’m discussing comics that came out at least twenty-five years ago, and usually much more, and details of these adventures are widespread so I won’t hold back too much on discussing what were at the time revelations.)

Why “The Essential Exploits of Spider-Man”? Well The Exploits of Spider-Man was a Marvel UK reprint title back in the early 1990s which followed on from The Complete Spider-Man (which was presumably changed because the explosion of Spider-Man material made the title inaccurate) and preceded The Astonishing Spider-Man (which is now in its 17th year, albeit with at least two resets of the numbering en route). Exploits is one of the few Spider-Man titles that doesn’t seem to have been reused endlessly and feels an appropriate title to use for a consideration of such a lengthy run.

So stick around for the ride. Excelsior!

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