In writing these posts I've relied for the most part on the Essential volumes themselves. However, there are a few additional bits and pieces that have helped me check facts and learn other useful snippets. Here's a quick introduction to some of the main ones:

Comics Creators on Spider-Man by Tom DeFalco (London; Titan Books, 2004)

This book truly is amazing. It carries interviews with most of the key creators on the series, starting with Stan Lee and going right up to the-then current Paul Jenkins and Brian Michael Bendis. DeFalco's familiarity with both the interviewees and the subject matter helps to put all at ease and dig down into the detail of the series and the different ways comics are created. The creators interviewed are:
  • Stan Lee
  • John Romita
  • Gerry Conway
  • Len Wein
  • Marv Wolfman
  • Sal Buscema
  • Roger Stern
  • Ron Frenz
  • David Michelinie
  • Todd McFarlane
  • J.M. DeMatteis
  • Mark Bagley
  • Howard Mackie
  • Paul Jenkins
  • Mark Buckingham
  • Brian Michael Bendis

Sadly death, incapacitation and a blanket refusal to do interviews means that there are some names missing such as Ross Andru, Bill Mantlo and Steve Ditko. J. Michael Straczynski was unable to spare the time whilst John Romita Jr had recently been interviewed for another Titan book, but otherwise the only creators for any length of time who seemed notably absent are Peter David and John Byrne. It helped that this was the first in a mini-series, with subsequent books covering the Fantastic Four (2005) and the X-Men (2006), each tying in with the movies released in those years. The later books opted to handle space constraints by prioritising creators not yet featured in the series. (The only ones to appear in more than one volume are Stan Lee, in all three, Roy Thomas and John Byrne, both in both the Fantastic Four and X-Men volumes.) This does create the oddity that Jim Lee is in the Fantastic Four book but not in the X-Men one! Spider-Man is luckier and it's particularly nice that all the long running writers of Amazing pre-Straczynski are in the book.

Comic Book Marketplace Special Edition No. 5 (Summer 2002)

Another item that came out to tie in with a movie release, this was a Spider-Man special reprinting thirteen different articles from earlier issues of the regular Comic Book Marketplace. The articles cover a wide & diverse set of topics ranging from an interview with John Romita by Andy Lee to "The Smoking Gun" by Arnold T. Blumberg with a discovery of the letterspage from Amazing #125 that stated at the time just what had killed Gwen Stacy (it was "the whiplash effect she underwent when Spidey's webbing stopped her so suddenly") to "A Mavel-ous Friendship: The Strange Tale of Spider-Man and the Human Torch", also by Blumberg to "As the Web Spins: The Story of the Spider-man Newspaper Strip!" by Blumberg again. (There are also a couple of non-Spider-Man articles in there as well, one reprinting a 1942 newspaper feature on the fledgling industry, the other looking at crime comics.) The one I find the most fascinating is "Amazing Fantasy #16!" by Will Murray, which takes a look at the precise circumstances surrounding Amazing Fantasy when Spider-Man was introduced, including at what the actual plans for the book where when the webslinger was introduced and where he was originally supposed to appear. All in all this is a very useful magazine.

FantasCo's Chronicles Series #5 (1982)

A much earlier fan publication, produced to quite a high standard for its era, this particular issue carried "The History of Spider-Man". It contained a series of articles looking at both particular eras of the series and particular aspects. The article with probably the most shocking title is "Aunt May Must Die!" by Thomas Fagan, reflecting a common opinion at the time. Another piece of note is "Donatello Among the Wild Beasts – The Ditko Years" by Steve Webb which is the main (secondary) source for the claim that Steve Ditko wanted the original Green Goblin to be Ned Leeds. At the back is the "Spider-Man Checklist" which lists all the issues of his titles (even Giant-Size Super-Heroes and also lists some of his guest appearances) up to mid 1982, which has been extremely useful when writing reviews of the relevant Essential volumes as I can check an issue number at a glance.

Spidey Kicks Butt – the No. 1 source for Spider-Man commentary by the MadGoblin aka J.R. Fettinger

This website combines basic information about Spider-Man, most prominently the "Spider-Man 101" series that introduces the basics, the various titles, the creators, the non-comics spin-offs and more, along with a series of detailed opinion based articles that chart the historic courses of key characters and subjects, ranging from the relationship with Mary Jane to the rise, fall and restoration of the Hobgoblin. The MadGoblin knows his stuff and often his more historic articles provide the obscure detail for those who don't.

Spiderfan.Org: The Unofficial Spider-Man Home Page by a team of staff

Quite simply the most comprehensive Spider-Man site out there. There's far too much to simply summarise, but for this blog the most useful section has been the database of just about every single comic (and tradepaperback) ever featuring Spider-Man. It's been of much use many times, especially when drawing up the list of guest appearances before checking them all.

Mike's Amazing World of Comics by Mike Voiles

An incredible online database of US comics that lists every issue, its release date, stories and creators. It's been invaluable in checking exactly when something was released compared to other issues or real-world events and in checking out omitted issues. Look especially for the Newstand section which shows all the titles released in any given month.

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