The Little Book Of The Amazing Spider-Man by Roy Thomas (book review).

As with ‘The Little Book Of The Avengers’, ‘The Little Book Of The Amazing Spider-Man’ follows a similar pattern of showing a lot of covers and interiors of your favourite neighbourhood webslinger. Unlike the Avengers, with only one character to focus, there is a better concentration on events and, indeed, we get several pages from particular well-deserved stories. Who can’t be moved seeing Spidey fighting to raise the debris from the Master Planner’s base to save Aunt May? Surely Ditko at his best. The biggest bonus is seeing the completer 3 page gag story by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko spoof of themselves and how they create Spider-Man. It made me check the ‘The Little Book Of The Fantastic Four’ that I’m reviewing next and they only have one page of ‘This Is A Plot’ so if you’ve never seen these spoofs (there was only one other and that was with Don Heck doing one) then you can understand where ‘Not Brand Echh!’ came from.

I didn’t know so many of the early ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ original covers had been thrown away simply for space reasons. Although I can understand the sentiment that Parker gave up his glasses when they broke because he didn’t need them because of his spider-enhancement, it’s noted here that it also removes any resemblance to a certain Clark Kent seems less of a reason in comparison. It’s not as though Peter Parker needs a disguise. I also didn’t know and we get to see here a different cover for Amazing Spider-Man # 89 which is significant as this is one of the ‘drug’ issues.

Again, we see covers from foreign editions. In Germany, Spidey is ‘Die Spinne’, the Spider. Towards the end of the book, where we see multiple Spider-Men from across the world, we also have L’Uomo Ragno, a literal translation into Italian. It would have been interesting with all these books to have shown all the various names Marvel characters are called in different countries because some do have radical changes as I found when I explored the X-Men in my fandom days.

I did have a ponder on whether anything was left out and maybe a sampling of Spidey merchandise might have been useful. It’s not as though one of the computer games wasn’t shown.

When it comes to Spidey events in his time-line, I think I might have included the Jean DeWolff story but that’s my kind of memory recall. There’s a fair bet that you’ll have coverage of most things Spider-Man in this little book. You will also no doubt surprise your sprogs when you point out the issues you read as youngsters and if they’re very good you’ll pull the originals out of your attic to show them.

GF Willmetts

November 2017

(pub: Taschen. 190 page A5 softcover. Price: £ 6.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-3-8365-6781-7)

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