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Topic: 50 years of SPIDER-MAN! (Topic Closed Topic Closed) Post ReplyPost New Topic
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John Byrne
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Grumpy Old Guy

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Posted: 17 July 2012 at 7:02pm | IP Logged | 1  

Roger Stern used to say the real Spider-Man, and, indeed, the real Marvel, ended with the publication of MARVEL TEAM-UP 1. Spider-Man, the eternal outcast, the loner, teaming up every month with a different character. The very notion of the team-up rendered ordinary.

There was a lot of good stuff that came along after MTU 1, but with every passing year I fear Rog's pronouncement becomes more and more true. Sometimes it seems the people currently in charge of Marvel are actually determined to drive the ship onto the rocks. Or did they already do that?

I used to say Rudyard Kipling's IF was a good summation of Peter Parker. How long has it been since that was true?

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 17 July 2012 at 7:06pm | IP Logged | 2  

I used to say Rudyard Kipling's IF was a good summation of Peter Parker.

+++++++++

Agreed!

 

And, for a visual summation...

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Adam Hutchinson
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Posted: 17 July 2012 at 7:10pm | IP Logged | 3  

DeZago and Wieringo's Sensational Spider-Man run in the mid- to late-
90s is still one of my personal favorite runs; fun stories, snappy
dialogue and beautiful art.
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Adam Hutchinson
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Posted: 17 July 2012 at 7:11pm | IP Logged | 4  

Also I'm another fan of Slott's current run. It's the first time the comic
has felt like a Spider-Man comic, to me, in a long time.
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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 17 July 2012 at 7:51pm | IP Logged | 5  

My into to Spider-Man would've been the early 80s when the character was about 20 years old.  Cartoons, toys and the live action 70s series would've been my first exposure.  I started reading Spider-Man comics in 1987 when he would've been 25 years old, exactly half as old as he is now.  I had the good fortune to begin reading Spider-Man with MARVEL TALES along with the regular Spider titles.  For a long time I had no idea they were reprints.  Through this I was exposed to 70s Spider-Man and soon I was given a Marvel Masterworks introducing me to Mr. Steve Ditko and the glorious beginning of Spider-Man.  So it's interesting for me, my "Golden Age" of Spider-Man is simultaneously the Spider-Man of the 60s, 70s and all the way up through the late 80s/early 90s!

Oh yeah, did I say he's my favorite hero?  He is.
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Robert White
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Posted: 17 July 2012 at 8:09pm | IP Logged | 6  

That Ditko sequence is one of the few that gets me emotionally everytime I read it. Inspired. Spider-Man has always been one of my favorites. The Hulk is my favorite, and I think he REALLY embodies the loner/outcast mentality to its fullest, but Spider-Man is certainly Marvel's greatest icon.

I was reading a comment by Steve Englehart not long about about how sometime in the late 80's, Marvel mandated that the characters could no longer "grow." (I believe he was talking about the fact that not even the illusion of change was wanted anymore) This along with the speculator boom did seem to signal the end of the classic Marvel Universe around 1991.  
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 17 July 2012 at 8:17pm | IP Logged | 7  

One of my favourite comic book characters -- Peter Parker feels like a real friend, someone you have an immediate connection with and can always root for. Someone with a lot of bad luck, but who can always be counted on to do the right thing -- and make you laugh!

Spidey's witty banter is sort of unique and he has probably the best supporting cast, not just in comics, but possibly in any media. 

As Greg said, there are some wonderful runs. Any reprint of Lee/Ditko or Lee/Romita was always eagerly consumed and when I started collecting comics there was a UK Spider-Man comic that reprinted the great DeFalco/Frenz run. From back issues I also enjoyed the Stern/Romita Jr stories, particularly the classic Juggernaut story.

in fact, I first encountered Juggernaut watching Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, which was my favourite cartoon in the mid-80s.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 17 July 2012 at 9:00pm | IP Logged | 8  

When you younger guys -- you know, everybody!! -- talk about your experience of Marvel characters growing up, I don't know whether to envy you, or feel sorry for you. Was it a cornucopia, or a surfeit?

I was there almost from the ground floor, for the birth of modern Marvel. FF 5, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 1 (I would acquire AMAZING FANTASY 15 about a year later), AVENGERS 1, X-MEN 1, even SGT FURY from very early on. (Thor and Iron Man I was content to mostly follow in THE AVENGERS). I was aware of THE INCREDIBLE HULK, but it took me so long to convince my mother to let me buy it, I was able to pick up only one issue, 5, and then the bad distribution caused me to miss 6, and the book was gone!

Thing is, tho, in each of those instances, the comics were all I had. And only one series for each of them! No cartoons, no toys, no movies. Nada. Just the exquisite anticipation of waiting for the next issue. Which, very often, I missed. And the next. And the next. When I look at how many issues of FF I missed, I am amazed at the sheer dedication that kept me a fan.

So, I wonder what it would have been like if, having missed the latest issue of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, I might still find SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN, or tune in SPIDER-MAN AND HIS AMAZING FRIENDS, or just go make my own adventures with the toys!

I'm pretty sure I would not be the same kind of fan I am today. I wonder, tho, if I would still be a fan at all?

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Andrew W. Farago
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Posted: 17 July 2012 at 9:09pm | IP Logged | 9  

Spider-Man was my favorite when I was a kid, and he's still my favorite now.  While I though One More Day was an awful story, I've enjoyed seeing Dan Slott & Co.'s take on Spidey since then.  It's fun, classic superhero action, and apart from the occasional misstep, it's been an enjoyable run.

Lots of highlights over the decades, definitely.  Some of my favorites:

*The entire Lee-Ditko run.  They start of great, really hit their stride in the early twenties, and are pretty much untouchable from that point onward.

*The Romita era kicks off with one of the best two-parters in comics.  The next few years after that are great to look at, and I'm glad that I've got an IDW Artist's Edition of Romita's work on my bookshelf.

*The next creative peak came when John Romita inked Gil Kane's pencils.  Apart from Ditko, that's the best Spidey's ever looked.

*The Spider-Man/Hulk battle, deaths of Green Goblin and Gwen Stacy, the Jackal, Punisher, Spider-Mobile, Tarantula, original clone saga...I didn't read them as they were coming out, but reading and re-reading them in Marvel Tales gave me a real fondness for the Gerry Conway/Ross Andru era.

*The next real high point after that was the Stern/Romita Jr. era, which is probably the best run by anyone apart from Stan Lee, Steve Ditko and John Romita Sr.

*I started reading during the Gang War storyline around 1987, so that's still a personal favorite.  The death of Ned Leeds, the proposal, the wedding, Kraven's Last Hunt, The Mad Dog Ward, the McFarlane/Michelinie era...that's my golden age as a fan.

*Glad someone else mentioned Mike Wieringo.  That Sensational Spider-Man run with Todd DeZago was a real high point for the character in the 1990s.  Their first issue, Ben Reilly vs. The Looter, might be my single favorite issue from that decade (or the past 20 years, even).  I've got one page of original art from their run and it's hanging in my living room.

*The biggest highlights for me personally were curating a massive Spider-Man original art exhibition in the summer of 2002 and writing a Spider-Man story for the Marvel Holiday Special in 2007, kind of a Marvel Team-Up thing with Wolverine. 

I could probably list another dozen faves, but I think that's a pretty good start.



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Thomas Moudry
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Posted: 17 July 2012 at 9:18pm | IP Logged | 10  

My first experience with The Amazing Spider-Man #102 (with six-armed
Spider-Man, the Lizard, and Morbius), but I didn't find another issue on the
stands for quite some time--#112. A Louisville station started rerunning
the 1967 Spider-Man cartoon about a year later, and at some point I started
reading Marvel Team-Up its first issue.

I got driven away from the character during the JMS run and haven't
returned, even though I've heard good things about Dan Slott's work.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 17 July 2012 at 9:27pm | IP Logged | 11  

They start of great, really hit their stride in the early twenties, and are pretty much untouchable from that point onward.

++++++++

You mean when Ditko took over the plotting?

There are a number of instances in those later issues where it's clear that Stan had no idea what was going on in a given story when he was writing the script! Like the subplot in # 30, which featured the Master Planner's gang as a prelude to the next issue, but where Stan tied them in with the Cat, # 30's villain.

Also, unfortunately, it does feel a bit like Ditko was phoning it in somewhat in the last few issues of the run, after the Master Planner storyline.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 17 July 2012 at 9:33pm | IP Logged | 12  

*The Romita era kicks off with one of the best two-parters in comics. 

++++++++++++

Interesting, isn't it, that Spider-Man has had several of the best cliffhangers in comic history? To name a few:

* The afforemention bit with Spider-Man buried under rubble at the end of # 32.

* The unmaskings of Spider-Man and the Green Goblin at the end of # 39.

* The reveal of the six-armed Spider-Man at the end of # 100 (not a favorite story of mine, but certainly a memorable cliffhanger!).

* The death of Gwen and Spider-Man's vow of vengeance at the end of # 121.

* The "return" of Gwen at the end of # 143.



Edited by Greg Kirkman on 17 July 2012 at 9:34pm
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