Results 1 to 15 of 15
  1. #1
    Amazing Member Alkaeus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2020
    Posts
    83

    Default What are the "perennial" Spider-Man comics?

    Basically, what stories could you give to someone who's not familiar with "classic" continuity and have it make sense and be enjoyable? Something like an All-Star Superman or Dark Knight Returns.

    I ask not because I think the character hasn't produced good or important stories, but because the more I think about it, the more it seems Peter's best and most-remembered stories are either parts of long form runs ("If This be My Destiny" for Ditko's tenure. for example) or play off that continuity in significant ways (Kraven's Last Hunt, for instance, requires knowledge of both Kraven and Peter's marriage to MJ).

    Imo, I think the best candidates are some of the more famous single issues like "The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man" and Life Story. The former can sometimes suffer from outdated storytelling conventions but can serve as succinct insights into Peter Parker and his world; the latter fits "classic" continuity into a relatively discreet package and is basically a crash course in Peter's development through the decades. Honorable mention to "The Night Gwen Stacy Died": the iconography is definitely a part of the broader cultural consciousness, but I'm not sure Gwen's death plays the same in a post-Spider-Gwen world.
    Pull List:
    - Guardians of the Galaxy
    - Batman/Superman
    - Superman and the Authority

  2. #2
    Astonishing Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2021
    Posts
    3,962

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Alkaeus View Post
    Basically, what stories could you give to someone who's not familiar with "classic" continuity and have it make sense and be enjoyable? Something like an All-Star Superman or Dark Knight Returns.

    I ask not because I think the character hasn't produced good or important stories, but because the more I think about it, the more it seems Peter's best and most-remembered stories are either parts of long form runs ("If This be My Destiny" for Ditko's tenure. for example) or play off that continuity in significant ways (Kraven's Last Hunt, for instance, requires knowledge of both Kraven and Peter's marriage to MJ).

    Imo, I think the best candidates are some of the more famous single issues like "The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man" and Life Story. The former can sometimes suffer from outdated storytelling conventions but can serve as succinct insights into Peter Parker and his world; the latter fits "classic" continuity into a relatively discreet package and is basically a crash course in Peter's development through the decades. Honorable mention to "The Night Gwen Stacy Died": the iconography is definitely a part of the broader cultural consciousness, but I'm not sure Gwen's death plays the same in a post-Spider-Gwen world.
    Yeah Spider-gwen was a good gimick and should have stayed for Spider-verse only.Or Earth-65.They really messed that up.

    I would say single issues as well.Some of those are straight bangers.
    Or life story

  3. #3
    Mighty Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Posts
    1,353

    Default

    I think Mark Millar's Knights run is pretty solid as a stand alone - it's not evergreen, but it's really enjoyable.

    Broadly, though, I think you're right - Venom or Carnage's introductions were pretty cool but incredibly brief; Stern or JMS's runs have huge high points but are grounded in lots of continuity or are just stand alone one-offs. Same with Lee/Ditko or the Night Gwen Stacy Died.

    It's weirdly not for lack of trying, though - Revenge or Return of the Sinister Six, Round Robin, Owl/Octopus War (criminally uncollected), and a few other arcs have had the potential to be great Spidey arcs that could have endured but just didn't.
    Blue text denotes sarcasm

  4. #4
    Formerly Assassin Spider Huntsman Spider's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    New Jersey, U.S.A.
    Posts
    12,486

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bob.schoonover View Post
    I think Mark Millar's Knights run is pretty solid as a stand alone - it's not evergreen, but it's really enjoyable.

    Broadly, though, I think you're right - Venom or Carnage's introductions were pretty cool but incredibly brief; Stern or JMS's runs have huge high points but are grounded in lots of continuity or are just stand alone one-offs. Same with Lee/Ditko or the Night Gwen Stacy Died.

    It's weirdly not for lack of trying, though - Revenge or Return of the Sinister Six, Round Robin, Owl/Octopus War (criminally uncollected), and a few other arcs have had the potential to be great Spidey arcs that could have endured but just didn't.
    Like J.M. DeMatteis's Spectacular Spider-Man run?
    The spider is always on the hunt.

  5. #5
    Mighty Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Posts
    1,353

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Huntsman Spider View Post
    Like J.M. DeMatteis's Spectacular Spider-Man run?
    As a criminally uncollected run, yes! I'm not sure it functions as a great "hand this collection (if it existed, because why in the world would you collect a fantastic writer/artist run that's well within the size of other epic or complete collections) to someone like you would DKR" but it's certainly another example of a great run without a great 200-300 page story you can easily pull out of it and just hand to someone w/o priming them. Maybe you could do Child Within, 189, 200, but there's stuff going on in the background you miss without basically all the issues.

    And like Owl/Octopus, we can all say it's great or whatever, but Marvel hasn't collected it so that's going to be a minority opinion in the larger fandom until we can actually hand it off to people and say, "please, read this book I gave you."

    Actually, Slott's Renew Your Vows might be an okay choice here. "It's an alt-future" is pretty minimal priming and is also necessary for DKR or All Star Superman. RYV isn't on a tier with the other two, but is quite good and evergreen.

    The OP does really bring up an interesting point, though. Other than KLH, there are very few evergreen Spidey tpbs that you expect to see on the shelves wherever books are sold. Marvel should probably work on that.
    Blue text denotes sarcasm

  6. #6
    Amazing Member Alkaeus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2020
    Posts
    83

    Default

    Thinking on this a bit more: I think the reliance on continuity is because Spider-Man is a character defined by forward progression, ever since Ditko and Lee graduated him from high school. As opposed to, say, Batman, he goes from high school to college to marriage and so on. There’s a much more concrete sense of progression.

    In terms of single issues, I think there's a healthy amount to pick from (at least from my favorites):
    -- "The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man": Probably the most famous, and definitely emotionally affecting. Out of curiosity, is this the first “superherp interacts with terminally ill kid” story?
    -- "The Commuter Commeth": One of the best comedy stories in the oeuvre.
    -- Spectacular 310: Eisner-winning, heartfelt and one of the best summations of the character.
    -- "Maybe Next Year": The Use of Shea Stadium dates it a bit but the emotional core is still very solid.
    -- "Read 'Em An' Weep": Probably the weakest of these, I still feel like it’s a unique and purely enjoyable comic.
    Pull List:
    - Guardians of the Galaxy
    - Batman/Superman
    - Superman and the Authority

  7. #7
    Ultimate Member Mister Mets's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    13,966

    Default

    I think Kid Who Collects Spider-Man is tops.

    The first few issues of Ultimate Spider-Man are probably the best modern retelling of Peter's origin. The second arc with Kingpin is even better.

    I've noticed Kraven's Last Hunt works pretty well as an introduction. The reader quickly learns what they need to about Kraven and MJ.

    Spider-Man Blue is a relatively modern take at arguably the most iconic Spider-Man era (the Lee/ Romita college days.)

    Some of the Jenkins/ Buckingham standalone comics are accessible and heartfelt.

    "Coming Home" is an accessible kickoff to a new era.
    Sincerely,
    Thomas Mets

  8. #8
    Incredible Member witchboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Posts
    894

    Default

    I think the classic Lee/Ditko run holds up very well.
    Ultimate Spider-Man is an excellent mostly self contained series that I'd feel comfortable recommending.

  9. #9
    Amazing Member Alkaeus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2020
    Posts
    83

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by witchboy View Post
    I think the classic Lee/Ditko run holds up very well.
    Ultimate Spider-Man is an excellent mostly self contained series that I'd feel comfortable recommending.
    I agree with you on the quality, but I feel like it's too big as its own thing and you eventually run into crossover nonsense like Ultimatum. I think Mr. Mets is right that the first two arcs work pretty well as a modern day reinterpretation of the character.
    Pull List:
    - Guardians of the Galaxy
    - Batman/Superman
    - Superman and the Authority

  10. #10
    Ultimate Member Mister Mets's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    13,966

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Alkaeus View Post
    I agree with you on the quality, but I feel like it's too big as its own thing and you eventually run into crossover nonsense like Ultimatum. I think Mr. Mets is right that the first two arcs work pretty well as a modern day reinterpretation of the character.
    It does take a really long time to get into Ultimatum.

    I think a good thing about Ultimate Spider-Man is that a lot of what makes Peter Parker work is subplots and how he's affected by the stories. So the best intro may be an accessible run rather than standalone stories.
    Sincerely,
    Thomas Mets

  11. #11

    Default

    The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man from TASM #248 and Finale from PP: TSSM #310 were the first two that came to mind.

  12. #12
    Incredible Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Posts
    852

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bob.schoonover View Post
    I think Mark Millar's Knights run is pretty solid as a stand alone - it's not evergreen, but it's really enjoyable.
    The story is still great, but some of Spidey’s quips haven’t aged that well (can’t exactly recall, but a year ago I reread it and some of his wisecracks made me cringe).

    ‘Unscheduled Stop’ 2-parter AKA the only great BND Spidey story could be given and enjoyed by someone who has never read a Spidey comic before.

  13. #13
    Incredible Member
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Posts
    926

    Default

    This is actually a tough one, since Marvel and Spider-Man comics especially are a lot more serialized than most DC comics. I don't know if Spider-Man (or most Marvel heroes for that matter) have a self-contained equivalent to All-Star Superman or Dark Knight Returns.

    If a "perennial" comic is something that sums up what the character is about, the closest self-contained story to that is The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man, but it's obviously not as long or as action-packed as something like All-Star Superman.

    I think where a reader should start depends a lot on their age. If you're in your teens or younger, I recommend they start with Bendis' Ultimate Spider-Man and The Spectacular Spider-Man TV Series. Both are excellent modern retellings of the Stan Lee era, the latter one especially. As far as the Lee/Ditko run goes, I actually think it's not ideal for them to start there. They can be hard to read if you just pick them up cold and have no historical context of Spider-Man and of comics. I would only go to the Lee/Ditko and the Lee/Romita runs after first finishing Spectacular and reading a decent amount of Ultimate.

    If you're an adult, you probably have at least a basic knowledge of Spider-Man by now. In an adult's case, I can't think of a better place to start than with JMS. JMS' run is the best run the character has had this century (so far), portrays the character at his absolute best, and draws a lot of attention to the meaning of Spider-Man. It is to Spider-Man what Morrison's Batman run was to Batman. Other 2000's comics that predate OMD (Paul Jenkins' Spider-Man, Marvel Knights, Blue) are also a good place to start, but I would prioritize at least the first half of the JMS run.
    Last edited by Kaitou D. Kid; 07-21-2021 at 11:40 PM.

  14. #14
    Incredible Member Spidey_62's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    668

    Default

    I like to think Coming Home, the first JMS written arc on ASM works as a good entry point for new readers and just a great succinct Spidey story. I think some of the things it has in its favor is how it presents Peter in a different place in his life than people might be used to from adaptations they've seen but it's all rooted in the character's high school... roots, and examines the origin from a different place, and uses a new villain- it provides lots of intrigue to the character's world both from where you find him and with the new/different kinds of character's. That's one of my all-time favs, but I remember lots of points where Marvel advertised that as the perfect story to start with for new readers- even back in the early 2000s having the first issue be readable on the Marvel website.

    That story also won the Eisner that year for best serialized story.

    Spider-Man Blue's probably another good contender because it touches on him at a very seminal point in his history and looks back at pivotal moments in a way that provides context and again, intrigue for readers to get invested further in the world.

    Maybe the early Ultimate Spider-Man arcs, too. Those are also very new reader friendly and open up the whole world of the character to readers from a pretty approachable lens, hitting on the major beats.

    Kid Who Collects Spider-Man is a great representation of who Peter is in a short story.

    I'm blanking on specific issues now but I think the whole Jenkins/Buckingham run is super underrated and really approachable as it cuts to the core.
    Last edited by Spidey_62; 07-22-2021 at 01:25 AM.

  15. #15
    Incredible Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Posts
    852

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Spidey_62 View Post
    I'm blanking on specific issues now but I think the whole Jenkins/Buckingham run is super underrated and really approachable as it cuts to the core.
    Yes, especially the issue with the black kid imagining he’s Spidey’s pal and then at the end Spidey is revealed to be Black (in his fantasy). Truly shows Spidey is an Everyman character and cuts to the core of what he’s meant to represent.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •