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When Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider, he became much more that the shy, introverted high school student he had always been!  Now possessed of the proportionate strength, speed, and agility of a spider, he sought to use his newfound abilities to achieve wealth and fame.  But, after his beloved Uncle Ben was murdered, the grief-stricken youth soon realized that with great power must also come great responsibility...  Now, Peter wages a one man web-slinging crusade against all evildoers in the costumed identity of--
the Amazing SPIDER-MAN
The Amazing SPIDER-MAN
Click here to order THE ESSENTIAL SPIDER-MAN: Volume One
by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko
black & white
Paperback: 528 pages
Marvel Books
ISBN: 0785109889
Re-presenting over 20 issues in the beginning of the Spider-Man legend-- in an affordable black-and-white edition, featuring:
  • The Origin of Spider-Man from AMAZING FANTASY #15,
The Amazing SPIDER-MAN
Reprinting The Amazing Spider-Man #'s 21-43
plus The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #'s 2 & 3
by Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, & John Romita
black & white
Paperback: 528 pages
Marvel Books
ISBN: 078510299X
This volume issues includes Steve Ditko's last issue of Spider-Man, John Romita Senior's first issue, and the introductions of Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane Watson!
This second volume holds a wide range of early Spider-Man stories, and shows a transitional period in the character's history.

The stories range from the epic "Master Planner" storyline, which builds strongly and contains very memorable scenes, to ephemeral stories like hat of "The Looter" and "A Guy Named Joe."  Villains from the past return, and this book includes some essential stories of Spidey's big-name foes, Dr Octopus and the Green Goblin--including the story of the Goblin's unmasking, which was to be the straw that broke the camel's back insofar as ending the long collarboration--forever--between Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

The book also takes Peter Parker from his high school days to college, incidentally introducing both Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane Watson while leaving behind earlier romantic interests such as Betty Brant and Liz Allen.

During this volume, we see the period when artist Steve Ditko took over the plotting of stories, which lent the book a more moralistic air. Towards the end, Ditko leaves and is replaced by John Romita, making the book more clean-lined and primed for the explosion into popularity that was to occur.

This volume is a mixed bag, albeit of good quality material, and shows a comic that had largely outgrown its original premise but was struggling to find a new one.

The Amazing SPIDER-MAN
Click here to order THE ESSENTIAL SPIDER-MAN: Volume Three
Volume Three
Reprinting The Amazing Spider-Man #'s 44-68
by Stan Lee & John Romita & Friends
black & white
Paperback: 528 pages
Marvel Books
ISBN: 0785106588
It's cheap, it's more than 20 issues, and most importantly, you'll love it. You'll speed through this thing faster than you thought possible. The sub-plots, mainly Peter Parker's relationship with Gwen Stacy, are absolutely invigorating. You'll read every last page of this, no kidding. John Romita, Sr.'s gorgeous art doesn't hurt, either.
The Amazing SPIDER-MAN
ESSENTIAL: Volume Four
Reprinting The Amazing Spider-Man #'s 69-89
plus The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #'s 4 & 5
by Stan Lee, John Romita, Sr., & Gil Kane
black & white
Paperback: 528 pages
Marvel Books
ISBN: 0785107606
The Classic Spider-Man!

Finally, a new volume of Essential Spidey! The fans have spoken and Marvel has responded, releasing its unprecedented fourth volume of stories featuring the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man!

Covering the classic period of the late 1960s, The Essential Spider-Man Volume 4 collects some of the finest super hero action and angst-ridden melodrama that made the web-slinger a household name. Driven by an unflagging sense of responsibility, yet mistrusted by the populace he intends to protect, Spider-Man is the prototypical hard-luck hero. When he is not battling gaudy super-villains like the Lizard, Doctor Octopus and the Kingpin as Spider-Man, Peter Parker is caring for sick Aunt May or comforting his girlfriend Gwen Stacy, who is grieving over the death of her father, police Captain George Stacy-a death Peter feels that as Spider-Man, he should have prevented.

A classic hero, unforgettable villains and super hero soap opera, all wrapped up in a tidy 500-plus page package. The long-awaited Essential Spider-Man Volume 4 is bargain at any price.

Dimensions (in inches): 0.85 x 9.90 x 6.60
The Amazing SPIDER-MAN
Essential: Volume Five
Reprinting The Amazing Spider-Man #'s 90-111
by Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway, Gil Kane,
& John Romita, Sr. et al
black & white
Paperback: 528 pages
Marvel Books
ISBN: 0785108815
Volume 5 of the "Essential Spider-Man" covers the end of Stan Lee's run as the writer on this series. Lee wrote through issue #100, then Roy Thomas penned issues #101-104, Lee returned for issues #105-110, and then Gerry Conway (the man who killed off Gwen Stacy) became Spidey's scripter with issue #111. Spider-Man's artists change many times as well.
Volume Five includes several pivotal moments in Spider-Man's history: the death of Captain Stacy, the infamous Green Goblin/Harry Osborn drugs trilogy (where the comic did not receive Comics Code approval) and the 100th issue where Peter Parker decides to concoct a magic formula to take away his spider powers and ends up growing two extra sets of arms instead. "Relevancy" pops up as well as Flash Thompson returns from Vietnam with a story to tell (leading to a guest-appearance by Doctor Strange).

There is a nice bookend effect to this volume, which begins and ends with Doctor Octopus. Also included in these issues are Spider-Man visiting Ka-Zar in the Savage Land, the first appearance of Morbius the Living Vampire, and the Gibbon, a lost soul who became a pawn in a deadly battle with Kraven the Hunter.

Dimensions (in inches): 0.85 x 9.98 x 6.55
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