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KC Carlson

by KC Carlson

This has been one of those periods in which I’ve been unable to checked out numerous comic books for about six weeks. moving across country as well as having all the comics locked in a moving van will do that. Whenever this happens, as well as I requirement to get back up to speed, I try to discover a series that can simplicity me back into the swing of things. Something not as well cerebral (so no grant Morrison). nothing as well confusing (pick one — there are dozens of series out there that make no sense unless you’ve memorized the last hundred or so issues). as well as ultimately something familiar. as well as for me, there’s nothing much more familiar than Spider-Man.

Amazing Spider-Man #86

This is not a poor thing. Spidey’s the character who very first lead me into the marvel Universe, by way of the the original cartoon series in the 1960s. Later, I started looking for the comics — challenging in my area because Marvel’s distribution was often inconsistent. The very first Spidey book I bought off the racks was outstanding Spider-Man #86 (July 1970) which featured the Black Widow with her all-new, youthful, hip-huggin’ updated look. (She previously dressed like a high-class society dame in her 40s — with a huge hat! — I later discovered.) I believed it was great, decided to gather it, as well as from then on I’ve bought every problem of all of Spidey’s major series (and most of the minis as well as one-shots). Plus, within a few months, I had all the previous Spidey stories, in back issues I picked up from garage sales or other kids selling their collections.

It used to drive me nuts why the kids across town had old Marvels that I had never seen, which caused me to begin riding my bike to other places across town to get comics. This ultimately led to my routine weekly “comics route” around town, so that I wouldn’t miss anything. It likewise got me into a profession in periodical distribution, after I discovered that the paper path that I worked everyday was operated by the regional magazine distributor — who likewise distributed comics as well as the pulpy mass market paperback series of the day (Doc Savage, The Shadow, etc.). soon I was working for them on the weekends as well as after school, “stripping” comics (cutting off the cover logos as well as sending them back to the publishers for credit rating for “unsold” comics). It was right here that learned why I couldn’t discover Marvels on my side of town. If the stores hadn’t requested them, they didn’t get any. A great deal (more than half) of the comics I was stripping for credit rating never left the back space of the distributor. It was an amazingly inefficient as well as wasteful technique to do things, however I was told that was the way it had been done for decades.

Marvel Tales #3

Anyway, back to Spidey. The other very essential way I finished my back-issue collection of Spider-Man was to discover issues in which earlier stories were reprinted, such as marvel Tales, where most of the Spidey stories were re-run. Today, we mainly scoff at comic series that reprint other comic books, mostly since hardcover as well as trade collections have superseded them. however back in the day, comic titles like marvel Tales, marvel Super-Heroes, marvel Collectors’ product Classics, Marvel’s biggest Comics, as well as fantasy masterpieces (which mostly specialized in golden Age reprints) were a godsend to fans trying to keep the continuity straight on the interesting new marvel series of the day, when numerous readers most likely never saw the originals since of Marvel’s bad distribution in their early years.

GROUND floor OF AN outstanding RUN

Amazing Spider-Man #96, the very first part of the medication storyline.

I had made a excellent decision in starting to checked out outstanding Spider-Man at this time. just four issues after my first, one of the major supporting characters — Captain George Stacy (father of Gwen, Peter Parker’s then-girlfriend) died, as well as Spidey was included (Amazing #90, however you saw this in the most recent movie). six issues after that came the well-known medication stories that marvel published, defying the Comics Code — as well as ultimately forcing the Code to update their out-of-date standards to catch up with the times (Amazing #96-98). as well as then, 23 issues later, you-know-who dies (Amazing #121)! however before then, Spidey grew four additional arms, visited the savage Land (w/ Gwen!), got included in a gang war, as well as got pummeled by the Hulk! It was a excellent time to be reading Spider-Man comics!

I’ve never regretted reading it in all those years. Although — full disclosure — I really haven’t checked out all of the issues. during the time I was actively editing for DC Comics (the early 90s), I got behindon my routine marvel reading. I still flipped with them all every week — gotta keep up with the competition! — however that kind of reading wasn’t always fun. What I ended up not reading was the entire Clone Saga, although I was kept up-to-date on the proceedings by the DC assistant editors — who were typically horrified.

Spider-Man: The total Clone Saga Epic

When I left DC, that story was originally high on my listing to get caught up on (despite my fears in ever re-assembling it in the appropriate reading order), however most people I asked (including one of the innovative team at the time — Hi Todd!) told me not to bother, since it would just drive me crazy with all its inconsistencies. In much more recent years, it seems that the Clone Saga’s credibility has gotten much better (probably since marvel reprinted the whole thing — in order — in a number of collections), although plot points from it don’t seem to come up much in present Spidey storylines, unless the characters from the Saga — like Ben Reilly or Kaine — make an appearance. When those stories come up, I just jam my fingers into my ears as well as yell LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA, until they get back to the routine storyline.

I most likely will checked out the Clone Saga at some point. I do have all the issues, after all. as well as there’s been a tremendous amount of fan scholarship as well as chronology about the Saga, which I appreciate as well as can certainly put to great use.



This year marks Spider-Man’s 50th Anniversary, as well as there’s a great deal of fascinating stuff happening in Spidey’s world. We’ve just recently seen the Spider-Men of two fictional universes (Marvel as well as Ultimate) team up in the five-issue Spider-Men, a fast-moving as well as commonly heart-rending story. I’ve enjoyed Spidey’s time in both the Avengers as well as the fantastic four of late. His anxious energy is a excellent foil to the commonly “why so serious?” members of the Avengers, as well as I never get sufficient of Spidey interacting with Ben Grimm as well as Johnny Storm. Spidey performed a very essential function while Johnny was “dead” (especially as a good friend for Franklin), showing us sides of Peter Parker that we’ve never seen before.

Avenging Spider-Man

Now that Spidey is much more “active” around the marvel universe as part of the Avengers, it seems to make sense to spin him out in his own team-up book, Avenging Spider-Man — which is mostly, in all however name, the exact same idea as the traditional marvel Team-Up title. I understand that a great deal of Spider-philes are up in arms about the character being overexposed. I can understand that, yet at this point in comics history, there are two major points in this recent development: 1) practically all of Spidey’s various appearances are now written in such a way that you very certainly don’t have to get all of the Spider-appearances or titles to understand what’s going on. Not that that won’t stop most obsessive Spidey fans… as well as 2) I discover that most (if not all) of Spidey’s various books are of adequate high high quality that, if you can pay for it, all of them are excellent fun to read! as well as this is from a man who historically had to struggle with long runs of Spectacular, Web, Peter Parker, Team-Up, as well as other old institution Spidey titles that were often terribly written, poorly drawn, didn’t make sense, or totally forgettable — sometimes all four in the exact same issue.

Amazing Spider-Man #672, part of the Spider Island story.

The “anchor” book, outstanding Spider-Man, has been living up to its adjective lately with a excellent run of stories, at least going back to the Spider Island saga. (Dumb title, fun story, mainly outstanding tie-ins.) There was a excellent “we should repair this horrible future” time travel story in #678-679, which might have been a catastrophe of cliché, however was remarkably written by Dan Slott — the routine outstanding writer. I can’t wait to re-read it again.

Amazing Spider-Man #687, part of the ends of the earth story.

There was a excellent multi-part Sinister six storyline disguised as something called “Ends of the Earth”. I love the Sinister Six, even if I don’t always acknowledge them these days, because there’s been an continuous update of Spidey-foes in this title, most all of them quite intriguing.

Amazing Spider-Man #691 variant cover

That was the last thing I checked out before my huge move, as well as the very first thing I checked out when I needed a break was an incredibly scary as well as incredibly goofy story (and, young boy are those difficult to do right!). The Lizard, who just recently murdered his own child in an earlier heart-wrenching tale, is back for much more disturbing conflict. He ends up turning most of the personnel of horizon Labs (Peter Parker’s present employers, as well as some of the best new supporting characters in comics) into Lizard-lite creatures in a crazy story that likewise features Morbius the Living Vampire. I was both elated (about the high quality of the story) as well as disturbed. I really believed this would be the end of Peter Parker’s employment as well as get in touch with with Horizon, based on every other time Parker has gotten the ideal task for him, as well as had it go bad. Kudos for that not happening this time.

Although I may be premature in that judgment. The present storyline, “Alpha”, is all about Spidey/Parker getting saddled with a wisecracking, insolent sidekick, of Parker’s own making. (Inadvertently re-inventing something that Reed Richards already invented — as well as discarded — in a good touch.) as well as if that wasn’t poor enough, somehow the Jackal is involved. This storyline is attached to the 50th anniversary of Spider-Man, as well as it’s a game changer for exactly how we look at both Spidey himself as well as the concept of youngster sidekicks in general. Alpha is no Dick Grayson. He’s a young youngster of today, kinda obnoxious as well as a little clueless. I get the feeling that all of this is going to come to a head by the upcoming outstanding #700, perhaps in a huge way. I’m truly looking ahead to exactly how this plays out.

Amazing Spider-Man #697

One of my preferred things about the outstanding Spider-Man book is that is twice monthly. I don’t necessarily checked out it twice monthly, however I do like exactly how it is structured in a different way than other twice-monthly books, where the artist changes every two issues or so. (I’m looking at you, Wolverine as well as the X-Men.) At Spidey Central, editor Steve Wacker as well as his series of excellent assistants (currently Ellie Pyle) have planned the book far sufficient in advancement so that the artists of specific self-contained storylines can really draw every problem of that story, like Giuseppe Camuncoli with the recent “No turning Back” Lizard/Morbius/Horizon Labs storyline, as well as (hopefully) Humberto Ramos on the present “Alpha” story. speaking editorially for a moment, the only way this can be done is with a super-organized editorial personnel (Wacker kind of invented this kind of long-lasting editing on the breakthrough 52 series at DC before departing for Marvel) as well as a writer willing to work way ahead of typical deadlines, like Dan Slott. You likewise requirement the capability to shift back as well as forth between storylines as the art comes in from a number of different artists. trust me, it’s like jugging a great deal of balls in the air, all at once, without being able to decrease any type of of them.

Speaking of Ramos, I when believed that he was most likely the most unlikely Spider-Man artist ever with all his strange angles, facial contortions, as well as unusual lighting effects — as well as nowadays I can’t wait until his next Spidey storyline. He’s ripping it up with Alpha so far.


Sensational Spider-Man #33.1

Also notable for the Spidey anniversary were a handful of “add-on” issues of the long-defunct Sensational Spider-Man (#33.1 as well as 33.2), web of Spider-Man (#129.1 as well as 129.2), as well as Peter Parker, Spider-Man (#156.1), all written by past Spider-writers, including Roger Stern, Tom DeFalco, as well as Stuart Moore. Stern (in Peter Parker) tells a new story that harkens way back to Spidey’s origin, with art by Roberto De La Torre. DeFalco’s story (in Sensational, illustrated by Carlo Barberi as well as Walden Wong) returns prominent supporting character Carlie Cooper to the forefront in a clever story featuring the new Vulture. Finally, Moore’s story (in Web, drawn by Damion Scott as well as Rob Campanella) is about a misfit group of would-be super-heroes called the Brooklyn Avengers of which Spidey was when a charter member. This was one of those “implanted continuity” stories that might have gone wrong, however I was won over by the quirky as well as good-natured members of the neo-superteam.

All three of these excellent stories may have been overlooked in the huge wave of comics being solicited in the last few months, however these are all still offered as well as are worth seeking out.

Happy 50th Anniversary, Spider-Man! It’s definitely an interesting time for you, as well as I hope I’m somehow around for your 100th!


KC CARLSON: Does whatever a spider can. just not very well. That web stuff is tricky.

Classic comic covers from the Grand Comics Database.