“Essential Spider-Man Vol. 1” by Stan Lee
Released in June of 2002, ‘Essential Spider-Man Volume 1’ contains Amazing Fantasy #15, the comic that started it all, Amazing Spider-Man #1-20, and Annual #1. These are the first 22 chapters reprinted from the original comics written by Stan Lee.
These are the stories that started the legend and cultural phenomenon. All the stories are from the sixties and it’s full of the vernacular of the time. At time the language is so ridiculous that I would be distracted by it, but that’s the way they talked I guess.
The black and white reprint drawings are a hard thing to get use to when you’ve grown up with color filled comics. But I’m guessing its that editor are play on nostalgic, taking the reader back in time to the beginnings of this super-hero, Spider-Man. Although this is the history of Spider-Man, the language, drawings, the stories combine to be hokey. Written for children they really don’t stand the test of time. But will appeal to the die-hard fan of the character.
The one thing that it does that makes it worthy of reading is that it a reprint of the original comic that showcase the introduce of some of Spider-Mans rogue gallery: Doc Ock, Vulture, The Sandman, The Lizard, and Mysterio just to name a few. It also features some team ups with the Fantastic Four. ‘Essential Spider-Man’ also showcases the writing of Stan Lee and illustration by Steve Ditko. Lee portrayed peter and Spider-Man in the more classical dual personality, having Peter be ridiculed and rejected by his peers and being an introvert and where Spider-Man it confident and an extrovert.
If you’re a fan of the character and never got to read the original start of the comic that is Spider-Man its here in all its glory. If you can get passed the outdated language and the black and white, I think you will find that this is a great graphic novel to read. You get to see the humble beginnings of a cultural phenomenon that even today is influencing children and adult. It shows the creative writing of Stan Lee, who in his own write has influence countless readers.