Sixty years ago, a superhero hero that some would call amazing first graced newsstand in the fifteenth issue of the aptly titled Amazing Fantasy. His comics were spectacular, his stories were sensational. Some might even call him the superior superhero. We are talking, of course, about the one and only Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. Find out the history of the infamous web-head in Titan Magazine’s Spider-Man: The First Sixty Years.
Spider-Man: The First Sixty Years is a 127-page magazine that chronicles the entire history of Peter Parker’s radioactive-powered superhero alter ego. The magazine starts in the 60s, detailing his origins at Marvel at the hands of the great Stan Lee and comic legend Steve Ditko. It talks about Lee’s inspiration of seeing a fly on the wall to his hiring of Ditko to do the penciling (who was actually Lee’s second choice for the book). Most of the Ditko era section of the book, however, is a summarization of the comics events and his villains.
The wall crawler’s history doesn’t start getting fleshed out until the next section with the hiring of Ditko’s replacement, John Romita. Sr. The book continues through the 70s to the end of the Lee-Romita era with Lee’s replacement Gerry Conway. The book continues Spider-Man’s history through the rest of the 70s, 80s, 90s, & 00s until ending at the current run with Nick Spencer. Sprinkled throughout the book are art pieces (mostly comic covers and panels, but with the occasional sketch work thrown in), biographies of the different writers and artists that brought Spider-Man to life, and a running timeline of major milestone events in Spider-Man’s history.
Spider-Man: The First 60 Years Highlights the History of the Famous Web-Crawler
Spider-Man: The First Sixty Years is definitely an interesting read. As mentioned before, the majority of the book mostly summarizes the events of the comic, so it makes for a quick way to either refresh or catch up on Peter’s adventures or possibly learn things you didn’t actually know. Growing up as a kid in the 90s, most of my knowledge of Peter’s backstory came from either the Fox Kid’s cartoon or the Raimi films, so I always thought Uncle Ben was killed in a carjacking and not by a burglar at home.
Marc Webb’s Amazing Spider-Man films showed Peter’s parents, Richard and Mary Parker, as scientists framed for wrongdoings on the run. Back in the 60s, Richard and Mary were revealed to be agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Both of these early events, and countless more, were things I learned from reading this book’s vast summarization of events.
The book is fairly lacking in some aspects, however. The book is billed as having “the real-life stories behind the creation of his greatest foes,” but it lacks any real substantial behind-the-scenes stories. No story on how Todd McFarlane created Venom was created, or what went through Gil Kane’s creative processes as he created the look of the living vampire Morbius.
Yes, there are bit segments of what was going on with the talent and publisher during the decades, but I would’ve liked a more in-depth look at the creation of the characters and story arcs, maybe with interviews with the creators. Granted, it would be hard as some of the creators are no longer around, but surely Marvel would have something in their archives.
Another place the book is lacking is the imagery throughout its pages. The book’s images are almost exclusively images of covers and panels from the issues. The are a few images of the villain gallery’s biographies and a few character sketches from artist John Romita Jr., which look like they were taken from pages of the comics themselves. I would’ve liked to have seen more behind-the-scenes art, like pre-inked line art, or more character design sketches. Even so, there isn’t a page that doesn’t show off any of the incredible art that has graced the pages of the last 60 years.
Even with the book’s shortcomings, Spider-Man: The First Sixty Years from Titan Magazine is definitely worth the read. Sure, most hardcore Spider-Man fans will probably know everything presented inside these 127 pages, but there will be something to learn for most casual to moderate fans. If you are a fan of the web-slinger and happen to find the book, definitely pick it up or order it now through Amazon.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you plan to pick up Spider-Man: The First 60 Years by Titan Magazine? Let us know in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow The Illuminerdi on social media to be notified of more Spider-Man news and updates like this in the future!
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