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VINE VOICETOP 1000 REVIEWERon 19 April 2015
I've read these tales many times from Essential Spider-Man: v.1: Vol 1 to the old British Marvel reprints and they have stood the test of time.
In the words of the song yes life was so simple then, Spidey's origin is pretty basic but the things that make these stories stand out are the writing, Peter Parker's personal issues as a teenager are at the forefront of all the tales along with strong supporting characters like J Jonah Jameson, Flash Thompson, an early love triangle with Liz Allan and Betty Brant, Aunt May and a whole host of memorable villains who have been the basis of many great tales down the years.
As well as the tales involving the original Sinister Six both individually and as a team Vulture. Dr Octopus, Electro, Mysterio, Kraven and Sandman there's also the Chameleon, Tinkerer, Dr Doom, The Enforcers, Green Goblin, Ringmaster and his Circus of Crime and a runaway robot.
The Epic Collection series reprints these classic early tales in colour and leaves the original bloopers intact like calling Peter Parker Peter Palmer several times in one story, calling Spidey Super-Man and Liz Allan's dad Mr Brant and they never missed a chance to plug their other titles with the amount of cameo appearances here especially in the Sinister Six story.
There's a load of extras at the back of the book the original artwork for his origin in Amazing Fantasy 15 with lots of comments on changes, unused covers, adverts for other titles and best of all photographs of the Marvel Bullpen although Steve Ditko was not there when the photographs were taken.
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on 8 October 2014
NOTE: FOR SOME REASON, AMAZON IS COUNTING THE VOLUME 1 REVIEWS AS VOLUME 2 REVIEWS; I HAVE APPENDED THE VOLUME 2 REVIEW TO THE END OF THIS ONE - BOTH VOLUMES GET FIVE STARS.

The Epic Collections, up until now, have largely focused on less widely-available, more obscure stories from Marvel's back catalogue. That's a description that certainly doesn't apply to this latest offering. Yes, as part of their 75th anniversary celebrations, the House of Ideas are giving us Spidey Volume 1 - the first stories of their most famous character. These tales have been released in so many trades, reprints and omnibi over the years that many readers will own them already. But let's face it - WHAT stories to own!

These formative issues, from 1962-1964, give us one of the greatest origins (if not THE greatest) in superhero history, as timid teen Peter Parker gains amazing abilities after a radioactive spider bite, and through personal tragedy learns that with great power... well, you know the rest. As the Amazing Spider-Man, Peter battles a never-ending roster of colourful bad guys, while dealing with school bullies, money and girl problems, and the pressures of looking after his aged aunt.

It was the Marvel style that made such waves in the Sixties; superheroes with feet of clay and human foibles. Moreso, Spidey was, as a shy, awkward but intelligent teenager, a figure that the readership could quite directly relate to for the first time. Stan Lee's patented snappy patter meant that the schoolboy was as interesting, if not more so, than the wisecracking webslinger.

These collected issues represent possibly the strongest run of memorable villains ever seen, too, as the majority of Spidey's rogue's gallery make their debuts here. Doctor Octopus, Electro, Green Goblin, Sandman, Vulture, Mysterio, and more... it's quite the list. Steve Ditko's art, owing as much to idiosyncratic caricature as to traditional superhero comics, gives us a wealth of incredible character designs, and populates Spider-Man's world with a cast of oddballs that give the book an off-kilter feel that is completely unique.

So, yes, many of you will already own these stories in some form or another... but as one of the strongest runs of any superhero title and a genuine piece of pop culture history, it's something any self-respecting fan should own. And as with most of the Epic Collections, you have the added bonus of original art and promotional material at the back of the book! It's certainly a wonderful format to collect such wonderful comics.

***Volume 2***
Volume 2, then, continues right where the first left off and takes us through to 1966 and the end of Ditko's tenure on the book. It's no secret that the Lee/Ditko partnership was becoming increasingly fraught towards the end, and certainly the last few issues collected here suggest that Ditko's heart was no longer really in it, but before that sad point we get another run of magical stories, as well as the pinnacle of their tenure together on the title.
With the bulk of the rogue's gallery already assembled during the first volume, this one focuses more on the deep emotional subplots concerning Peter Parker (and especially his relationship with Betty Brant) and the return of some of those favourite villains. Stan n' Steve still find time to introduce the Scorpion, however, with lesser villainous creations like the Molten Man and the Looter also making their first appearances here.
More importantly, once Peter finishes high school, we're treated to the first showings of some vital supporting cast members, particularly Gwen Stacy and the Osborns, Harry and Norman. There are dozens of fabulous J. Jonah Jameson scenes here as well; ol' skinflint has rarely been more entertaining.
The main draw here is, of course, the Master Planner saga, revolving around a dying Aunt May, a mysterious gang of robbers and an enormous pile of debris. There's a reason this storyline is still fondly remembered, and it's because it crystallises the character and determination of the character to utter perfection. I'd say it would be worth buying the volume for alone, even if the other stories weren't excellent as well.
There's a real treat in the extras, as well; an entire issue representing the last known example of Ditko's raw pencils on the Spider-Man title. It's a wonderful look into his working process. Included too are a poster and ads from the time, as well as the covers for the first four Spidey Masterworks. A wonderful companion to Volume 1, and similarly must-have.
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on 26 July 2015
I gather that earlier collections of the Spider-Man newspaper strips were poor quality, but as this edition is from IDW have no fears in that respect. The daily strips are in black and white and Sunday strips are in colour. Although the book dates from 1977 it harks back to the 60s when Marvel comics were in their prime. Stan Lee is now a divisive figure but he wrote snappy dialogue, and John Romita Senior is a wonderful artist - Mary Jane Watson has never looked as hot.
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on 18 October 2012
This edition collects Amazing Fantasy #15 (which alone would cost you £4000+) and Amazing Spider-mans #1-10. These are all fantastic stories.

Unlike Detective Comics #27 (the first appearance of Batman) where you only find out who Batman is in the last pane, Stan and Steve grace you with Spidey's identity on the front cover. This is a High School Peter Parker, a geek, down-trodden by his classmates, who gets bitten by a spider and learns from his uncle that with great power comes great responsibility. You all know the story! Well it starts here!

The stories are brilliant. The cast of villains we know and love/love to hate today are surprisingly quickly introduced in these pages with Doc Ock, The Sandman, The Chameleon, The Vulture, The Lizard, Electro and The Enforcers. That's a lot of first appearances and a lot of action!

Stan and Steve do a great job with the characterisation. One of ASM's great strengths is we've always been interested in his personal life just as much as his superhero life and this starts from the word go. We have Liz Dean as Peter's first crush and then Betty Brant who is still in the comics today. And as you work your way through these volumes there are hints about a Mary-Jane Watson. Bet you just can't wait to meet her. Not in this volume, (actually it's all the way in 5) but her first words went down in history "Face it, tiger... You just hit the jackpot!"

This is a really enjoyable read and highly recommended to Spidey fans and anyone who is thinking of getting into Spidey, because 50 years ago (give or take a month or two) people were starting off with these stories and loving them.

Excelsior! (I couldn't resist)
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on 20 March 2013
I grew up as a big fan of Marvel and DC cartoons and movies, but never really got into comic book reading. In recent years I've picked up a few different graphic novels and this has given me a taste for it. These Marvel Masterworks are a perfect start for a novice like myself. Its great to be able to go right back to the start and read the earliest adventures of Spiderman without having to fork out thousands of pounds (or more!) for the original comics.The 60s stuff seems very cheesy compared to modern comics, but the writing style of Stan Lee can not be questioned. He really is a master comic writer!

The first issues of Spiderman deal with his origin, how he recieved his powers and the death of his Uncle Ben. It also features the first appearances of some of his most iconic enemies, like Doctor Octopus, Electro, The Lizard and the Sandman. And it also features his first love interest, Betty, as this was before the days he knew either Gwen Stacy or Mary Jane Watson.

I would highly recommend this to anyone, both to comic book veterans or comic book newbies like myself.
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on 27 September 2017
The Spiderman comics were concerned with the tribulations and dilemmas facing a young and ostensibly gauche teenager who just happened to acquire special powers. This gives the stories the edge over, for instance, the contemporary "commie" -bashing cold war nonsense found in Iron Man especially (rather quaint propaganda). The characters and storylines are appealing and thoughtful and Steve Ditko's art, which can at times resemble the noirish appeal of Will Eisner's "The Spirit" (some of the villains), encapsulates a convincing period feel. This is easily one of Stan Lee's triumphs, along with the (60s contemporary) Fantastic Four, the closest rival for appealing (dysfunctional) characters; a great part of the appeal is the series of dilemmas and insecurities that result from their bestowed gifts.
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on 6 June 2012
I have waited over 6 years for this Omnibus and finally it arrives and Impressed does not cover half of it

Just like Omnibus number 1 the reproduction of the covers and artwork in general is top notch. If you ever saw the colour printing in issues 41,42,43 you will be overjoyed with this Omnibus as the colours are not washed out or miss-aligned.

There is a nice forward and writeup from Stan And Jon which add an insight into that period. Personally I thought the story arcs during Romita's period were excellent and I wont draw breath really in comparing to Ditco's era as who needs another flame war LOL

The Marvel Tales alternate covers add some joy to yhe package but no-where near as much as the un-released pencil art by Larry Leiber who I thought drew as close to Romita as you could get.

A brilliant package and at this price its a steal for Spidey Fans like myself - However - Marvel please dont let us wait 6-7 years for the next edition, and how about a DareDevil version or some more FF and Hulk (Hulk must be overdue surely)
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on 27 June 2016
I will not go into detail as to the content of this book, that has been admirably covered by other purchasers. I will merely say that,as a product, it is a superbly made item and would be a very presentable gift for any Spider-Man or Marvel comics fan.
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on 18 September 2017
This is like discovering unpublished Spider-Man comics from the sixties that you never knew existed. Clearly not canon, but well, this is a joy to read. Wonderful stories with the art to match. The only shame is, vol 3 and 4 are not Romita.
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on 17 August 2017
Spider-Man in colour - first handful of the original issues reprint on very good quality paper - beautiful Steve Ditko art - Stan Lee at his most original - this is where you can start as the originals are very highly priced -the book has a few nice extras
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