Spider-Man is, to this day, Marvel’s most popular and iconic comic book character. With films, TV shows, games and more to his name, everyone’s favourite web-head has worked up a fame comparable only to Batman and Superman, weaving an intricate history that has plenty to say both on the screen and off.
Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in 1962, Spider-Man was Amazing Fantasy’s biggest success and would later become Marvel’s most storied character. Lee, Ditko and later John Romita Sr. were instrumental in forming this perception and in turn laying the groundwork that would propel the wall-crawler to new literary heights in the decades following. As a consequence, the character’s resulting bibliography is as expansive as it is absorbing and, while it can look a tad intimidating on the surface, there’s always a route to take if you’re reading Spidey for the first time, or are just confused as to where on Earth you’re meant to start.
Spidey’s one of the world’s most beloved heroes, and while getting into any aspect of the medium can look like a challenge, we can all do our little bit to make things less difficult than they have to be.
10. The Conversation (Amazing Spider-Man By JMS Ultimate Collection Book 1)
Nope, this isn’t referencing Francis Ford Coppola’s 1974 classic starring Gene Hackman, but rather a storyline from J. Michael Straczynski and John Romita Jr.’s long and divisive run on Amazing Spider-Man from the early 2000s.
Straczynski’s time on the book was controversial for a whole host of reasons, a theme that would carry on all the way through to the book’s unceremonious ending in One More Day. However, there’s no denying that the writer be commended for taking Spidey in a new and exciting direction, kicking things off with a timely and heartfelt story focusing on the fallout of 9/11 before redefining Aunt May and Peter Parker’s relationship shortly after.
Aunt May just doesn’t know her nephew is Spider-Man; it’s been a staple of the character’s history since his debut. While Spidey: Homecoming set about smashing that notion in its ending with May finding Peter in his Spidey threads, the move wasn’t without precedent, with JMS having devoted an entire arc to May’s discovery of Peter’s double life in his 38th issue on the book.
The story, titled ‘The Conversation’, was immediately hailed for pushing both Peter and May forward, and for ditching what had – at that point at least – become a repetitive aspect of Spidey’s comics. The rest of JMS’ series may lay on the convoluted side, but this is one conversation no Spidey fan will want to miss.