Comics : The Amazing Spider-Man: An Origin Story

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This review was first published on: May 2012.

Background...

This book is one of a set of six featuring retellings of the origins of classic Marvel characters including Spider-Man, Thor, X-Men, Captain America, Iron Man and the Hulk.

Physically, the book is 8.25" x 10.25". It features 48 full-color pages. The book has an illustrated hardback cover, with the dust jacket over the top.

In Detail...

The Amazing Spider-Man: An Origin Story
Jun 2011 : SM Title
Find ISBN 9781423143178
Summary: 48pp Mixed Picture/Story Book
Adaption:  Jeff Clark, Rich Thomas
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Issue
Review
 Contained In: Marvel Hero Origins Story Collection (Scholastic)
 Contained In: Marvel Super Hero Storybook Library (Scholastic)
 Adapted By: The Amazing Spider-Man Origin Storybook Collection (Story 1)
 Adapted By: The Amazing Spider-Man Origin Storybook Collection (Story 2)
 Adapted By: Marvel Super Heroes: Storybook Collection
 Reprinted In: Marvel Spider-Man: Origin Story Book & CD
 Adapted By: Marvel Spider-Man Take-Along Tales: Spider-Man (Book 1)
 Adapted By: Marvel The Origin Stories: Spider-Man/Iron Man
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man Magical Story (Parragon, 2013)
 Adapted By: Spider-Man 3D Comic Sticker Book (Parragon)

The story is exactly what it promises to be: An Origin Story for the Amazing Spider-Man.

The word count is fairly low, with most pages featuring a couple of paragraphs for a total of around 60 words per page. Most pages features two or three illustrations just placed in a soft white background with no definite border. But some pages are full edge-to-edge artwork with little or even no text.

The art work is wonderful. It appears to be painted, although there is great depth of color which would lead me to believe that it was actually "painted" in a computer software program rather than in any traditional media. In the final analysis, it doesn't matter. The overall result is effective and appealing to the eye, with a real sense of detail and care in every panel.

The story is almost entirely faithful to the original events of Amazing Fantasy #15. The only notable addition is a scene that covers two and a bit pages showing Flash Thompson pushing Peter to the ground. Similarly, references to wallflowers, waltzes and cha-chas have been removed. But these are minor modernizations. All of the critical elements still remain. The science exhibit and spider are there, as is the scene where Peter is nearly run over, and leaps up a building to discover his powers.

Then we have the costume and wrestling match, the web-shooters, the TV show, the burglar ignored, the death of Uncle Ben, the warehouse, and the chilling conclusion. Even the microscope gift from May and Ben is included.

In General...

If you're going to re-tell the Spider-Man origin, this is absolutely the way to do it.

I'm prepared to admit that Amazing Fantasy #15 has probably dated a little. But on the other hand, how can you expect a young Spider-Fan to truly appreciate the magic of Spider-Man without understanding how he was created. This book perfectly bridges that gap, and as such it makes the perfect introduction.

I especially appreciate the pages which occasionally abandon the text and tell the story in a few carefully chosen panels. That kind of risk-taking is the mark of a confident creative team. When done well, it can be powerful and very effective. And trust me, here it is done very well indeed.

Overall Rating...

The artwork just glows with light, and the story radiates affection and appreciation for the original source material. Together they create the best re-visiting of Spider-Man's Origin Story that I have seen in a long, long time.

Four and a Half webs. Great stuff.

Footnote...

For an example of how to re-tell Spider-Man's origin the wrong way, check out our review of the utterly awful The Amazing Spider-Man (Little Golden Book) which came out a few months later.

Note that this book has been re-released several times, including a smaller paperback (white cover) edition. Please do not confuse these re-releases with the Australia-only Junior Chapter Novel rewrite which is a blue small-format paperback we have indexed as The Amazing Spider-Man: An Origin Story (Rewritten).