A few months ago, Marvel asked the fans what they thought were the best stories Marvel ever published. The number 1 story chosen by the fans was the origin of Spider-Man, from Amazing Fantasy #15. Our (the PPP staff) number 1 was The Death Of Jean DeWolff (from Peter Parker, The Spectaculer Spider 107-110), see PPP volume 7 issue 9 for the full story. This time around, let's take a closer look at the reprints of the origin of Spider-Man.
When flipping through my comic collection I found the following versions (reprints) of Amazing Fantasy #15.
|1.||Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962)|
|2.||Marvel Tales #1 (1964)|
|3.||Marvel Tales #137 (1982)|
|4.||Marvel Tales #137 (1984, Nabisco giveaway variant)|
|5.||The Amazing Spider-Man Pocket #1 (1977, Pocket Books)|
|6.||Marvel Masterworks #1 (1987)|
|7.||Marvel Masterworks #1 (1998, new cover)|
|8.||Marvel Milestone Edition (1992, white Marvel logo)|
|9.||Marvel Milestone Edition (1996, black Marvel logo, Marvel Films giveaway)|
|10.||Spider-Man Classics #1 (1993)|
|11.||The Essential Spider-Man #1 (1996)|
|12.||Spider-Man, The Secret Story Of Marvel's World-Famous Wallcrawler (1981, Ideals)|
|13.||The Amazing Spider-Man Masterworks, Volume 1 (1992)|
|14.||The Very Best Of Spider-Man (1994)|
|15.||Origins Of Marvel Comics (1974, Fireside, softcover)|
|16.||Origins Of Marvel Comics (1974, Fireside, hardcover)|
|17.||Origins Of Marvel Comics (1997, revised edition)|
|18.||The Birth Of The Amazing Spider-Man (1997, boxed set with CD & ring)|
|19.||Marvel's Mightiest Super Heroes (1998, boxed set with 3 videos)|
|20.||The 100 Greatest Marvels Of All Time #1 (10th issue in the series, 2001)|
When looking them up, I thought, it'll be ten at the most. Then I saw the list, holy cow, about 20 versions! And I'm sure there are a few more. If you know about them, let me know, please.
Now, last year, a new Spider-Man title saw the light. As a matter of fact, a completely new Marvel Universe was born. As an event, it was nothing new. Universes and/or timelines are created at random, or better, at the demand of the marketeers. This particular event was different. Instead of creating a completely new timeline, they re-created the current timeline. What we got was a series called The Ultimate Spider-Man. A series similar to The Amazing Spider-Man from 1963 but with a little twist. The first issue dealt with the origin of Spidey and about a year and a half later has seen numerous versions (reprints). Here's a list...
|1.||Ultimate Spider-Man #1, regular RED cover, barcode "00111" (2000)|
|2.||Ultimate Spider-Man #1, variant WHITE cover, barcode "00121" (2000)|
|3.||Ultimate Spider-Man #1, variant cover, Dynamic Forces, only 5000 printed (2000)|
|4.||Ultimate Spider-Man #1, B Reprint December, 2000 - Thermos ad on back cover|
|5.||Ultimate Spider-Man #1, C Reprint, Target / Kool Toys (May 2001) giveaway|
|6.||Ultimate Spider-Man #1, C Reprint June, 2001 - Chocolate Got Milk ad on back cover|
|7.||Ultimate Spider-Man #1, Reprint "E" PAYLESS ShoeSource, June, 2001|
|8.||Ultimate Spider-Man #1, F Reprint June, 2001 - Buster Brown ad on back cover|
|9.||Ultimate Spider-Man #1, Reprint "G" Checkers, June, 2001|
|10.||Ultimate Spider-Man #1, Reprint "H" PAYLESS ShoeSource, September 2001|
|11.||Ultimate Spider-Man #1, Reprint "K-B", June 2001 - KB Toys giveaway|
|12.||Ultimate Spider-Man #1, Special Edition - Wal-Mart stores only (2001)|
|13.||Ultimate Spider-Man: Collected Edition (first printing, US market only, 2000)|
|14.||Ultimate Spider-Man: Collected Edition (second printing, 2001)|
|15.||Ultimate Spider-Man: Power And Responsibility TradePaperBack (2001)|
|16.||Ultimate Marvel Magazine #1 (US newsstand market only, 2001)|
|17.||100 Greatest Marvels Of All Time #9-6 (5th issue in the series, 2001)|
|18.||Ultimate Spider-Man, hardcover (to be published in March 2002)|
I knew there were a lot of them already, but this much! Even I was amazed. And both reprints A and D have yet to be discovered. Should they exist, we'll have 20 versions as well. It took Amazing Fantasy #15 almost 40 years to get 20 versions where Ultimate Spider-Man #1 needed less than 20 months! Seems everything goes faster nowadays, I must be getting old.
Anyway, is it worth persuing all those reprint versions? Well, I'm a completist, I just have to. But to you, the ordinary reader? I wouldn't recommend it. True, the Ultimate Spider-Man stories are a great read, so go for the tradepaperback. But don't go after the giveaway versions. Why? Because they are very expensive and only contain about half of the story of issue #1. And if you want to read the full Ultimate origin, you need the other half of the pages as well. Don't say I didn't warn you!