Rave : 2002 : Ultimate Origin Reprint

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Date: Jan 3, 2002
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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!