Monday, January 15, 2007

#2 - Top 12 Comic Book Characters

2. Spider-Man

No big surprise here. How can you not love Spider-man? I was raised on re-runs of the 60s cartoon and Spidey Super Stories. In fact, I believe the first Spidey book I ever read was the Spidey Super Stories with the Jaws cover.

The reason I love Spidey so much is that he comes across as very ‘human’, which isn’t always the case with superheroes. It is difficult to separate Peter Parker from Spidey, no matter how many times that costume winds up in the trash. What’s not to love? He’s a nice guy, he has girl trouble, and he feels a strong sense of justice in order to make up for his past failures. His life is my life – with a little more webbing.

As a child, I didn’t realize how lucky I was to have so many Spidey books on the racks. In the late 70s and early 80s I was reading Amazing, Spectacular, Marvel Team-Up, Marvel Tales (the only way to get the good old stuff at low prices) and any treasury edition (love that Astonishing Spider-Man!) or guest appearances (there were lots) that I could lay my hands on. Some of the lowest graded books in the history of comics are in the Spider-Man part of my collection. A couple of years ago, I opened up an old Star Wars Treasury book and out fell a copy of Marvel Tales #111 (reprints Amazing Spidey #134). The fact that this book was still together in one piece defied the laws of Physics. There was no discernable spine. I must have read this one a million times – right down to that last panel featuring the Punisher.

I must admit to falling off the Spidey bandwagon in the late 80s – the whole MacFarlane era did nothing for me. Since then, I’ve focused my attention of accumulating as much of the old stuff as possible. I gave Ultimate Spidey a try, and didn’t mind it – but it’s not the same. The movies, of course, thrilled me – and I felt like a kid again, watching Spidey brought to life. I swear that I could literally feel myself swinging through Manhattan.Spidey’s supporting cast is as good as any in the comic book world, but it is Mr. Parker himself who holds it all together. We cheer for him, we cry with him and we can’t wait to see what will happen to him next.That’s what makes a great character.

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