Science Fiction Book Review

Comics Creators on Spider-Man

(2004) Tom DeFalco, Titan Books, 14.99, pbk, 244pp, ISBN 1-840-23422-9

This is basically 16 interviews with various writers and artists who have worked on the various Spider-Man titles for Marvel comics over approximately forty years. Included are Spider-Man's co-creator Stan Lee (though, sadly, not Steve Ditko), Todd McFarlane (fan favourite in the nineties), John Romita, Sal Buscema, Marv Wolfman, and Len Wein, to name but a few. Spidey has appeared in nearly a dozen of his own titles, following his first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962 if memory serves), including The Amazing Spider-Man with over 500 issues - still going strong today, Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man, Web of Spider-Man, McFarlane's just plain Spider-Man, the short-lived Sensational Spider-Man, Untold Tales of Spider-Man, and (fitting in with Marvel's 'Ultimate' continuity) Ultimate Spider-Man.

The current volume contains previously unseen art and script samples and various 'box' inserts containing asides and notes in addition to the detailed interviews with the creators. Not to be the least bit cynical, I'd have to say that this has been rushed out to capitalise on the interest generated by the recent film (and its no-doubt-to-be-released-any-day sequel). Not that Spidey doesn't deserve a book about him - he is, in his own way, as iconic as Superman or Batman - it is just that this book does not feel like a celebration of the character, but rather a typically Marvel attempt to cash in. But hey, that is business. Perhaps a better book will come along when Spidey gets to be fifty years old!

Tony Chester

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