John Romita Jr.
Today I am swinging in with a guide for all Patrons of CK that began as an unexpectedly-sticky update to an existing guide before I realized it had become a tangled web and I needed to spin some of it off into its own page. Of course, I’m talking about a Guide to Spider-Man, Peter Parker (2018 – present)!
When I started making notes for this guide, I thought I’d simply be catching up on the collections of Amazing Spider-Man (2018), its 2022 relaunch, plus Peter David’s various flashback Symbiote Spider-Man series.
Those two things alone would make for a guide’s worth of content, but as I continued making notes I realized there was so much more – including Spider-Geddon, Tom Taylor’s Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, Joy Kelly’s Non-Stop and Savage Spider-Man, several digital series, the upcoming End of the Spider-Verse crossover, and even more!
Marvel has released fifty Peter Parker Spider-Man series and one-shots in the past four years.
I’ve worked for many years to figure out the best way to untangle the massive bulk of my main Guide to Spider-Man, Peter Parker. Just the thought of adding all of this material to its table of contents made me shudder. About halfway through outlining I realized it was time for Mr. Parker to graduate into a second guide page for his most-moden era.
Never fear, non-Patrons – I’d never keep a major Marvel guide like this one exclusive for very long! That is not a part of my mission statement for Crushing Comics. This guide will have a brief window of exclusivity with my Patrons while I update the main Spider-Man guide and make sure they match up perfectly. It will be available to all readers in time for the debut of Dan Slott’s new adjectiveless Spider-Man series launching at the top of October.
Believe it or not, not only was I surprised this turned into its own guide page, it wasn’t even the guide page I set out to build when I planned for this week! If yesterday’s Guide to Heroes for Hire was an hors d’oeuvre, this is an appetizer to the massive reading order I’ll be back with tomorrow – which references the runs in this guide several times.
This week DC launches a major event that promises to be the biggest story of the Rebirth era to date. What are the mysteries of Dark Knights: Metal, and is its first chapter Dark Days – The Forge at all accessible to readers not well-versed in DC’s history?
Dark Days – The Forge #1 (digital)
Written by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV. Line art by Andy Kubert with Danny Miki, John Romita Jr. with Klaus Janson, and Jim Lee with Scott Williams. Color art by Alex Sinclair and Jeremiah Skipper. Letters by Steve Wands
DC Comics has always delivered better mysteries than Marvel.
Maybe it’s down to their “Detective Comics” namesake, or maybe it’s because none of Marvel’s major characters are as dedicated to unravelling secrets as Batman, but DC Events always seem more mysterious to me than their Marvel counterparts.
The Forge is no exception. I went into this quite suspicious that the story would work for me as a minor DC fan. I enjoyed it, despite there being a few elements that went over my head.
I think an even newer reader might actually fare better than me, because a lot of my confusion came from knowing just tidbits of some of the stories and being confused about what relied on history and what was introduced. To fresh eyes, this will all have the ring of a story that’s been in motion for years.
The central thrust of this issue is that Batman has been exploring a worldwide mystery, possibly spurred on by a revelation Court of Owls. It’s not about a villain or an imminent threat to the Earth, but it’s the sort of ball of yarn he cannot help but unravel. Per his usual M.O., Batman has been keeping other heroes in the dark, bringing them in only as-needed while using his vast resources both as Bruce Wayne and Batman to pursue an answer.
He isn’t the only one in the middle of an investigation. Hawkman recounts an unending life of reincarnation as he ponders the mysteries of the Nth Metal. And, Hal Jordan is assigned by one of the Guardians of the Universe to investigate an Earthbound mystery – and it’s no coincidence that the mystery is deep below Gotham City. [Read more…] about Comic Book Review: Dark Days – The Forge #1 by Snyder, Tynion, Kubert, Romita, & Lee
J. Michael Straczynski – commonly known to fans as JMS – is a famed author across multiple mediums. After cutting his teeth on a number of early-80s children’s cartoons, he broke out in 1993 with syndicated sci-fi hit Bablyon 5 – an epic and nuanced take on similar subject-matter to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He also made his entrance into the comics world in the 90s with his creator-owned book Rising Stars.
As you can imagine, fans were excited for him to take over Amazing Spider-Man in 2001 after a few years’ dip in quality of the Spidey flagship – especially as accompanied by classic Marvel artist John Romita, Jr.
Be careful what you wish for…
Amazing Spider-Man by J. Michael Straczynski & John Romita, Jr. is the #39 Most-Wanted Marvel Omnibus of 2017 on Tigereyes’s Secret Ballot. Visit the Marvel Masterworks Message Board to view the original posting of results by Tigereyes and visit The Guide to Spider-Man to read this run today.
Past Ranking: This book ranked #30 in 2014 and just missed the survey in 2016, coming in somewhere between #51-56
Probable Contents: Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #30-58 and 500-508 (though it could stretch as far as #518)
JMS’s run on Spider-Man accounts for 87 issues as gathered in his five-volume Ultimate Collection set, which means we’d be looking at either two hefty 40+ issue volumes or three slimmer 30-ish issue volumes to cover it.
I’m speculating on the former, which would leave a second volume to collect Amazing Spider-Man #509-545, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man (2005) #1-4 & 24, Marvel Knights Spider-Man (2004) #19-22, The Sensational Spider-Man (2006) #41, and Spider-Man: The Other (2005) Sketchbook, and Spider-Man: One More Day Sketchbook (2007).
Creators: J. Michael Straczynski & John Romita, Jr. handle the entirety of the run through #508 with few interlopers; #508 is the end of Romita’s run.
Can you read it right now? Yes! This run has been collected in several formats, including oversized hardcover. Head to The Guide to Spider-Man for details. It’s also available in full on Marvel Unlimited.
Spider-Man was on a major high when J. Michael Straczinski took the reigns of his flagship comic in June 2001, but not for the reasons you might think.
Amazing Spider-Man was one of the last Silver Age comics that Marvel relaunched in the late 90s, leaving only Uncanny X-Men to continue its original numbering into the new millennium. Amazing and its sister titles started with a flash with John Byrne co-scripting and pencilling, but faded afterwards during what was a massive overall fade for the comic industry a the time.
Doesn’t sound like a high, right? Well, the high was from Ultimate Spider-Man, the mega-hit launched by Brian Bendis at the end of 2000 that recast a teen Peter Parker into the modern day. [Read more…] about Amazing Spider-Man by J. Michael Straczynski & John Romita, Jr. – The #39 Most-Wanted Marvel Omnibus of 2017
Amazing Spider-Man: Brand New Day Omnibus, Vol. 1 is the #51 Most-Wanted Marvel Omnibus of 2017 on Tigereyes’s Secret Ballot.
What Is It? In January 2008 Marvel collapsed their line of several Spider-Man titles down to just Amazing Spider-Man, which accelerated to releasing three issues a month from a rotating cast of writers starting with #546. This coincided with a minor reset of some details of Spider-Man’s continuity – more on that below.
While the story arc “Brand New Day” ran from #546 to 564, the title is commonly used to refer to the entire period of accelerated schedule with multiple writers, which ran through #647 in December 2010 – three entire years comprised of 102 issues of Amazing Spider-Man!
Past Ranking: This year is the book’s debut placement in the ballot results.
The rotating writers considered to be Spider-Man’s steering brain-trust consistently including Dan Slott, Marc Guggenheim, Bob Gale, and Zeb Wells – though others like Mark Waid and Joe Kelly also contributed arcs in this period.
This initial chunk of Brand New Day included runs of pencil art from Steve McNiven, Salvador Larroca, Phil Jimenez, Chris Bachalo, Barry Kitson, Marcos Martin, Mike McKone, and John Romita Jr..
Probable Contents: Collects The Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #546-577, The Amazing Spider-Man: Swing Shift Director’s Cut (2008), Venom Super Special (1995) #1, Secret Invasion: Spider-Man #1-3, and material from The Amazing Spider-Man Extra! (2008) #1.
For a full map of how the Brand New Day period could fit into omnibus volumes, see the end of this post.
Can you read it right now? Yes! Marvel has begun to recollect Big Time in a series of Complete Collections. A first omnibus probably wouldn’t cover all three collections. See the Guide to Spider-Man for full physical collecting info.
Plus, every one of these issues is available on Marvel Unlimited!
To talk about this run, we have to first talk about the story that immediately precedes it – “One More Day.”
“One More Day” is one of the most-hated Spider-Man stories of all time, neck-and-neck with its later sequel “One Moment In Time.”
Fans tend to dislike any revisions to their favorite elements of continuity, but this one was particularly egregious – not only breaking up Spider-Man and Mary Jane, but retroactively causing their marriage to cease to exist due to a very out-of-character deal with a literal devil. Their relationship and all of their stories continued to exist – just not their marriage.
The story did come with a few fringe benefits. The world would forget Spider-Man’s secret identity (recently revealed in Civil War), but that meant he was now in hiding due to the Superhuman Registration Act. It revived Harry Osborn from the dead. And, it resulted in the cancellation of all of Marvel’s other Spider-Man titles, which allowed them to accelerate Amazing Spider-Man to be released three times a month. [Read more…] about Amazing Spider-Man: Brand New Day Omnibus, Vol. 1 – The #51 Most-Wanted Marvel Omnibus of 2017