Everything about this book is big. Starting with its actual physical dimensions (approximately 12.6” x 3” x 18.5”), its page count (698 pages), and its contents (Spider-Man’s debut story from Amazing Fantasy #15, Amazing Spider-Man #1-19, and Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1). That’s a lot of storytelling power, key character moments, action, adventure, and angst to pack into one book. It’s Stan Lee and Steve Ditko at their best, and the finished product is genuinely something to behold.
The Avengers and Captain America are lined up to follow this volume, the first in “The Marvel Comics Library,” a long-term collaboration between Taschen and Marvel. Fans of the vintage original issues will quickly see the visual and tactile appeal of this format: the covers are reprinted on glossy cover stock, while the story (interior) pages have the feel of old-fashioned newsprint (well, old-fashioned newsprint’s sturdier, more attractive sister, perhaps).
The result is a bit of comic book magic. The size of the volume has the advantage of making the reader smaller again in relation to the comic. For those looking for the nostalgic feeling of discovering this material for the first time, this might just do the trick.
The production is magnificent, and the package really has to be seen to be believed. Even the book it came in was cool.
Released last December, it’s one that serious Marvel or Spidey fans must have. Just don’t fall asleep reading it in bed. That would be one smack to the head you won’t forget.
– J.C. Vaughn