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Spider-Man book review: A History and Celebration of the Web-Slinger, Decade by Decade

Decade by decade, how time flies when you spend your days fighting crime and saving the world from evil-doers. It seems like just yesterday I was writing in celebration of the wall-crawler’s 50th anniversary, and now, faster than you can say “thwip”, it’s 10 years later and yet another Spider-Man history book is on the shelves.

Spider-Man: A History and Celebration of the Web-Slinger, Decade by Decade is the latest tome to document Spidey’s life and times from his inception up through the latest Marvel/Sony movies. It’s a beautiful, coffee-table sized book with vibrant color and some interesting behind-the-scenes tales, but it also has some inaccuracies and awkward artistic choices.

The biggest mistake glares out from the back cover of the advance copy of the book I reviewed, which states that Spider-Man first appeared in the Amazing Fantasy #15 comic in 1961. Actually, the comic was released in the early summer of 1962 (not ’61) with a cover date of August. Not a good start for a book celebrating the history of the hero.

Published by Epic Ink, written by Robert Greenberger and Peter A. David, and updated by Matthew K. Manning, this Spidey-history book is overall entertaining and fun to look at while re-living some of the wall-crawler’s greatest stories, both in his comics and in his creative adventures as well.

As for those odd artistic choices, for instance, there is almost a full page devoted to Gil Kane’s Warlock art, which is out of context and has almost nothing to do with Spider-Man. Maybe they included it because Warlock is rumored to appear in one of the upcoming Marvel films? It’s just a weird addition to a book about Spidey.

Another strange page has a full cover re-print of Giant-Size X-Men #1 in the section of Spider-Man in the nineties, when that X-book came out in 1975. Again, I don’t know what one has to do with the other.

It’s almost as though these weird graphic placements were used as filler, which shouldn’t have ever been necessary. (If you want to talk about the X-Men, why not show them teaming up with Spidey?)

Lastly, another minor complaint, this book is missing any sort of index, which could have been very useful for one to go back and use the volume as a historical resource.

In the end, this is not a bad book, but if you already have a similar volume (or volumes) in your collection (and there are several others like this out there), you’re not going to find much new here.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

This book will be released on Oct. 11, 2022.

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About the author

Bob Leeper

Bob Leeper is the co-owner and manager of "Arizona’s Pop Culture and Alternative Art Network," Evermore Nevermore. He is the co-creator of the pop culture events Steampunk Street and ENCREDICON, and is a member of the Phoenix Film Critics Society. He also curates the Facebook fan site The Arizona Cave – AZ Fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and is one of the few brave and bold fans of Jar Jar Binks.