The Non-Nerd’s Reading Guide To Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 arrives this week in much of the world, and it promises to be an interesting start to the summer movie season. And, like any superhero movie, it makes a lot of people interested in reading the comics. So how do you dip into a character who’s been in print for 50 years? Here’s how!

Current Spidey-Books

First of all, this being Marvel, Spider-Man has just started over again with a number one issue that’s out this week. Honestly, it’s worth picking up: It’s from long-time Spidey writer Dan Slott and it does a good job of starting a new story that’s easy to get into and is a fun, light, humorous read.

Beyond that, although it doesn’t actually have much to do with Spidey, we highly recommend The Superior Foes Of Spider-Man, which is about a team of minor Spidey foes trying, and hilariously failing, to be bad-ass thieves. You don’t have to know who the characters are… just that they’re a lot of fun.

Previous Spidey-Books

Beyond that… there’s a lot to dig into. Truthfully, some of it has aged well, and some of it hasn’t. But for an overview of Spidey, here are a few books good for new readers.

Spider-Man: Blue: A rewrite of a few major comics from the ’70s, this is about the great MJ/Gwen Stacy feud, and just as importantly, the fallout from Gwen’s death in the comics. It’s also a good way to get the gist of some major storylines without having to hunt down reprints.

Spider-Man/Human Torch: A riff on the various eras of Spider-Man, this focuses on Peter and Johnny Storm and their ongoing rivalry/friendship. It’s a bit inside-baseball; at one point, it makes fun of Marvel’s infamous Hostess Pie ads

Spider-Man No More! (Amazing Spider-Man #50): The cover alone is legendary among comics fans, but the book itself is more of a character piece exploring why Spidey does what he does. It’s something of a mission statement for the character and has endured as such for years.

And, of course, we throw the comments open to other suggestions. These are just a start; there’s plenty of good stuff to dig into over fifty years of comics. So, if you’ve got a suggestion, weigh in below.