Reading about the adventures of an adult Spidey is (well, it was at one point) great and all but there's a lot to like about the Ultimate version of the web-head. Peter isn't as squeeky clean as his 616 counterpart but he's still a likable guy who always tries to do the right thing. I really enjoyed the Ultimate versions of the Green Goblin and the Hobgoblin and while I'm sad to see them go, I'm looking forward to the other foes Spidey will face. Like any other comic book, some stories are better than others but for the most part, I've found USM to pretty solid.
I'm guessing this was Marvel's attempt to bring in new reads for Spider-Man. Kinda makes you wonder why they even bothered to screw with the natural order of things in the current Amazing Spider-Man titles. But I digress. MASM is similiar to USM but it leans towards the elements of 616 Spider-Man. Most stories wrap up in a single issue and are light hearted, entertaining reads, which will appeal to those that miss these type of tales in a day where many writers feel they have to blow us away with mind-shattering events. Unlike the Marvel Age line, which reimaged the classic Lee/Ditko stories, these are all new adentures. The issues are in the 30s right now but if you want to start at the begining you can pick up the digest books. Volumes 1-8 are already avialable.
What started as a one-shoot magazine has now become an on-going book. SMF is over 100 pages long, features two brand new Spidey stories in each book and repints some old classics and some stories that are not-so-classic. I say that not every reprint is a classic because SMF #7 has Venom: Lethal Protect #1. On the major plus side, it also has Spider-Man: Death & Destiny #1 in there. The newer stories in SMF tend to be on the sunny side. SMF #6 paid homage to a classic Thor story in which goldylocks was turned into a Frog. Then you've got stories that hit a serious note like SMF #5. The clonclusion of a Spidey/Dr. Strange team-up divluges that a friend of Morbuis is dying and the vampire was willing to do whatever it took to save him, even endangering the lives of others. The resolution to this is akin to the way One More Day should have ended. Anyway, each issue of SMF is thick so there's a lot ot read and most of it is good.
Trade Paper Backs & Digital
Over the last month or so, I've been reading a lot of Spidey TPBs. I missed the begining of J. Michael Straczynski's run on ASM so I picked up ASM: Coming Home, which was a freaking awesome read. I also bought Spectacular Spider-Man: Countdown, a five part Spidey/Doc Ock story, which is unlike any other story that features Doc Ock and kept my interest from start to finish. What I'm getting at is, if you haven't already done so, now is an excellent time to catch up on Spidey stories of the past you may have missed. For as many years as I've been a fan of the web-head, there are still a plethora of great stories I've yet to read. The line of Essential books has always been one of my favorites. The earlier Spidey stories are still among some of my fav and since Brand New Day is basically ripping off older Spider-Man tales, why not just read the originals?
You can also get the Spidey in disc form. The Amazing Spider-Man Collection has over 560 comics in it. It has ASM comics from 1963-2006 and all the ASM annuals. Just make sure you get the ASM Collection and not 40 years of Amazing Spider-Man. 40 Years of ASM doesn't have the annuals.
I went to my comic shop a few weeks ago and looked through the $1 bargin boxes. I found Spider-Man/Human Torch #1, Spider-Man/Human Torch #3, Untold Tales of Spider-Man #4, and Spider-Man: Blue #6. Take some time out to go through the bins, you never know what you may find. I was recommended Dan Slott's Spidey/Human Torch mini series by some of my pals on the net and I was miffed that I saw all but the first issue. Imagine my surprise when I saw Spidey/Human Torch #1. I just saved myself time and money from buying the trade.
The Amazing Spider-Girl
This book casts the spot light on Peter and Mary Jane's daughter in an alternate universe. She's got all the teenage hangups you'd expect from a girl who tries to juggle a normal life along side being a super hero. If you need another reason to start reading this book it is written by Tom DeFalco, a man who is more than capable of writing a character in the spider family since he's had two distinct runs on Amazing Spider-Man. The artwork is by Ron Frenz, who worked with DeFalco on his first ASM run.
Spider-Man will be a character I continue to read about despite the fact that I don't much care for what Marvel has done to him in the pages of ASM. I may end up rereading stories I've read in the past. I might find great stories from the past I never knew about. No matter what happens, I'll still be reading about Spidey even it isn't in the pages of the flagship book. I encourage all other fans out there that don't like the Marvel's editorial decision to do the same.