Believe it or not, back in August, SPIDER-MAN was officially 50 years
old. I say 'officially' because, although the comic in which he made his first
appearance (AMAZING FANTASY #15) was dated August, it actually came
out on or around the very merry month of May, 1962. To commemorate this
landmark event, PANINI BOOKS have released a '50th Anniversary Edition
Vintage Annual', containing Spidey's debut from AF #15, THE AMAZING
SPIDER-MAN #s 1 & 6, and the first U.S. ANNUAL from 1964, including
various pin-ups and features.
All in all, it's a nice little package, but a tad expensive at £12.99. Panini
have added 'age' effects to the cover and interior pages which are some-
what overdone in places, but, in the instances where their application is
more subtle, it actually delivers a not-unpleasing result.
One of the main problems, however, especially in the case of the
origin tale, is that Panini have utilised inferior proofs which have been
'revised' in places. Originally, these proofs were used for the early '80s
MARVEL TALES reprint, and contained altered lettering and artwork.
For example, 'Spiderman' was changed to 'Spider-Man', 'costume hero'
to 'costumed hero', etc., and some lettering was re-created in a couple
of instances. Also, on the last page, the final caption was omitted as it
referred to the next issue of Amazing Fantasy and the dots on Spidey's
eye-pieces were deleted as they were considered too 'cartoonish'.
The same proofs were again used for the first printing of the Spidey
MASTERWORKS volume in the late '80s, but were revised at a later
date in an attempt to return them to their original 'unaltered' state - with
rather lacklustre results it has to be said, as a couple of instances were
overlooked. Fortunately, however, with the release of the updated soft-
cover Masterworks and OMNIBUS editions, superior proofs were used,
and a far more faithful presentation of this classic issue became available
to collectors. It's just a shame that Panini apparently didn't have access to
these superior proofs for their own publication, as they used the ones
which had been clumsily 'restored' to their pre-altered state.
Anyway, here's a few images from this (relatively) recently released
126 page, hardbacked tome. I got mine in FORBIDDEN PLANET
in Glasgow. There's bound to be a store near you!