I’m still up to my eyes trying to cover all things Secret Wars, so unfortunately I haven’t gotten back on the wagon with updates to the Spider-Man Chronology.
The process I’ve used to create this list was to first compile every piece of information I could find online about Spider-Man appearances: regular series, mini-series, guest shots, etc. Then use my own knowledge and as many existing chronologies on the web as possible to arrange this “master list” into a potential reading order. And then the fun part…actually reading them all. Shuffling things around, adding and removing things when necessary.
After the break is a quasi update involving some issues that were considered for, but ultimately excluded from the complete list.
Since I’m reading these books in what is as close to chronological order as possible, one of the first things to tagged as out of continuity was the Marvel Knights mini-series With Great Power… It was written by David Lapham with art by Tony Harris and focused on the timeframe after Peter had become Spider-Man and before Uncle Ben was shot. That brief era where Spider-Man was a beloved star.
Seems like something that could be flushed out. Surprisingly, if you look at Spider-Man’s first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15, the “fame era” only lasts about three pages. (Keep in mind, the entire story was only eleven pages long.)
But upon reading this series, something just feels…off. Particularly Uncle Ben’s creepy mustache and Flash Thompson’s character design. While Peter spends most of the series wrestling and appearing on talk shows, he does play the hero and even has a “team-up” with the Fantastic Four. Peter has a car and there are multiple iterations of the Spider-Man costume; things that make you wonder how they can fit in to the overall picture?
There are nods to original continuity but there is enough here with love interests and mobsters among other things to make you wonder “really? All this happened prior to Uncle Ben’s murder?”
Outside of that mustache (which you could argue is just artistic license) there is nothing in particular that jumps out here to banish it from continuity. No, “Uncle Ben lived” moment or anything like that. So I’m still confused if it is in continuity or not. I’ve seen as many sources say it wasn’t as that it is.
If you do want to include it (and I may revisit it in the future and possibly do so, still confused) it takes place during Amazing Fantasy #15 and so can be read shortly after that.
A less confusing case was the exclusion of the first story from Spectacular Spider-Man Magazine #1. The story entitled “Lo…This Monster!” actually gets excluded by no fault of it’s own.
For some reason the story was reworked and incorporated into Amazing Spider-Man #116-118. The art and dialogue are tweaked, the pages colored (the original was black and white), there are pages added and subtracted, but for the most part the story is the same. As such, it made no sense to include both versions, and the Amazing version was clearly in continuity.
I would still suggest checking it out for completeness, and even just as an exercise to compare and contrast the two versions.
The one shots Giant Size Spider-Man and Spider-Man Spectacular were easy exclusions. Much like the series Marvel Age – Spider-Man, these were all ages retelling of Spidey’s early adventures.
With both of them coming out in 2014, while I was in the midst of creating the “master list”, I had to check them out to see where they stood as no other chronologies were that up to date.
Be on the lookout for further updates coming soon. And you will always be able to find the Complete Chronology in it’s permanent home under Big Projects in the menu under the Gabbing Geek banner.