Spider-Man 60th: Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus Vol. 1 (Danny's thoughts)
Every journey has a beginning.
This has been the case for every single type of storytelling since the beginning of time, and comic books are no different. In the case of Spider-Man, this character has probably one of the best beginnings in comics, right up there with DC's Superman and Batman. Fortunately Spider-Man is another one of the those characters where most people know the basic story even they've never read a comic before. However, if you've ever wondered how Peter Parker's story truly started, this Omnibus is the definitive way to start.
Originally published for a failing magazine called "Amazing Fantasy", Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created a story about a character who was anything but the typical hero. Instead of being the popular kid at school, Peter Parker was the outcast among his peers. He couldn't get the attention of pretty girls, he was ridiculed by all the jocks yet teachers liked him, and his Uncle Ben and Aunt May thought the world of him.
Then on a fateful trip to a science exhibit, a spider had gotten in the path of a device that was emitting radiation. Shortly after that it lands on the hand of an unsuspecting Peter Parker and bites him. After that, the rest is history.
Now there have been a lot of collected editions/trades of these classic tales over the years, but for me this one takes the cake over all of them in that while it is the first volume, it collects everything that both Lee and Ditko set out to do when it came to Spider-Man. Every story involving Ditko is found in here. All the main villains that would make up the bulk of Spidey's rogue gallery are introduced here - Vulture, Green Goblin, Kraven The Hunter, Doctor Octopus, etc.
But beyond the villains and the fantastical adventures, what really makes this omnibus special are the personal problems that Peter Parker deals with outside the webs. These may have been written in the 1960s, but many of the issues Peter faces are so relatable that it really isn't a surprise many readers pick up on this character when they read them, even to this day. and it was a trend that would continue when Peter went from high school to college later on.
In all, this volume and the other ones - Volume 5 being the most recent as of this post - are collections worth getting if you love Spider-Man. And given that it's the web-head's 60th birthday it is only more fitting. Along with the full-color pages, the volume is collected in a Hardcover edition, which makes reading it all the more special - less chances of smearing the edges of the pages the more you read it.
Plus the notes that Stan Lee gives helps give some insight into how some things came together - even if if he did tend to embellish. But hey, that was Smilin' Stan for you!
As you can imagine, this and the other Omnibuses aren’t exactly cheap, but they are worth getting if you are a Spidey fan. And as someone who has all five volumes they are more than worth it. Plus if more people buy them, Marvel will be convinced to make more.
So if you are curious how Spider-Man's journey began, this Omnibus is the best way to start!