Continuing our Steve Ditko theme, I thought I’d highlight the fact that Marvel recently released a collected volume of the complete run of Steve Ditko’s Spider-Man. It’s in the oversize ‘Omnibus’ format which I love — well, the physical dimensions anyway. The thickness of these books makes them a bit cumbersome and heavy for easy resting on the lap.

So, in a single tome you can thrill to Amazing Fantasy #15 (Spider-Man’s first appearance), Amazing Spider-Man #1-38, and Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 & 2. Lee’s ‘heroes with problems’ concept really solidified here, with the poor, teenage Peter Parker suffering all manner of difficulties in his personal life, from girl troubles, to worrying about Aunt May’s heart, all while trying to grapple with his newfound super-powers. Ditko too was at the absolute top of his game and the run provides so many memorable images: the ghostly form of Spider-Man separating Peter from would be love Betty Brant; a powerless Spidey desparately hanging to a flagpole as the Fantastic Four merrily wave to him; and, of course, the celebrated four page sequence from Spider-Man #33, where Spidey is pinned down by a massive weight — possible the greatest comics storytelling of all time.

This stuff is simply brilliant. Surely the best solo super-hero comics ever done. They deserve to be read, re-read, and remembered.

While relatively cheap given the amount of material it contains, the Omnibus is still fairly pricey. To that end, the same stories are readily available in the first two Essential Spider-Man books.