Marvel have just released their oversize hardcover Omnibus collection of Amazing Adult Fantasy. The series ran 15 issues and went through a couple of name changes: Amazing Adventures became Amazing Adult Fantasy became Amazing Fantasy.

The first half-dozen issues have a main monster-based feature story drawn by Jack Kirby alongside a few shorter tales drawn for the most part by Steve Ditko. From issue 7 it’s Ditko all the way, as he and Stan Lee really hit their stride with little fantasy masterpieces of the twist ending variety. Most tales are only three, four or five pages so really pack a punch. And Ditko is on top form, his art being imaginative and innovative. There are a few splash pages here that demand a fair degree of artistic courage — but he pulls them off brilliantly.

These stories are so strong that they’ve been reprinted many times over, appearing throughout the ’70s as things like Tales of the Watcher, or Doctor Who’s Time Tales. They also formed the basis for a lot of that fondly-remembered British institution the Alan Class comic. It’s nice to finally have them all in one place.

The reproduction is very strong, with the art obviously being shot from some very clean sources. The colour is very sympathetic, not as garish as these things can sometimes be.

It’s a fairly pricey tome, but for these stories’ importance and some of Ditko’s best art, worth every penny. And, yes, it includes the first appearance of Spider-Man.