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Amazing Spider-Man Masterworks Vol. 4 Hardcover – Dec 10 2003

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Marvel; 2nd edition (Dec 10 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785111891
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785111894
  • Product Dimensions: 26.2 x 18.3 x 1.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 635 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,543,086 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 11 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Corny, Brilliant: The Best of Spider-Man Jan. 13 2012
By lux - Published on
Format: Paperback
Someone who wants to buy one collection of early Spider-Man could do no better than this. This book is probably the single best Spider-Man trade available. It includes original artist Steve Ditko's last eight issues of the title, and fan-favorite John Romita's first two.

From a nerd's perspective, it's packed with 'key' events. The volume begins with Peter Parker's entry into college and his first encounters with Harry Osborne and Gwen Stacey; it ends with the incredible two-parter wherein Green Goblin and Spider-Man learn each other's secret identities, establishing the Goblin as Spidey's arch-nemesis. In between, there are classic battles with Doctor Octopus and Kraven the Hunter, the first mention of Mary Jane Watson, the first appearance of Norman Osborne, the famous "Just a Guy Named Joe" story and the much more famous sequence of Spidey struggling under rubble for five pages- truly a tour de force of comic art.

Which brings me to my critical perspective: scriptwriter Stan Lee was reveling in the popularity of the title at this point, maintaining his cheery cheesy breezy style while always ensuring (relative) depth to his characters and situations. Some of the writing is typically over the top (CAP: "But, once alone in his room, the complex, sensitive, anguished youth who is Peter Parker finds that he cannot study... he cannot concentrate on anything... EXCEPT..." PETER: "Am I really being a COWARD?") but it can be charming and even genuinely (deliberately) funny sometimes. The real force behind the work collected here was Steve Ditko, who was obsessively pouring all he had into the title at this time: plotting, penciling, and inking the work all himself (Lee doesn't even take credit for "co-plotting" here; it's all Ditko!). I think Ditko's art improved throughout his stint at Marvel, and then began to decline, making this his very best work. Although less 'clean' or consistent than in the early issues, he is much more bold in his panel arrangements, featuring more effective and varied 'camera' angles, and his figures have a growing dynamism which is actually aided by his own slightly sloppier inking style. Like the very best Golden Age comics, a white-hot frenetic energy radiates from the pages. Perhaps most impressively, the issues here form a complete story. Each issue tells its own story, but a well-crafted arc of subplot progresses almost invisibly throughout them until, by the last chapter, it has become the main story.

In the 1960s, mainstream superhero comics hadn't yet succumbed to the commercial model of the cigarette companies, which in our present stage of capitalism has been adopted by nearly every industry. What I mean is a comic book back then was made to SATISFY the reader; today, they are made specifically to leave one UNsatisfied, so the reader will want to buy more, forever. I guarantee that this 200-page book, or any other collection of stories from this era, will take about three times as long to read as the same amount of new comics. Part of this is a higher word-per-image ratio, but the stories are also structured and paced so that after reading one or two issues, one feels like they've had enough for awhile- a feeling of fullness that takes ten or twelve issues (if not more!) of modern comics. To the kids waiting a whole month between issues, a little went a long way- so do as they did, and savor these.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Ditko and Lee at the top; Romita introduced Dec 24 2005
By Reader from the North - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Spiderman was never so good as Ditko (sometimes getting plot credit) and Lee presented him here. The collaborators are in complete control of Spider-man and the great cast of bad guys--especially the Green Goblin and Doc Ock. The ironies of Peter Parker's life are poignant, and each issue seems to develop both Peter's life and the supporting cast. This volume includes the great "Man on a Rampage" trilogy and the switch to John Romita and his great two-part Goblin battle.

I've read that sales picked up with Romita (and I'll admit that I thought his art was better when I read them ages ago); however, looking back, Ditko's art has withstood the test of time. Romita drew more attractive women and made Peter look more like a leading man from a romance comic--thus more mainstream. But that wasn't what made Spider-man great.

Even so, it was a brilliant move by Lee to start with the secret identities of Spider-man and the Goblin revealed with those transition issues. No one would pass those up. (I've read that revealing the identity of the Green Goblin was the straw that broke the Lee-Ditko team. If so, it's too bad they couldn't see what they had going.)
Pretty Good But Less Origionality Than In The Past. March 12 2007
By Alex Ringhausen - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The Marvel Masterworks series srtikes again with The Amazing Spider-Man, Vol. 4. This volume shows change from the first three Masterwork volumes. The collection begins with Peter Parker enrolling at Empire State University. As Peter enters college, he is no longer being teased for being an egghead, but still is outcast from the social circle in the usual Spiderman fashion. Gwen Stacy is introduced, as well as Harry Osborn. Gwen seems different from the one-dimensional Liz Allen or the sterotypical Betty Brant. Finally, Stan comes up with a girl with character. This volume is the book I could identify with the most, being a college student myself. It was a good buy. My only complaint is the lack of new interesting super-villians. It also seems that Spiderman has given up using his brain to out-wit his foes or his agility to out-manuver them. He seemed to take a liking to slug it out like an ordinary street brawler, which isn't quite as interesting as previous spidey battles. At least I now own the complete works of Steve Ditko's Spiderman. I was never a fan of John Romita, who I think drew Spiderman to look like Archie comics. However it was interesting to see the character from another perspective. I would recommend buying this volume, but buy the previous volumes first.
Grandson's next adventure April 30 2014
By K. Snavely - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My grandson is trying to collect the entire series, one at a time. This one is a great colorful read. If you have a Spiderman lover, these are great books.
Ditko at His best April 14 2014
By Snake Pisken - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has the famous scene drawn by Steve Ditko , as Spiderman is pin beneath some heavy machinery , very weak from a big fight , but His Aunt life is at stake an must Get Her medicine to her When You glance at Ditko's art , It looks like early Silver Age stuff , but when You read it , the art takes off on its own . Peter Parker wasn't a good looking Guy , He was a plain ol geek , and Spiderman art with the cob-webs under His arms is pure genius , Spiderman also had a light on His belt that was a projected His Spiderman image , that was also only on Ditko's art. Ditko did the first 7 issues in this book , then Romita took over the last 2. He would go on to draw Spiderman for a few years, I liked His art as well , but now in the Silver age, all Marvels art was at its peak , with Kirby , Steranko an many more .This book is the last of Steve Ditko , so if Your a Fan of His art , this should be added to Your collection , its paperback an a lot cheaper than the hardbacks