Guess who's back?!
It's your favorite comic-book-crazy blogger, TEX, here to slap your synapses with more comic book knowledge that you can't get in any college!!
Who's on the docket today? Why it's just your unstoppable, undefeatable, Ultimate Spider-Man!!
Above, feast your eyes on my well-read copy of Ultimate Spider-Man vol 1, #1, featuring the first appearances of the Ultimate versions (Earth 1610) of Peter Parker/Spider-Man, May and Ben Parker, Harry and Norman Osborne, Mary Jane Watson, and more!! Ultimate-Spider-Man is a VERY important comic to have in your collection if you are a Spidey fan. Bill Jemas, the one-time publisher of Marvel Comics, a man credited with helping to bring Marvel back from bankruptcy (and replacing the hated Bob Harras with Joe Quesada), looked at Marvel's long history and decided that decades of Marvel canon was holding the writers back from creating new and interesting stories, and possibly holding Marvel back from turning more profits. Jemas decided it was time to make the Marvel Universe fresh and accessible to new readers, so he started with a rebooted, reimagined version of Spider-Man. He hired writer, Brian Michael Bendis - a master of dialogue, and long-time Marvel artist, Mark Bagley. And a star was born!!
Bendis and Bagley shook up the world with a fresh take on Spidey. They took Stan Lee's and Steve Ditko's dated Spider-Man origin story from 1962's Amazing Fantasy vol 1 #15, an origin story that only lasted for eleven pages, and turned it into an intricate, breathtaking seven-issue story arc that is really just some of the best work that Marvel had done in a VERY long time. Bendis and Bagley thrust Peter back to his awkward teen years, ramped up the drama and humor, updated Spidey's world, from pop culture to technology to Spidey's supporting cast to current societal issues, and masterfully brought Spider-Man into the new millennium. The first issue of Ultimate Spider-Man was published in October of 2000. In May of 2002, Sam Raimi's blockbuster, "Spider-Man," the first in a trilogy of blockbuster films starring Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker / Spider-Man, was relased to wide acclaim, and Spider-Man was back on top in the hearts and minds of superhero fans all over the world. And The Ultimate Universe grew with titles like Ultimate X-Men, The Ultimates, and Ultimate Fantastic Four. On to the FUN FACTS!!
Fun Fact 1 - One of the most stunning differences between Ultimate Spider-Man (Earth 1610) and the Earth 616 original was the fact that Norman Osborn plays a REALLY important part in Spider-Man's origin story, and he is the first villain (as Green Goblin) to deduce Spidey's identity and go after him.
Fun Fact 2 - Another difference is that Ultimate Spidey used a formula originally his father's to create his webs. The 616 original did it all himself.
Fun Fact 3 - The cool, fresh differences between the Ultimate Universe and the 616 would take a long time for me to lay out, from Norman Osbourne actually becoming a near-undefeatable, hulking Green Goblin, to the deaths of prominent characters whose permanent deaths would be unthinkable in the 616.
Fun Fact 4 - Ultimate Spider-Man is one of my favorite Marvel series of all time. It made me a real fan of Spider-Man. I collected, read and reread the entire series, even hanging on when Volume 2 began:
My copy of Ultimate Spider-Man Vol 2, #1 (Special Foilgram Cover)
I even have Ultimate Spider-Man Vol 1 TPB in Spanish, bro. Yes, I do.
I am lucky enough to own signed, original commissioned artwork from Mark Bagley himself:
Fun Fact 5 - Sadly, in the end, it all went up in smoke. The Ultimate Universe became dark and often more violent than the 616, with story arcs like "The Death of Spider-Man," and "Ultimatum," wherein Wasp was devoured alive by Blob. Eventually "The Ultimate End" brought destruction to The Ultimate Universe (although some characters did escape into the 616 after "Battleworlds").
Fun Fact 6 - The illustrious team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby once held the record for the longest continual run on a Marvel title with a dazzling 101-issue run on Fantastic Four vol 1. That's about eight and 1/2 years. Bendis and Bagley broke that record with their 111-issue run on Ultimate Spider-Man. That's about nine and a quarter years. After Bagley called it quits, Bendis continued to work on the title, racking up an unheard of fourteen-year run on a single Marvel title!!
Fun Fact 7 - Ultimate Spider-Man vol 1, #1 was voted the ninth greatest comic ever published back in 2001. Groovy.
Fun Fact 8 - Ultimate Spider-Man, or elements thereof, have been used in other media:
"Spectacular Spider-Man" (2008-2009)
"Ultimate Spider-Man" (2012-2017)
"Spider-Man: Homecoming" (2017)
Fun Fact 9 - Brian Michael Bendis served as both writer and producer on the TV series, "Ultimate Spider-Man."
Fun Fact 10 - Ultimate Spider-Man was Marvel's FLAGSHIP title for years, outselling all titles, including the original Amazing Spider-Man!!!
If you love Spider-Man, and you HAVEN'T READ Ultimate Spider-Man vol 1, go read it NOW. You can read it by clicking HERE. You're welcome. ;-)
Happy trails, pardners!!
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