Comics : Marvel Encyclopedia (Vol. 4) Spider-Man

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This review was first published on: 2004.

In Detail...

Marvel Encyclopedia (Vol. 4) Spider-Man
Nov 2003 : SM Title
Find ISBN 0785113045
Editor:  Jeff Youngquist
Writer:  Jonathan Couper-Smartt, Kit Kiefer, Seth Biederman, Syd Barney-Hawke
Staff Only

This hardcover reference volume contains chapters devoted to:

  1. General Spider-Man Info
  2. Spider-Man on TV
  3. Spider-Man at the Movies
  4. Spider-Man Toys
  5. An A-Z of every character in the Spidey Universe
  6. Appendix and Index.

Printed on glossy paper, 240 pages with full-color illustrations throughout.

In General...

I was hanging out for this one! In one sense it met all my expectations, but it managed to disappoint too.

The writing style is excellent, very lighthearted and tongue-in-cheek just like the comic at its best. In particular, the Spider-Man Toys section is good for a laugh. The movie section is surprisingly honest but fairly light on the info - which is reasonable enough, considering it's a chapter with only a few pages to cram information into. Besides which, a more in-depth view can be found in "Behind the Mask of Spider-Man". It's also pleasing to see that the writers managed to slip in some last-minute info on the casting of S2.

The A-Z of characters covered literally EVERY character who has been named in the comic, even those you probably want to forget. More important characters were given far more page-space, which was nice to see. References within a profile to any other character in the A-Z were printed in blue and underlined, which constantly made me itch to click on them.

Every character in the A-Z had an accompanying color picture, and it was good to see so many different styles of artist represented here.

Indeed, this book is THE reference for Amazing Spider-Man. But that's where it falls down. It's ONLY the reference for Amazing Spider-Man. None of the other series get a look-in. Ultimate Spidey gets a mere paragraph devoted to it, which to me seems unwise as, unless I'm mistaken, it currently has the highest readership of all the Spidey lines.

I know that posting a profile of Peter Parker and then having to do a second Peter profile for the Ultimate Peter would have made things confusing, but wouldn't it have been possible to have the Ultimate info in a seperate chapter?

Really, that's my main nitpick on this book. All in all an excellent read for anyone who wants a taste of Spidey history, and a really useful reference to have on hand.

Overall Rating...

PPP Editor's Note: Hey we've gotta be modest don't we?