Paperback Misadventures

I'm trying to read the whole continuity of our favorite webslinger. As it stands I'm up to the ASM 200-ish time period. Simultaneously, I'm keeping current with modern day Spider-titles.

Maybe I'm just an old fogey, hopelessly nostalgic for the days of a 30- cent comic and a 50-cent slice of pizza, but the writing today seems to have lost something since the 1970's heyday (the true golden age, IMHO). And I think I finally put my finger on it. It's trade paperbacks.

The Spidey's I've read over the last year had a really enjoyable soap opera quality to them. Two-issue story arcs were the rule, usually with some kind of hook for a future arc worked in. But behind that there was this constant, ongoing subplot which was Peter's life. We saw Aunt May join the Grey Panthers, we saw Jonah slowly become a human being as he courted Marla, we got to know Peter's run-down little apartment in Chelsea with the colorful neighbors. You get my point.

Writers today,however, seem to be making stories specifically with the intention of re-publishing them in trade form. Now, in general I love trades. Marvel has put out some great ones in the last few years that allow me to re-read some of my favorite stories without opening the mylar on the originals. But making the trade format a binding force on storytelling is a bad idea. I think that these days you could take these arcs, shuffle them around, and read them in any order without missing anything. They don't seem connected to me.

I'm no continuity slave, no sir. I have no problem whatsoever with Mary Jane looking exactly the same age today as she did when she danced off Broadway in "Hair". But I really miss the ongoing feel of the old stuff.

This is why, incidentally, my two way tie for favorite current Spider title is Ultimate and Spider-Girl. Mayday's adventures in particular remind me of Lee & Ditko at the top of their game.

So, what do you think? Do I have a point or am I just pining away for my lost childhood?