SPIDER-MAN: RETURN OF THE BURGLAR (Marvel, 2012; Hardcover)
Collects Amazing Spider-Man Nos. 193-200 (cover dates June, 1979- January, 1980)
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Artist: Pencilers- Keith Pollard, Jim Mooney, Al Milgrom, and Sal Buscema
Inkers- Jim Mooney, Frank Giacoia, Mike Esposito, and Al Milgrom
This era of Spider-Man is equal parts nostalgia and passion for me. I had issues 195 and 196 when they were the current issues and had all of these as cheap-o back issues in the mid-80s I still got a huge kick out of reading them as an adult. Marv Wolfman wrote things in a way that I could enjoy them as 5-going-on-6 year old and as a 40 year old. This is something of a lost art. Nowadays everything is an either/or scenario.
The artwork is done by several Bronze Age journeymen and is equally strong throughout. The Black Cat is introduced in a two-part story (#194 and 195), and there is a long arc building up to issue 200. The main difference between arcs in '70s comics and arcs now is that other things happened on the way to the climax of the main arc. So while things were unfolding, we still had time for two arcs-within-arcs, the first featuring the return of the Kingpin (196-197) with the second having the return (resurrection?) of Mysterio. All of which leads up the climax in issue 200 which features the return of the Burglar who murdered Peter Parker's Uncle Ben way back in Spider-Man's first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15.
I read this to my seven year old son and he also loved it. It's a shame that I can't share modern superhero comics with him.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.5 out of 5.
The OCD zone- The late, lamented Marvel Premiere Classic Hardcovers were a sort of junior Masterworks line. While they weren't quite the “Blu-Ray” version of these issues like you would see in a Marvel Masterwork, they are still excellent.
DVD-style Extras included in this book: Letter page from #194 (1 page).
Entry on the Black Cat from The Official Handbook Of The Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition #2 (1985) (2 pages).
Entry on the Burglar from The Official Handbook Of The Marvel Universe A-Z Vol. 2 Premiere HC (2011) (1 page).
Fully rendered version of the front and back dustjacket covers (#200, front, and #194, back) minus trade dress (2 pages).
Linework and Color restoration rating: 4.5 out of 5. While the color palette is faithful to the original publications, there are spots where the linework is not as crisp as it could be. I am certain that this material will be remastered in “high def” once the Marvel Masterworks line reaches this era in a few more years.
Paper rating: 5 out of 5. Beautiful thick coated stock with a slight sheen.
Binding rating: 5 out of 5. Smyth sewn binding with six stitches per signature. The book lays about 95% flat.
While this book is currently out of print, you can find countless Spider-Man books at InStockTrades!