Comic History 101: Spider-Man: Coming Home

I hate where Spider-Man is now. If you’re not aware, Dan Slott, the current Spider-Man writer, has turned everyone’s favourite wall-crawler into a corporate CEO in the same vein as Tony Stark. It’s not to say the series isn’t well written but it isn’t what Spider-Man should be. There was once a simpler time. A time when Peter Parker was a high school teacher dating Mary Jane, who has left Peter in the more recent comics. This was the age of J. Michael Straczynski, possibly one of the greatest Spider-Man writer’s in the history of Marvel Comics. Across Straczynski’s run we saw Spider-Man join the Avengers and go from a street level hero to the big leagues while still staying a good-hearted, wise-cracking kid that any reader could get behind.

Picture Source: http://www.comicsthegathering.com/sites/default/files/styles/review_main_img_630_419/public/Amazing%20Spider-Man%20Coming%20Home%20001_0.jpg?itok=jtXQVHjP [Accessed: 02/03/2016]

In the nineties, the series had thoroughly blown its load with the clone saga which had been a straight cash-in on the comic book boom. Almost every title had some huge revelation to get comic investors looking for issues that would spike in future value to buy big. But with some many ‘earth-shattering’ events happening in Spider-man’s life at once the wall-crawler had creeped away from his roots. Marvel’s answer; reboot the series and reinvent Spider-Man for a new generation of readers. Bring Parker’s life forward as a focus of the book. They put Howard Mackie on the book at first but after a short thirty-issue run Mackie left and set the stage for something big. The Straczynski dynasty was about to begin with an arc simply titled ‘Coming Home’.

Picture Source: https://conversazionisulfumetto.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/romita.jpg [Accessed: 02/03/2016]

‘Coming Home’ started with a simply premise; did the spider that bit Peter choose Peter? It’s a question that hadn’t previously been asked in the comics and one that called right back to Amazing Fantasy where Spider-Man had started. Along with this revelation, Straczynski introduced Ezekiel, a father figure with similar abilities to Spider-Man with direct parallels to Uncle Ben. This created a brand new dynamic for Peter, and it was immediately compelling. However, Straczynski didn’t stop there, he threw in a new villain, Morlun, a totemic vampire who feed on the connection some humans share with animals. This again felt like a natural evolution of the Spider-Man story and the fans loved it.

Picture Source: http://www.heyuguys.com/images/2013/12/comics9.png [Accessed: 02/03/2016]

The online community wasn’t as strong as it is now so my main source for fan reaction is the Diamond Comics sales figures, which consistently place Amazing Spider-Man in the top five most sold comics for the first arc. The critical reaction is a little easier to measure with four and five star rating across the board. There are Spider-Man series which have been stronger but by all standards ‘Coming Home’ was a brilliant start and marked a turning point for the character. The series secured Straczynski’s place as a Spider-Man writer for the next eight years and laid the ground work for a lot of the series already covered on this segment. But what happens when Skraczyski’s Spider-Man, Whedon’s X-Men and Bendis’ Avengers are thrown together into a cataclysmic event written by industry titan Mark Millar? Answer: Civil War.

…That was this week’s Comic History 101!!! Check back on Friday for this week’s BearSlueth Spoiler Free Comic Book Bundle!!!

 

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