Spider-Man: A History and Celebration of the Web-Slinger, Decade by Decade Review: Beyond Amazing

Spider-Man recently celebrated his 60th Anniversary, and Marvel's new book about the hero is "beyond amazing." Matthew K. Manning, Robert Greenberger, and Peter David have brought comic book fans a real treat with Spider-Man: A History and Celebration of the Web-Slinger, Decade by Decade. In this tome, fans can look at the entire history of Peter Parker from humble beginnings to arguable anchor of a billion-dollar movie franchise. 

In a heartfelt introduction, lifelong Spider-Man fan, David lays out a personal argument for why the character stands so tall among his contemporaries. The author points toward Parker's culpability in his own origin as opposed to Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent. 

Really, at its core, that's what does make Spidey different from a lot of other heroes. He really is his own worst enemy, and all of his efforts to do good in spite of terrible luck and towering opposition only make him more relatable to readers worldwide.

(Photo: Marvel)

Along Came A Spider

Quite possibly the biggest attraction of this history is all the background information from every era of Spidey's Marvel stories. The introductory chapters about the character have some details that even hardened fans might not be aware of. If the words, "The Spider" don't mean a ton to you, then there's definitely something to be learned from this book. 

But, that isn't all as Amazing Fantasy #15 comes into view. Stan Lee is quoted thoroughly in the beginning. After all, that issue ends up not only being bedrock text for Marvel Comics, but the entire genre as well

Refreshingly Steve Ditko gets a ton of shine here as well. His designs have played an even more massive role in getting kids from all stripes of life to identify with the Wall-Crawler. 

(Photo: Marvel Comics)

In Living Color

One group of readers who will also love this text is people who love all the different iterations of Peter Parker. While things might start out with a nerdy kid from Queens who has responsibility foisted on him by unseen forces, it doesn't stay that way.

Spider-Man means a lot of different things to a reader in 2022 than he did back in the day. Ben Reilly, Miles Morales, and Miguel O'Hara all get their own entries as off-shoots from the original character. With Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse coming in the near future, its fun to track some of these heroes' origins back to the books. 

Another hysterical period of Marvel history saw Spider-Man fever hit the consumer products division of the publisher. Spider-Buggy and Spider-Robot fans get their day in the sun as well. No rock is left unturned and the reader benefits from these explanations and images. 

The decades stretch on and the hits all roll by: Gwen Stacy, Secret Wars, Venom, The Clones, Modern Spider-Man, Kraven, The Ultimate Universe and more are all touched on in some way or another.

(Photo: Sony Pictures)

Web-Swinging on the Big Screen

Of course, any modern history of the character wouldn't be complete without a rundown of Spider-Man's adventures on the big screen. (Most of the cartoons are in here as well as an added bonus!) 

Tobey Maguire's movies take up the lion's share of those later chapters. It's easy to see why as they are regarded by fans and critics alike as modern classics in the superhero genre. But, Manning and Greenberger do a good job of conveying how big a risk it was to bet on this hero at the time. 

Of course, all that success means that they don't shy away from some of the drama with Andrew Garfield's stint in the tights. Things got a bit tenuous and the prose reflects that uncertainty as Sony navigated its time as the sole owner of the character's likeness in live-action.

It wouldn't be a chapter on the character without covering Tom Holland's Peter entering the MCU to universal praise. As big as the character was before, it feels like Spider-Man has literally never been bigger, and that doesn't figure to change very soon.

(Photo: comicbook.com)

A Fitting Tribute to Marvel's Celebrated Hero

Spider-Man: A History and Celebration of the Web-Slinger, Decade by Decade is a love letter to the character. It's authors and editors care about the subject. In that way, they honor the hero they're talking about by giving massive effort to a truly daunting task. If you're a hardcore web-head this is a no brainer, and a pretty charming gift for anyone in your life who has a soft spot for the Wall-Crawler.

Spider-Man: A History and Celebration of the Web-Slinger, Decade by Decade is available for purchase right here and everywhere books are sold.