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The Amazing Spider-Man

Foreword by Jason Reynolds
Introduction by Ben Saunders
Series edited by Ben Saunders
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Hardcover
$50.00 US
7.83"W x 10.64"H x 1.2"D   | 43 oz | 12 per carton
On sale Jun 14, 2022 | 384 Pages | 978-0-14-313572-2
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The Penguin Classics Marvel Collection presents the origin stories, seminal tales, and characters of the Marvel Universe to explore Marvel’s transformative and timeless influence on an entire genre of fantasy.
 
A Penguin Classics Marvel Collection Edition
 
Collects “Spider-Man!” from Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962); The Amazing Spider-Man #1-4, #9, #10, #13, #14, #17-19 (1963-1964); “Goodbye to Linda Brown” from Strange Tales #97 (1962); “How Stan Lee and Steve Ditko Create Spider-Man!” from The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 (1964). It is impossible to imagine American popular culture without Marvel Comics. For decades, Marvel has published groundbreaking visual narratives that sustain attention on multiple levels: as metaphors for the experience of difference and otherness; as meditations on the fluid nature of identity; and as high-water marks in the artistic tradition of American cartooning, to name a few.
 
This anthology contains twelve key stories from the first two years of Spider-Man’s publication history (from 1962 to 1964). These influential adventures not only transformed the super hero fantasy into an allegory for the pain of adolescence but also brought a new ethical complexity to the genre—by insisting that with great power there must also come great responsibility.
 
A foreword by Jason Reynolds and scholarly introductions and apparatus by Ben Saunders offer further insight into the enduring significance of The Amazing Spider-Man and classic Marvel comics.
 
The Deluxe Hardcover edition features gold foil stamping, gold top stain edges, special endpapers with artwork spotlighting series villains, and full-color art throughout.
“A groundbreaking example of comics representation in literature.”
Publishers Weekly

“Penguin provides introductory essays; superb analyses by the series editor, Ben Saunders; and extensive bibliographies.”
—Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

“Stories become classics when generations of readers sort through them, talk about them, imitate them, and recommend them. In this case, baby boomers read them when they débuted, Gen X-ers grew up with their sequels, and millennials encountered them through Marvel movies. Each generation of fans—initially fanboys, increasingly fangirls, and these days nonbinary fans, too—found new ways not just to read the comics but to use them. That’s how canons form. Amateurs and professionals, over decades, come to something like consensus about which books matter and why—or else they love to argue about it, and we get to follow the arguments. Canons rise and fall, gain works and lose others, when one generation of people with the power to publish, teach, and edit diverges from the one before ... A top-flight comic by Kirby—or his successor on “Captain America,” Jim Steranko—barely needed words. You could follow the story just by watching the characters act and react. Thankfully, Penguin volumes do justice to these images. They reproduce sixties comics in bright, flat, colorful inks on thick white paper—unlike the dot-based process used on old newsprint, but perhaps truer to their bold, thrill-chasing spirit.”
—Stephanie Burt, The New Yorker
© Ten Speed Press
Stan Lee is the co-creator of the most beloved characters in the history of comics, including Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, and many others. He is also the author of Stan Lee's Riftworld: Odyssey, and the editor of The Ultimate Spider-Man, The Ultimate Super-Villains, The Ultimate Silver Surfer, and The Ultimate X-Men, all from Boulevard. View titles by Stan Lee
Steve Ditko is an award-winning American comic book artist and writer known for cocreating the Marvel characters Superman and Doctor Strange with Stan Lee. He was inducted into the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1990 and into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 1994. Ditko lives in New York City. View titles by Steve Ditko
Series Introduction


If you were suddenly gifted with powers that set you apart from ordinary humanity, what would you do?


For the first generation of comic book super heroes, launched in the late 1930s, the answer was obvious: You used your special abilities for the benefit of others. You became a "champion for the helpless and oppressed" and waged an "unceasing battle against evil and injustice."


It was a fantasy predicated on the effortless fusion of moral certainty with aggressive action, the national appetite for which only increased after America's entry into the Second World War in 1941. More than seven hundred super-powered do-gooders debuted in the boom years of 1938-1945. Collectively, they helped to transform the comic book business from a vestigial limb of print culture into a muscular arm of the modern entertainment industry. With the social tensions and abiding inequalities of US culture temporarily obscured by the Nazi threat, super heroes even came to emblematize the (sometimes contradictory) principles of individualism, democracy, and consumerism: the American way.


After the war, comics remained big business-the genres of romance, Western, crime, horror, and humor all thrived-but audiences turned decisively away from super heroes. Indeed, by the summer of 1953, the costumed crime-fighter appeared on the verge of extinction. Of the hundreds of characters that had once crowded the newsstands, only five still had their own titles: Quality Comics' Plastic Man and DC Comics' Superman, Superboy, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Old-fashioned products of a simpler time, they were ripe targets for satire. There were sporadic attempts to revive the craze, of course-most notably in 1954, when a wave of national hysteria over the putative effects of crime and horror comics on younger readers led several publishers to seek more parent-friendly alternatives. The companies of Ajax, Atlas, Charlton, Harvey, Magazine Enterprises, Prize, and Sterling all tried out a few super hero books in an effort to recapture a small portion of the market that they once had dominated. Significantly, all failed.


No single factor can definitively explain this shift in popular taste, but clearly times had changed. Against the background of the wasteful and inconclusive war in Korea, the vicious theater of McCarthyism, and the ugly response to the first stirrings of the civil rights movement in Montgomery, Alabama, the moral simplicity of the super hero fantasy looked na•ve at best and reactionary at worst. Clearly, if super heroes were going to be revived successfully, they would have to be reinvented.




The process began at DC Comics, the only American comic book publisher to have a real stake in the genre at the time, with the return of the Flash in mid-1956. Writer Bob Kanigher revised the concept (which dated back to 1940), adding a self-reflexive element; his hero, Barry Allen, had a nostalgic fondness for old Flash comics. Kanigher thereby acknowledged and incorporated DCÕs earlier Flash stories while simultaneously placing them at an ironic distance-making his own tale seem more authentic and contemporary. The summer of 1959 saw a similar modernization of the Green Lantern. The origin story of the first Lantern, from almost twenty years prior, had been a messy Orientalist hodgepodge; the new version drew on science fiction tropes more suited to the age of the space race. In late 1959, these revitalized heroes joined forces with Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman to form a team: the Justice League of America.


The strong sales of the JLA made other publishers sit up and take notice. Among them was Martin Goodman, the owner of the company not yet known as Marvel. Goodman had enjoyed plenty of success with super hero comics in the 1940s and owned the rights to such former hits as Captain America, the Human Torch-somewhat misnamed, as he was actually a flame-powered android-and Namor the Sub-Mariner. (A true original, the Sub-Mariner was perhaps the only super-powered character of the first generation to regard ordinary humanity with open hostility.) But Goodman had canceled all his super hero books in 1949 to pursue more popular trends. Now, at the dawn of the '60s, half the titles in his comics division were romances or "teen humor" titles, while the other half was divided among war, Western, and "monster" books-anthologies that served up a different B-movie-style menace month after month-without a single super hero in the bunch.


Goodman decided that he needed a super team of his own on the shelves, fast, and assigned the job to a writer-editor named Stanley Lieber, better known today as Stan Lee. A cousin of Goodman's wife, Lee had joined the company in 1939 at the age of seventeen, rising to oversee Goodman's entire line. He'd grown up in the comic book industry, knew all its formulas and limitations, and longed to transcend them-but by his own account, he was starting to wonder if he ever would. When Goodman told him to create a copycat Justice League, Lee turned for help to Jack Kirby, a veteran artist who had co-created Captain America (among many other super heroes) with Joe Simon back in the 1940s. The result of their collaboration would be far more than a knockoff of the latest trend, however. Drawing inspiration from multiple sources, the two men managed to blend a whole new pop-cultural cocktail: a transformative take on the super hero. The comic was called The Fantastic Four, and in its pages, Lee and Kirby would also map out the basic contours of the Marvel Universe.

Educator Guide for The Amazing Spider-Man

Classroom-based guides appropriate for schools and colleges provide pre-reading and classroom activities, discussion questions connected to the curriculum, further reading, and resources.

(Please note: the guide displayed here is the most recently uploaded version; while unlikely, any page citation discrepancies between the guide and book is likely due to pagination differences between a book’s different formats.)

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About

The Penguin Classics Marvel Collection presents the origin stories, seminal tales, and characters of the Marvel Universe to explore Marvel’s transformative and timeless influence on an entire genre of fantasy.
 
A Penguin Classics Marvel Collection Edition
 
Collects “Spider-Man!” from Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962); The Amazing Spider-Man #1-4, #9, #10, #13, #14, #17-19 (1963-1964); “Goodbye to Linda Brown” from Strange Tales #97 (1962); “How Stan Lee and Steve Ditko Create Spider-Man!” from The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 (1964). It is impossible to imagine American popular culture without Marvel Comics. For decades, Marvel has published groundbreaking visual narratives that sustain attention on multiple levels: as metaphors for the experience of difference and otherness; as meditations on the fluid nature of identity; and as high-water marks in the artistic tradition of American cartooning, to name a few.
 
This anthology contains twelve key stories from the first two years of Spider-Man’s publication history (from 1962 to 1964). These influential adventures not only transformed the super hero fantasy into an allegory for the pain of adolescence but also brought a new ethical complexity to the genre—by insisting that with great power there must also come great responsibility.
 
A foreword by Jason Reynolds and scholarly introductions and apparatus by Ben Saunders offer further insight into the enduring significance of The Amazing Spider-Man and classic Marvel comics.
 
The Deluxe Hardcover edition features gold foil stamping, gold top stain edges, special endpapers with artwork spotlighting series villains, and full-color art throughout.

Praise

“A groundbreaking example of comics representation in literature.”
Publishers Weekly

“Penguin provides introductory essays; superb analyses by the series editor, Ben Saunders; and extensive bibliographies.”
—Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

“Stories become classics when generations of readers sort through them, talk about them, imitate them, and recommend them. In this case, baby boomers read them when they débuted, Gen X-ers grew up with their sequels, and millennials encountered them through Marvel movies. Each generation of fans—initially fanboys, increasingly fangirls, and these days nonbinary fans, too—found new ways not just to read the comics but to use them. That’s how canons form. Amateurs and professionals, over decades, come to something like consensus about which books matter and why—or else they love to argue about it, and we get to follow the arguments. Canons rise and fall, gain works and lose others, when one generation of people with the power to publish, teach, and edit diverges from the one before ... A top-flight comic by Kirby—or his successor on “Captain America,” Jim Steranko—barely needed words. You could follow the story just by watching the characters act and react. Thankfully, Penguin volumes do justice to these images. They reproduce sixties comics in bright, flat, colorful inks on thick white paper—unlike the dot-based process used on old newsprint, but perhaps truer to their bold, thrill-chasing spirit.”
—Stephanie Burt, The New Yorker

Author

© Ten Speed Press
Stan Lee is the co-creator of the most beloved characters in the history of comics, including Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, and many others. He is also the author of Stan Lee's Riftworld: Odyssey, and the editor of The Ultimate Spider-Man, The Ultimate Super-Villains, The Ultimate Silver Surfer, and The Ultimate X-Men, all from Boulevard. View titles by Stan Lee
Steve Ditko is an award-winning American comic book artist and writer known for cocreating the Marvel characters Superman and Doctor Strange with Stan Lee. He was inducted into the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1990 and into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 1994. Ditko lives in New York City. View titles by Steve Ditko

Excerpt

Series Introduction


If you were suddenly gifted with powers that set you apart from ordinary humanity, what would you do?


For the first generation of comic book super heroes, launched in the late 1930s, the answer was obvious: You used your special abilities for the benefit of others. You became a "champion for the helpless and oppressed" and waged an "unceasing battle against evil and injustice."


It was a fantasy predicated on the effortless fusion of moral certainty with aggressive action, the national appetite for which only increased after America's entry into the Second World War in 1941. More than seven hundred super-powered do-gooders debuted in the boom years of 1938-1945. Collectively, they helped to transform the comic book business from a vestigial limb of print culture into a muscular arm of the modern entertainment industry. With the social tensions and abiding inequalities of US culture temporarily obscured by the Nazi threat, super heroes even came to emblematize the (sometimes contradictory) principles of individualism, democracy, and consumerism: the American way.


After the war, comics remained big business-the genres of romance, Western, crime, horror, and humor all thrived-but audiences turned decisively away from super heroes. Indeed, by the summer of 1953, the costumed crime-fighter appeared on the verge of extinction. Of the hundreds of characters that had once crowded the newsstands, only five still had their own titles: Quality Comics' Plastic Man and DC Comics' Superman, Superboy, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Old-fashioned products of a simpler time, they were ripe targets for satire. There were sporadic attempts to revive the craze, of course-most notably in 1954, when a wave of national hysteria over the putative effects of crime and horror comics on younger readers led several publishers to seek more parent-friendly alternatives. The companies of Ajax, Atlas, Charlton, Harvey, Magazine Enterprises, Prize, and Sterling all tried out a few super hero books in an effort to recapture a small portion of the market that they once had dominated. Significantly, all failed.


No single factor can definitively explain this shift in popular taste, but clearly times had changed. Against the background of the wasteful and inconclusive war in Korea, the vicious theater of McCarthyism, and the ugly response to the first stirrings of the civil rights movement in Montgomery, Alabama, the moral simplicity of the super hero fantasy looked na•ve at best and reactionary at worst. Clearly, if super heroes were going to be revived successfully, they would have to be reinvented.




The process began at DC Comics, the only American comic book publisher to have a real stake in the genre at the time, with the return of the Flash in mid-1956. Writer Bob Kanigher revised the concept (which dated back to 1940), adding a self-reflexive element; his hero, Barry Allen, had a nostalgic fondness for old Flash comics. Kanigher thereby acknowledged and incorporated DCÕs earlier Flash stories while simultaneously placing them at an ironic distance-making his own tale seem more authentic and contemporary. The summer of 1959 saw a similar modernization of the Green Lantern. The origin story of the first Lantern, from almost twenty years prior, had been a messy Orientalist hodgepodge; the new version drew on science fiction tropes more suited to the age of the space race. In late 1959, these revitalized heroes joined forces with Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman to form a team: the Justice League of America.


The strong sales of the JLA made other publishers sit up and take notice. Among them was Martin Goodman, the owner of the company not yet known as Marvel. Goodman had enjoyed plenty of success with super hero comics in the 1940s and owned the rights to such former hits as Captain America, the Human Torch-somewhat misnamed, as he was actually a flame-powered android-and Namor the Sub-Mariner. (A true original, the Sub-Mariner was perhaps the only super-powered character of the first generation to regard ordinary humanity with open hostility.) But Goodman had canceled all his super hero books in 1949 to pursue more popular trends. Now, at the dawn of the '60s, half the titles in his comics division were romances or "teen humor" titles, while the other half was divided among war, Western, and "monster" books-anthologies that served up a different B-movie-style menace month after month-without a single super hero in the bunch.


Goodman decided that he needed a super team of his own on the shelves, fast, and assigned the job to a writer-editor named Stanley Lieber, better known today as Stan Lee. A cousin of Goodman's wife, Lee had joined the company in 1939 at the age of seventeen, rising to oversee Goodman's entire line. He'd grown up in the comic book industry, knew all its formulas and limitations, and longed to transcend them-but by his own account, he was starting to wonder if he ever would. When Goodman told him to create a copycat Justice League, Lee turned for help to Jack Kirby, a veteran artist who had co-created Captain America (among many other super heroes) with Joe Simon back in the 1940s. The result of their collaboration would be far more than a knockoff of the latest trend, however. Drawing inspiration from multiple sources, the two men managed to blend a whole new pop-cultural cocktail: a transformative take on the super hero. The comic was called The Fantastic Four, and in its pages, Lee and Kirby would also map out the basic contours of the Marvel Universe.

Additional Materials

Educator Guide for The Amazing Spider-Man

Classroom-based guides appropriate for schools and colleges provide pre-reading and classroom activities, discussion questions connected to the curriculum, further reading, and resources.

(Please note: the guide displayed here is the most recently uploaded version; while unlikely, any page citation discrepancies between the guide and book is likely due to pagination differences between a book’s different formats.)

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Classy Comics: Penguin Classics Marvel Collection

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