I have been a fan of Spider-Man for a long time. I was born in 1981 and my childhood was filled with Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, the Electric Company, the 1990s Spider-Man cartoon, and (of course) reruns of the 1960s Spider-Man cartoon.
When I was a kid I also read some of the Spider-Man comics but, to be honest, they haven’t really stuck with me. At the time, comics weren’t my medium of choice and it hasn’t been until very recently that this has changed. About a year ago I started getting more interested in reading comics again, but it wasn’t until earlier this year that I began to do so in earnest.
Naturally I was curious about my favourite childhood super-hero, but I found that things had changed a lot since I was a kid. I had vague ideas about some of the major events that had happened both in the Spider-Man comics and in the Marvel universe as a whole, but I still felt somewhat lost. How could I catch up on 20 years worth of comics? How would I decide which issues were important and which were dispensable?
It seemed to me that there was only one logical answer. If I was serious about catching up on Spider-Man, I would have to just read them all. In order. Issue by issue.
Of course, coming up with such a logical answer is only the first step. There are a number of parameters to consider: would I only read core titles, or other Spider-Man appearances too? would I stick to comics that are generally considered canon? could I possibly read them in story order? I figured that if you’re going to start an insane project such as this, you shouldn’t do it half-assed: I decided to read every canon Spider-Man appearance in any comic title or graphic novel, in chronological story order. And, just to round things out, I would fill in some story arcs and limited series even if Spider-Man didn’t appear in every issue, and throw in a few interesting-looking non-canon appearances as well.
The hardest part (so far) has been figuring out a good reading order. Sites like SpiderFan.org and The Marvel Chronology Project were fantastic resources; between those two sites, some googling and wikipediaing, I came up with a list of approximately 3350 comics to read and what I hope is a decent reading order. At one comic per day, that’s just over nine years; I’m hoping to do it in one.
So that’s it, The Spider-Man Project. Stick with me, true believers, as I finish my quest or go mad trying.