by Steven Biscotti
Outside of my regular worship of the god known as Kal-El, Spider-Man is one of my favorite characters of all time. He’s also a character that I’ve been most passionate about, most knowledgeable of for most of my 25 years, and someone I’ve been most involved with. As a young man entering the real world at an age of 21, I worked as the administrator for the Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark face book page, served as an unpaid marketing development agent for the show, AND was cast/hired by Sony Pictures as the Face of the Fan for their Spider-Man reboot, “The Amazing Spider-Man.” It is only natural that as a fan, and of someone this involved with good ol’ webhead, that I read the comic books. It may come as a surprise that I’ve only been devoted to the original Stan Lee penned stories, dismissed most of the nineties stuff, caught up with “Ultimate“, and become a regular reader back at #698 all the way through “Superior.” Currently, I’ve been reading “The Amazing Spider-Man: Learning To Crawl” and as someone who works in a comic book shop, have come to see that this is probably the best comic that no one is reading. Sorry Superman. I’ll pray for forgiveness later.
The concept behind “Learning to Crawl” as writer, Dan Slott, puts it is “the story you never knew about the story you knew by heart.”* It takes place at the last panel of Amazing Fantasy #15 and explains the area of story that happens before Amazing Spider-Man #1 begins. It has been an idea that’s been teased during our friendly neighborhood wall-crawler’s 50+ year history, but never to a degree of such creativity and artistic insight as now. Dan Slott, whether you love him or hate him, knows how to write Spider-Man. He may just be the embodiment of every fans’ dream. Going from a super fan, the original face of the fan, to being writer of over 200 issues of the book. What needs to be noted about his talent is that for “Learning to Crawl” he perfectly channels Stan “The Man” Lee’s unmistakable writing quality, especially when it comes to the simplistic and hammy banter between characters, and various plot set ups to build up Peter Parker only to then knock him down. Also, and admittedly, I am not too familiar with Ramon Perez’s work, but the art work fits perfectly into the classic 60’s style of Steve Ditko and John Romita’s notable runs.
“Learning to Crawl” is not only just a fun Spider-Man book to read, but for fans such as myself, that consider Stan Lee’s run gospel and not much else as serious canon for our favorite arachnid, this IS the perfect title to add to your collection and consider worthy of carrying the iconic and world-renowned “Amazing” mantle. Outside of the current “The Amazing Spider-Man” title, the recently picked up again “The Superior Spider-Man” and this September’s “Spider-Verse”, “Learning To Crawl” #1.1 and ongoing should really be on your monthly pull list. The story arc concludes next month and is truly the little engine that could. Or the spider that refused to be washed down the water spout.
Psst… And I’m going to tell you a secret. I have been rooting for teenage genius, Clayton Cole a.k.a. Clash. He’s the current baddie (newly created for the series). He’s a kid that loves Spider-Man, wants to be him, and through a series of unfortunate fan encounters, has his love of Spidey eventually soured. Could happen to anyone. And, maybe, just maybe, when they get around to giving him his time on the big screen, I am definitely going to audition.
*The Dan Slott quote from marvel.com “Learn to Crawl as Dan Slott Takes a New Look at Spider-Man’s Earliest Days” Feb. 14, 2014