Essential Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man Vol. 1

Essential Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man Vol. 1

First Published: February 2005

Contents: Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #1 (December 1976) to #31 (June 1979)

Key Creator Credits: Gerry Conway, Sal Buscema, Archie Goodwin, Bill Mantlo, Jim Mooney, Frank Springer, Frank Miller, and others

Key First Appearances: Lightmaster, Razorback, Hypno-Hustler, Carrion

Story Continues In: Essential Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man Vol. 2

Overview: Following the long-established comic trend of duplicating success, Marvel introduced another Spider-Man title to the newsstands in 1976. Currently featured each month in Amazing Spider-Man, Marvel TalesMarvel Team-Up, and Spidey Super Stories, a new title was added to the list with Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man (PPTSS).

In a column in issue #1, writer Gerry Conway explained that this new title was added to help give more room to feature the supporting cast of characters in Spider-Man’s life. We got longer stories involving Glory Grant, Mary Jane Watson, the White Tiger, and others. This title gave us more access to Peter Parker’s life beyond the red-and-blue costume.

Familiar foes like the Tarantula, the Vulture, Morbius, and Kraven make appearances in this run. But the new foes introduced are a mix of intriguing challenges (such as Lightmaster and Carrion) to downright pop-culture bad guys anchored in the 1970s (such as Razorback and Hypno-Hustler). In addition, a long story arc involving White Tiger and the Sons of the Tiger tie in with the popularity of martial arts at that time.

What makes this Essential?: This is a borderline essential book. Spider-Man was the most popular character at Marvel in the mid-1970s, and would be soon making the jump to television with the live action series, so introducing another title featuring Peter Parker made sense. However, within the first year, there were two fill-in issues, so I wonder how much effort was ongoing to make sure the book shipped on time. Compared to the stories in Amazing Spider-Man and Marvel Team-Up at this same time, I feel like these stories are a step below in quality. For the Spider-Man fan, this should be a must read. For the casual Marvel fan, you could skip over this and just concentrate on the Essential Spider-Man line of books.

Footnotes: Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #22 and #23 were also reprinted in Essential Moon Knight Vol. 1.

Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #6 is a reprint issue from Marvel Team-Up #3. A new introduction and final pages were included, and a few panels were re-worded. This did lead into the Morbius storyline beginning in issue #7.

Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #11 appears to be a filler issue that was originally intended for Marvel Team-Up. The issue is written by Chris Claremont, the then current scribe on Marvel Team-Up, and this would be the only issue of PPTSS that Claremont would write. No reference is made in the story to the previous or following issues.

If you like this volume, try: the Complete Frank Miller Spider-Man released in 2002. This collects various issues that Frank Miller drew involving Spider-Man, including Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #27 and #28, which are found in this Essential. There is also a cover gallery of the numerous covers that Miller did involving Spider-Man over the years. This is a great volume to read some classic stories done by one of the modern masters of the comic industry.

Essential Super-Villain Team-Up Vol. 1

Essential Super-Villain Team-Up Vol. 1

First Published: September 2004

Contents: Dr. Doom stories from Astonishing Tales #1 (August 1970) to #8 (October 1971); Giant-Size Super-Villain Team-Up #1 (March 1975) and #2 (June 1975); Super-Villain Team-Up #1 (August 1975) to #14 (October 1977), #16 (May 1979), and #17 (June 1980); Avengers #154 (December 1976) to #156 (February 1977); and Champions #16 (November 1977)

Key Creator Credits: Roy Thomas, Larry Lieber, Gerry Conway, Bill Mantlo, Steve Englehart, Wally Wood, George Tuska, Herb Trimpe, Bob Hall, and others

Key First Appearances: Prince Rudolfo, Andro, Cynthia Von Doom, the Shroud, Tyrak

Story Continues In: Essential Avengers Vol. 7

Overview: Bring on the Bad Guys! With so many comics told from the perspective of the hero, sometimes you want to view the world from the other side of the confrontation.

For most of this book, the focus is on Dr. Doom, ruler of Latvia. The stories from Astonishing Tales deal with Dr. Doom trying to stop a rebellion, which turns out be organized by Red Skull. Doom’s attention is soon turned towards the Black Panther, as a skirmish develops between Latveria and Wakanda – not the first time that’s happened, and certainly not the last time either.

When the actual issues of Super-Villain Team-Up starts, it’s between Dr. Doom and Namor, the Sub-Mariner. Depending upon the needs of the story, Namor has been both hero and villain over his many years in comics, and we see that in this volume. It starts out with Namor and Doom in conflict, which is then turned into an uneasy alliance of sorts. While battles rage between Namor and the Atlantean warlord Attuma, which crosses over with the Avengers title, Dr. Doom must continue to stave off rebellion. But the mysterious Shroud shows up — but is he hero or villain?

Towards the end of the run, the publishing schedule got quite erratic. The title came to an end, but the final storyline was wrapped up over in the pages of the Champions, with the team loaded with former X-Men facing off against Magneto. The Red Skull makes another appearance in the final two issues published a year apart.

What makes this Essential?: This really is not an essential book. There, I said it. Hate me or love me for it. What we have here is a loose conglomeration of stories that are grouped together under the banner Super-Villain Team-Up (SVTU). Given the number of various talents that worked on this throughout the 1970s, this was never intended to be one giant story. Instead, we get Writer 2 picking up on the story threads left by Writer 1 two years ago in a story, and continuing them for three issues until Writer 3 came in and changed the threads completely.

Personally, I would have rather seen (and still hope to see someday) an Essential Doctor Doom volume. Collect his various appearances all over the Marvel Universe in one edition. That would be much more interesting to see collected then this SVTU collection.

Footnotes: Super-Villain Team-Up #9 and Avengers #154-#156 are also reprinted in Essential Avengers Vol. 7.

Super-Villain Team-Up #15 was a reprint issue, with stories from Astonishing Tales #4 and #5 (included in this volume). The cover is included in this Essential.

If you like this volume, try: the Secret Society of Super-Villains (SSSV) from DC. This came out during the mid-1970s, around the same time that SVTU was on the stands. DC’s story had a team of villains assembled (Gorilla Grodd, Captain Cold, Mirror Master, Sinestro, Star Sapphire, Lex Luthor, Bizarro, Darkseid, and many more) working together to take on jobs that they couldn’t do as solo criminals. Much like SVTU at Marvel, the SSSV storyline continued in other DC books long after the comic was cancelled. DC has recently collected the entire SSSV storyline into two hardcover collections.

Essential Spider-Man Vol. 6

Essential Spider-Man Vol. 6

First Published: July 2004

Contents: Amazing Spider-Man #114 (November 1972) to #137 (October 1974); Giant-Size Super-Heroes #1 (June 1974); and Giant-Size Spider-Man #1 (July 1974) and #2 (October 1974)

Key Creator Credits: Stan Lee, Gil Kane, John Romita Sr., Gerry Conway, Len Wein, and Ross Andru

Key First Appearances:  Jonas Harrow, Man-Wolf, Frank Castle/Punisher, Jackal, Tarantula, Equinox

Story Continues From: Essential Spider-Man Vol. 5

Story Continues In: Essential Spider-Man Vol. 7

Overview: Peter Parker is pushed to his limit physically and emotionally  in this volume. And when Peter is at his breaking point, the Amazing Spider-Man is at his best.

As if battling Doctor Octopus, the Hulk, and Dracula was not enough, Spider-Man faces down the Green Goblin, who kidnapped and killed Peter’s girlfriend, Gwen Stacy. Spider-Man fights Norman Osborn for what we think will be the final time, as the Green Goblin is accidentally killed by his own goblin glider. Of course, that still does not stop J. Jonah Jameson from accusing Spider-Man of murder.

Spider-Man meets up with a new set of heroes that represents the spirit of the 1970s. Hero for hire Luke Cage is retained by Jameson to bring in Spider-Man dead or alive. The Punisher places Spidey in his targets after reading one too many Daily Bugle editorials about the supposed crimes of our star. Finally, Spider-Man teams up with Shang-Chi, the Master of Kung-Fu, who uses his martial arts skills to thwart the mad schemes of his father.

This volume ends with the debut of a new Green Goblin, who is seeking revenge on Spider-Man for the death of his predecessor. Spidey quickly realizes that this new Goblin is one of his best friends, Harry Osborn, creating a whole new set of problems for Peter.

What makes this Essential?: This should be a must own for many reasons. For character introductions, we meet the Man-Wolf, the Jackal, the Tarantula, and, perhaps most importantly, the Punisher. Even though he was exaggerated to comic proportions, the mission of Frank Castle could easily be replicated in real life. At the same time, we witness the most tragic event in Peter Parker’s life since the murder of his Uncle Ben. The death of Gwen Stacy came with no warning, no lead-up, no spoilers. It changed Peter, and it changed the tone of the book. My feeling is that between the death of Gwen Stacy and the introduction of the Punisher, Marvel left the Silver Age of comics and entered the Bronze Age. These stories should be part of any collection.

Not only is he Amazing, he’s Spectacular: In 1968, Marvel entered into the magazine business when they partnered with Warren Publishing to issue a Spectacular Spider-Man magazine. Warren was known for their horror magazines at this time. Spectacular Spider-Man was a black-and-white magazine which featured new original stories from Stan Lee, John Romita, Sr., and Jim Mooney. The lead story of Spectacular Spider-Man #1 was broken up and re-used for Amazing Spider-Man #116-118, which is collected in this Essential. The lead story for Spectacular Spider-Man #2 was edited and re-used in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #9.

The magazine experiment ended with issue #2. However, in the 1970s, Marvel got back into the magazine business with their then owner Curtis Publishing. Curtis helped distribute a wide range of black-and-white horror magazines with content that might not have passed the Comics Code Authority at that time.

Footnotes: In Amazing Spider-Man #130 (March 1974), the infamous Spider-Mobile makes its debut. According to interviews with Gerry Conway, a toy executive had approached Stan Lee and suggested that all of the characters should have some kind of vehicle to use. Lee readily agreed, knowing that he wouldn’t actually have to write the story. When Conway pointed out the flaws in the idea, Lee said he didn’t care what Conway did with the car once it was introduced. As a result, the Spider-Mobile soon ended up at the bottom of the Hudson River. Despite that, Spider-Mobiles can still be found included in nearly every line of Spider-Man toys since then.

Amazing Spider-Man #129, #134, and #135 were also reprinted in Essential Punisher Vol. 1.

If you like this volume, try: going back and looking for the Marvel Masterworks Spider-Man Vol. 7, available as both a hardcover and as a trade paperback. What makes this volume important is that it contains the two Spectacular Spider-Man magazines complete and unedited. Outside of owning the physical magazines, this is the only way to read Spectacular Spider-Man #2, as it has never been reprinted completely in any other fashion.

Essential Punisher Vol. 1

First Published: March 2004

Contents: Amazing Spider-Man #129 (February 1974), #134 (July 1974), #135 (August 1974), #161 (October 1976), #162 (November 1976), #174 (November 1977), #175 (December 1977), #201 (February 1980), and #202 (March 1980); Amazing Spider-Man Annual #15 (1981); Giant-Size Spider-Man #4 (April 1975); Marvel Preview #2 (July 1975); Marvel Super Action #1 (January 1976); Captain America #241 (January 1980); Daredevil #182 (May 1982) to #184 (July 1982); Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #81 (August 1983) to #83 (October 1983); and Punisher #1 (January 1986) to #5 (May 1986)

Key Creator Credits: Gerry Conway, Len Wein, Frank Miller, Steven Grant, Ross Andru, Mike Zeck, Bill Mantlo

Key First Appearances: Frank Castle/Punisher, Jackal, Moses Magnum, Tarantula, Jigsaw, the Trust, Bruno Costa, Huntress

Story Continues In: Essential Punisher Vol. 2

Overview: After watching his family slain by mobsters, war veteran Frank Castle starts a one-man war against crime by any means necessary, including murder, kidnapping, extortion, coercion, threats of violence, and torture.

One of the Punisher’s early targets was Spider-Man, based on the fair and balanced reporting from the Daily Bugle. The Punisher tangles multiple times with Spidey before working out an uneasy alliance – they both realize they are working towards the same goals, but their individual methods go against each other’s principles. The Punisher’s vendetta also crosses paths along with way with Captain America and Daredevil.

The Punisher, being of questionable mind and judgment, reasons that the majority of the criminals he needs to target are already in prison. He surrenders himself to authorities and ends up being sentenced to prison, much to his delight and the sheer panic of the other prisoners.

What makes this Essential?: I will admit, I have a strong dislike of this character. Comics have always been an escape for me, into worlds with Kryptonian aliens or a teenager bitten by a radioactive spider. At the end of the day, I know characters like Superman and Spider-Man are not real. However, the Punisher can be real. We see too many instances in reality where someone becomes their own version of the Punisher, wanting to deliver judgment on those that did them wrong. By my thinking, heroes should bring the villains to justice, but not administer justice.

So, trying my best to be objective and only think of Frank Castle as a truly fictional character, the Punisher does play a prominent role in the Marvel Universe. He is arguably the second most important or influential character created by Marvel in the 1970s, behind Wolverine. He’s been the subject of numerous comic series and multiple movies. A lot of the comics in this collection are hard to come by, so this is a great way to read about the first decade of the character. If you are a fan of the Punisher, you should own this Essential if you do not own the issues.

Footnotes: Early editions of this Essential misspelled Frank Miller’s name on the cover as “Millar”.

Amazing Spider-Man #129, #134, and #135 were also reprinted in Essential Spider-Man Vol. 6.

Giant-Size Spider-Man #4 was also reprinted in Essential Spider-Man Vol. 7.

Amazing Spider-Man #161, #162, #174, and #175 were also reprinted in Essential Spider-Man Vol. 8.

Amazing Spider-Man #201 and #202 were also reprinted in Essential Spider-Man Vol. 9.

Amazing Spider-Man Annual #15 was also reprinted in Essential Spider-Man Vol. 10.

Captain America #241 was also reprinted in Essential Captain America Vol. 7.

Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #81, #82, and #83 were also reprinted in Essential Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man Vol. 4.

If you like this volume, try: the one Punisher comic I wholeheartedly endorse is The Punisher Meets Archie from 1994. In a joint venture between Marvel Comics and Archie Comics, the comic was released by both companies. Each company had a separate cover, but the inside contents were identical. John Buscema drew the Marvel characters, and Stan Goldberg drew the Archie characters. The Punisher is contracted by the government to bring in a drug lord by the name of Red, who is hiding in the small community of Riverdale. Castle infiltrates the school as a P.E. teacher and targets Archie Andrews who bears an uncanny resemblance to Red. The Punisher eventually finds his target, and takes him alive, much to his chagrin. Sadly, this book has never been reprinted, so you will need to dive into some back issue bins to track down this title.

Essential Marvel Team-Up Vol. 1

Essential Marvel Team-Up Vol. 1

First Published: April 2002

Contents: Marvel Team-Up #1 (March 1972) to #24 (August 1974)

Key Creator Credits: Gerry Conway, Len Wein, Gil Kane, Ross Andru, Jim Mooney, and Sal Buscema

Key First Appearances: Misty Knight, Man-Killer, the Orb, Basilisk, Stegron

Story Continues In: Essential Marvel Team-Up Vol. 2

Overview: The comic industry has proven time and time again that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If a character sells well for one company, an imitation of that same character should sell just as well for a second company, or a third. In the early 1970s, DC Comics had made The Brave and the Bold a Batman team-up book. By all accounts, it was doing well, or at least well enough for Marvel to take notice and create their own team-up book featuring their marquee character, Spider-Man.

Marvel Team-Up ran from 1972-1985, with 150 issues plus seven annuals. Spider-Man was the lead co-feature in all but nine issues, which were shared between the Human Torch and the Hulk. So this is generally considered a Spider-Man book. The title ran bi-monthly for the first year before adjusting to become a monthly book.

Outside of the initial story arc with Spider-Man and the Human Torch, these are one-and-done stories featuring Spider-Man teaming up with a variety of characters. Some of these are characters who have recently debuted in other books, such as the Cat, Werewolf, or Ghost Rider. Other times it was to just keep the characters active, such as the X-Men team-up in issue #4. (Hard to believe now, but there was a period in the early 1970s where Marvel was not publishing any new X-Men stories on a regular basis.)

What makes this Essential?: I really like the team-up books. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Marvel had two titles (Marvel Team-Up and Marvel Two-In-One), and DC had two titles (The Brave & the Bold and DC Comics Presents) that allowed for a wide variety of characters to meet up. This Essential volume features some incredible creative talents, with art by Gil Kane and Ross Andru. The stories are written by Gerry Conway and Len Wein, two of Marvel’s key writers of the 1970s. This is a gateway book — a good way to introduce a reader to the Marvel Universe. In the grand scheme of things, this is probably not truly an essential book to own, but it is a great book to bring someone into the world of comics.

Who’s Who / Reprinted Elsewhere:
#1 – Spider-Man & Human Torch
#2 – Spider-Man & Human Torch
#3 – Spider-Man & Human Torch
#4 – Spider-Man & the X-Men / Essential Classic X-Men Vol. 3
#5 – Spider-Man & the Vision
#6 – Spider-Man & the Thing
#7 – Spider-Man & Thor
#8 – Spider-Man & the Cat
#9 – Spider-Man & Iron Man
#10 – Spider-Man & Human Torch
#11 – Spider-Man & the Inhumans
#12 – Spider-Man & the Werewolf / Essential Werewolf By Night Vol. 1
#13 – Spider-Man & Captain America
#14 – Spider-Man & the Sub-Mariner
#15 – Spider-Man & Ghost Rider
#16 – Spider-Man & Captain Marvel
#17 – Spider-Man & Mr. Fantastic
#18 – Human Torch & the Hulk
#19 – Spider-Man & Ka-Zar
#20 – Spider-Man & Black Panther
#21 – Spider-Man & Doctor Strange
#22 – Spider-Man & Hawkeye
#23 – Human Torch & Iceman
#24 – Spider-Man & Brother Voodoo / Essential Marvel Horror Vol. 2

If you like this volume, try: the Fearless Defenders comic from 2013 by Cullen Bunn and Will Sliney. Of the handful of characters that made their debut in this Essential, Misty Knight is the most recognizable of the list. She has been a supporting character for 40 years, most often appearing alongside Power Man and Iron Fist in the Heroes for Hire books. In 2013, Misty Knight and Valkyrie were tasked to pull together the Valkyrior, an all-female team of heroes. A team is assembled that crosses all sections of the Marvel Universe. The book told good stories featuring strong female characters, while not taking itself too seriously. The covers by Mark Brooks were incredible, with homages to other sources from the world of pop culture. Sadly, low sales forced this title to be cancelled at issue #12. This title is available in trade paperback collections: Volume 1 came out in September 2013, and Volume 2 will be released at the end of February 2014.

Essential Spider-Man Vol. 5

Essential Spider-Man Vol. 5

First Published: March 2002

Contents: Amazing Spider-Man #90 (November 1970) to #113 (October 1972)

Key Creator Credits: Stan Lee, Gil Kane, John Romita Sr., Sal Buscema, Roy Thomas, and Gerry Conway

Key First Appearances:  Arthur Stacy, Dr. Michael Morbius, Martine Bancroft, Emil Nikos, Sha Shan, the Gibbon

Story Continues From: Essential Spider-Man Vol. 4

Story Continues In: Essential Spider-Man Vol. 6

Overview: Never let it be said that Peter Parker’s life is easy, in or out of the Spider-Man costume. This book opens with the (then) shocking death of Captain Stacy, who reveals with his dying breath that he knew Peter’s secret all along. Before he (or Gwen) can recover from that, a handful of familiar foes come back to keep Spider-Man busy, such as the Beetle, Doctor Octopus, the Green Goblin, and the Spider Slayer.

For issue #100, Peter tries to put his scientific knowledge to good use in an attempt to rid himself of the powers. In typical Parker fashion, the serum backfires, and instead causes four new limbs to appear on Peter’s body, making him a true Spider-Man. That takes Peter to call on Dr. Curt Connors, which means the Lizard is not far behind. And this story also introduces a new villain that would become a key player in the Marvel Universe: Dr Michael Morbius, who specializes in blood disorders by day, and haunts the nights as a living vampire.

What makes this Essential?: The more I revisit this book, the more I think this is truly an essential Essential. We see Stan Lee turn over the writing chores for the title to the new generation of comic writers, first to Roy Thomas and then to Gerry Conway.  We see real relevant topics pop up in the stories, such as drug abuse or the struggles of vets returning from Viet-Nam. We are introduced to Flash Thompson’s girlfriend Sha Shan, which may be one of the first interracial relationships in comics. The art in here, from Gil Kane and John Romita Sr., remains spectacular, to borrow a familiar adjective. Between this volume and the next Essential, these may be the best Spider-Man stories since the end of the Lee-Ditko run of the early 1960s.

Respect My (Comics Code) Authority: In the early 1970s, the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare approached Stan Lee about doing a story in comics that showed the dangers of drug abuse. Lee agreed, and worked the story into his ongoing run on the Amazing Spider-Man. In issue #97, Peter Parker’s roommate Harry Osborn turns to drugs in an attempt to handle the pressures of life. The Comics Code Authority (CCA) rejected the story back to Marvel. Lee felt that the request from the government overruled the decision of the CCA, and published the issue without the CCA seal on the cover. The story earned great praise, and it forced the CCA to revise its guidelines.

Footnotes: Amazing Spider-Man #92 is also reprinted in Essential Classic X-Men Vol. 3.

If you like this volume, try: David Hajdu’s book, The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America. Hajdu is a historical researcher who focuses his attention on pop culture subjects of the 20th Century. In this work, he dives deep into the world of comic books from the late 1940s to the mid 1950s. He looks at Fredric Wertham’s Seduction of the Innocent, and how it impacted the subsequent Senate hearings and the comic book industry. While it focuses more on Bill Gaines and his EC Comics, the impacts of this era led to the Comics Code Authority, and the self-censorship of American comics by the publishers. The faults of the Comics Code Authority is seen quite clearly in this Essential volume, with the Harry Osborn drug issues and the creation of Morbius, a “living vampire”, because undead vampires were not allowed at this time. IWhile the tide was changing in the CCA offices, these stories from Marvel certainly helped to see the CCA revise their guidelines, allowing for the classic monsters such as Frankenstein and Dracula to appear in comics, and allowing drugs use to be shown in a negative light.

Showcase Presents The Phantom Stranger Vol. 1

Showcase Presents The Phantom Stranger Vol. 1

First Published: October 2006

Contents: Showcase #80 (February 1969), The Phantom Stranger #1 (May-June 1969) to #21 (September-October 1972)

Key Creator Credits: Neil Adams, Mike Friedrich, Jim Aparo, Mike Sekowsky, Len Wein, Robert Kanigher, Tony DeZuniga, Murphy Anderson, and Gerry Conway

Key First Appearances: The Phantom Stranger*, Dr. Thirteen*, Tala, Cassandra Craft, Tannarak

Story Continues In: Showcase Presents The Phantom Stranger Vol. 2

Overview: Meet the Phantom Stranger, a man with a mysterious background forced to live in the shadows of the supernatural and unexplained. No one knows where he came from or how he came to be.

The Phantom Stranger first appeared in a six-issue self-titled anthology in 1952. Those stories are reprinted in Showcase #80 and the first three issues of the 1969 series. Similarly, Dr. Thirteen first appeared in the pages of Star Spangled Comics, but his early stories are collected in these first issues as well.

Beginning with issue #4, new ongoing stories featured both characters, either together in the same story or in solo stories. These early issues have Dr. Thirteen at odds with the Phantom Stranger, trying to prove that he was a fraud. Dr. Thirteen eventually comes around to accept the Phantom Stranger as an ally, even if he may not fully understand him.

Two longtime foes are introduced in this volume, Tala, Queen of Evil would challenge the Phantom Stranger over and over, while the sorcerer Tannarak would be a thorn in his side. The psychic Cassandra Craft was brought in a potential love interest for the Phantom Stranger. In an effort to protect Cassandra (or maybe a fear of commitment), the Phantom Stranger faked his own death to let her move on with her life.

Why should these stories be Showcased?: Read this for the art – most covers were done by Neil Adams, and many issues featured work by Jim Aparo. As much as I like the character of the Phantom Stranger, I believe he works much better as a supporting character, such as his appearances in the Justice League of America. I find this to be an average collection.

Footnotes: In the backup story of The Phantom Stranger #14 (July-August 1971), Dr. Thirteen battles a mysterious creature from the murk that bears a striking resemblance to the Swamp Thing. The story was written by Len Wein, with art by Tony DeZuniga. Call it coincidence or accident, at that same time on the newsstand, House of Secrets #92 (July 1971), the Swamp Thing made his first appearance as a mysterious creature from the murk. That story was written by Len Wein, with art by Bernie Wrightson.

If you like this volume, try: tracking down Secret Origins #10 (January 1987). In 1986, DC launched an ongoing Secret Origins series to detail the new origin stories of characters following the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Most issues were double-sized and featured two characters, often a Golden or Silver Age character in the first story, and a modern age character in the other. For this issue, the entire issue was given over to the Phantom Stranger, with four possible origin stories. Each story featured a different creative team: Mike W. Barr & Jim Aparo; Paul Levitz & José Luis García-López; Dan Mishkin & Ernie Colón; and Alan Moore & Joe Orlando. The last story has been reprinted in the various editions of DC Universe by Alan Moore collections. The other stories can only be found in this issue, so it is worth finding.