Did you even know there was a newspaper comic strip starring Spider-Man? The dang thing has been around for over thirty years and is interesting for a variety of reasons. First, the strip is and always has been written by none other than Stan Lee. Considering how famous this guy is in the world of comics you might think the strip would be somewhat celebrated as the only regular vehicle for Lee’s writing over the last three decades.
Stan Lee is so modern.
Originally, the strip was illustrated by John Romita, the well known artist that penciled The Amazing Spider-Man comic book from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s. The strip has had a few different artists over the years, but Larry Lieber (Stan Lee’s brother) has been the day-to-day penciler for several years now.
The aspect of the newspaper strip that holds the most interest for me is that it exists outside of the Marvel Comics continuity. Some common Spider-Man enemies from the comic book are absent from the strip and likewise there are villains that are exclusive to the strip. Additionally, various Marvel super heroes make guest appearances with qualities that differ from their comic book situations. Occasionally, major events will coincide between the book and strip, like Peter Parker’s marriage to Mary Jane Watson in the late 1980s or, much more recently, the “Brand New Day” storyline that ended the marriage (but which has been since reversed in the strip).
I hate all that wasted space at the top of the Sunday strip
In spite of its low profile, the newspaper strip must be read by many times more people than the actual comic book, which sells about 100,000 copies per issue. Think about it!