the SPIDER-MAN newspaper strip

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.

Ugh, seriously?!

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!

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6 responses to “the SPIDER-MAN newspaper strip

  1. As a child, I collected the Lee / Romita run in the newspaper strip. I recently transferred these strips to digital, and am still amazed at the quality of their work. The 1977 – 1980 strips showcase Stan and John at the height of their careers and creative prowess.

  2. do you have those uploaded somewhere?!

  3. No– I haven’t uploaded them. They are in color– from my Doodle-Art pen collection I had as a child. (OK- I’m feeling like a royal geek right now!) Currently I have them on my computer screen-saver randomly. Thirty years later, I am still amazed at the quality Lee / Romita put out in the daily newspaper strip format. I’m happy to share them with other fans….

  4. Well, in case you weren’t aware, these strips were recently collected into a hardcover book.

  5. I’m aware– I’ve read complaints about the format of the book, though. (All black-and-white, and a sideways orientation.) I still might get it, to fill in a few missing strips in my collection.

  6. which newspapers are these strips published in? I’ve searched all over for them and just can’t find one even though I know that one paper somewhere must be running them!

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