Saturday, January 12, 2008

Books I Lettered But Didn't Read Until Now Review #4

Peter Parker Spider-Man Volume 4: Trials & Tribulations
Writer: Paul Jenkins
Artist: Mark Buckingham

In this latest installment of “Books I Lettered But Didn’t Read Until Now” Reviews I give you Peter Parker Spider-Man Volume 4: Trials & Tribulations. Written by Paul Jenkins with art by Mark Buckingham.

The first story in this trade titled: “Heroes Don’t Cry” was lettered by Comicraft, a solid story that harkens back to Roger Stern’s classic “Kid Who Collects Spider-Man” from Amazing Spidey #248. (1984) Jenkin’s version tells the story of a young African-American boy named Lafronce. Lafronce is a from a broken inner-city home and it’s his fantasy that he’s Spidey’s secret sidekick that gets him through seeing his mother drugged out of the couch. It’s a solid story with good heart and a nice albeit predictable ending.

The second story in the book was a really fun tale called: Snow Day. An old-school Spidey vs. The Vulture story… if you see this single issue (#37) in a 50-cent bin, pick it up, you’ll enjoy it.

After Snow Day story yours truly takes over the lettering chores.

As I look at my work in the book I can see how I was transitioning from being a pretty crude, inexperienced letterer to one who was beginning to figure this whole lettering thing out. It was around this time that Chris Eliopoulos was brought into the now defunct Marvel Lettering Department to whip us into shape. I was by far the letterer with the least experience in the department and looking back it was the best thing that ever happened to me as a letterer. Chris really took my work to more professional level.

My first story was a really odd one called “The Big Question”. This is the one story you can skip. It involves yoga. Go figure.

The trade rounds out with some good stories about Peter dealing with Aunt May now knowing that he is Spider-Man. Although with Brand New Day or One New Day or whatever they’re calling that train wreck over there now, I don’t know if Aunt Man knows he’s Spidey anymore. Nevertheless, Jenkins did a really nice job of taking the reveal and spinning a nice yarn about Peter and May’s relationship. He mixed in a few flashbacks to great Spidey stories and threw in some good action as well.

But really for me, the highlight of this book was the art by Mark Buckingham. He really draws a great Spidey with a clean old-school look.

All in all this trade was a decent read. So if Marvel’s current treatment of your favorite wall-crawler leaves your scratching you head. Pick this one up.


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