Comic Name: Strange Tales/Starling Stories: The Megalomaniacal Spider-Man/All-Select Comics
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer/Artist: Peter Bagge/Nick Bertozzi/MollyCrabapple/John Leavitt/Nicholas Gurewitch/Jason/James Kochalka/Michael Kupperman/Junko Mizuno/Paul Polpe/Johnny Ryan/ Dash Shaw/Max Cannon/Jacob Chabot/Jonathan Hickman/R. Kikuo Johnson/Tony Millionaire/Jim Rugg/Brian Marcusa/Jhonen Vasquez/Jeffrey Brown/Chris Chua/Becky Cloonan/Paul Hornschemeier/Jonathan Jay Lee/Corey Lewis/Stan Sakai/Jay Stephens
# of Issues: 5
Release Date: 2010
Reprints Strange Tales (Limited Series) #1-3, Startling Stories: The Megalomaniacal Spider-Man, and All-Select Comics (June 2002-November 2009). There is a lot of strangeness in the world, and Earth-616 is no exception. A world full of heroes has a world full of oddity…and be it a neurotic Spider-Man or a stressed Hulk, the world can always get stranger.
Featuring art and writing from multiple artists and authors, Strange Tales is a different take on the Marvel Universe with humor. The collection features the limited series Strange Tales along with a previously released Peter Bagg stand-alone issue Startling Stories: The Megalomaniacal Spider-Man (June 2002) which (as the title implies) features Spider-Man.
Marvel is always very regimented. The company, for legitimate reasons, has their characters under tight wraps. Only the artists Marvel Comics want telling their stories get to tell the stories that Marvel wants (with some exceptions). For this collection, the reigns are loosened, the gloves are off, and you get some interesting and fun tales…with no apparent rules.
The Strange Tales portion of the collection is probably the most fun for me. It has fantastic art and tons of variety. I love some of the character choices and the storytelling is enjoyable…the best part however is that it is fast and sweet. If a story isn’t good, you’re quickly on to the next story. As the title promises, they are also “weird”. You have some story ideas that you never expected to read and many remind me of the original run of Howard the Duck by Steve Gerber just in their inane humor.
Most of the back half of the collection is devoted to Peter Bagg’s The Meglomaniacal Spider-Man which was Bagg’s first work for Marvel. I actually read this comic when it was new and enjoyed it. Bagg pretty much treads on all the things that make Spider-Man both a great character and then mocks them in a way that is more like a comic fan tearing apart an issue. With liking Strange Tales portion so much, I rather wished there had been another three issues of that series instead of the Spider-Man centric issue.
Strange Tales is a fun little collection that doesn’t feel like a Marvel story. It feels like an underground comic that shouldn’t exist and that is the reason to read it alone. The series digs deep with strange characters and odd situations and sometimes both DC and Marvel need this. Strange Tales is a wild ride that is worth taking…I’d love to see more (maybe even a true horror version of Strange Tales).