Spider-Man has swung back into theaters, now properly a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe following his debut in Captain America: Civil War. Whether you’ve seen the movie, or are about to, I’ve put together this list to enhance your overall movie experience. The flick is filled with nods and Easter eggs to previous movies, classic storylines, and much of the Ultimates Universe. While you don’t have to read these books to fully enjoy the movie, it’s still a fun way to take things from the silver screen right into your hands.
I will also warn you right now that if you go any further, there be spoilers for Spider-Man: Homecoming…
1. Amazing Spider-Man Epic Collection: Return of the Sinister Six
By now everyone should be aware of the main villain in Spider-Man: Homecoming – The Vulture, who plays a prominent part in this graphic novel collecting Amazing Spider-Man 334-350 and Spider-Man: Spirits of the Earth OGN. Doctor Octopus gathers some of Spidey’s deadliest foes to face off against him – including: Mysterio, Electro, Hobgoblin, The Vulture, and The Sandman – who has reformed and must be blackmailed into helping them. They have big plans, and it’s up to Spider-Man to stop them – or die trying.
2. Spider-Man Visionaries, Vol. 1: Todd McFarlane
One of the potential characters alluded to in Homecoming is known as The Prowler, a character who made his debut in Amazing Spider-Man vol. 1, 78 (November, 1969). He appeared and reappeared throughout Spider-Man’s long career, and had a few changes in costume and the man beneath the mask. He was one of the characters Todd McFarlane tapped for an appearance in his early run on Spider-Man back in the 90’s. This book collects Amazing Spider-Man issues 298-305, wherein Peter Parker and Mary Jane are newlyweds, Spider-Man is still wearing the black costume, and a new villain is about to burst onto the scene and change Spidey’s world forever – Vemon.
3. Spider-Man: Big Time Ultimate Collection
Another moment from the movie that calls back to the comics, is Peter’s desire to be an Avenger. But just being an Avenger doesn’t solve his problems. In this collection of Amazing Spider-Man 648, 649-662, 654.1, Peter is a full-fledged Avenger, has a great job and still has super villains to deal with like Hobgoblin and Scorpion. Plus, is Venom back? It’s up to Pete to juggle his new life and the same old responsibilities.
4. The Amazing Spider-Man: Civil War
In a nod both to the original Iron Man film, and the comics, Tony Stark calls a press conference in Homecoming. This reminded me immediately of that moment in Marvel’s Civil War, where Tony wants Peter Parker to take off his mask and tell the world who he really is. So how could I not include Civil War in this list? I couldn’t! This is where it all breaks down and comes to a head, where heroes are forced to choose sides – including Spider-Man. Which side does he choose?
5. Damage Control: The Complete Collection
Okay – I had to include this. If you’re unaware, Damage Control by Dwayne McDuffie (Author), Ernie Colon (Illustrator), Kyle Baker (Illustrator), and Salva Espin (Illustrator), is one of those books comic book readers talk about fondly. The premise? When all of these battles occur between superheroes and supervillains, someone has to clean it all up. Enter Damage Control! They appear in the movie as a government agency, and I wanted to point you to the collection of the books where they appeared.
Official Description: Galactus ate your apartment building? The S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier crashed on your car? Aliens destroyed Manhattan...again? Call DAMAGE CONTROL! Meet the Marvel Universe's No. 1 cleanup crew, the guys and gals with the bulldog badge who work tirelessly to put New York back together after every super-hero battle - from giant robots, to the devastation wreaked by the Acts of Vengeance, to the coming of the cosmic clean-freak Edifice Rex! Not disastrous enough? How about their biggest challenges to date: Dr. Doom's unpaid bill and the aftermath of World War Hulk!
Patrick Hester is an author, blogger and two-time Hugo Award Winner. He lives in Colorado, writes science fiction and fantasy, and can usually be found hanging out on his Twitter feed - @atfmb. His novel, SAMANTHA KANE: INTO THE FIRE is available at all major retailers. His short fiction can be found in the anthologies Space Battles: Full-Throttle Space Tales #6 andAn Uncommon Collection, as well as the eBooks Conversations with my Cat, Witchcraft & Satyrs, Consumption, Cahill's Homecoming and Cahill's Unfinished Business. His Functional Nerds and SF Signal weekly podcasts have both been nominated for multiple Parsec and Hugo Awards.