Marvel Comics' 90 pound weakling turned 800 pound gorilla is getting the encyclopedia treatment in 2004, the company announced Sunday at WizardWorld Chicago.
"'Marvel Encyclopedia Vol. 4: Spider-Man' is everything you ever wanted to know about the world-famous web-slinger," writer Jeff Youngquist told CBR News on Thursday, "His friends, his family and his foes ... and then some.
"The Spider-Man Encyclopedia is a 240-page oversized hardcover, the same format as Marvel Encyclopedia Vol. 1 and Marvel Encyclopedia Vol. 2: X-Men. Jonathan Couper-Smartt, editor of SpiderFan.Org, was the main writer/researcher for the bios section, which comprises a good 200 pages of the book. Kit Kiefer, who wrote Marvel Encyclopedia Vol. 3: Hulk, contributed chapters on Spider-Man comics, movies, TV shows and collectibles.
"Other contributing writers on the bios section were Syd Barney-Hawke, who wrote the X-Men Encyclopedia, and Seth Biederman. Designers, led by Matty Ryan, included Victor Gonzalez and Jeof Vita. My assistant editor, Jen Grunwald, really helped me pull the book together at the end. And special thanks to my intern, Sean Ryan, for all his help along the way."
Last year's Hulk volume took some heat from fans, but Youngquist doesn't see it as a failure.
"You have to have a thick skin in this business, so I'm not really bothered by the reviews. With the Hulk Encyclopedia, we tried something different than the other two. Some people liked it, some people didn't -- but bottom line, it was extremely successful, especially in the bookstore market.
"The Spider-Man Encyclopedia, though, definitely harkens back to previous efforts -- with a little of the Hulk sprinkled in. In the same way the X-Men Encyclopedia was a detailed examination of the X-Men, the Spider-Man Encyclopedia is a detailed examination of everything Spider-Man -- but it crams in even more information. Spider-Man's bio, for instance, runs 10 pages.
"The Spider-Man Encyclopedia will appeal to all audiences, I hope. Kit's chapters provide and excellent introduction to the character, and the bios section supplies the details."
So, what characters can Spider-fans look forward to being covered this time around?
"All of them. This is the book the fans have been dying for.
"Any character worth including that didn't receive an entry in the main body is listed in the Appendix. I really think you'd be hard-pressed to find a character that has appeared in a Spider-Man comic book over the last 40 years who isn't at least mentioned in this book.
"We've really been sweating the details on this one, making changes and additions right up to the last minute to ensure that everything comes out right. I hope people are pleased with the results."
Note: Jonah Weiland contributed to this story.