Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Mark Bagley
Review by Mark Braithwaite
For decades, comic book characters have defied the ageing process but what if Spider-Man had aged a year for every year that had passed in real time?
Life Story isn’t officially a “What If?” title but it very much is a “What If?” premise and the multi-issued format it was originally published in (and collected in this Panini hardcover anniversary edition) allows this alternative timeline to be explored in detail.
Merging decades worth of major events in Spider-Man’s comic timeline with Marvel’s own version of real world history, such as Vietnam and 9/11, we see how Peter Parker adapts to having a family and running a business as major world events threaten to overwhelm him.
As you’d expect from a comic series encompassing a large time span, there’s a lot going on, yet Chip Zdarsky handles a huge cast fairly and ensures that the reader discovers not only how Spidey would age in real time but also his villains, fellow Avengers and his own supporting characters. J. Jonah Jameson’s arc in particular claims the spotlight in the “Life Story” annual, also collected in this edition.
Mark Bagley’s artwork is showcased superbly by the larger page format of the hardcover. His characters are expressive throughout, and age with a gradual subtlety as the story progresses.
Bonus material includes full page spreads of the “Life Story” variant covers with Chip Zdarsky discussing his cover art process using classic comics as an inspiration.
A celebratory and nostalgic celebration that revisits Peter Parker’s most memorable moments. Life Story addresses exactly where Spider-Man fits in a rapidly changing world where the challenges get harder as the mind, and body, get older.
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.
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