Must-read comics are futuristic classics that shouldn't be missed. Of course, not every must-read is perfect. That's why we've rated them 1-5 on the patented "crunchy goodness" scale.
Title: Ultimate Spider-Man
Date: 2002 - (reprinting material from 2000 - )
Vitals: Rebooting Marvel's arachnid nerd for the 21st Century, formerly-indie crime writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Mark Bagley brought a new version of the neurotic humor and sense of fun that made the character a success in the first place, and in the process, started a whole new publishing franchise.
Famous names: Bendis and Bagley weren't the only people behind this project - Then-president of Marvel Bill Jemas was so involved that he plotted out the first seven issues of the serialized comic and acted as an additional editor on the series until he left the company.
Crunchy goodness: 5
Spinoffs/Sequels/Copycats: In addition to the entire Marvel "Ultimate" line of books (The Ultimates, Ultimate Iron Man, Ultimate X-Men, Ultimate Fantastic Four, et al), this particular series also was the starting point for the short-lived MTV animated version of the character, with Bendis as an executive producer and spawned its own video game.
Memorable product tie-in: Around the time of the first Tobey Maguire movie, all the merchandising for the character used Bagley's version of the wall-crawler, meaning that he probably got 10c for that pair of panties that your loved one got for you that you never wear.
Most painfully dated moment: Dig the Limp Bizkit-inspired designs for Peter Parker's "contemporary" schoolmates, yo.