However, a close inspection revealed it reprinted the first 20-or-so issues of The Amazing Spider-Man - in glorious black and white, just as I remembered them as a child.
Needless to say I had to buy it.
That slightly dog-eared book was of course The Essential Spider-Man and, since then, those mind-controlling villains at Marvel have taken full advantage of my mental weakness by bringing out ever-more Marvel Essentials to prise my money from me. Creaking are my shelves with the weight of Essentials.
Well, there's no fool like an old fool and, still bitten by that bug, I've just gone mad and bought a whole slew more of the things: Thor Volumes 4 and 5, The Avengers Volume 6, and even the first two Captain America Essentials, even though I have no great interest in Captain America.
My least favourite so far's been the Essential Killraven which totally failed to engage me despite me having loved the strip as a child. And I can't ignore the fact that Volume 1 of The Incredible Hulk's mostly poor, with even the likes of John Buscema and Gil Kane somehow failing to bring it to life.
Even for one with my addiction to the books, I can't deny there are certain Essentials I'll probably never own. With all the will in the world, I can't see myself ever buying The Essential Human Torch or Essential Ant-Man. However, Essential Sub-Mariner and Captain Marvel are on my future shopping list, as are all the Tomb of Dracula and Defenders books.
All this rambling is of course not done without ulterior motive. It's simply my way of leading up to the big question. Are you a fan of the Marvel Essentials and which have been your favourite and least favourite ones so far?