Spider-Man 101 And The Best Of..

Ultimate Spider-Man 10 Page 1

Earlier, I made a list of good Spider-Man comics for anyone looking for an introduction to the character. Most of the included issues tend to appear on the lists of the greatest Spider-Man stories. Anyone interested in how the the recommended stories fit the conventional wisdom can check out the various links to confirm that other people really like the material, too.

Reprinted in “The Very Best of Spider-Man” (Circa 1994)

  • Amazing Fantasy #15
  • “The Final Chapter” Amazing Spider-Man #33
  • “Spider-Man No More” Amazing Spider-Man #50
  • “The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man” Amazing Spider-Man #248
  • “The Sand and the Fury” Amazing Spider-Man #317

A few of the longer stories had been reprinted in trade paperbacks by that point, including “The Death of Jean Dewolffe,” the first appearances of Venom (in Spider-Man VS. Venom), Kraven’s Last Hunt, Spider-Man VS. Wolverine, Roger Stern’s Hobgoblin saga (as Origin of the Hobgoblin) and “Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut.” The first 50 issues of Amazing Spider-Man had been collected in the Marvel Masterworks hardcover series by December 1992.

From the 75 Greatest Marvel Comics of All Time Reader’s Poll…

  • 57. Amazing Spider-Man #129
  • 43. Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #50
  • 35. Amazing Spider-Man #31-33
  • 28. Spider-Man Blue
  • 17. The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man
  • 10. Amazing Fantasy #15
  • 3. Spider-Man: Kraven’s Last Hunt
  • 1. Spider-Man: The Night Gwen Stacy Died

From the Comic Book Resources list of the 50 greatest Spider-Man stories….

  • 30. Learning Curve (Ultimate Spider-Man #8-12)
  • 25. Confessions (Ultimate Spider-Man #13)
  • 22. Power and Responsibility (Ultimate Spider-Man #1-7)
  • 21. Venom! (Amazing Spider-Man #300)
  • 20. The Sinister Six (Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1)
  • 18. The Death of Captain Stacy (Amazing Spider-Man #88-90)
  • 16. Spider-Man Blue #1-6
  • 11. The Goblin Unmasked (Amazing Spider-Man #39-40)
  • 9. Spider-Man No More! (Amazing Spider-Man #50-52)
  • 8. The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man! (Amazing Spider-Man #248)
  • 7. Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut (Amazing Spider-Man #229-230)
  • 6. The Original Hobgoblin Saga (Amazing Spider-Man #238-239, 244-245, 249-251)
  • 5. Spider-Man! (Amazing Fantasy #15)
  • 4. The Death of Jean Dewolfe (Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #107-110)
  • 3. The Night Gwen Stacy Died (Amazing Spider-Man #121-122)
  • 2. If This Be My Destiny (Amazing Spider-Man #31-33)
  • 1. Kraven’s Last Hunt

Web_of_Spider-Man_Vol_1_32

From IGN’s list of the 25 greatest Spider-Man stories…

  • 22. The Goblin Unmasked (Amazing Spider-Man #39-40)
  • 15.  And Death Shall Come (Amazing Spider-Man #90)
  • 11.  Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut (Amazing Spider-Man #229-230)
  • 10. Spider-Man! (Amazing Fantasy #15)
  • 9.  If This Be My Destiny (Amazing Spider-Man #31-33)
  • 7.  Spider-Man No More! (Amazing Spider-Man #50-52)
  • 6. Kraven’s Last Hunt
  • 4. The Death of Jean Dewolfe (Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #107-110)
  • 3.  The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man! (Amazing Spider-Man #248)
  • 2. Spider-Man Blue #1-6
  • 1. The Night Gwen Stacy Died (Amazing Spider-Man #121-122)

From Spiderfan.org’s Top Ten list in Official Playstation Magazine #56 (Circa 2002)

  • 10. The Goblin Unmasked (Amazing Spider-Man #39-40)
  • 8. The Return of Venom (Amazing Spider-Man #315-317)
  • 6. The Master Planner Saga (Amazing Spider-Man #31-33)
  • 5. Spider-Man (Amazing Fantasy #15)
  • 4. The Death of Jean Dewolfe (Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #107-110)
  • 3. Kraven’s Last Hunt
  • 2. The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man
  • 1. The Night Gwen Stacy Died (Amazing Spider-Man #121-122)

From Wizard’s 1998 list of the ten greatest Spider-Man stories…

  • 9. If This Be My Destiny (Amazing Spider-Man #31-33)
  • 8. Shadows of Evil Past! (Amazing Spider-Man #238-239)
  • 7. Venom! (Amazing Spider-Man #300)
  • 6. The Death of Jean Dewolfe (Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #107-110)
  • 5. The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man! (Amazing Spider-Man #248)
  • 4. Spider-Man! (Amazing Fantasy #15)
  • 2. The Night Gwen Stacy Died (Amazing Spider-Man #121-122)
  • 1. Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut (Amazing Spider-Man #229-230)

The Top 40 Comic Books All-time list from Wizard #105 would include Amazing Spider-Man #248 at 29th place, Amazing Fantasy #15 at ninth place, and Amazing Spider-Man #229-230 at seventh place. The Top 100 Trade Paperbacks list from Wizard #127 included Spider-Man VS Venom (reprinting Amazing Spider-Man #300, 315-317) in 97th place, “Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut” in 27th place, and the Ultimate Spider-Man oversized hardcover (reprinting Amazing Fantasy #15 and Ultimate Spider-Man #1-13) in fifth place.

spider-manjuggernaut

From the spidermanreviews.com Top 50 (as a minor note, I was involved in the composition of that one)…

  • 49. Secrets, Confessions and Endings (Amazing Spider-Man #249-251)
  • 43. The Death of Captain Stacy (Amazing Spider-Man #88-90)
  • 40. Face to Face With the Lizard (Amazing Spider-Man #6)
  • 33. Spider-Man Blue #1-6
  • 31. Venom! (Amazing Spider-Man #300)
  • 22. Spider-Man No More! (Amazing Spider-Man #50-52)
  • 16. The Goblin Unmasked (Amazing Spider-Man #39-40)
  • 10. The Death of Jean Dewolfe (Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #107-110)
  • 8. Learning Curve (Ultimate Spider-Man #8-12)
  • 7. The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man! (Amazing Spider-Man #248)
  • 5. If This Be My Destiny (Amazing Spider-Man #31-33)
  • 4. Spider-Man! (Amazing Fantasy #15)
  • 3. Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut (Amazing Spider-Man #229-230)
  • 2. Kraven’s Last Hunt
  • 1. The Night Gwen Stacy Died (Amazing Spider-Man #121-122)

Finally, Complex.Co’s Top 25…

  • 15. Ultimate Spider-Man Volume 1
  • 11. The Death of Jean Dewolfe (Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #107-110)
  • 9. Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut (Amazing Spider-Man #229-230)
  • 8. If This Be My Destiny (Amazing Spider-Man #31-33)
  • 7. Spider-Man Blue #1-6
  • 6. The Goblin Unmasked (Amazing Spider-Man #39-40)
  • 5. Kraven’s Last Hunt
  • 4. Spider-Man No More! (Amazing Spider-Man #50-52)
  • 3. The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man! (Amazing Spider-Man #248)
  • 2.  Spider-Man! (Amazing Fantasy #15)
  • 1. The Night Gwen Stacy Died (Amazing Spider-Man #121-122)

There are a few really well-regarded Spider-Man stories that didn’t appear on my initial list, so an explanation may be merited. In some cases, I thought that a story might be redundant. Stan Lee and John Romita Sr’s Doctor Octopus epic from Amazing Spider-Man #53-56 was pretty good, but I had already recommended other stories with that villain, or by that creative team.

A few stories, such as JM Dematteis’s Harry Osborn saga, were simply too long to include in an introductory list. A few other tales were really good, but just haven’t been referenced, which suggests it’s not particularly important to understanding the character or later stories. Finally, some of the material is just too inaccessible to a new reader. It can require too much explanation, as well as familiarity with stories that just aren’t as good.

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About Thomas Mets

I’m a comic book fan, wannabe writer, politics buff and New Yorker. I don’t actually follow baseball. In the Estonian language, “Mets” simply means forest, or lousy sports team. Currently, I’m writing a few comic books about my grandparents’ experiences in Soviet Estonia for Grayhaven comics. You can email me at mistermets@gmail.com
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