In 1998, Wizard published a special one-shot devoted to Spider-Man. I probably read it more than most Spider-Man comics. The highlight may have been a top ten list by Andrew Kardan.
I don’t agree with it completely, but each of those stories is really good.
Kardan obviously had his preferences. Roger Stern wrote four of the stories. Stan Lee was the only other writer to have more than one story on the list (in this case, two.)
Seven stories were from the 1980s. One was from the 1970s. Two were from the 1960s. Three stories featured the introduction of a new villain (Venom, Hobgoblin, Sin-Eater.) Two more featured the first time Spider-Man fought a Marvel supervillain. Four stories featured a character from other titles: two villains (Juggernaut, Cobra/ Hyde) and two heroes (Daredevil, Wolverine.) Only two stories featured the return of a recurring Spider-Man villain. The Cobra/ Hyde tale was also Spider-Man’s second encounter with Cobra.
Four stories featured a major death (Ned Leeds, Jean De Wolfe, Gwen Stacy/ Norman Osborn, Uncle Ben.)
Notable creators whose work was not included on the list were JM Dematties, Tom Defalco, Marv Wolfman, Sal Buscema, Ross Andru and John Romita Sr. This isn’t to suggest that anyone should alter a list to get a more representative sample, when the standard is “ten greatest.”
Personally, I would have rated the Master Planner saga higher. Seven of their ten choices would have been on my Top Ten, including my five favorite Spider-Man stories, so I don’t see it as a bad selection. The other three stories were certainly worth reading, and probably belonged in a Top 25, especially at the time. This was before Dan Slott, Brian Michael Bendis, Paul Jenkins, Mark Millar or J. Michael Straczynski were able to show their takes on the character.
If I had done it (circa 1998) it would have included…
10. Spectacular Spider-Man #178-200: JM Dematteis and Sal Buscema’s Harry Osborn Green Goblin saga.
9. Amazing Spider-Man #53-59: Stan Lee and John Romita Sr’s amnesiac Spider-Man VS Doctor Octopus epic.
8. The Death of Jean Dewolfe
7. Spider-Man VS Wolverine
6. Kraven’s Last Hunt
5. Amazing Fantasy #15
4. Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut
3. If This Be My Destiny….
2. The Boy Who Collects Spider-Man
1. The Night Gwen Stacy Died