Best Spider-Man Stories By Decade

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This was something I did for a message board a while back. The challenge was to list the best Spider-Man stories by decade. It’s obviously very subjective, although it was a useful exercise in considering what made the character tic, and in getting a variety of approaches to the character.

1960s…
1. The Master Planner Saga- Amazing Spider-Man #31-33
2. Spider-Man- Amazing Fantasy #15
3. Disaster- Amazing Spider-Man #53-59
4. Spider-Man No More!- Amazing Spider-Man #50-52
5. Madness Is All In The Mind- Amazing Spider-Man #24
6. Spider-Man and the Green Goblin-Both Unmasked- Amazing Spider-Man #39-40
7. Horns of the Rhino- Amazing Spider-Man #41-43
8. The End of Spider-Man- Amazing Spider-Man #17-19
9. The Sinister Six- Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1
10 (Tie). Bring Back My Goblin To Me (Amazing Spider-Man #26-27) and The Goblin Lives! (Spectacular Spider-Man Magazine #2)

The 60s marked the one decade dominated by one writer, Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee. I have heard arguments for counting the Lee/ Ditko collaborations as a separate writer due to Ditko’s contributions to the plots, which would give the decade a 50/50 split.

1970s…
1. The Night Gwen Stacy Died (Amazing Spider-Man #121-122)
2. Return of the Burglar (Amazing Spider-Man #193-200)
3. Enter…Morbius (Amazing Spider-Man #100-102)
4. The Punisher (Amazing Spider-Man #129)
5. The Longest Hundred Yards (Amazing Spider-Man #153)
6. Spider-Man…Murderer (Amazing Spider-Man #89-90)
7. A Matter of Love…and Death (Marvel Team-Up #59-60)
8. And Then Came Electro (Amazing Spider-Man #82)
9. The Green Goblin Lives Again! (Amazing Spider-Man #136-137)
10. At Kraven’s Command (Marvel Team-Up #67)

In contrast to other decades, it took me a long time to come up with ten worthy stories for the 70s, although it was interesting how much of what we’d think of as 1960s or 1980s Spider-Man came from these years, with the end of Stan Lee’s Spider-Man, and Chris Claremont/ John Byrne’s Marvel Team-Up.

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1980s…
1. The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man (Amazing Spider-Man #248)
2. Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut (Amazing Spider-Man #229-230)
3. Kraven’s Last Hunt
4. Spider-Man VS Wolverine
5. The Death of Jean Dewolfe (Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #107-110)
6. The Hobgoblin Saga (Amazing Spider-Man #238-239, 244-245, 247-251)
7. Venom (Amazing Spider-Man #300)
8. The Owl-Octopus War (Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #72-79)
9. The Commuter (Amazing Spider-Man #267)
10. Hyde…In Plain Sight (Amazing Spider-Man #231-232)

Honorable mentions are too many to name. Tom Defalco would likely have made the top ten in any other decade with the Alien Costume saga, and the return of Crusher Hogan.

1990s…
1. Best Enemies (Spectacular Spider-Man #178-200)
2. The Gift (Amazing Spider-Man #400)
3. Amazing Fantasy #16-18
4. Arachnomorphosis (What If? #89)
5. Torment (Spider-Man #1-5)
6. Spidey Battles Hawkeye the Marksman (Untold Tales of Spider-Man #17)
7. Revelations Part 4 (Spider-Man #75)
8. Spider-Man/ Spider-Man 2099
10. Ye Gods (Spider-Man 2099 #17)

 

Even compared to the 70s, it was tough to come up with enough good stories for this decade. Though I guess I could have split the Harry Osborn saga into multiple stories. This was probably the decade with my most unconventional choices (Todd McFarlane’s writing debut, and a really obscure dark What If? issue in the top five.)

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2000s….
1. Learning Curve (Ultimate Spider-Man #8-13)
2. Down Among the Dead Men (Marvel Knights Spider-Man #1-12)
3. One Small Break (Peter Parker Spider-Man #30-32)
4. Spider-Man Blue
5. Unscheduled Stop (Amazing Spider-Man #578-579)
6. Spider-Man/ Human Torch: I’m With Stupid
7. Coming Home (Amazing Spider-Man Volume 2 #30-35, 37, 38)
8. Field of Dream (Peter Parker Spider-Man #27-28)
9. The Ultimate Clone Saga (Ultimate Spider-Man #97-105)
10. Behind the Mustache (Tangled Web #20)

This ended up being another really good decade for the Spider-Man comics.

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2010s….
1. Superior Spider-Man #1-10
2. Matters of Life & Death (Amazing Spider-Man #655-656)
3. Shed (Amazing Spider-Man #630-633))
4. Gauntlet: The Rhino (Amazing Spider-Man #617, 625)
5. Spider Island (Amazing Spider-Man #666-673/ Venom #6-9)
6. Superior Foes of Spider-Man Volume 1
7. Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #1-5
8. Death of Spider-Man (Ultimate Spider-Man #156-160)
9. Dying Wish (Amazing Spider-Man #698-700)
10. Spider-Gwen (Edge of Spider-Verse #2)

I’ve decided to chunk the first ten issues of Superior Spider-Man as one story since there is a beginning, middle and end (even if it functions well as part of a larger story.) The decade’s not over yet, but this marks a respectable showing (although for this decade, I’ve read almost every comic, while it’s possible that there are some obscure 1970s and 1990s comics that are quite good, but I’ve never managed to read.)

 

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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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