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The 40 Best Spider-Man Stories.


The Natural
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I made a topic to mark Batman's 80th Anniversary by doing a countdown of the top forty Batman stories. I wanted to do the same for Spider-Man, he's my second favourite superhero of all time behind The Dark Knight. Been working on both projects for years. Be interesting to see what you think about my Spider-Man selections, placements, omissions and what’s yours. I hope you enjoy it:

Spoiler

40. Venom. The Amazing Spider-Man #300

39. Amazing Fantasy/No More. Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #301-305.

38. The Arms of Doctor Octopus! Doc Ock Lives! And Death Shall Come! The Amazing Spider-Man #88-90.

37. The Commuter Cometh! The Amazing Spider-Man #267.

36. Best of Enemies! The Spectacular Spider-Man #200.

35. The Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1): Renew Your Vows. The Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1): Renew Your Vows #1-5.

34. Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut. The Amazing Spider-Man #229-230.

33. The Morning After. The Amazing Spider-Man #400. 

32. The Gift. The Amazing Spider-Man #400.

31. Sins Rising/The Return of Norman Osborn. The Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 5) #45-49.

30. With Great Power Comes Great Coincidence. Deadpool (Vol. 1) #11.

29. Spider-Men. Spider-Men #1-5.

28. Dying Wish. The Amazing Spider-Man #698-700.

27. Spider-Man vs. the Chameleon. The Amazing Spider-Man #1.

26. Spider-Man. The Amazing Spider-Man #1.

25. Unscheduled Stop. The Amazing Spider-Man #578-579.

24. Death of Spider-Man, Ultimate Spider-Man #156-160.

23. No One Dies. The Amazing Spider-Man #655-656.

22. Revenge of the Spider-Slayer. The Amazing Spider-Man #652-654.

21. Superior Spider-Man and the Future Foundation. Avenging Spider-Man #17.

20. A Night Off. Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man (2019) #14.

19. Doomed Affairs. The Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #49-50.

18. Back to Basics. The Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 5) #1-5.

17. Gwen Stacy: Spider-Woman. Edge of Spider-Verse #2.

16. My Dinner with Jonah. Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #6.

15. Superior Spider-Man/Wolverine and the X-Men, Avenging Spider-Man #16.

14. Doctor Octopus is Dead. Avenging Spider-Man #15.1.

13. Big Time. The Amazing Spider-Man #648-651.

12. If This Be My Destiny. The Amazing Spider-Man #31-33.

11. Spider-Man: Blue. Spider-Man: Blue #1-6.

10. The Superior Foes of Spider-Man. The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #1-17.

9. Kraven’s Last Hunt. Web of Spider-Man #31. The Amazing Spider-Man #293. Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #131. Web of Spider-Man #32. The Amazing Spider-Man #294 and Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #132.

8. The Conversation. The Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #38.

7. Coming Home. The Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #30-35.

6. Confessions. Ultimate Spider-Man #13.

5. Finale. Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #310.

4. The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man. The Amazing Spider-Man #248.

3. How Green Was My Goblin/The End of the Green Goblin. The Amazing Spider-Man #39-40.

2. The Night Gwen Stacy Died/The Goblin’s Last Stand. The Amazing Spider-Man #121-122.

1. Spider-Man! Amazing Fantasy #15.

 

Edited by The Natural
Slight tweaks to the countdown.
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By writer:

Spoiler

Stan Lee: 7.

Dan Slott: 5.

John Mark DeMatteis: 4.

Chip Zdarsky: 3.

Brian Michael Bendis: 3.

Joseph Michael Straczynski: 3.

Nick Spencer: 3.

Christopher Yost: 3.

Roger Stern: 2.

Gerry Conway: 1.

Jeph Loeb: 1.

Jason Latour: 1.

Tom Taylor: 1.

Mark Waid: 1.

Joe Kelly: 1.

Peter A David: 1.

David Micheline: 1.

 

Edited by The Natural
To match the OP update.
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11 minutes ago, paintedbynumbers said:

Not a bad list and I may actually go back and re-read some of these/hunt down any I don't have.

 

I did notice the big omission of Maximum Carnage.  Were you not a fan of the story? It was one of my first/biggest introductions to Spiderman. 

Thank you, @paintedbynumbers. Maximum Carnage is one of the few big Spider-Man stories I've yet to read. I need to. I only recently crossed Spider-Man: Blue off.

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I haven't read Spider-Man past the early 1990s. The Death of Jean DeWolff seems like the biggest omission. Maybe the iconic Spider Man No More as well. My top three would be If This Be My Destiny, How Green Was My Goblin and The Night Gwen Stacey Died. 

Edited by ohtani's jacket
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Uncanny X-Men 191-192 are criminally underrated as a defining Spidey story. I mean the whole basis for the story are Kulan Gath getting revenge on Spider-Man for previous battles in Marvel Team-Up and Marvel Fanfare. Hell Spidey is trying to gind a way to fight back despite being brutally tortured.

James

 

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17 hours ago, ohtani's jacket said:

I haven't read Spider-Man past the early 1990s. The Death of Jean DeWolff seems like the biggest omission. Maybe the iconic Spider Man No More as well. My top three would be If This Be My Destiny, How Green Was My Goblin and The Night Gwen Stacey Died. 

I like The Death of Jean DeWolff but I don't hold it in the high regard the majority do. I find Peter A. David overrated. I do need to read Spider-Man No More again and see whether I get more out of it than my initial reading. Cool we've two of the top three in How Green Was My Goblin and The Night Gwen Stacy Died.

14 hours ago, J.H. said:

Uncanny X-Men 191-192 are criminally underrated as a defining Spidey story. I mean the whole basis for the story are Kulan Gath getting revenge on Spider-Man for previous battles in Marvel Team-Up and Marvel Fanfare. Hell Spidey is trying to gind a way to fight back despite being brutally tortured.

James

 

Thanks for bringing it up. Not heard of that one before.

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9 hours ago, Brian Fowler said:

I think Kraven's Last Hunt isn't just my favorite Spider-Man story, but quite likely my favorite Marvel story, period. Give me that, The Master Planner arc, and Ultimate #13

Liking those picks, @Brian Fowler. You and I have waved the flag for Ultimate Spider-Man #13 for years. A terrific issue. Still Brian Michael Bendis' best comic.

Edited by The Natural
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On 11/14/2020 at 12:22 PM, The Natural said:

I like The Death of Jean DeWolff but I don't hold it in the high regard the majority do. I find Peter A. David overrated. I do need to read Spider-Man No More again and see whether I get more out of it than my initial reading. Cool we've two of the top three in How Green Was My Goblin and The Night Gwen Stacy Died.

Thanks for bringing it up. Not heard of that one before.

The only strike against it is that you pretty much read every Claremont Spidey story that happened in Marvel Fanfare and Marvel Team-Up to understand why Kulan Gath is torturing Spidey. Of course there is a totally bonkers Claremont penned Spidey/Red Sonja team-up

James

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J. M. DeMatteis has been talking about Kraven's Last Hunt on Twitter during the past few days. I actually went back and read his run on Spectacular Spider-Man, and he gets heavily into the psychology of the characters. It's a bit angst ridden, but it makes more sense to me now why Peter was so edgy in the 200th issue. I swear he makes one joke during DeMatteis' run. Loved the art, especially those wordless pages. There's a great Vulture story in the run that's almost as good as the Goblin stuff. 

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Only Spider-Man I have read is a couple of random clone era issues, Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut, Dan Slott's run up to Superior, and up to vol. 7 of Spencer's current run. Really should read more at some point. Kraven's Last Hunt has always interested me.

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On 12/4/2020 at 9:11 AM, Eivion said:

Only Spider-Man I have read is a couple of random clone era issues, Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut, Dan Slott's run up to Superior, and up to vol. 7 of Spencer's current run. Really should read more at some point. Kraven's Last Hunt has always interested me.

Don't read Dan Slott post Superior Spider-Man. That was the time to go but he stayed too long and he's tainted his time on Spider-Man. The Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 3) was terrible as was The Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 4). Horrible. I should have dropped it from my pull list sooner. Please seek my top five out.

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  • 2 months later...

Chuffed you're having a grand time reading The Amazing Spider-Man, @twiztor having just finished The Night Gwen Stacy Died. I'm shit at maths but by my count you've read five of my top 40 and better still, my #1 through 3.

Edited by The Natural
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  • 3 months later...
31 minutes ago, The Natural said:

How you getting on reading The Amazing Spider-Man, @twiztor

it's going pretty well. i'm up to around ASM #210 and PPSM #50. I meant to make a post after hitting ASM200, but never did.  thanks for asking!

Pete graduating college and becoming a TA came quicker than i expected. i know he stays in school to further his degree, but a big complaint is always that Pete can never grow. Seeing his college career progress shows that's not the case (yet). Pete proposing to MJ, only for her to reject him and move on with her life (!) is not something i expected at all but makes sense for the characters. 

the stories have been very solid, but nothing amazing (no pun intended). i double checked your list and see that you don't have anything since my last update included, so i guess we're on the same page. Marv Wolfman, Roger Stern, and Denny O'Neil are all excellent writers and have been the highlights lately.

Notable characters introduced since the last update: The Jackal (via the original Clone Saga), Carrion, Human Fly (who also was in a Spidey hostess ad and looks a lot like the MLJ hero), Black Cat.  i hope Carrion shows up again, he looked interesting and really came across as a threat. Black Cat obviously will show up plenty and has potential.

Looking forward to the Hobgoblin's emergence (no idea how soon this happens) and the black costume around #250.

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13 hours ago, The Natural said:

How you getting on reading The Amazing Spider-Man, @twiztor? Have you read any more Spidey, @Eivion?

Not until this week. I'm in the middle of the eighth volume of Spencer's run.

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  • 5 weeks later...

sorry to hijack your Spider thread, Natural, but i figure this is the best place to post updates on my Spidey read.

ASM #211-251 / PPSSM #51-89 / Secret Wars

the first half of this chunk was pretty by-the-numbers stuff. lots of "one and done" "villain of the week" stories that didn't really do much to progress the story. Not that it was bad or anything, but just felt very much like more of the same, but without the charm.  That all changed in early '83. Over in Spectacular, Bill Mantlo came on as writer and really delivered big time. There was a fantastic multi-arc of the Owl battling the Kingpin for control of the crime in NYC. This also heavily featured the Black Cat, and the story was just compelling as all get out. It lasted for 8 issues or so, but the repercussions (Black Cat was shot! Pete confesses his love to her!) were felt for some time. We are now solidly in the "Black Cat loves Spider-Man, but not Peter" phase. He's revealed his secret identity, and she's not having it.

In Amazing, around the same time or slightly before, Roger Stern became the writer and John Romita Jr. was just killing it on art. Stern played up some Brand Corporation stuff which, while not fantastic, was definitely a step up from what was happening before. He also introduces the Hobgoblin, who is a major threat for a good chunk of time before being eliminated right at #250 (funny how that works!). I really like everything happening with the Hobgoblin. His ID hasn't been revealed yet. Really great stuff. In both books we get a lot of Peter Parker's life and friends. Pete quits his TA job and then quits grad school. i gotta say, i didn't see that coming.  MJ's back, leading to awkwardness when all of their friends try to set up Peter and MJ. 

Secret Wars introduces the new black costume. i'm sure that is a minor development and will in no way play out in the future.

notable stories:

The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man (ASM #248, Roger Stern & JRJR)). it has a well deserved place on Natural's list in the first post. I dunno about #4, but it is damn good. It's only a half issue, but it packs a lot of emotion in.

Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut! (ASM #229-230, Roger Stern & JRJR). very good story but didn't stick out to me as an all time great, likely due to me reading through these books like a bulldozer. but it was fun and showed off the characters of both Spidey and Cain pretty well. Madame Web too, but she doesn't really add much to Spidey's world IMO.

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2 hours ago, twiztor said:

sorry to hijack your Spider thread, Natural, but i figure this is the best place to post updates on my Spidey read.

ASM #211-251 / PPSSM #51-89 / Secret Wars

the first half of this chunk was pretty by-the-numbers stuff. lots of "one and done" "villain of the week" stories that didn't really do much to progress the story. Not that it was bad or anything, but just felt very much like more of the same, but without the charm.  That all changed in early '83. Over in Spectacular, Bill Mantlo came on as writer and really delivered big time. There was a fantastic multi-arc of the Owl battling the Kingpin for control of the crime in NYC. This also heavily featured the Black Cat, and the story was just compelling as all get out. It lasted for 8 issues or so, but the repercussions (Black Cat was shot! Pete confesses his love to her!) were felt for some time. We are now solidly in the "Black Cat loves Spider-Man, but not Peter" phase. He's revealed his secret identity, and she's not having it.

In Amazing, around the same time or slightly before, Roger Stern became the writer and John Romita Jr. was just killing it on art. Stern played up some Brand Corporation stuff which, while not fantastic, was definitely a step up from what was happening before. He also introduces the Hobgoblin, who is a major threat for a good chunk of time before being eliminated right at #250 (funny how that works!). I really like everything happening with the Hobgoblin. His ID hasn't been revealed yet. Really great stuff. In both books we get a lot of Peter Parker's life and friends. Pete quits his TA job and then quits grad school. i gotta say, i didn't see that coming.  MJ's back, leading to awkwardness when all of their friends try to set up Peter and MJ. 

Secret Wars introduces the new black costume. i'm sure that is a minor development and will in no way play out in the future.

notable stories:

The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man (ASM #248, Roger Stern & JRJR)). it has a well deserved place on Natural's list in the first post. I dunno about #4, but it is damn good. It's only a half issue, but it packs a lot of emotion in.

Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut! (ASM #229-230, Roger Stern & JRJR). very good story but didn't stick out to me as an all time great, likely due to me reading through these books like a bulldozer. but it was fun and showed off the characters of both Spidey and Cain pretty well. Madame Web too, but she doesn't really add much to Spidey's world IMO.

No need to say sorry, friend. It's cool getting opinions on my list. You've covered Spider-Man blind spots I need to rectify, need to read more of Roger Stern, the Owl-Octopus and Secret Wars.

I was pleasantly surprised to find TASM #248 at a comic con I went to last year just before the first national lockdown. I had to buy it for The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man. Such a moving story.

I agree with you on Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut. I liked it a little bit more second time round but we don't rate it as high as the majority do. I think the best Spider-Man against the odds fight is vs. Morlun in TASM: Coming Home.

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