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The 40 Best Spider-Man Stories.


The Natural
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5 hours ago, The Natural said:

What's the best Spider-Man stories from the ones you've read to date, @twiztor?

tough to say, my mind isn't really processing too many individual stories when i'm doing a big read like this. 

the Death of Gwen Stacy is easily in my top 2 or 3. 

i just read a fun one where Jonah is out to prove he still has reporter chops and goes out, with Spidey tagging behind and saving him along the way. not an all-time great, but stood out to me as being different and fun.

anything with Dr. Octopus has been great. My favorite one, and I forget the story specifically, but Spidey chases Ock to his underwater hideout and is trapped beneath a bunch of rubble and almost gives up, but thinks of the people counting on him and saves the day. a lot of recency bias in this one, but the Owl/Octopus story i mentioned would probably rank up there. Ock is such a compelling villain when he's not being written as generic. The history with Ock/May was great.

ditto with Green Goblin. while he could sometimes get too megalomaniac, anytime they focused on the personal relationship with Peter/Norman/Harry it was a treat. 

the interactions with Cloak and Dagger have been interesting, if not particularly awesome. They play off each other well. 

on the other hand, i groan anytime the Punisher is involved. no interest whatsoever.

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, twiztor said:

tough to say, my mind isn't really processing too many individual stories when i'm doing a big read like this. 

the Death of Gwen Stacy is easily in my top 2 or 3. 

i just read a fun one where Jonah is out to prove he still has reporter chops and goes out, with Spidey tagging behind and saving him along the way. not an all-time great, but stood out to me as being different and fun.

anything with Dr. Octopus has been great. My favorite one, and I forget the story specifically, but Spidey chases Ock to his underwater hideout and is trapped beneath a bunch of rubble and almost gives up, but thinks of the people counting on him and saves the day. a lot of recency bias in this one, but the Owl/Octopus story i mentioned would probably rank up there. Ock is such a compelling villain when he's not being written as generic. The history with Ock/May was great.

ditto with Green Goblin. while he could sometimes get too megalomaniac, anytime they focused on the personal relationship with Peter/Norman/Harry it was a treat. 

the interactions with Cloak and Dagger have been interesting, if not particularly awesome. They play off each other well. 

on the other hand, i groan anytime the Punisher is involved. no interest whatsoever.

Cheers, @twiztor.

The Doctor Octopus story you described is called If This Be My Destiny. It's rightly a famous all time story for introducing Gwen Stacy, Harry Osborn and the iconic lifting scene when Spider-Man was pinned under heavy machinery.

Edited by The Natural
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  • 1 month later...
13 minutes ago, The Natural said:

How you getting on, @twiztor?

great! i'm around ASM #290 now. Once i get to 300 i will do another recap post. ~50 issues (of the main title. 150+ of everything) seems like a reasonable chunk. Plus, the -50s and -00s tend to wrap up storylines and/or kick off new status quos. May have to reevaluate once i get into the 90s and we add ANOTHER title, more one shots/minis, and i'm undecided on reading the Venom series.

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11 minutes ago, twiztor said:

great! i'm around ASM #290 now. Once i get to 300 i will do another recap post. ~50 issues (of the main title. 150+ of everything) seems like a reasonable chunk. Plus, the -50s and -00s tend to wrap up storylines and/or kick off new status quos. May have to reevaluate once i get into the 90s and we add ANOTHER title, more one shots/minis, and i'm undecided on reading the Venom series.

Works out well that. The 90s is a rough decade. I'd say Spidey's worse.

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also, @The Natural, i've been trying to get into Spectacular Spider-Man. I've watched a few episodes now, and it just doesn't click for me. I don't really like the animation (giant soulless eyes especially). So far, the characterizations are boiled down to one-note versions of themselves. Everything just seems too simplistic.

unless it's commonly known that the series starts off slow but gets awesome later, i think i'll stick with the '90s Spidey cartoon.

Also, Harry Osbourne's voice is horrible.

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, twiztor said:

also, @The Natural, i've been trying to get into Spectacular Spider-Man. I've watched a few episodes now, and it just doesn't click for me. I don't really like the animation (giant soulless eyes especially). So far, the characterizations are boiled down to one-note versions of themselves. Everything just seems too simplistic.

unless it's commonly known that the series starts off slow but gets awesome later, i think i'll stick with the '90s Spidey cartoon.

Also, Harry Osbourne's voice is horrible.

Fair enough, @twiztor. The animation is the most divisive thing about The Spectacular Spider-Man. I love the show, to me it's the best Spider-Man cartoon even though I grew up on the 1990s cartoon and it has that sentimental value to it. I do think TSSM picks up from where it started. It's best watched from beginning to end as the story progresses from the first episode to the last. If you just want to see the best only, let me know and I can do that. 

Edited by The Natural
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18 minutes ago, twiztor said:

unless it's commonly known that the series starts off slow but gets awesome later, i think i'll stick with the '90s Spidey cartoon.

It's commonly known that it's awesome from start to finish. TRY HARDER.

Okay but seriously, nothing is for everyone. And I hated the art too, but to me the writing was good enough that I got used to it eventually.

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5 minutes ago, The Natural said:

Fair enough, @twiztor. The animation is the most divisive thing about The Spectacular Spider-Man. I love the show, to me it's the best Spider-Man cartoon even though I grew up on the 1990s cartoon and it has that sentimental value to it. I do think TSSM picks up from where it started. It's best watched from beginning to end as the story progresses from the first episode to the last. If you just want to see the best only, let me know and I can do that. 

i'm an all-or-nothing kind of person (maybe you can tell from my comic reading habits or from my Complete ECW watch obsession), so i'm either going to need to watch all of it or call it quits soon. I will give it a few more eps and see what develops.

2 minutes ago, tbarrie said:

It's commonly known that it's awesome from start to finish. TRY HARDER.

Okay but seriously, nothing is for everyone. And I hated the art too, but to me the writing was good enough that I got used to it eventually.

🤣

artwork = vocal performances = writing. for me, i need to appreciate all three, or like you mentioned, one has to be so good that it makes up for the others. that's not my experience with TSSM yet, but i'll TRY HARDER and give it another shot.

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🙂

Of course, I should point out that I'm a huge Spectacular Spider-Man fanboy, so my recommendation isn't necessarily unbiased. And I've seen some weird criticism of the show on this board, so I can get prickly about it.

And much as I hate to dissuade anybody from watching Spectacular, be aware that if you're a completionist you may be left unsatisfied even if you do warm to it, because they didn't get to finish the story. So in a sense you can't watch all of it.

Edit: How the Hell do I get the board not to turn my classical ASCII emoticon into one of those graphical abominations?

Edited by tbarrie
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Spectacular Spider-Man was generally well written, but the design choice always was a bit of a turn off. 90s is still my favorite as it was my first intro to Spider-Man and it was neat how much connective tissue there was to everything. 

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6 hours ago, tbarrie said:

🙂

Of course, I should point out that I'm a huge Spectacular Spider-Man fanboy, so my recommendation isn't necessarily unbiased. And I've seen some weird criticism of the show on this board, so I can get prickly about it.

And much as I hate to dissuade anybody from watching Spectacular, be aware that if you're a completionist you may be left unsatisfied even if you do warm to it, because they didn't get to finish the story. So in a sense you can't watch all of it.

Edit: How the Hell do I get the board not to turn my classical ASCII emoticon into one of those graphical abominations?

Bob into the Action Cartoons Thread, fellow fanboy of the Spectacular Spider-Man. You'll see me post a lot about the show, that and Batman: The Animated Series naturally. Have to post my awesome Spectacular Spider-Man hoodie.

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Amazing Spider-Man #250-300 (+Spectacular Spider-Man #90-137) (+Web of Spider-Man #1-39)

this set begins my read of Web of Spider-Man, which takes up after Marvel Team-Up was cancelled. I wasn't reading team-up (it seemed like it didn't play into the larger narrative enough and felt like a bunch of standalone stories. that said, i did read a handful where it tied in with what was happening or when a fairly prominent character debuted, like the Beetle). Web is definitely the lesser of the three titles. there's still a fair amount of fill-in stories- i've noticed that Web has the hardest time keeping Spidey's costumes straight. But it's still been decent. It's not as divorced from the main titles as, say, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight or even Shadow of the Bat.

OK, major takeaways. I'm going to have to work backwards here, as there's a TON of things to cover.

First, ASM #300. The full debut of Venom, after two last page teases. I gotta say, i expected more. He's introduced, wreaks havoc, his backstory is explained, and he's taken out, all in one issue. A double sized issue, but still just a single issue. After a multiple years long arc with the Hobgoblin, maybe the writers were just trying to keep things moving, but it all wrapped up too quick and clean for me. They're certainly getting a lot of use out of Spider-Woman II's costume. I hope her creators get their due.  Macfarlane on art really brought a lot to the title, ESPECIALLY the covers. I see a lot of similarities between his and Greg Capullo's art that i never connected before (yes, i know Capullo was on Spawn for a good long time. i don't know why i didn't see it either).

The Marriage. so, Pete and MJ had been playing this flirty game of will-they-won't-they get back together for awhile now, but finally Pete gets his mind set, proposes to Mary Jane, and BAM! they get married in the next month's Annual. what? i know they have a history, i know they had been building the relationship for a while, and i know they'd each expressed their feelings (not so much to each other, but to the readers), but the whole thing just happened in a flash. I'm disappointed that the subsequent issues i read didn't include fan mail, because i'm really curious of the reaction to how quick this all happened. i would certainly expect some fan backlash (what a difference 20 years makes, eh?) The wedding issue itself was well done and i enjoyed it. They've really built up MJ's character the last couple years, from a one-note party girl to who she is now.

Kraven's Last Hunt.  i really liked the premise of this, and the story beats, and the idea. But the actual storytelling was a bit off-putting. I don't know if it was mainly how they'd present the sequence of panels to show what was happening with each of the characters or what, but the way they presented the story just didn't click for me. Once Pete was out of the grave, I felt it got better, since we had a full time narrator. That being said, it's been the story i reflect back on the most, and it makes you think. Definitely stands out in a variety of ways. I can surely see why it holds such a special place to fans.

Gang War. The Kingpin's out of town mysteriously, so all the underbosses and rival gang leaders decide to shoot their wad and lay claim on NYC. This features Spider-Man, Daredevil, and the Punisher shows up for a single issue and then vanishes. I really enjoyed this, but felt like i wasn't getting the whole story.  I didn't see any non-Spidey stories listed on the Reading Order i'm following, but it certainly feels like there's chunks of the story missing.  I haven't double checked the timeline, but i have to assume this matches up with Daredevil's "Born Again" arc by Frank Miller.

Hobgoblin. Hobgoblin has been the best villain in this book in ages, and there's lots going on with him in this read. I think we picked up right after his first arc, and he only gets more violent and crazy since then. He teams up with the Rose and is a sometime ally of Kingpin. Flash Thompson is framed and arrested for being Hobby, but we find out posthumously that it was Ned Leeds, coworker of Pete. funny how that works out. I did like how the former Jack O'Lantern straight up stole the Hobgoblin identity. I'll be honest, i remembered Roderick Kingsley being the Hobgoblin, so the reveal caught me off guard. A rare instance where you know what the future holds so miss out on what's happening in the past. This must happen in the future, or maybe it's just in other media. i guess i'll find out eventually.

Black Cat. Felicia goes through a bunch of changes in this batch. I'm not really a fan of where they've taken her character. She changed costumes into something downright terrible. She gained and then lost her "luck" powers, but now is gaining cat-like abilities? just seems like they don't know what to do with her. They also use her to introduce a new character in The Foreigner, which is every bit as generic as you might imagine. 

Finally, we're back to where we started, with Spider-Man debuting his new black suit (which, again, he copied from Spider-Woman, and even admits as much in Secret Wars), which turns out to be an alien symbiote. Handled really well, i loved Pete being weirded out by the new abilities but accepting them in short order. The way he keeps putting off seeing the F4 to investigate is wonderful. Obviously he narrowly escapes a lifelong symbiotic relationship with the suit. I'm sure that won't come back anytime in the future.....

 

man, some really good stuff in this run. Even if some of the later stuff feels rushed, i still very much enjoyed it. Looking forward to whatever else is coming.

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  • 1 month later...

Amazing Spider-Man #301-350 (and all the associated books):

these last 4ish years have gone by relatively quickly. There seemed to be a lot of short stories, but nothing insanely memorable. A large part of it dealt with Thomas Fireheart, the Puma, taking over the Daily Bugle to try to rehab Spidey's image. There was also a lot of back-and-forth with Spider-Man and Puma as allies and enemies. Actually, that probably sums up this set of stories as good as anything else: a lot of focus on secondary characters. We see Rocket Racer, the Prowler, and Sandman all continue their heroic turn, and all have their moment to shine, either separately, or teamed up with Silver Sable as the Outcasts.

There's another big gang war, with The Lobo Brothers, who are werewolves, out for Kingpin and his second in command, the Arranger. It was fine, but hard to really care about these two brothers from New Mexico or Texas or somewhere. It was neat to see the Arranger take on a larger role and how it effected him (and, ultimately, how it killed him). 

The lowlight, IMO, was Acts of Vengeance. This was a Marvel crossover, where the villains teamed up and switched enemies. Spider-Man didn't have any more trouble than he does against his enemies, so eventually he faced the big dogs (Magneto and Dr. Doom). By that time, Spidey had gained the power of Captain Universe and, again, took them out without too much trouble. I don't know how the rest of this crossover went, but i thought this portion of it was incredibly forgettable.

There was a "Deadly Foes of Spider-Man" miniseries that focused on the villains, particularly the Beetle, and it was pretty decent. We also saw the reformation of the Sinister Six. I liked the Venom stories marginally more than his debut, but they still felt lacking. I didn't expect that when i started this project. Cletus Kassidy debuted as Eddie Brock's cellmate. I'm sure we'll never see him again......

Pete's relationship with MJ is great. It plays a big underlying part of the book without being overbearing. I feel like that'd be a tight rope to walk when dealing with a character who's been unattached for most of his 30 years, but the writers deserve props for that.

this also was the beginning of MacFarlane's "Spider-Man" book. i think i'm through 12 or 15 issues, something like that. The art is pretty, but the writing is, well, what you'd expect from the Spawn scribe.

I've got up through #375 loaded onto my Kindle- i should hit #365 before my 1 yr anniversary of starting this project (10/24), which honestly surprises me. I'll probably slow down for a bit once i hit that milestone. 

 

Edited by twiztor
one more day I MEAN THOUGHT. one more thought!
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popping in to add a couple recent thoughts, particularly as they compare to older ones:

Spectacular #178-#184 "The Child Within"
this is a semi-followup to Kraven's Last Hunt, also by J.M. DeMatteis. It is a psychological assault from multiple fronts, with Vermin reliving his childhood trauma, Harry Osbourne regressing into mental hallucinations and reverting to the villainous Green Goblin, and Spider-Man dealing with some deep-seated trauma. Excellent story, and if you haven't read it, i highly recommend it.

Amazing Spider-Man #361-363 "Carnage"
the introduction to Carnage was done so much better than Venom's first appearance. The character's motivations, the action, the vicousness. This is one of the stories i was looking forward to, and while not an all-time great, i definitely enjoyed it. A pseudo-face turn for Venom, only for Spider-Man to renege on his promise is a really nice touch. looking forward to future developments.

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  • 2 weeks later...

finished up through ASM 375. i don't have any specific stories to call out, but JM DeMatteis is killing it with his run on Spectacular. Pete's parents have shown up. I'm intrigued where this goes. Mary Jane has taken up smoking. I really enjoyed the whole bit with Jason Macendale, the 2nd Hobgoblin, making a deal with a demon during Inferno, and that ending up creating Demogoblin. Also, the appearance of Spider-Man's Doppelganger (from Infinity War) and how he's the only creation that outlived the crossover. I want to see more of Doppelganger, but hope he's more than snarling mindless attacker.

In general, we're seeing a lot more crossovers with other characters (of course, we're a few years removed from "Marvel Team-Up" being replaced by "Web of Spider-Man", so maybe they're just returning to what worked previously. I didn't read most of MTU, so i can't really comment on that part). for example, I didn't realize how often Cloak & Dagger had adventures with Spidey. So many of these secondary (at best) characters are starting to have their own mini-adventures or backup stories (Solo, Prowler, Rocket Racer, Silver Sable. Not to mention the Black Cat and Venom (whose solo adventures start with my next read). But it's very rare to see Spidey cross paths with any of the big names- Iron Man, Thor, Captain America. Interesting.

Spider-Man's supporting cast is massive and the fact that they drift in and out of the stories, always close but not always involved, is excellent. i try not to contrast too much compared to when i read all the Batman books 10ish years ago, but my gods, there is a complete different philosophy on how to handle personal relationships. One: Peter has them, Bruce doesn't. Almost any Batman story could be exchanged with any other Batman story, and not much would change. Gwen Stacy died 20 years ago, publication time, and Spidey still pines for her at times. Bruce hasn't thought about Silver St. Cloud since she stopped appearing in his books in the 80s. Peter agonizes about his best friend, Harry Osbourne, and how he can help him through all of his mental and personal issues. Bruce pays lip service to helping his "friend" Harvey Dent, but just ends up locking him back up in Arkham again. 

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