The Amazing Spider-Man was created in 1962 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Its release launched the “Marvel Age” of comics, along with the X-Men and Fantastic Four. As a result, Peter Parker has become one of the most beloved superheroes in comics, but he didn’t earn that title alone.
In his 60 years of publication, the character of Peter Parker/Spider-Man has been crafted by some of the best comic book writers and artists in the business. Lee and Ditko may have created the character, but future comic runs by people like Gerry Conway, Roger Stern, and Dan Slott expanded the Spidey lore and took the character to new heights.
10/10 Stan Lee & Steve Ditko Created Spider-Man
Amazing Spider-Man #1-38
No Spidey fan’s must-read list would be complete without the comic run that started it all. Stan Lee and Steve Ditko worked on Amazing Spider-Man for the first 38 issues before Ditko left the book. During that time, they crafted one of the best characters in comic book history. They also created some of the greatest villains in comics, including Doctor Octopus, Lizard, and Green Goblin.
Spider-Man’s heroic origin is memorable and impactful, and his mission and motives are clear. The character would grow beyond what Lee and Ditko originally created, but his evolution was only possible because of the incredible foundation of their initial run.
9/10 Stan Lee & John Romita Sr. Expanded Spider-Man’s Social World
Amazing Spider-Man #39-58
Comic books seamlessly combine words and art into one medium. The art is just as important as the words on the page, and the artist is just as important as the writer. John Romita Sr. proved this when he joined Amazing Spider-Man after Ditko left.
Romita Sr. drew romance comics and brought a lot of those elements to Spidey’s mythos. He and Lee fleshed out characters like Gwen Stacy and Harry Osborn, and also introduced Mary Jane Watson. The two crafted beloved stories like “Goblin Unmasked” and “Spider-Man: No More.” Romita Sr. brought warmth and relatability during his run from issues #39-58, including the scattered issues of his that followed.
8/10 Gerry Conway Shook Things Up In Amazing Spider-Man
Amazing Spider-Man #111-149
Gerry Conway wrote Amazing Spider-Man from issues #111-149. His run is legendary due to the exciting narrative choices he made, which impacted Spider-Man for decades to come. Conway wrote “Turning Point,” which depicted the deaths of both Gwen Stacy and Norman Osborn.
Years later, Conway introduced the Jackal, a villain who’d torment Peter Parker’s life many times. The Jackal created clones of Gwen and Peter in what’s now called, “The Original Clone Saga.” The seeds of the 90s Clone Saga and Peter and MJ’s relationship were planted during Conway’s run, and it’s a chapter every fan should read to understand all of Spidey’s history.
7/10 Roger Stern Crafted Intelligent, Exciting Spider-Man Stories
Amazing Spider-Man #229-252
Roger Stern wrote a few odd issues of Amazing Spider-Man before starting his first official run on the book from issues #229-252. During his run, Stern worked with legendary artists like John Romita Jr. and Ron Frenz, crafting memorable Spider-Man stories like the thrilling, “Nothing Can Stop The Juggernaut” and the emotional, “The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man.”
In the world of Spider-Man, Stern is perhaps best known for co-creating the Hobgoblin. The Hobgoblin’s backstory – in-universe and in real-world publication – is one of the most interesting aspects of the character. As a result, Hobgoblin quickly became a deadly foe and a hit villain.
6/10 David Michelinie & Todd McFarlane Created Venom
Amazing Spider-Man #296-352, #359-388
David Michelinie wrote Amazing Spider-Man for two spectacular runs. During his first run (issues #296-352), Michelinie worked with Todd McFarlane, who brought an energetic new art style to the medium. They created Venom, who debuted in the centennial issue #300, which is considered one of the best Spider-Man comics of all time.
During his second ASM run (issues #359-388), Michelinie worked with Erik Larson and Mark Bagley: two more legendary comic artists. Michelinie co-created Carnage and wrote the return of Peter’s parents in a somewhat controversial arc. However, it led directly into the ’90s Clone Saga. Venom and Carnage have become integral parts of Spidey’s mythos, and Michelinie’s runs provided their origins and some of their best stories.
5/10 J.M. DeMatteis Tackled Many Elements Of Spidey’s Mythos
Spectacular Spider-Man #178-203
J.M. DeMatteis provided some of the best Spider-Man stories ever told. He wrote stories like “Kraven’s Last Hunt,” which is a dark, mature story where Kraven met his tragic end. He also wrote The Lost Years, which is a miniseries that explored Ben Reilly’s journey after he discovered he was a clone. Another example is the Amazing Spider-Man #400, which is an emotional centennial issue that saw the death of Aunt May.
Beyond those incredible works, DeMatteis also wrote Spectacular Spider-Man from issues #178-203. In these issues, Peter battled the Puma and Carnage in the massive “Maximum Carnage” crossover. He also battled Harry Osborn, who was the new Green Goblin, in the memorable Spectacular Spider-Man #200 – an issue that concluded with Harry’s redemptive death.
4/10 Brian Michael Bendis & Mark Bagley Rebooted The Spidey Franchise
Ultimate Spider-Man Vol. 1 #1-111
In 2000, Marvel introduced the “Ultimate Universe.” In this alternate reality, classic Marvel characters and mythos were reset with new, unknown futures, while the main Marvel comic continuity continued. Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley teamed up to write and illustrate Ultimate Spider-Man.
The series introduced new versions of characters like Mary Jane, Norman Osborn, Aunt May, and of course, Peter Parker. Bagley had worked on the Amazing Spider-Man title during the 90s, but his time on Ultimate was unprecedented. The artist illustrated 111 straight issues, contributing heavily to Ultimate Spider-Man‘s critical acclaim.
3/10 J. Michael Straczynski Crafted A Memorable Spidey Run
Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1 #500-545 & Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2 #30-58
J. Michael Straczynski’s Amazing Spider-Man comic run was a bit of a controversial one. On the one hand, Straczynski crafted one of the best Spider-Man stories with “Coming Home.” The arc featured Peter’s first brutal battle with Morlun and Aunt May’s discovery of Peter’s alter-ego, which was all beautifully rendered by John Romita Jr.
On the other hand, Straczynski wrote stories like “Sins Past” and contributed to stories like “One More Day,” which are considered some of the most controversial Spidey stories. “Sins Past” introduced a love affair between Gwen and Norman, while “One More Day” saw Mephisto erase Peter and MJ’s marriage. Despite harsh opinions on specific arcs, the overall run featured some of the greatest emotional and impactful scenes between Peter and his supporting cast.
2/10 Dan Slott Created Many Epic Spidey Stories
Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1 #546-700, #789-801, Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 3 #1-20.1 & Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 4 #1-32
Dan Slott is undeniably one of the best Spider-Man comic book writers of all time. His vast library of work speaks for itself. Slott has written well over 100 issues of Amazing Spider-Man, excluding miniseries, limited series, and his time on Superior. During his run, Slott crafted nearly a dozen grand-scale Spider-Man comic epics.
“Dying Wish” provided an emotional beginning to Otto’s journey as Spidey; “Spider-Island” gave all of Manhattan spider powers; “Worldwide” took Spidey and Parker Industries all around the globe, and “Spider-Verse” saw the introduction of dozens of new versions of Spider-People like Spider-Gwen. In terms of must-read Spidey runs, Slott’s is one of the longest and greatest.
1/10 Dan Slott Introduced The Superior Spider-Man
Superior Spider-Man Vol. 1 #1-33
Dan Slott took a break from writing the Amazing Spider-Man to write the Superior Spider-Man. After the events of “Dying Wish,” Doctor Octopus switched bodies with Peter Parker. The narrative decision was unique, concerning, and extremely exciting. For several years, Marvel kept Otto in Spider-Man’s shoes.
Otto Octavius became more of an anti-hero, but he was heroic nonetheless. Thanks to his relationship with Anna Maria Marconi, and the lessons of power and responsibility passed on from Peter, Otto truly attempted to be a superior hero. The Superior Spider-Man era was a thrilling chapter in Spider-Man’s history that won’t be soon forgotten.
Next: 10 Most Underrated Spider-Man Battles