By Ben Morse
A "Brand New Day" kicked off for Peter Parker this week in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #546, as writer Dan Slott and artist Steve McNiven began Spider-Man's revitalized thrice-monthly adventures with a bang.
However, while tomorrow looks bright, there's no time like the present to remember the past.
We gathered a bevy of Spidey alumni, creative and editorial, to share their favorite stories from the Webhead's illustrious first 40+ years.
It's Friday, so kick back, relax and enjoy.
MARK WAID (writer of SPIDER-MAN: HOUSE OF M):
My favorite Spidey story? Easy. "The Sinister Six!" from AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #1, 1964. Not only does it have all of Spidey's fiercest foes teamed together, a comic book
first in and of itself—the most Superman ever fought at once was three, and they were all either fat and/or bald—not only does it have J. Jonah Jameson—my favorite Marvel character—at his Jonahest, but it has those six gorgeous full-page Steve Ditko panels, one for every villain Spidey trounces.
AXEL ALONSO (Marvel Executive Editor, former Spider-Man editor):
My personal favorite Spider-Man story would have to be AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #113-#115, by Gerry Conway and John Romita. It's one of the first complete comic arcs that I read as a kid, and it blew me away.
There's a gang war between Doc Ock and Hammerhead, with Spidey caught in the crossfire. To make matters worse, Otto puts the moves on Aunt May. This comes back to haunt Peter in issue[s] #130-#131, when Aunt May and Doc Ock are about to get married [and] Hammerhead crashes the wedding.
The story had everything: Super heroes, family drama, and gangster —and I was really into gangsters. Back in those days, you got to the five and dime the same day that week's comics arrived, or you went home empty-handed. I traded, like, six issues of Batman with a friend, for his dog-eared copy of "My Uncle, My Enemy," and I still don't regret it.
KAARE ANDREWS (writer and artist of SPIDER-MAN: REIGN):
I don't know if I really have a favorite Spider-Man story per say...but my favorite Spider-Man moment is pretty easy to pick. Spider-Man infected with the alien symbiote in the bell tower [in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #1]. The hard part is figuring out why that is my favorite moment. I'm not a religious person. It didn't happen during my favorite runs of the title—[Stan] Lee/Ditko, Lee/[John] Romita, [David] Michelinie/[Todd] McFarlane. He wasn't wearing my favorite red and blue costume. But that moment has stuck with me for a long time. And I specifically used it in my own SPIDER-MAN: REIGN mini-series. It was a great moment. Better not knowing why. Like why men have nipples.
RALPH MACCHIO (Marvel Executive Editor, former Spider-Man editor):
I have to say, it's really difficult picking a favorite Spidey story. If I had to choose, I guess I'd pick "The Man in the Crime Master's Mask" [from AMAZING SPIDER-MAN v1 #26] because I always loved Spidey's interaction with the criminal underworld in the Marvel Universe even more than his fights with super villains. And this one, in particular, written by Stan and drawn by Ditko was top notch in every way. And I still recall how shocked I was when he was unmasked and it was—ahh, that would be telling. Go back and read the story. You'll love it!
DAVID LAPHAM (writer of SPIDER-MAN: GREAT RESPONSIBILITY):
As soon as this question was posed to me the first Spidey comic that popped into my head was AIM TOOTHPASTE: SPIDER-MAN VS GREEN GOBLIN. Huh? Whazzaheckisthat, you say? Well, this was a special give-a-way comic I remember getting in the supermarket when I was . This was in the days before cramped, filthy, dust
covered comic book stores came around my neighborhood like the light of heaven and you were lucky to get any two issues in a row at 7-11 to find out what happened after that closing cliffhanger—ahhh...the frustration. This one, not only was free
, it was self contained!
It was the coolest, greatest comic ever. It was, like 800 pages and the art was the greatest ever and the Green Goblin looked so cool and he flew around on his glider and had all these death gadgets and the story was soooo
suspenseful and I thought Spider-Man was going to die about five times, and there was probably some toothpaste that came along with it, but I don't remember that. I still have that comic, in the garage, in a comic box, under [150,000] pounds of other junk, so I refuse to go dig it out right now and confirm what a true piece of genius this comic was, so you'll all just have to take my [28-years]-aged-Alzheimer's-encrusted-memory-informed word on it.
J.M. DEMATTEIS (former writer of SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN):
[AMAZING SPIDER-MAN v1 #39-40]—what I remember most vividly is the cover [of #39]: the
Green Goblin gliding through the sky with a bound and defeated Peter Parker—his Spider-Man costume visible beneath his street clothes—in tow. To my 12-year old eyes—conditioned as they were to the neat and tidy DC comics of the day—this was mesmerizing. A villain who'd actually unmasked the hero! A hero so utterly helpless!
As with all great comic book covers, this one fired my imagination. I didn't even have to read the story: that one picture alone suggested dozens of wonderful tales. When I finally did
read it, along with its conclusion the following month, the story exceeded all the expectations of my young imagination. The writing, the art...even the sound effects...were wildly different from what I was used to in the pages of Superman, Batman and the Justice League. I think it's impossible for a young reader of today to conceive of just how different the Marvels of the sixties were from everything that had come before.
Even now, all these years later, when I look back at Spidey's desperate fight to the finish with the Goblin, I can feel that 12-year
old coming alive inside me. He's there, right now, standing, wide-eyed, before the comics rack in a Brooklyn candy store. And he can't take his eyes off that cover.
TODD NAUCK (former artist of FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN):
One of my favorite Spider-man stories is " The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man" by [writer] Roger Stern in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #248. Spidey comes to visit a young fan who is dying of leukemia. It was a touching story and a great way of retelling Spidey's origin. I read this story when I was a teen who mostly read comics for big fight scenes. But this issue was able to push through all the flash and move me. Great story!
PETER DAVID (former writer of SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN, FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN):
It always has been, and remains [AMAZING SPIDER-MAN v1 #33], the conclusion to the Master Planner story. Talk about your quintessential "save Aunt May" story. All the metaphysical angst of deals with Mephisto [pales] in comparison to the pure human drama of a trapped Spider-Man giving himself a running pep talk as he strives to shove the imprisoning ton of
machinery off himself. The greatest combination of visuals and words in any Spidey story, ever.
GERRY CONWAY (former writer of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN):
My all-time favorite Spider-Man story is actually a sequence of stories, the Master Planner series. For me, this is where the whole anguished, misunderstood hero trying to do the right thing against impossible odds, finally came together in one epic, iconic story.
The climactic scene in which Spider-Man triumphs, not against a villain, but against his own despair—lifting a ton of metal and throwing it off, like Atlas heaving the world from his shoulders—the greatest single moment of heroism in the entire history of our favorite neighborhood wall-crawler.
TOM BREVOORT (Marvel Executive Editor):
I've got three Spider-Man stories I can point to, although there are many more I love.
The first is the acknowledged classic, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #31-33, the one in which Aunt May is dying because of a blood transfusion she got of Pete's radioactive blood, and Spidey needs to retrieve a healing serum that was stolen by Doctor Octopus. This is the classic tale in which Spidey lifts the big machine off his back
over five pages, and is virtually the climax of the Stan Lee/Steve Ditko original run on the character. If [AMAZING SPIDER-MAN] #33 had been the last issue of the series, it still would have been a satisfying run.
Then there's AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #87, from deep in the heart of the Stan/John Romita days. This is the story in which Pete comes down with the flu, thinks he's losing his powers, then goes to his entire supporting cast and reveals to them that he's Spider-Man. When the dope finally realizes he's just sick, he needs to rope in the Prowler to dress up as Spider-Man and act out a little scene with him to throw his friends and family off the trail. It's a ridiculous story on the face of it, but the humanity of the character really comes through. It's also got the classic sequence were Spidey, dopey from his illness, comes within an inch of breaking into a jewelry store to steal a birthday present for Gwen Stacy before he comes to his senses.
Lastly, there's just no topping SUPERMAN VS THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN when it comes to inter-company crossovers. There have been others that may have been technically better, but no other one will ever be the first. This was like a magical book that escaped from some other universe, so unlikely did it seem in 1976 that the main characters from rival publishers DC and Marvel could or would ever meet. And it was produced at a time when there was a real difference between the DC flavor and the Marvel flavor, and the story nevertheless finds a way to mix them both, feeling simultaneously like a Superman tale and a Spidey saga. It helped that the creative team of Gerry Conway and Ross Andru had worked on both titles before this.
To read the first 100 issues of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and much more, visit Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited