There’s been a lot of Spider-Man lately. Every week, we hear about a new movie, TV show, or game with our favorite wall-crawler. The many Spider-Man comics planned for 2020 and beyond aren’t even taking into account all of them.
To show how much we love the wonderful wall-crawler, we’re looking back at his 25 best comic book stories. It’s not easy to do, though, because there’s been almost 60 years of comic book history to go through. You should know, though, that if you haven’t read these stories, there are spoilers here. Most of the spoilers on this page are decades old, but you never know what will happen. There are only stories that focus on Peter Parker, not other characters like Miles Morales or Spider-Gwen. To keep things simple, we’re only including stories about Peter Parker on the list.
Take a look at the slideshow gallery below or scroll down to see which Spider-Man comics every fan should read.
The Top Best Spider-Man Comics
The Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 3 #9-15 (2014-2015) | By Dan Slott, Olivier Coipel & Giuseppe Camuncoli
They don’t get better than this. Spider-Verse pits our hero against the one villain who was able to kill him – Morlun, a vampiric totem-feeder who was able to kill him. When Morlun and all of his family show up, they want to eat as many Spider-Man as possible. This is Spider-only Man’s chance. He needs help from other Spider-Man characters to save the Web of Life before it’s gone for good.
Spidey-Verse has a lot of drama and high-stakes, but it’s also a lot of fun to read. The crossover pays homage to many different Spidey stories in comics and TV shows. There’s even a fight going on between the Spider-Men from the 1960 animated TV show and the Hostess Fruit Pie ads.
Fans should read the many tie-ins to the Amazing Spider-Man series to get the full picture of the crossover. The main crossover is in the pages of the monthly Amazing Spider-Man series. In the Edge of Spider-Verse prologue series, we meet important new characters like Spider-Gwen and Sp/dr., who are important parts of the story. We wouldn’t be able to make the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse movie without this cross-over.
2. How Green Was My Goblin/Spidey Saves the Day
The Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1 #39-40 (1966) | By Stan Lee & John Romita
Stan Lee and Steve Ditko say that when they made the Green Goblin, they didn’t know who was behind the mask. Fortunately, the decision to make him Norman Osborn in this two-parter turned out to be one of the most important moments in the whole Spidey saga. In school, Norman Osborn had just met Harry Osborn. Norman’s role as the Goblin right away made Spidey feel like he knew the character that would become his favorite villain.
Perhaps even more important is that not only has the Green Goblin been unmasked, but so has Peter Parker as well. On this day, Peter’s worst fears come true for the first time when one of his enemies learns about his real name and background. Spidey and the Gobby’s relationship is forever changed, giving them a twisted, unbreakable bond that is important to Spider-troubled Man’s history.
3. Goblin Nation
Superior Spider-Man Vol. 1 #27-31 (2014) | By Dan Slott & Giuseppe Camuncoli
Dan Slott has been writing Amazing Spider-Man for the longest time, and it’s safe to say that he did a lot to change the franchise and make Peter Parker unique during that time. Slott wrote no storylines that were more ground-breaking or controversial than Superior Spider-Man, a book in which Dr. Octopus’ mind took over Peter Parker’s body and set out to prove that he was the better hero than Spider-Man.
It was a risk that paid off, as the “Goblin Nation” storyline shows. A resurgent Norman Osborn and his underground army of Green Goblins are the only way the series ends. Otto Octavius and his Green Goblins lose the fight. His moment of truth has come. It comes to a head at the end of the movie when Spider-Man realizes that even though he has a lot of money, technology, and ambition, he doesn’t have the kind of self-sacrificing nature that makes him truly heroic for the ages. A long-running character arc comes to an end when he dies so that Peter can live again, which is what he did. If you want to see one of the best Spider-Man moments ever, look no further than the scene where Octavius is no longer a threat.
4. The Wedding
The Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1 Annual #21 (1987) | By David Michelinie & Paul Ryan
After killing off Gwen Stacy so that no one would ever see a married Spider-Man, Marvel made Peter and Mary Jane get married in 1987. It was a marriage that would last for more than 20 years. As soon as the bride and groom start to get cold feet, the story picks up. The first part of the issue is a simple fight with Electro.
MJ thinks about becoming a housewife and giving up her life of parties and rich boys to be the wife of a hero. Peter, on the other hand, thinks about Gwen’s death and how being Spider-Man made it happen. In each case, the fact that no one can talk about their fears except each other makes things even worse for them. It’s a heartfelt look at the couple’s relationship through the lens of a sitcom-like wedding episode.
A happy ending is sure to happen for the couple, though, as they live happily ever after. For a long time, until Mephisto did that mind-erase thing.
5. Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-man #308 – #309 (2017)
By Chip Zdarsky and Chris Bachalo
Today, Chip Zdarsky is writing some of the best Spider-Man stories. He knows how to find new ways to look at Peter Parker, and he knows how to write them. Case in point: In his run on Spectacular Spider-Man, he did issues 308 and 309. In it, Zdarsky takes on a villain from Spidey’s past, Sandman. Marko Flint, like many of the best villains, is very interesting. He hasn’t changed his ways, but he’s also saved lives.
As Sandman struggles to keep himself together in human form, he thinks about old fights with his enemy. The internal dialogue is broken up, and we get the sense that something isn’t right with the way things are going inside. By talking to J. Jonah Jameson, Peter finds out what’s going on. He goes to see Flint in the hospital to find out what’s going on. Peter has a lot of empathy, which is why he is different from some superheroes. Pete talks to Flint, realizes that he’s about to die, and takes Marko to one of his favorite parts of the city so he can die in a safe place.
In the movie, Jameson and Peter have a great conversation after Marko’s “death.” Peter finally snaps: “I know you think that my life, this role, is to just beat up super villains, but it has to be more than that.” Every day. “What’s best, what works.” A lot of the time, Spider-Man likes to hide behind his jokes and silliness. But inside, he always has anxiety about making the right call or doing the right thing.
Then, of course, everything goes awry. Future Sandman has gone back in time billions of years so he can control the sand. This leads to some really fun fights between Spider-Sandman and Future Sandman. Chris Bachalo’s beautiful version of the Spider-world is the perfect match for Zdarsky’s crazy situations, and in typical Zdarsky style, we get some zany antics that lead to a thoughtful, melancholy ending.
If you enjoy this: Peter’s commitment to stopping death for both good and bad is the focus of “No One Dies,” two issues of Amazing Spider-Man (1999) written and drawn by Dan Slott. The two-arc issue comes after yet another funeral. Amazing Spider-Man issue 50 from 1962 is called “Spider-Man No More!” It was written by Stan “the Man” Lee and John “Ring a Ring.” Romita, this comic has the page where Peter throws away his Spidey suit and promises to move on. He comes back in the end.
6. “if This Be My Destiny…!”, The Amazing Spider-man #31– #33
By Stan Lee And Steve Ditko
Older comics can have a lot of casual misogyny. Peter will be going about his day, and then Betty Brant will say something. Peter will think, “Ugh, women.” It’s a reflection of the time and the people who had the chance to write, edit, and make comics back then. Despite this, the era still has powerful stories.
Spider-Man was made by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in 1962. In Amazing Fantasy #15 they first used the character. Over the next few years, they told us about Peter’s powers, his enemies, his family, and his friends, and how they all worked together to help him. At the end of 1965, they started a three-issue storyline with The Amazing Spider-Man #31, “If This Be My Destiny…!” This issue has one of the most famous scenes in Spider-Man history: Spidey is stuck under a piece of machinery, half-broken but still fighting.
These issues are important for more than just a few panels. They also show the first appearance of Gwen Stacy and Harry Osborn. #31 is the first time that Peter goes to Empire State University, and the chaos of balancing his home, school, and work lives starts to get worse from there. May is sick, and Pete is so worried that he doesn’t talk to any of his new classmates until they think he’s a huge pill. At the same time, a mysterious Master Planner is causing havoc in the city, stealing scientific gear and atomic gizmos from stores.
Spider-Man talks about his anxiety, frustration, and pain over the course of five pages in #33, “The Final Chapter.” On the fifth page, he lifts the broken machinery and frees himself from the prison. We tend to pay more attention to pages 3 and 4, when he’s working hard to be a winner. Even though Ditko did a great job on the last full-page panel. Our job as readers is to look up and see Spider-Man from a different point of view, so we can see how hard he works his muscles.
In a few more pages, as he is regaining his strength while a group of minions yell at him, he thinks, “A man can lose! This means that a man can lose. Isn’t that great? As long as he doesn’t give up! A lot of people love this issue because it shows what is so human about Spider-Man in simple terms in simple language. Try again and try again. He doesn’t always get it right. He’ll always try to do better.
Pick up Spider-Man for the PS4 if you like this. Pieces of it are based on this series of issues, and it’s my favorite Spider-Man movie. It’s also worth reading “Kraven’s Last Hunt,” which is another great Spider-Man tale.