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.
Updated on September 19, 2023 by Kieran Loughlin: This article has been updated to include even more of the best Spider-Man runs, as well as to meet with CBR’s current formatting standards.
20 Amazing Spider-Man #253-285
By Writer Tom DeFalco Artist Ron Frenz
There’s a lot to love about Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz’s collaboration on Amazing Spider-Man. This era featured lots of riveting storylines, such as Spider-Man’s ongoing rivalry with Hobgoblin. DeFalco and Frenz’s stint on Amazing Spider-Man featured plenty of fun additions.
DeFalco and Frenz notably introduced a mysterious mob boss called the Rose and the iconic Bombastic Bag-Man costume. Bounty hunter Silver Sable also made her first appearance here, and would become a recurring character in the Marvel universe. DeFalco and Frenz’s Amazing Spider-Man run also gave Mary Jane some great character development, expanding on her family background.
19 Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #1-12
By Writer Mark Millar and Artists Terry Dodson and Frank Cho
Part of the more mature Marvel Knights line, Millar, Dodson, and Cho provided readers with a darker take on Spider-Man. Throughout these pages, Peter Parker was truly pushed to the edge. Aunt May was kidnapped, and Uncle Ben’s headstone was destroyed by an unknown culprit.
Marvel Knights: Spider-Man took on an epic scope. Spanning three different arcs, the series pit Peter Parker against various classic foes while searching for Aunt May. The series did a good job showcasing Spider-Man’s rogues gallery, giving Venom, Electro, and Vulture a chance to shine.
18 Peter Parker: Spider-Man #20-50
By Writer Paul Jenkins and Artists Mark Buckingham, Joe Bennett, Charlie Adlard, Staz Johnson and Humberto Ramos
Paul Jenkins’ Spider-Man run stands out because of how grounded it was. Jenkins’s small-scale stories really delved into Peter Parker’s headspace, and gave the series some nice variety. Peter Parker: Spider-Man #20 (by Paul Jenkins, Mark Buckingham, Dan Green, Joe Rosas, Richard Starkings, and Troy Peteri) was a good example of this, centering on the title hero as he grappled with his biggest losses.
Along with multiple artists, Jenkins delivered a fresh take on the Spider-Man mythos, taking the series in a new direction. The series featured some dramatic developments, including the death of Sandman and Flash Thompson’s coma. Jenkins and Buckingham also introduced some new villains, such as Typeface, a foe with letter-shaped weapons.
17 Spider-Man: Blue #1-6
By Writer Jeph Loeb and Artist Tim Sale
From Hulk: Grey to Daredevil: Yellow, Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s “color” series did a phenomenal job reinterpreting moments from classic Marvel series. Though Spider-Man: Blue is arguably the most popular entry in the “color” series. Spanning six issues, the series served as a heartfelt exploration of Peter’s relationship with Gwen Stacy.
The creative team behind Spider-Man: Blue was really firing on all cylinders. Jeph Loeb’s script gives this story a really personal feel, packing a strong emotional punch. Similarly, Tim Sale’s clean, crisp artwork is truly a sight to behold, reimagining Spider-Man’s early days in style.
16 Spider-Man 2099 #1-44
By Writer Peter David and Multiple Artists
Recently starring in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Miguel O’Hara’s debut series is well worth reading. Set in a future ruled by corporations, Spider-Man 2099 really pushed the boundaries of the Spidey franchise. The series felt like a love letter to science-fiction, taking influence from the likes of Judge Dredd and Blade Runner with its cyberpunk-fuelled narrative.
Spider-Man 2099 gave Miguel some stellar character development, including flashbacks as the series went on. The title also boasts a strong cast, from Miguel’s family and love interests to his rivals and iconic villains. Peter David’s world-building is well done, conveying the sense that Spider-Man 2099 inhabited a living, breathing world.
15 Astonishing Spider-Man And Wolverine #1-6
By Writer Jason Aaron, Artist Adam Kubert, Inkers Dexter Vines And Mark Morales, Color Artist Justin Ponsor, And Letterer Rob Steen
The miniseries Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine takes Wolverine and Spider-Man on an adventure through time and space, one that takes them to the end of the world and the beginning. The two heroes had never seen eye to eye, but this story highlight the beginning of a greater alliance.
In this action-packed time travel story, Marvel’s two most popular characters finally become friends. Aaron and Kubert positively kill it with every single issue. Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine never really gets the credit it deserves, but it’s great for Spider-Man and Wolverine fans alike.
14 Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #1-27
By Writer Brian Michael Bendis and artists Sara Pichelli, Chris Samnee, David Marquez, And Pepe Larraz
Miles Morales is a multimedia star. The main character of Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse, he first appeared after the death of the Ultimate Universe Spider-Man. Miles soon got his own series from writer Brian Michael Bendis, who created the character. Over the twenty-seven issue run of Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man, Bendis created the holy writ of Miles Morales.
Working with artists like Sara Pichelli, Chris Samnee, David Marquez, and Pepe Larraz, Bendis did something few creators had done. Bendis created an entirely new version of a fan-favorite character and turned Miles Morales into an icon. Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man’s opening run helped make that possible.
By Writers Dan Slott, Peter David, Dennis Hopeless, Christos Gage, And More And Artists Olivier Coipel, Giuseppe Camuncoli, And More
The Spider-Verse movies are massively popular, and all they stemmed from one story. Dan Slott’s run writing The Amazing Spider-Man lasted a long time, and he did something very special in 2014 and 2015. Slott, working with writers Christos Gage, Peter David, Dennis Hopeless, and more, brought readers Spider-Verse. When energy vampires who feed on spider-powered heroes attack, Peter Parker has to team up with Spider-Men from across the universe.
Basically every Spider-Man who appeared in the Spider-Verse movies has their genesis in the Spider-Verse comics. It’s not exactly the same as the movies, but that’s the glory of it. Pitting Spider-Man and his team against the Inheritors, many consider Spider-Verse the best story of Slott’s run. Every Spider-fan needs to check out this one.
12 Spider-Man: Life Story
By Writer Chip Zdarsky, Artist Mark Bagley, Inker John Dell, And Letterer Travis Lanham
Spider-Man’s origin has changed a lot. Over the years, multiple reboots and retcons added and subtracted details from the Wall-Crawler’s beginnings. The most ambitious of these was Spider-Man: Life Story. This miniseries took a different approach to Spider-Man and his life, as it all happened in real time.
The story concentrates on the various decades of Spider-Man’s life, taking familiar villains and events, but tweaking them by making the story about an aging Spider-Man. This beautiful Spider-Man book takes Peter Parker to new places. It’s as good for long time fans as it is for new ones.
11 Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man (2017-2019) #1-6, #297-310
By Writer Chip Zdarsky, Artists Adam Kubert, Michael Walsh, Juan Frigeri, Joe Quinones, Chris Bachalo, and Chip Zdarsky
Chip Zdarsky got his first chance to write Spider-Man in 2017. Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man had a venerable legacy from the old Spectacular, and Zdarsky was standing on the shoulders of giants. Luckily, he knocked it out of the park, working with an amazing artistic team headed up by series artist Adam Kubert. Amazing was the flagship, but Zdarsky’s Spectacular was the soul.
Launched as part of the Legacy publishing initiative, it took up legacy numbering after the sixth issue, a milestone where Spider-Man told J. Jonah Jameson the truth of his identity. Zdarsky wrote the book for nineteen issues, starting with #1-6 and then #297 to #310 of the legacy numbering.
10 Amazing Spider-Man #1-38
By Writer Stan Lee, Artist Steve Ditko, And Letterer Artie Rosen
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 Amazing Spider-Man #39-58
By Writer Stan Lee, Artist John Romita, Inker Mike Esposito, And Letterer Artie Simek
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. They also introduced Mary Jane Watson. Romita Sr. and Lee crafted beloved stories like “Goblin Unmasked” and “Spider-Man: No More.” Romita Sr. brought warmth and relatability during his run from issues #39-58.
8 Amazing Spider-Man #111-149
By Writer Gerry Conway, Artists John Romita And Gil Kane, Inkers Tony Mortellaro And Jim Starlin, And Letterer Artie Simek
Gerry Conway wrote Amazing Spider-Man from issues #111-149. His run is legendary because of the exciting narrative choices he made, which affected 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 Amazing Spider-Man #229-252
By Writer Roger Stern, Artists John Romita Jr., Bob Hall, Jim Mooney, John Romita Sr., And Many Other Creators
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 Amazing Spider-Man #296-352, #359-388
By Writer David Michelinie And Artists Todd McFarlane, Erik Larsen, And Mark Bagley
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 became 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 Spectacular Spider-Man #178-203
By Writer J.M. DeMatteis And Artist Sal Buscema
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 Ultimate Spider-Man Vol. 1 #1-111
By Writer Brian Michael Bendis And Artist Mark Bagley
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 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 Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1 #500-545 & Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2 #30-58
By Writer J. Michael Straczynski And Artists John Romita Jr., Mike Deodato Jr., Ron Garney, And Joe Quesada
J. Michael Straczynski’s Amazing Spider-Man comic run was controversial. On the one hand, Straczynski crafted one of the best Spider-Man stories “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 divisive Spidey stories. “Sins Past” introduced a love affair between Gwen and Norman, while “One More Day” had 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 Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1 #546-700, #789-801, Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 3 #1-20.1 & Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 4 #1-32
By Writers Dan Slott And Christos Gage And Multiple Artists
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 Superior Spider-Man Vol. 1 #1-33
By Writer Dan Slott And Artists Humberto Ramos And Ryan Stegman
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.
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