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The Spectacular Spider-Man

This article is about the comic book Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man. For the 1990s series, see Peter Parker: Spider-Man. For the animated television series, see The Spectacular Spider-Man (TV series).
The Spectacular Spider-Man
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
Schedule Monthly
Format Discontinued
Publication date

(magazine): July 1968 – November 1968
(vol.1): December 1976 – December 1987 (as Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man)
January 1988 – November 1998 (as The Spectacular Spider-Man)

(vol. 2): September 2003 – June 2005
Number of issues (magazine): 2
vol. 1: 264 (#1–263 plus #-1) and 14 Annuals
vol. 2: 27
Creative team
Penciller(s) Various, most frequently
Sal Buscema

The Spectacular Spider-Man is the name of several comic books and one magazine series starring Marvel Comics' Spider-Man.

Following the success of Spider-Man's original series, The Amazing Spider-Man, Marvel felt the character could support more than one title. This led the company in 1968 to launch a short-lived magazine, the first to bear the Spectacular name. In 1972, Marvel more successfully launched a second Spider-Man ongoing series, Marvel Team-Up, in which he was paired with other Marvel heroes. A third monthly ongoing series, Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man, debuted in 1976.


The Spectacular Spider-Man magazine #1 (July 1968). Cover art by John Romita Sr. (layouts) and Harry Rosenbaum (painted art)

The Spectacular Spider-Man was initially a two-issue magazine published by Marvel in 1968,[1] as an experiment in entering the black-and-white comic-magazine market[2] successfully pioneered by Warren Publishing and others. It sold for 35 cents when standard comic books cost 12 cents and annuals and giants 25 cents. It represented the first Spider-Man spin-off publication aside from the original series' summer annuals, begun in 1964.

The first issue (cover-dated July 1968) featured a painted, color cover by men's adventure-magazine artist Harry Rosenbaum, in acrylic paint on illustration board, over layouts by The Amazing Spider-Man artist John Romita Sr..[3] The 52-page black-and-white Spider-Man story, "Lo, This Monster!", was by writer Stan Lee, penciler Romita Sr. and inker Jim Mooney. A 10-page origin story, "In The Beginning!", was by Lee, penciler Larry Lieber and inker Bill Everett.

The feature story was reprinted in color, with some small alterations and bridging material by Gerry Conway, in The Amazing Spider-Man #116–118 (Jan.-March 1973) as "Suddenly...the Smasher!", "The Deadly Designs of the Disruptor!", and "Countdown to Chaos!" (with additional inking by Tony Mortellaro on the latter two). These versions were themselves reprinted in Marvel Tales #95–97 (Sept.-Oct. 1978).

The Spectacular Spider-Man magazine #2 (November 1968) Cover art by John Romita, Sr.

The second and final issue (Nov. 1968) sported a painted cover and the interior was in color as well. Lee, Romita and Mooney again collaborated on its single story, "The Goblin Lives!", featuring the Green Goblin. A next-issue box at the end promoted the planned contents of the unrealized issue #3, "The Mystery of the TV Terror". A version of the Goblin story, trimmed by 18 pages, was reprinted in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #9 (1973), and portions of the "TV Terror" costume were reused for the costume of the Prowler.[2]

Both issues of the magazine were reprinted in their entirety (albeit reduced to comic size) in the collection Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man #7 (ISBN 0-7851-1636-2). The first issue was reprinted again in 2002 as The Spectacular Spider Man Facsimile, exactly as it was originally presented.[4]

Volume One (1976–1998)

Titled Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man on its December 1976 debut, and shortened to simply The Spectacular Spider-Man with #134 (Jan. 1988), this was the second Amazing Spider-Man monthly comic-book spin-off series, after Marvel Team-Up, which also featured Spider-Man. The monthly title ran 264 issues (including a #-1 issue) until November 1998.[5]

The series was launched by writer/editor Gerry Conway and artist Sal Buscema and Mike Esposito. [6][7] Buscema drew the title until mid-1978. After Buscema’s departure, a succession of artists (including Mike Zeck, Jim Mooney, Ed Hannigan and Greg LaRocque) penciled the series for approximately five years. Frank Miller, who would later become the artist on Daredevil, first drew the character in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #27.[8] Scripting initially alternated between Conway and Archie Goodwin until mid-1977, when Bill Mantlo took over. During this era of Spectacular, the stories focused more on Parker's campus life as an undergraduate student/teacher's assistant at Empire State University, and giving more attention to his colleagues than to the more long-running supporting characters in Amazing. Mantlo's first run on the title featured frequent appearances by The White Tiger, Marvel's first superhero of Hispanic descent,[9] and the first appearance of the supervillain Carrion. He used the series to wrap up unresolved plot elements from The Champions comic book series[10] and concluded his first run with a crossover with the Fantastic Four #218 (May 1980).[11][12][13] Mantlo was succeeded by Roger Stern, who wrote for the title from #43 (June 1980)[14] to #61 (December 1981). When Stern departed to write for The Amazing Spider-Man, Mantlo returned to scripting Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man; Mantlo's second tenure at the title lasted until April 1984. Mantlo's second run introduced the superhero duo Cloak and Dagger, created by Mantlo and Hannigan in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #64 (March 1982),[15] and included a story arc which took place from issues #73–79 (Dec. 1982 – June 1983), in which Doctor Octopus and The Owl compete for control of the New York underworld, Octopus almost destroys New York with a nuclear device, and the Black Cat is critically injured.[16] Issue #86 (January 1984) was part of the "Assistant Editors Month" event and featured a story drawn by Fred Hembeck.[17]

Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #132 (November 1987). Art by Mike Zeck and Bob McLeod

Al Milgrom took over scripting as well as art on the title with issue #90 (May 1984) and worked on it through #100 (March 1985).[18] Milgrom imbued the book with a more whimsical tone, for example, pitting Spider-Man against The Spot, an enemy so ridiculous he gave Spider-Man fits of laughter. Jim Owsley, then editor of the Spider-Man books, disapproved of this approach and had Milgrom replaced as writer by newcomer Peter David in 1985. David and artist Rich Buckler, said Owsley, had the series "focusing on stories with a serious, 'grown-up' tone and more complex themes".[19] The most notable story arc of the David/Buckler era is "The Death of Jean DeWolff" (#107–110, Oct. 1985-Jan. 1986),[20] in which Spider-Man's ally, NYC Police Captain Jean DeWolff – a supporting character in the Spider-Man comics since 1976 – is murdered by the vigilante/serial killer the Sin-Eater. This multi-part story guest-starred Daredevil. The "Kraven's Last Hunt" storyline by writer J.M. DeMatteis and artists Mike Zeck and Bob McLeod crossed over into Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #131 and 132.[21]

With issue #134 (Jan. 1988), the "Peter Parker" part of the title was removed and the series became simply The Spectacular Spider-Man. The logo changed from a distinctive design to using the same design as that of The Amazing Spider-Man and the 1968 Spectacular Spider-Man magazine; this logo did not change until issue #218 (Nov. 1994). Sal Buscema returned as the regular artist, staying with the title from early 1988 to late 1996; throughout the series' run, Buscema drew over 100 issues, making him by far the series' most frequent contributor.[22]

After his "Return of the Sin-Eater" arc (#134–136, Jan.-March 1988), Peter David was removed as writer. Editor Owsley said editor-in-chief Jim Shooter "disliked Peter's work intensely".[23] David, in a 2005 interview, believed, "I was fired off Spider-Man because it was felt at the upper editorial level that a novice comic-book writer shouldn't be handling the adventures of Marvel's flagship character".[24] Former series writer Gerry Conway, who additionally wrote Web of Spider-Man from 1988 to 1990, returned to Spectacular after which he left both books to become a story editor on the TV series Father Dowling Mysteries. Conway stated in 1991 that "I understand the character a lot better now than I did when I was nineteen. And one of the nice things about the Marvel characters is that you can keep them fresh by changing them just a bit."[25] His 1988–1991 run on Spectacular included such story arcs as the "Lobo Brothers Gang War",[26] and the conflict between Daily Bugle editor Joe Robertson and his former friend, the albino criminal Tombstone.

J. M. DeMatteis became the regular writer in mid-1991, injecting a grim, psychological tone into the series. DeMatteis began his run with the story arc "The Child Within" (#178–184, July 1991-Jan. 1992), featuring the return of the Harry Osborn Green Goblin. As written by DeMatteis, Harry sank further into insanity and gained the same super-strength possessed by his father, battling Spider-Man again in #189 (June 1992), before being killed in #200 (May 1993).[27] In an undated 2000s interview, DeMatteis said, "I really loved the two years on Spectacular Spider-Man that I wrote with Sal Buscema drawing. Talk about underrated! Sal is one of the best storytellers and a wonderful collaborator. I loved that run."[28]

DeMatteis left the book in mid-1993 to write The Amazing Spider-Man. Steven Grant and other writers followed through late 1994, when former Amazing Spider-Man writer Tom DeFalco took over. By this time, all the Spider-books were affected by the controversial "Clone Saga" that culminated with Spectacular Spider-Man #226 (July 1995). This story revealed (though it was later reversed) that the Spider-Man who had appeared in the previous 20 years of comics was a clone of the real Spider-Man. This tied into a publishing gap after #229 (Oct. 1995), when the title was temporarily replaced by The Spectacular Scarlet Spider #1–2 (Nov.-Dec. 1995), featuring the "original" Peter Parker. The series picked up again with #230 (Jan. 1996).

Todd DeZago then wrote for a year before DeMatteis returned through May 1998. Luke Ross succeeded Sal Buscema as the artist and remained until the series ended, but there was no regular writer for the last half-year with Glenn Greenberg, Roger Stern, John Byrne and Howard Mackie all contributing during this time. The final issue was #263 (Nov. 1998).

Volume Two (2003–2005)

Spectacular Spider-Man vol. 2, titled without the definite article "The", is a 27-issue monthly series published from September 2003 to June 2005.[29] Each issue was written by Paul Jenkins[30] (except #23–26, by Samm Barnes). The book's primary pencillers were Humberto Ramos and Mark Buckingham.

The comic included the storyline Spider-Man: Disassembled where Spider-Man met a new enemy called the Queen who wanted him as her mate. Her kiss caused him to slowly mutate into a giant spider who metamorphosed into human form with enhanced strength and agility along with organic webbing and a psychic link with insects and arachnids.

Spectacular Spider-Man Adventures

Spectacular Spider-Man Adventures was a title published by Panini Comics in the United Kingdom from November 1995 to September 2005, although the Adventures portion of the title was often dropped from the cover page. It featured a mix of reprinted American material as well as originally produced British material. Spectacular was aimed at a younger audience than Panini's other Spider-Man reprint title Astonishing Spider-Man, and was loosely based on the continuity of the 1990s animated series.[31]

Collected editions

See also


  1. ^ 'The Spectacular Spider-Man (magazine) at the Grand Comics Database
  2. ^ a b Saffel, Steve (2007). "A Not-So-Spectacular Experiment". Spider-Man the Icon: The Life and Times of a Pop Culture Phenomenon. Titan Books. p. 31. ISBN 978-1-84576-324-4. 
  3. ^ "John Romita Sr. and Harry Rosenbaum – The Spectacular Spider-Man #1 Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1968)". Heritage Auctions. July 29, 2004. Archived from the original on January 30, 2012. 
  4. ^ Lee, Stan; Romita, Sr., John (March 2002). The Spectacular Spider Man Facsimile. Marvel Comics. p. 64. ISBN 978-0785108320. 
  5. ^ 'The Spectacular Spider-Man' at the Grand Comics Database
  6. ^ David, Peter; Greenberger, Robert (2010). The Spider-Man Vault: A Museum-in-a-Book with Rare Collectibles Spun from Marvel's Web. Running Press. p. 113. ISBN 0762437723. 
  7. ^ Sanderson, Peter; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2008). "1970s". Marvel Chronicle A Year by Year History. Dorling Kindersley. p. 177. ISBN 978-0756641238. Spider-Man already starred in two monthly series: The Amazing Spider-Man and Marvel Team-Up. Now Marvel added a third, Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man, initially written by Gerry Conway with art by Sal Buscema and Mike Esposito. 
  8. ^ Saffel "Weaving a Broader Web", p. 73: "Frank Miller was the guest penciler for The Spectacular Spider-Man #27, February 1979, written by Bill Mantlo. [The issue's] splash page was the first time Miller's [rendition of] Daredevil appeared in a Marvel story."
  9. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2012). "1970s". Spider-Man Chronicle Celebrating 50 Years of Web-Slinging. Dorling Kindersley. p. 96. ISBN 978-0756692360. Hector Ayala, aka the White Tiger, had already made history as Marvel Comics' first Hispanic super hero. In [Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #9's] tale, by writer Bill Mantlo and penciler Sal Buscema, he would join Spider-Man's cast of recurring characters in both his identities. 
  10. ^ Manning "1970s" in Gilbert (2012), p. 101: "Bill Mantlo was the regular scribe of both Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man and The Champions...The Champions had recently been cancelled, and Mantlo decided to tie up a few of the title's loose ends in his other comic."
  11. ^ Manning "1980s" in Gilbert (2012), p. 113: "In the conclusion to a tale that had begun in the pages of Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #42 (May), writer [Bill] Mantlo and artist John Byrne had the latest incarnation of the Frightful Four face off against their Fantastic counterparts.
  12. ^ Mantlo, Bill (w), Zeck, Mike (p), Mooney, Jim (i). "Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death!" Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man 42 (May 1980)
  13. ^ Mantlo, Bill (w), Byrne, John (p), Sinnott, Joe (i). "When A Spider-Man Comes Calling!" Fantastic Four 218 (May 1980)
  14. ^ Manning "1980s" in Gilbert (2012), p. 114: "Writer Roger Stern would begin his long tenure as a Spider-scribe with an impressive run on Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man, beginning with this issue illustrated by Mike Zeck."
  15. ^ DeFalco, Tom "1980s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 207: "Cloak and Dagger's first appearance was written by Bill Mantlo and illustrated by Ed Hannigan. A socially conscious writer, Mantlo used the characters to address the problems of teenage runaways and the dangers of illegal drugs."
  16. ^ Manning "1980s" in Gilbert (2012), p. 133: "Shot and stabbed and at death's door, the Black Cat truly needed her nine lives, but luckily began the long road to recovery thanks to the hard work of local hospital staff."
  17. ^ Mantlo, Bill (w), Hembeck, Fred; Milgrom, Al (p), Milgrom, Al; Albelo, Joe; Mooney, Jim (i). "Bugs!" Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man 86 (January 1984)
  18. ^ Manning "1980s" in Gilbert (2012), p. 147: "In the final issue of Al Milgrom's stint as writer on Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man, which had begun with issue #90 (May 1984), Milgrom once again served as both author and artist in a tale that wrapped up the Spider-Man/Black Cat romance."
  19. ^ Priest, Christopher J. (James Owsley) (May 2002). "Adventures in the Funny Book Game: Chapter Two Oswald: Why I Never Discuss Spider-Man". Archived from the original on March 17, 2013. 
  20. ^ Manning "1980s" in Gilbert (2012), p. 150: "Revered as one of the finest Spider-Man stories ever told, this four-part saga, written by Peter David and penciled by Rich Buckler, was a decidedly dark tale for the usually lighthearted web-slinger."
  21. ^ DeFalco "1980s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 231: "The six-issue story arc...ran through all the Spider-Man titles for two months."
  22. ^ Amash, Jim (2010). Sal Buscema: Comics' Fast & Furious Artist. TwoMorrows Publishing. pp. 68–71. ISBN 978-1605490212. 
  23. ^ priest, "Ball Game" (requires scrolldown).
  24. ^ Douglas, Brad, ed. (October 9, 2005). "Peter David interview". Archived from the original on July 23, 2011. 
  25. ^ Daniels, Les (1991). Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World's Greatest Comics. Harry N. Abrams. p. 222. ISBN 9780810938212. 
  26. ^ DeFalco "1980s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 238: Created by writer Gerry Conway and artist Sal Buscema, Carlos and Eduardo Lobo possessed the mutant ability to transform into werewolves.
  27. ^ Manning, Matthew K. "1990s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 263: "The 200th issue of The Spectacular Spider-Man, written by J. M. DeMatteis and with art by Sal Buscema, featured the shocking death of Spider-Man's close friend, Harry Osborn."
  28. ^ Epstein, Dan (June 24, 2002). "Interview: J.M. DeMatteis". p. 3. Archived from the original on March 6, 2005. 
  29. ^ 'Spectacular Spider-Man vol. 2 at the Grand Comics Database
  30. ^ Manning "2000s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 316: "With Peter Parker: Spider-Man coming to a close in August [2003], writer Paul Jenkins once again took up his seat behind the computer to document Spider-Man's life."
  31. ^ 'Spectacular Spider-Man Adventures' at the Grand Comics Database

External links