The Amazing Stories of The Spectacular Spider-Man

| December 14, 2012

Amazing Spider-Man ends (sniff) it’s wonderful run this month on December 26th with issue 700. The greatest Spidey stories are told within it’s pages because it’s the flagship title in the Spider-Man universe. When Spider-Man continued to grow in popularity he soon was granted his third monthly title(Marvel Team-Up also featured the wall crawler, but as the name implies he wasn’t the star), Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man. Spectacular Spider-Man is such an under appreciated series I thought I would share some of the highlights from it’s original run of 263 issues to its relaunch of 27 more. At the end I will list my favorite issues that you can easily pick up at Colorado Coins Cards and Comics(Sponsor shout out!) 

Released in December of 1976 the story was written by Gerry Conway and drawn by my favorite Spidey artist ever Sal Buscema.

image(I love this mans storytelling. He could say so much with no words just his beautiful drawings)

While ASM got all the attention, PPSM allowed the writers and artists to do more daring things. One of the first was the frequent appearance of the White Tiger, Marvel’s first Hispanic superhero. One of the most unusual and one of my favorite third tier Spider-Man villains Carrion made his debut in Peter Parker, # 25. Just by touching you Carrion could reduce you to ash! He was scary and made some memorable appearances after his debut.

image(Carrion by Sal Buscema)

PPSM also features Frank Millers’ first comic work on Daredevil! Yes see the seeds of his memorable on Daredevil start here, in Spectacular 27.

image (art by Frank Miller)

Also notable in the early issues was the first appearance of the teenage runaways Cloak and Dagger in issue 64. The dark tone of the series started to shift into somewhat lighter issues, like the Spider-Man and Black Cat romance, but also laughable villains such as The Spot! Spider-Man would try hard not to laugh at the Spot because he would get distracted and maybe take a cheap shot from the “villain”.

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But as soon as you let your guard down, you would get punched in the gut. One of the most shocking and tragic stories took place in PPSM issues 107-110. The story titled “The Death Of Jean DeWolff” shocked readers with the brutal murder of one of Spider-Mans only friends in the NYPD police captain Jean DeWolff. The arc is incredible and really violent as more allies of not only Spider-Man but also Daredevil are executed by a serial killer named Sin-Eater. I won’t spoil the identity of Sin-Eater or the shocking ending, but it is one of the best Spider-Man stories ever.

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Issue 134 dropped Peter Parker from the title and the book is now known simply as The Spectacular Spider-Man. It also was the beginning of Sal Buscema’s run of over 100 issues drawn, and my favorite period of the series. The Hobgoblin gains demonic powers and Tombstone makes his presence felt. Tombstone was finally given an origin that tied Peter’s friend Joe “Robbie” Robertson to the cold blooded mobster.

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J.M. Dematteis took over writing duties for two years and he wrote some of my most cherished issues of Spider-Man ever. One of the most underrated arcs in Spidey’s history is “The Child Within”. Running for 6 parts plus an epilogue, it deals with parent issues with three separate men. The Green Goblin, Vermin, and of course Peter Parker. It’s heartbreaking and tragic and so wonderfully drawn by Sal, you must go out and get this story arc now.

image   image  image

The sequel to this ground breaking story takes place in Spectacular Spider-Man 189 titled “The Osborn Legacy”. Harry struggles with the ghost of his father and kidnaps his family and is put in an insane asylum by the end of the issue but he would soon return…

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One of the greatest issues ever is Spectacular Spider-Man 200, “The Best of Enemies!”  is to me the tragic end of Harry Osborn. Sal tells such a great story that when J.M. saw the pages he opted not to add dialogue and who can blame him, check it out,

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The clone saga followed after and yes it’s not the best but it still features some striking art. My favorite Sal cover ever is Spectacular Spider-Man 226 when it’s reveled that the Peter Parker we’ve loved for 20 years was a clone! That idea didn’t stick but the cover is stunning.

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Man I just love this cover…sorry. Spectacular kept on going. While none of the last 30 or so issues where masterpieces there were some that where very good. I loved the story of Jack O’Lantern  in issue 247  and also there was a great Chameleon story issues 242-245. Spectacular ended with the return of Norman Osborn as The Green Goblin. It was relaunched several years later and featured stunning art by Humberto Ramos. So when you are at Colorado Coins Cards and Comics check out the Spectacular Spider-Man back issues, you might be surprised on the quality of stories you find. 

Speaking of which add these to your collection:

1,25,28,64,107-110, 139, 178-184, 189, 194-196, 200, 226

About the Author:

As far as nerds go, there are not many reeler than Ryan. His love for movies is unmatched. He also loves comic books. When you combine comic books and movies Ryan is at his happiest. He enjoys all forms of pop culture and prides himself on knowing more then average nerds. Ryan has a couple of characters he prefers over the rest, first and foremost is Spider-Man. He also loves Ash from the Evil Dead. Ryan also enjoys Finishing people in Mortal Kombat and hopping on Goombas. He has attended Comic-Con and several Starfests with his good buddy Brad. He is amazed on how awesome Brad is at designing Reel Nerds pages. But don’t tell Brad he needs to stay humbled.

Favorite movie: Army Of Darkness

Favorite Genres: Action, Horror, Comic Book, Comedy

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