Spiderman Comics – The Essentials: Part 1

by Jay Katz of Invest Comics LLC

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Hello everyone! Hope the new year is treating you all well. Remember to not procrastinate, take charge and do what needs to get done or before you know it, it’ll be 2019 and you’ll be setting your sights on the same goals from the previous year. One thing I’ve learned, especially with having my children, time goes by very quick and doesn’t sit and wait for ya! The kids get older and it means I’m older too! Noooo! Nah, it’s all good. Growing old is the process. Trust it and you’ll be fine.

Turning back the clock again this week to when InvestComics put out the first of three Amazing Spider-man checklist. These list were the first of their kind as far as being as extensive as they are. Since InvestComics began this checklist format, almost every other site started their own checklist. This list took a lot of time to piece together It’s well worth it though because the InvestComics fans (AND the Bags Unlimited fans!) are the best on planet earth.

So without any further ado, here is my Essentials list from 2012.

Amazing Fantasy 1962

All of his main titles will be covered and then some other books, including some obscure silly books. Keep in mind here that while this is comprehensive you will find there are some comics and creators that were missed, and some that were missed on purpose. So if you’re seeking out the first appearance of Mountain Marko or Red 9, you won’t find it here. But you’ll find the first appearance of Man-Wolf! Or if you’re looking for that special 1 in 15 variant cover, or the 30 cent variant …..you won’t find those here either. Just some key issues (and “not” so key issues.)

Amazing Fantasy #15 – This would be the first and foremost obvious pick out of the gate here. For those that are not comic collectors and just happened to stumble upon this article, Amazing Fantasy #15 is the first appearance of Spider-Man. Owning this comic is the equivalent of owning Action Comics #1 from DC Comics. Now while Spidey’s first appearance is not worth as much monetarily, it carries the same stature as owning the flagship character within the Marvel Comics line as does Superman (Action Comics #1) does for DC Comics. If you ever have the chance to somehow be in a position to own this comic book, don’t think twice about it.

The Amazing Spider-Man Comics started in 1963

The first 50 comics in the original Amazing Spider-Man (1963) rivals as good of a run in any collection of books you will find within the comic hobby anywhere.

Amazing Spider-Man #1 – Gives us the first appearance of the biggest thorn in Peter Parker’s side for the last 48 years or so……his boss, J. Jonah Jameson. This comic also features the first Chameleon.

Amazing Spider-Man #2 – The second issue has the first Tinkerer! Well that’s not the character we’re looking for now is it? No of course not, The Vulture makes his debut in the second issue. Now that’s the one we were looking for!

Amazing Spider-Man #3 – Features the debut of the second Spider-Man film star Dr. Octopus. And from the third Spidey Film…

Amazing Spider-Man #4 – We have our first look at the Sandman in this issue. So there you have the first four issues of Amazing Spider-Man with first appearances of some of the most enigmatic characters in the history of the franchise; characters that have withstood the test of time and continue to be a basic part of Spider-Man’s rogue gallery in the modern day.

Amazing Spider-Man #5 – The first true test of Spider-Man and his “amazing powers” came in these pages where he faced off and first met Dr. Doom for the first time. The Spider-Man rogue gallery continues to grow in the very next issue……

Amazing Spider-Man #6 – The Spider-Man movie has Dr. Conner becoming the Lizard and this is where we first see the reptile. Although the Lizard inside of the Spider-Man comics truly represents the villain, the movie changes things up a bit and this is the first disappointment off the bat from the trailers. Same as they did in the second movie with Goblin’s metal faceplate. Very disappointing…..

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Amazing Spider-Man #9 – Jumping to the next issue, the introduction of this character (which would be awesome to see on the big screen one day!) makes for an electrifying issue to own. If you can buy this issue within the $2400 range, buy it. It has upside all over this one. Electro makes his debut here.

Amazing Spider-Man #10 – The first of the “weaker” debuts falls on the 10th. The Enforcers.

Amazing Spider-Man #13 – Lucky 13 debuts a villain that was rumored a while back to appear in the latest Spidey film, unfortunately we didn’t get him. Mysterio would have been quite a challenge to sell to the audience with that big ole’ globe on his head, but hey we all were sold on cars turning into giant robots right?

Amazing Spider-Man #15 – Kraven the Hunter makes his first appearance right here. 279 issues later though….well we’ll get to that.

Amazing Spider-Man #20 – Another cool villain that we all await to see on the big screen one day makes his way into Peter’s tormented life. Scorpion’s first appearance right here.

Amazing Spider-Man #25 – Sticking with the torment in Peter’s life (just kidding ladies!), Peter meets two women that will change his life forever. Mary Jane Watson and Gwen Stacy. One of these women does not get another date after 96 issues. More on that in a bit. This issue also debuts the robot Spider-Slayer. More on that as well later.

Amazing Spider-Man #28 – The Molten Man makes his debut here. Very interesting value comparison here with the previous issue. The Molten Man doesn’t command that much attention in the collectors market does he? No he doesn’t. Take a look at that cover. That black cover is near impossible to find in a high grade. That’s the explanation to that.

Amazing Spider-Man #33 – This comic has absolutely no first appearances, has no death, no life changing moments. The first “classic cover” by Steve Ditko in this Amazing Spider-Man run besides the first issue.

Amazing Spider-Man #37 – First appearance of Norman! Norman Osborn that is.

Amazing Spider-Man #39 – The iconic John Romita Sr. debuts his beautiful Spider-Man artistry right here. And just look at that cover! What a wonderful piece of history to own here.

Amazing Spider-Man #40 – The following issue features the Green Goblin’s origin. While it may cost you a few dollars more to get THIS issue, the real winner is the previous issue.

Amazing Spider-Man #41 – The first appearances continue onward here in this ridiculous run. Most fans were hoping to see the Rhino make it to the big screen this go around, but not this time.

Amazing Spider-Man #46 – Shocker’s first appearance.

Amazing Spider-Man #50 – As said earlier in this article. The first 50 comics in the Amazing Spider-Man run…..unreal and rivaled to any of the biggest character names out there. This comic not only has the first appearance of Kingpin, but it’s a classic cover from John Romita Sr. The classic of all classic Spidey comics.

Amazing Spider-Man #78 – First appearance of the Prowler.

Amazing Spider-Man #80 – The first Bronze Age Spider-Man comic. A fantastic buy at only around $125.

Amazing Spider-Man #90 – Death finds its way into Spider-Man’s life, with more to come…..The death of Captain Stacy right here.

Amazing Spider-Man #96 – The famous “drug issue”. This would be the first time in comic book history that drugs were the focal point of a storyline. It’s also the first time that the “comic approved stamp” was not on the cover. It would return only to disappear for good years later.

Amazing Spider-Man #101 – Before Twilight, before Anne Rice, before Blade, there was Morbius! This comic paved the way for cooler vampires.

Amazing Spider-Man #102 – The origin of Morbius.

Amazing Spider-Man #121 – Death comes knocking at Peter’s door once again. The death of Gwen Stacy. Boy did this rip Peter apart. Oh well, still has Mary Jane hanging around!

Amazing Spider-Man #122 – The death of Green Goblin. No worries here though, something happens 4 issues later that fulfills that void left in your gut. Amazing Spider-Man #126 =  Harry Osborn as Green Goblin 2.

Amazing Spider-Man #124 – The first appearance of Man-Wolf! Awesome…..right? About $120 for this comic.

Amazing Spider-Man #125 – The origin of Man-Wolf. $100.

Amazing Spider-Man #129 – First appearance of the Punisher. At one time this comic garnered a lot of attention. A LOT! With all of the changes over the years to this great vigilante character, the demand has waned a bit. Still a comic book that should be in your collection though. If Marvel ever decides to take this character seriously to the point of epic proportions (a la’ Batman), this comic will be untouchable once again. Give Frank Castle A.K.A. the Punisher the right direction and all hell will break loose with this collector’s item once again.

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Amazing Spider-Man #134 – And way behind the Punisher debut 5 issues earlier we come to the first appearance of Tarantula.

Amazing Spider-Man #136  – First appearance of Green Goblin 2.

Amazing Spider-Man #181 – An early retelling of Spider-Man’s origin. Only $30!

Amazing Spider-Man #182 – So with Gwen Stacy out of the picture some 61 issues ago, what better time to ask for Mary Jane’s hand in marriage? Peter’s “first” proposal.

Amazing Spider-Man #194 – First appearance of the Black Cat. So Peter asks Mary Jane to marry him a few issues back and now this very hot girl in black spandex comes into the picture to make Peter have second thoughts. This stuff never happens in real life! Silly comic book stuff.

Amazing Spider-Man #195 – The origin of the Black Cat.

Amazing Spider-Man #238 – The first appearance of a major villain in sometime within the Spidey run. Hobgoblin debuts.

Amazing Spider-Man #252 – The entire Spider-Man history can be summed up into 4 parts. Speaking only in terms of the Spider-Man title books here, each part transcended Spidey onto a “New Level” if you will. Of course every story needs a beginning, Amazing Fantasy #15. A middle, which is this comic right here. The Debut of the Alien costume within the pages of Amazing Spider-Man would change the way Spider-Man as a character and franchise would be viewed forever. The cover says it all folks. Amazing Fantasy #15 and Amazing Spider-Man #252 will be forever linked. Yes issue #252 is THAT important. The third is issue #298, more on that in just a bit. And as for the fourth part of Spidey history, that would be Ultimate Spider Man #1, which comes much later on and we’ll get to it.

Amazing Spider-Man #259 – The “origin” of Mary Jane? That’s funny, don’t us “regular people/humans” all have the same origin? Okay, well here is the origin of Mary Jane.

Amazing Spider-Man #265 – First appearance of Silver Sable.

Amazing Spider-Man #272 – The first Modern Age Issue! Only $4.

Amazing Spider-Man #294 – 279 issues later…….Kraven’s demise right here.

Amazing Spider-Man #298 – The “third” part to the Spider-Man history, right here. Todd McFarlane made his debut on Spider-Man and changed the style of this character so much so that artist today still imitate the “look”. He brought a new look to Spidey that was never seen before as did Frank Miller with Batman, Neal Adams with Green Lantern, Walt Simonson with Thor and so on. Todd McFarlane’s first Spider-Man is well worth the money you put down on it. Oh yes and this comic features a cameo from a villain named Venom.

Amazing Spider-Man #299 – First time we see Venom in costume. A “cameo” once again. Boy that cameo stuff is strange. This truly is the first time we ever see Venom and it’s not the issue that draws the big bucks, its issue 300 that does. Why? Weird.

Amazing Spider-Man #300 – So this is the first “FULL” Venom story. While Hobgoblin some 62 issues ago was an important vital part of Spidey’s rogue gallery, this villain named Venom is probably the most recognized villains to come out of the Spidey Universe ever. Fans get instantly excited at the mention or sight of Venom in the pages of a Spidey book. Now granted over the years Venom was in every comic book known to man, as much as Wolverine was (still is) which caused his value to drop a bit. That said, Venom’s first appearance is still a must for any Spider-Man or comic book collector.

Amazing Spider-Man #302 – First appearance of Wes Cassady.

Amazing Spider-Man #304 – First Jonathan Caesar and Black Fox.

Amazing Spider-Man #392 – This cover is an homage to Amazing Spider-Man #50

Amazing Spider-Man #344 – First appearance of Cletus Kasady (Carnage)

Amazing Spider-Man #583 – The first time President Obama shows up in a comic. The start of absolute money grab from every comic company on the planet.

Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 – The first appearance of the Sinister Six.

Amazing Spider-Man #30 Vol.2 – First appearances by Morlun and Ezekiel. This issue is also the first from creator Michael Straczynski. Great characters, great creator and great cover!

Amazing Spider-Man #36  Vol. 2 – A special World Trade Center 9/11 tribute issue. A fantastic read and a very hard comic to get in Gem Mint condition due to the fact of the all black cover.

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Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man

Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #1 – The first “new” Spidey series other than Amazing. That cover sure does look familiar though! (*AHEM amazing spider-man #134 AHEM*) A $50 comic with Spidey’s origin retold.

Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #28 – Just as much as Frank Miller transcending Batman, he did the same for the Daredevil character. This comic provides the first time Frank Miller penciled Daredevil.

Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #64 – Cloak & Dagger make their first appearance right here. Buy it.

Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #103 – Sometimes looking around the comic book collecting landscape, one shakes their head saying to themselves “how can that be worth only $3?” But yes, $3 will get you the first work from Peter David. Sweet.

Marvel Team-Up

Marvel Team-Up #1 – The first of a 150 issue run. These comics were awesome and fun!

Marvel Team-Up #53 – John Byrne’s first X-Men art.

Marvel Team-Up #65 – Welcome to America Captain Britain! First time we see the Captain here in the States.

Marvel Team-Up #100 – First appearance of Karma, origin of Storm and Frank Miller art! All this for $6?!

Marvel Team-Up #141 – The “co-first appearance” of the alien costume.

Spidey Comics

Spider-Man #1 – Todd McFarlane’s Spidey #1 was mass produced to epic proportions. The entire run of 98 issues could be bought at less than $3 a piece. All but 2 that is. Spider-Man #1 – WalMart edition at about $20 and the golden prize of the run, well actually it’s the “Platinum” prize of the run is Spider-Man #1 Platinum Edition coming in at the $100 range.

Spider-Man Unlimited #8 – This little $3 comic was written by Joe Hill! Yes THE Joe Hill!! What you don’t know Joe Hill? How about Stephen King? You know that guy right? Okay well, Joe Hill is actually Joseph Hillstrom King. Oh okay, now you’re following. Joe Hill is Stephen King’s son and he writes too. This would be his first comic book work.

Ultimate Spider-Man #1 – There are essentially 4 tiers within the Spider-Man history universe. We discussed the previous three already. Ultimate Spider-Man brought the newest way to view Spidey. It’s another game changer. The new Spider-Man movie is basically going back to the Spidey roots with a younger Peter with a twist to his origin. Ultimate Spidey went back to Spidey’s roots too. Love it or hate it, the Ultimate Spider-Man book became the “next chapter” in the Spider-Man genre. With a ridiculous 16 different number one variant issues available, the best of the bunch goes to the White variant.

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-Jay Katz

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