Spidey crosses paths with the Frightful Four, Jack O’Lantern and... the Mud-Thing!?

For over 50 years, Spider-Man has been a sensational standout in the Marvel Universe, and this year, the web-slinger swings onto the silver screen once more in “Spider-Man: Homecoming”! In celebration of his memorable history, we present Spidey’s spectacular step-by-step story!

After wading through watery warfare from Hydro-Man in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #212, and helping Nighthawk fend off an old flame who tried to kill him in MARVEL TEAM-UP #101, everyone’s favorite neighborhood Spider-Man confronted a clutch of would-be aliens and his old foe Mysterio in PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #50 and SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #51.

Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man (1976) #50

Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man (1976) #50

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Spidey devoted all his attention to an attack by the wingless Wizard in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #213, but even with the help of Namor the Sub-Mariner against the villain’s full-fledged Frightful Four in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #214, it still took the Fantastic Four themselves to turn the tide against the baddies in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #215. Later, our young hero fought alongside Doc Samson versus the Rhino and A.I.M. in MARVEL TEAM-UP #102, and with Ant-Man against Taskmaster and his school for super villains in MARVEL TEAM-UP #103.

The wallcrawler appeared alongside mutant singer Alison Blaire in DAZZLER #1, mastered Gideon Mace in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #52, tussled with the Tinkerer and his raucous robot Toy in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #53, and held his own against a swarm of samurai meted out by the Maggia in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #54.

Dazzler (1981) #1

Dazzler (1981) #1

  • Published: March 10, 1981
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: September 17, 2008
  • Writer: Tom DeFalco
  • Penciler: John Romita
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The mysterious Madame Web reappeared in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #216 to vex Spidey, but his name really became mud when Hydro-Man teamed with the Sandman in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #217 to merge into the weird wonder known as Mud-Thing, as seen in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #218. How the webslinger found the time to take on both Captain America and the Scorpion in MARVEL TEAM-UP #106, and She-Hulk and the Man-Killer in MARVEL TEAM-UP #107, the world-at-large may never know.

The nutty Nitro blew into town in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #55, as did Jack O’Lantern in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #56, but when Killer Shrike kidnapped Dr. Marla Madison, the love of J. Jonah Jameson’s life, in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #57, Spidey felt the deck stacked against him. This became quite evident the Grey Gargoyle showed his stony face in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #219, and Moon Knight seemingly wanted to kill him in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #220.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #220

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #220

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A new criminal called Thermo frosted Spidey and Paladin’s cookies in MARVEL TEAM-UP #108, so Dazzler shed some light on the situation in MARVEL TEAM-UP #109. The dastardly debuts continued in MARVEL TEAM-UP #110 when first-time super villain Magma decided to go all molten on the wallcrawler and his pal Iron Man.

The Ringer made the webslinger jump through hoops in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #58. The Beetle crawled out of the woodwork again in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #59, but got squashed by the combined efforts of our hero and the Gibbon in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #60. Not to be outdone, Ramrod, another first-time foe, butted heads with Spidey in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #221, the Squadron Sinister’s Whizzer adopted a new and improved codename and costume as the Speed Demon in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #222, and the Red Ghost’s so-called Super-Apes monkeyed around to drive the wallcrawler bananas in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #223.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #222

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #222

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The day grew longer and weirder in MARVEL TEAM-UP #111 when Devil-Slayer enlisted Spider-Man’s aid in slashing away at Serpent-Men and Spider-People, and the new Moonstone enacted a scheme to steal Dr. Curt Connors’ “enervator” in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #61 to re-energize her criminal pursuits.

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See how Marvel's number one deathtrap builder got his start!

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

Arcade resurfaced this week in the pages of SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #21 by Elliott Kalan and Todd Nauk looking to test his brand new Murderworld on the title characters! This, of course, fits right in with his history of putting the Wall-Crawler through a series of deathtraps going back to his first appearance in 1978’s MARVEL TEAM-UP #65 and 66.

Created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, Arcade made his first appearance right after the Dean introduced Peter Parker to his new roommate, Brian Braddock, otherwise known as Captain Britain! 

Marvel Team-Up (1972) #65

Marvel Team-Up (1972) #65

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Back in England, representatives of the Commission inquired about hiring Arcade, a master assassin, to kill Braddock because they think he might be Captain Britain.

Meanwhile, in NYC, thanks to a misunderstanding, Braddock assumed that Spider-Man had done something shady to Peter Parker’s apartment, turned into Captain Britain and gave chase. After the requisite fight and origin swap, the heroes made friends just in time for a tricked-out trash truck to trap them both!

In the following issue, Spidey and Cap found out why Arcade charged so much for his hits. Instead of simply killing his targets, the murderer put them inside incredibly complex death traps. In this case, they awoke inside large clear balls that turned out to be part of an enormous, murderous pinball machine. 

Marvel Team-Up (1972) #66

Marvel Team-Up (1972) #66

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The implements of death proved more outlandish and dangerous from there. The heroes figured out how to work together in order to eventually escape Murder World, and also save Braddock’s girlfriend Courtney Ross, destroying what Arcade built in the process. Surprisingly, undeterred by the fact that his quarry escaped and that the people who hired him died, Arcade jauntily moved on to his next project.

Over the years, Arcade’s plied his wicked wares on everyone from various X-Men and The Thing to Hellcat. Luckily, he always leaves a small chance of escape to keep things fair, so our heroes tend to walk away relatively unscathed.

Flash Forward

One group of heroes who did not walk unharmed starred in the book AVENGERS ARENA. In that 18 issue series by Dennis Hopeless and Kev Walker, the bow tie-loving villain had 16 young heroes captured and brought to an elaborate island version of Murderworld. The captured young men and women – including X-23, Chase and Nico from RUNAWAYS and AVENGERS ACADEMY alums Hazmat and Mettle – found themselves dealing with a very serious version of Arcade, not averse to killing kids or releasing the footage he recorded of the event to the public in an effort to expose their actions to the world. Some of the survivors decided to go after their enemy once and for all in the follow-up series AVENGERS UNDERCOVER.

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The face of Peter Parker revealed, Spider-Slayer and more!

For over 50 years, Spider-Man has been a sensational standout in the Marvel Universe, and this summer, the web-slinger swings onto the silver screen once more in “Spider-Man: Homecoming”! In celebration of this stories history, we present Spidey’s spectacular step-by-step story!

Still stuck in the Savage Land in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #104, the wondrous web-head somehow managed to snatch victory from the jaws of an alien monster and rescue both Gwen Stacy and J. Jonah Jameson. Back home again, Spidey saw action alongside his old sparring partner the Human Torch versus the slippery Sandman in MARVEL TEAM-UP #1

Marvel Team-Up (1972) #1

Marvel Team-Up (1972) #1

  • Published: March 10, 1972
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: March 29, 2010
  • Writer: Roy Thomas
  • Penciler: Ross Andru
What is Marvel Unlimited?

The unappreciative Jameson once again hired Professor Smythe and his Spider-Slayer in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #105, which forced the webslinger to act fast to protect his secret identity in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #106 and to hold off the mobsters Smythe’d fallen in with in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #107.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #106

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #106

  • Published: March 10, 1972
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: June 04, 2012
  • Penciller: John Romita
  • Cover Artist: John Romita
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Spidey put up with Johnny Storm again in MARVEL TEAM-UP #2 to protect the Negative Zone portal at the Baxter Building from the Frightful Four. Later, the mystery of Peter Parker’s high school tormentor Flash Thompson deepened in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #108, and so Spidey stepped in to save the day with a little help from Doctor Strange in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #109.

Morbius the Living Vampire flew in for a bite in MARVEL TEAM-UP #3, but not even still more assistance from the Human Torch provided the wallcrawler with the manpower to take him down. It fell to the uncanny X-Men in MARVEL TEAM-UP #4 to shine some light on the situation and help Spidey put the final nail in Morbius’ coffin.

A well-meaning young man named Marty Blank told Spider-Man he wanted to become a super hero in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #110, but our hero unfortunately laughed him off, leaving a gap big enough for Kraven the Hunter to leap into and push Marty into becoming the villainous Gibbon in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #111

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #111

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #111

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After another public smear-campaign against the webslinger by J. Jonah Jameson in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #112, Peter wrestled with a worsening ulcer while Doctor Octopus hit town with his latest crime spree in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #113. When Ock’s war with crime boss Hammerhead heated up in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #114, Spidey swung in for a direct confrontation in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #115 with the eight-limbed maniac, only to wind up on the wrong end of a gun wielded by the doctor’s new housekeeper…Pete’s dear old Aunt May.

By the time the dust cleared and Ock ended up back behind bars, a tussle with both the android Vision and the hulking Monstroid in MARVEL TEAM-UP #5 seemed like a walk in the park to our young wallcrawler.

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Spider-Man and Human Torch join forces against the Sandman!

MARVEL TEAM-UP launched in 1972 and ran for 150 issues, but did you know the very first issue featured two of Marvel’s most popular heroes joining forces on Christmas Eve? Written by Roy Thomas and drawn by Ross Andru, “Have Yourself a Sandman Little Christmas!” brings together Spider-Man and Human Torch in an attempt to stop the title villain who resurfaces on the beach the day before Christmas.

Peter Parker happened to be covering the polar bear plunge when Sandman appears. Considering the villain more of a Fantastic Four foe thanks to his membership in the Frightful Four, Spidey goes looking for help. Johnny Storm’s down in the dumps because of some lady trouble and the Webhead wants to go see his girl Gwen Stacy, but they decide to do the right thing and stop the escaped madman.

The two head over to New Jersey in a version of the Fantasticar, stop to save a woman from muggers and a runaway truck, and eventually find the criminal. They all throw down and Sandy gets the drop on them before making a break for it.

Marvel Team-Up (1972) #1

Marvel Team-Up (1972) #1

  • Published: March 10, 1972
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: March 29, 2010
  • Writer: Roy Thomas
  • Penciler: Ross Andru
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Eventually, the two heroes track the baddie down breaking into an old lady’s house. Instead of robbing her blind, Sandman just wants to say hello on the holidays because it’s his mom. Spider-Man even gives him the present intended for Gwen so she can have something to open.

The heroes decide to leave Sandman alone for the night and go their separate ways, but not before learning about the true spirit of the holidays.

On the eleventh day of X-Mas my true believer gave to me eleven Torches torching, ten hammers a hammering, nine Spideys swinging, eight Hulks a smashing, seven skull ornaments, six claws a-popping, five skiing Rhodeys, four fallen Daredevils, three killer trees, two Doom Bots and a demon in the X-Mansion.

Come back soon for another Holiday Grab Bag featuring MARVEL HOLIDAY SPECIAL 2005.

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