See what the second Ultimate Spider-Man's been up to since hopping over to Earth 616.

Celebrate the Wall Crawler’s return to the big screen in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” by heading back to school with these adventures available on Marvel Unlimited!

When the Ultimate Universe version of Peter Parker seemingly passed away, another young man took his place. The half-Hispanic, half-African American teen named Miles Morales continues to use his powers for good to this day. In fact, after Secret Wars shook up all of reality, he’s now doing exactly that on Earth 616.

That new series kicked off by none other than Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli and began with the high school student fighting the demon Blackheart over his fallen Avengers comrades. 

Spider-Man (2016) #1

Spider-Man (2016) #1

  • Published: February 03, 2016
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: August 01, 2016
  • Rating: Rated T
  • Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
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And yet, that seemed like the least terrifying thing the Brooklyn Visions Academy student faced in the first six issues of SPIDER-MAN. First, his mom – worried because his grades slipped a bit – called in his incredibly strict grandmother to watch over him.

The matriarch might have taken his phone away from him, but that didn’t even compare to his best friend, confidante and roommate Ganke revealing to new student Fabio Medina (otherwise known as the mutant Goldballs) Miles’ secret identity as Spider-Man!

Even worse? Black Cat and Hammerhead teamed up to take on this new Spider-Man they found in their midst. Though they got the drop on him, Miles used his venom sting on an epic level to incapacitate most of them and escape. 

Spider-Man (2016) #4

Spider-Man (2016) #4

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Since then, Miles has become and even more important figure in the Marvel Universe after Ulysses saw him standing over the body of Captain America in the pages of CIVIL WAR II. Though the event in question has not yet come to fruition, it’s still rumbling around in everyone’s heads thanks to Steve Rogers’ reveal as the head of Hydra in the pages of SECRET EMPIRE. In fact, he’s so convinced that he’ll commit this crime, he’s committed himself to working with Black Widow to take out the Hydra head!

A Tangled Web

In addition to Web-Slinging his way through his own solo title, Miles has become quite the team player since hopping over to the 616. He started in ALL-NEW, ALL-DIFFERENT AVENGERS before moving over to CHAMPIONS with a number of other younger, disillusioned heroes. That same group has decided to back Black Widow in her aforementioned mission to completely remove Captain America from the chessboard of life in the pages of SECRET EMPIRE.

Up next we close up SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING by taking the most recent look back at the Web-Slinger’s early days in the pages of SPIDEY.

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Earth 65's Spider-Woman Gwen Stacy balances her hero career with family and band relationships!

Celebrate the Wall Crawler’s return to the big screen in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” by heading back to school with these adventures available on Marvel Unlimited!

On Earth 65, instead of a radioactive spider biting Peter Parker, the arachnid chomped down on his classmate Gwen Stacy. Granted the proportionate strength of a spider, plus enhanced reflexes and Spider Sense, she patrolled New York City as Spider-Woman!

Dubbed Spider-Gwen, she first appeared in EDGE OF SPIDER-VERSE #2 by Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez and helped save existence which launched into her own series by the same crew! 

Edge of Spider-Verse (2014) #2

Edge of Spider-Verse (2014) #2

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Instead of worrying about balancing her schoolwork with super heroics, Gwen couldn’t seem to find the balance between her band The Mary Janes and the masked life. Crazier yet, when she came face to face with her father, Captain George Stacy, she unmasked and revealed her true identity to him!

Things got all the more complicated as super villains started trying to kill Captain Stacy and people began asking more questions. They even brought in Lt. Frank Castle to help take down Spider-Woman and figure the whole thing out.

Like her 616 counterpart, Gwen faced off against the likes of The Kingpin – though not in person at first – as well as The Vulture, The Rhino and even Matt Murdock, who’s an evil mob lawyer in her reality!

However, two of the most heart-wrenching foes Spider-Gwen faced came in the form of the Lizard and Green Goblin. See, after she got her powers, her pal Peter Parker became obsessed with Spider-Woman. Wanting to be special himself, he injected himself with a serum that turned him into the Lizard during prom. Gwen jumped in to stop him, but wound up seemingly killing the young man.

Meanwhile, another longtime friend, Harry Osborn, disappeared after Peter’s death. When he returned, he fully blamed Spider-Woman for Peter’s death. To get his own revenge, he created the Green Goblin suit for himself and orange-themed robots to kill her. She finally stopped his rampage – which was aided by some of Peter’s own formula – and revealed her identity to him.

Spider-Woman’s adventures continue in the pages of SPIDER-GWEN as she contines to deal with problems in her own reality as well as a few that connect to the 616.

A Tangled Web

As mentioned above, Spider-Gwen debuted during the Spider-Verse event. Ms. Stacy worked with Peter Parker and Spider-Woman from the 616 among many other spider-folks to stop Morlun and the Inheritors from destroying the web of life by killing all of the spider-folks in all realities. From there she joined up with a group in the pages of WEB WARRIORS featuring Spider-Ham, Spider-Man India, Spider-UK, Spider-Man Noir and Anya Corazon. Though she’s still based on Earth 65, Gwen has crossed over with SPIDER-WOMAN and SILK in the Spider-Women story and also started up a relationship with Miles Morales!

Next week we shine the spotlight on Miles Morales and his post-Secret Wars adventures on Earth 616!

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All-ages action starring your friendly neighborhood Web-Slinger!

Celebrate the Wall Crawler’s return to the big screen in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” by heading back to school with these adventures available on Marvel Unlimited!

One of the best parts about being a comic reader? Bringing new fans into the fold! Comics might not be exclusively for kids anymore, but there remain plenty of all-ages books to share with children and other new readers including MARVEL ADVENTURES SPIDER-MAN!

Renowned creators like Jeff Parker, Sean McKeever, Mike Norton, Zeb Wells, Peter David, Fred Van Lente, Pop Mhan, Ryan Stegman Todd Dezago, Roger Langridge, Paul Tobin, and Chris Samnee all jumped in at various times to tell tales starring not only Spider-Man, but also a variety of other characters from the Marvel Universe! Instead of fully re-telling the original Stan Lee and Steve Ditko stories, these take cues from those while branching out in new directions along the way. The first issue covered the origin while the next two pitted the Web-Slinger against the Sinister Six and the fourth teamed up Spidey and Human Torch first to fight a guy called Street and then the giant monster Goom!

Marvel Adventures Spider-Man (2005) #1

Marvel Adventures Spider-Man (2005) #1

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No matter the threat he faced or the fellow heroes he met up with, Peter Parker balanced all of that with the usual life of a high school science genius whose classmates just don’t understand him. In other words, MARVEL ADVENTURES SPIDER-MAN worked with all of the building blocks of Spider-Man without getting too dark.

Whether you get your hands on the original issues, trades, or the digital versions, these stories make for a fun and exciting entry-point for new readers. In addition to getting to know the basics of Spider-Man and the Marvel Universe, they also offer a great entry course in the ways of actually reading comics.

A Tangled Web

If you’re looking for even more all-ages Spider-Man goodness, go on and check out this book’s precursors: MARVEL AGE SPIDER-MAN and MARVEL AGE SPIDER-MAN TEAM-UP. You can also look for the more recent MARVEL UNIVERSE ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN comic that takes its cues from the Disney XD animated series.

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McKeever and Miyazawa re-imagine Spidey's high school experience with Mary Jane Watson as the star!

Celebrate the Wall Crawler’s return to the big screen in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” by heading back to school with these adventures available on Marvel Unlimited!

High school’s rough for anyone, whether you’re a web-slinging superhero or a teenage girl with a crush on one. Sean McKeever and Takeshi Miyazawa explored the latter with a series of books called MARY JANE, MARY JANE: HOMECOMING and two volumes of SPIDER-MAN LOVES MARY JANE, though other creators helped bring the story to a close. 

Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane (2005) #1

Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane (2005) #1

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Set in an alternate universe in which Peter, Harry Osborn, Mary Jane, Gwen Stacy, Flash Thompson and Liz Allan all attended high school together – Peter met Harry and Gwen in college in the 616 – these stories explore Watson’s ever-changing feelings for the masked man of her dreams!

Initially launched with the four issue limited series MARY JANE in 2004, the overarching story focused on a young woman dealing with the intensity of her feelings while creating a carefree persona. Mirroring the reasons readers initially fell in love with Spider-Man, Mary Jane worried about making money and appeasing her parental units, but not to make web fluid, she wanted to go to the homecoming dance. 

Mary Jane (2004) #1

Mary Jane (2004) #1

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In fact, much of the drama in this series revolved around the big dance, MJ’s desire to buy the perfect dress for it and also figure out who she wanted to go with. She and Harry Osborn might have seemed perfect for each other on paper, but she had another in mind: Spider-Man.

Of course, her best friend Liz Allan thought her crazy for wanting such a thing, but she really lost her mind after seeing MJ and Flash in am apparently romantic moment!

All the while, a nerdy kid named Peter Parker started appearing more and more in Mary Jane’s life, first as a tutor and then as more of a friend. We all know how that relationship evolved in one version of the Wall-Crawler’s history, but to see what happens in this one, you’ll just have to read all of SPIDER-MAN LOVES MARY JANE which ended with a five issue limited series second season volume in 2009.

A Tangled Web

While MARY JANE and SPIDER-MAN LOVES MARY JANE didn’t see the title character become a super hero, that’s not the case with every other version of MJ from the various realities. In EXILES we met a version of Watson who not only became Spider-Woman, but also joined the Avengers as seen in EXILES #20. She and the dimension-hopping Sunfire strike up a relationship as they all battle the spreading threat of the Phalanx aided by Asgardians. Later, during a time when the team found themselves displaced on various dimensions, Sunfire and MJ got to spend six weeks together before the Exile teleported away on another adventure.

In the next installment we take a look at the all ages books SPIDER-MAN ADVENTURES!

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Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale plumb the depths of Peter Parker’s sadness!

Celebrate the Wall Crawler’s return to the big screen in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” by heading back to school with these adventures available on Marvel Unlimited!

The death of Gwen Stacy might almost seem like a curious footnote to readers today. Sure, she’s popped up from time to time in recent years, usually as a clone in an effort to play with Spider-Man’s head, but beyond that, decades’ worth of readers saw Peter Parker with other women. However, Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale captured exactly what Gwen meant to Peter in the pages of SPIDER-MAN: BLUE. The six-issue limited series released in 2002 revolved around Spidey’s alter ego talking to his lost love about their time together through a tape recorder.

In the first issue we saw Spider-Man quietly leave a rose on top of the George Washington Bridge. To the recorder he said, “It’s about remembering someone who was so important to me I was going to spend the rest of my life with her. I didn’t know that meant she would only get to spend the rest of her life with me.” Peter then jumped around, recounting how a battle with The Green Goblin—who knew his secret identity at the time—seemed to leave Norman Osborn with amnesia. Not long after, Harry Osborn asked Parker to room with him.

As Peter and Gwen became friendlier, a shadowy individual began manipulating the villainous likes of Rhino, Vulture, Lizard, and others. That paled in comparison, though, to our hero feeling pulled between two awesome women in his life who both seemed interested in him: Gwen and the newly introduced Mary Jane Watson. Not only does SPIDER-MAN: BLUE capture much of the feel of these original stories from the 70s, but it also distills much of the action for readers who might not be inclined to jump into the ongoing adventures of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN from that time.

Spider-Man: Blue (2002) #1

Spider-Man: Blue (2002) #1

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Meanwhile, Loeb and Sale also capture that thrill of youth that comes with breaking out in the world for the first time. Peter’s still in school at this point, but he’s moving away from home and hanging out with people that seem to really like him. Not bad for a kid described as a “professional wallflower” in his first appearance.

Of course, since we all know how that Peter/Gwen story ends, it makes it all the more heartbreaking to see how it began and really started to flourish. Spider-Man would deal with the trauma of losing his first love and learn to put himself out there again, but he’d never forget how Gwen Stacy changed his life.

A Tangled Web

The real Gwen Stacy returned recently in the pages of THE CLONE CONSPIRACY written by Dan Slott. In the first issue of that series, Spider-Man ran into his former girlfriend while fighting Rhino and Electro at a New U facility. In a back-up story, we flashed back to the day Green Goblin snatched Stacy from Peter’s apartment and took her to that ill-fated bridge. This tale revealed Gwen as conscious during Spider-Man’s confrontation with the masked Osborn. As they fought, she learned the Wall Crawler’s true name and felt betrayed because of his presumed involvement in her father’s death. After her fall, she awoke in a lab run by Ben Reilly in his Jackal disguise and learned that she had been reanimated from her existing DNA complete with memories along with her father. She agreed to work with Reilly in building New U.

Another important woman in Peter Parker’s life takes her turn next time as we look at SPIDER-MAN LOVES MARY JANE.

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Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley reimagine Peter Parker!

Celebrate the Wall Crawler’s return to the big screen in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” by heading back to school with these adventures available on Marvel Unlimited!

Back in 2000, Marvel came up with this wild idea to start a new imprint with a few writers who had promise along with some established artists. Of course, that resulted in the Ultimate Universe and books like ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN by a couple of guys named Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley. The series ran for years with the same creative team.

Bendis and Bagley kicked their run off with a seven-issue take on Spider-Man’s origin that really dove in and fleshed out a lot of the details while also updating the setting and adding new threads. For instance, the spider that bit Peter actually came from one of Norman Osborn’s labs, which connected the two right from the get-go. In an effort to replicate the results found in Parker, Osborn injected himself with a similar concoction that turned him into The Green Goblin.

After facing off against the Goblin for the first time, Peter scored a gig at “The Daily Bugle” and soon found out about a mobster calling himself The Kingpin. He then took on the master criminal as well as his goons, the Enforcers, and Electro.

With that adventure out of the way and having put a wedge between him and next-door neighbor/friend Mary Jane Watson, Peter decided to have a heart-to-heart with the young lady. In a major shift away from tradition, this version of Parker revealed to MJ his secret identity as Spider-Man! Understandably skeptical, Mary Jane laughed at first and denied the admission. So, Peter did the only thing he could: he jumped onto the wall, then stuck to the ceiling. First he explained where the powers came from, then he said taking her web-swinging would be too dangerous and then explained that she could never tell anyone.

Ultimate Spider-Man (2000) #1

Ultimate Spider-Man (2000) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

He also answered another important question, namely why he told her about all of this even though he knew it could be dangerous: “Because—you know—I’ve been really hurting your feelings lately because of this. Always running away or-or not being where I say I am going to be and—and you deserve better than that—you-you-you deserve to know the truth and—I just—I needed to tell you.”

Mary Jane then admitted she thought he brought her to his room for a first kiss, which seemed like a good idea until Aunt May busted in with Mary Jane’s mom on the phone talking about hanky panky and being safe. Even with proper amounts of mortification running through him, Peter still felt enough happy to enjoy the moment afterwards.

Peter and Mary Jane’s relationship went through a lot of changes over the rest of his life, as they broke up and got back together a number of times. She mourned him when he seemingly died, but the two reunited after he resurfaced and left to travel the country while Miles Morales continued his efforts as Spider-Man.

A Tangled Web

The ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN comic book offered more than just its name to the Disney XD animated series that wrapped up with its fourth and final season back in January. “Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man” focused on a high school aged Peter Parker who went from new hero on the block to someone worthy of not just Avengers membership, but also saving time and spice with his fellow Web Warriors. The show did differ in one major respect, though: Peter attended a high school run by S.H.I.E.L.D.! This gave him a great reason to hang out with fellow student-heroes like Luke Cage, Nova, White Tiger, Iron Fist, and others!

Next, Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale explore the impact of Peter Parker’s relationship with Gwen Stacy in the pages of SPIDER-MAN: BLUE!

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John Byrne updates the wall-crawler’s earliest adventures for the 90s!

Celebrate the Wall Crawler’s return to the big screen in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” by heading back to school with these adventures available on Marvel Unlimited!

After 30-some years, Spider-Man had racked up hundreds of stories, and getting your hands on those earliest tales didn’t prove the easiest thing in the world. So, to bring new readers into those primal days of the web-slinger, legendary writer-artist John Byrne launched SPIDER-MAN: CHAPTER ONE in 1998.

The series ran for about a year, notching 13 issues total including #0 that dove into the origins of villains like Sandman, Vulture, and The Lizard. In addition to expanding the stories and working in a variety of other details, Byrne also updated styles and included newer technology.

As you can imagine, Byrne tackled Spidey’s origin story in his first issue. In this updated version, the radioactive spider didn’t just bite Peter, but also caused a massive accident that fused Dr. Otto Octavius’ robotic arms to his body. Uncle Ben’s killer also revealed that he thought Spider-Man a fellow criminal who had been casing out the Parker place adding yet another layer of guilt for the young man.

In the second issue, which played with elements from AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1, Byrne integrated elements from the two stories, which had been separate in the original issue. In this case, Chameleon dressed up as the wall-crawler to withdraw all of the money he’d earned as a celebrity. This also led to his attempt to get a job with the Fantastic Four, but we all know how that ended!

Spider-Man: Chapter One (1998) #1

Spider-Man: Chapter One (1998) #1

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As the series continued, Byrne pitted Spider-Man against villains like Vulture, Electro, Doctor Doom, Doctor Octopus, Lizard, Sandman, Mysterio, Green Goblin, and Kraven as well as more human foes like Flash Thompson and J. Jonah Jameson. Along the way, the new hero teamed up with the Fantastic Four, Hulk, Giant-Man, Wasp, and Daredevil in his original togs. These stories not only capture the spirit of the original tales, but also bring them into a modern era that might make them more palatable for a portion of the audience. Plus, any time you get to see Byrne draw all these amazing characters in their classic costumes, that’s a great thing to experience.

A Tangled Web

If you’re looking for another modern look at Spider-Man’s earliest days, check out the 2008 five-issue series SPIDER-MAN: WITH GREAT POWER by David Lapham and Tony Harris. Instead of recreating existing adventures, this series takes a closer look at our hero’s time as a media celebrity between getting bitten by the radioactive spider and Uncle Ben’s death. It’s strange to see someone in that familiar costume with such a conceited, self-centered point of view, but it makes his eventual fall all the more impactful.

Next time, Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley create an all-new Web-Head in a brand new universe with ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN!

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Kurt Busiek and company explore the web-slinger’s hidden adventures!

Celebrate the Wall Crawler’s return to the big screen in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” by heading back to school with these adventures available on Marvel Unlimited!

You might think you know everything about the Web-Head’s earliest days in costume after reading his first few years of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, but there’s so much more! Enter UNTOLD TALES OF SPIDER-MAN, which launched in 1995, wherein we see Spidey experiencing more than his fair share of bumps along the way to becoming a well-respected member of the super hero community.

Writer Kurt Busiek wove the webs along with collaborators Pat Olliffe, Ron Frenz, G.L. Lawrence, Al Williamson, Tom DeFalco, Bob McCleod, and Roger Stern for 25 regular series issues, two annuals and a -1 issue you can read more about below. As the book progressed, readers saw Spider-Man interact not only with familiar villains like Electro and Sandman, but also new characters like Batwing, Scorcher, and even Peter’s high school classmate Jason Ionello.

Untold Tales of Spider-Man (1995) #1

Untold Tales of Spider-Man (1995) #1

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The stories also give more context to Parker’s job at the Daily Bugle, his failed attempts at dating Betty Brant, his relationship with Captain Stacy, and even his friendship with Johnny Storm. Highlights from the series include issue #12’s deeper look into Betty’s life, Spidey’s confrontation with a Black Widow-controlled Hawkeye in #17 and his team-up with the original X-Men as seen in #21.

Also, do yourself a favor and check out UNTOLD TALES OF SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL ‘96 by Busiek and Mike Allred with Joe Sinnott on inks. The resulting 48 pages of awesome feature Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, and Namor, plus the first and only date between Sue Storm and Spidey! Hi-jinks in the mighty Marvel manner ensue!

A Tangled Web

One of the most interesting UNTOLD issues actually came as part of the Flashback event of 1997 which saw many ongoing series roll back the hands of time with “minus 1” issues. Roger Stern and John Romita, Sr. jumped in for this particular one and told the tale of Richard and Mary Parker! Have you ever wondered why we don’t hear much about Peter’s parents? Well, maybe it’s because they worked as spies for Nick Fury! In this adventure, the couple follow a Baroness with questionable ties who wound up holding a certain Agent 10—otherwise known as Logan!—along with her leader, a disguised Baron Von Strucker. The story even ends with the happy couple discovering that they’re expecting a bundle of joy!

John Byrne updates the Web-Head’s oldest adventures for a new audience in the pages of SPIDER-MAN: CHAPTER ONE!

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The Parker Luck wreaks havoc on Spidey’s graduation day!

Celebrate the Wall Crawler’s return to the big screen in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” by heading back to school with these adventures available on Marvel Unlimited!

Though it may have taken him over 150 issues, Peter Parker finally graduated from college in the pages of 1978’s AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #185 by Marv Wolfman and Ross Andru. One major question seemed to hang over the event and it even made its way onto the cover: “Will the specter of Spider-Man ruin this joyous day?” Let’s find out!

Most of the issue wrapped up Spidey’s ongoing battle with White Dragon, the Dragon Lord who intended to bring all of the gangs in New York City together under his control. After the Wall Crawler survived a vat of burning acid, our hero faced the villain in the streets and took him out with a mix of brains and brawn.

That segued nicely into a second story, which cordially invited us to the graduation of Mr. Peter Parker from Empire State University. In true Parker fashion, he ducked into an alley to change out of his hero togs. Shortly after, he ran into Harry Osborn and Flash Thompson who showed up to cheer their friend on.

The Parker Luck kept playing with our hero as the man passing out caps and gowns couldn’t find Peter’s name on his list. Still, he handed over a too-large extra for him to wear. Worse yet, they didn’t have a seat for Pete and failed to put him in the program! Meanwhile, Robbie Robertson sat with Aunt May as they turned on the television to see the commencement in progress. Peter borrowed the Daily Bugle’s video equipment to set up a live feed for his beloved mother figure to watch the proceedings from her sick bed.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #185

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #185

  • Published: October 10, 1978
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: May 26, 2014
  • Penciller: Ross Andru
  • Cover Artist: Ross Andru
What is Marvel Unlimited?

A lengthy—and boring—speech from J. Jonah Jameson didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s spirits too much, but Peter felt a downpour when they skipped over his name during diploma deployment. Afterwards, he asked the dean what had happened and he explained that Parker lacked one gym class credit to graduate. His secretary tried contacting Peter, but he had been so busy fighting villains that he missed the calls!

As Parker walked away, steaming, he answered the question posed on the cover: “Once again, the specter of Spider-Man has ruined my life!” Then, he stepped outside and his perspective changed. Peter understood that he’d knock out one more class, officially graduate in a few months and then be fully out in the real world!

A Tangled Web

Spider-Man might be Empire State University’s most amazing graduate, but plenty of other well-known characters have walked those hallowed halls. For example, Johnny Storm—aka The Human Torch—attended the academic institution. In FANTASTIC FOUR #371, Johnny contemplated leaving the team behind while walking to his next class. Not long after, Paibok, Devos and Storm’s ex-wife Lyja all attacked him, leading to an all-out battle that left the campus in ruins, especially after the Torch decided to go nova to stop the Skrulls. In the following issue, Johnny turned himself in to the cops for nearly destroying the university and also learned that he’d been expelled. Storm’s longtime pal Spider-Man showed up to help as the story progressed and things got worse for The Human Torch before they got better.

Next time we fast forward to 1995 wherein Kurt Busiek turned back the clock to tell UNTOLD TALES OF SPIDER-MAN!

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Tragedy strikes the Web-Slinger once again as Peter Parker suffers a personal loss!

Celebrate the Wall Crawler’s return to the big screen in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” by heading back to school with these adventures available on Marvel Unlimited!

Like many of the greatest heroes, Spider-Man grew out of the tragedies he endured throughout his life. When we first met him in AMAZING FANTASY #15, he lost his beloved Uncle Ben. Over the next several years he’d face more trials and tribulations, but in 1973’s AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #121, the bottom fell out of his world thanks to the Green Goblin.

Gerry Conway, Gil Kane and John Romita worked together on that issue as well as its follow-up which started heavy and just got more intense. Peter had gone to Canada in the previous installment to snap pics of The Hulk, but came home to his roommate and friend Harry Osborn in his sick bed. It turned out that his friend had taken another bad LSD trip that could potentially lead to schizophrenia.

Harry’s dad Norman took all this very hard and blamed Peter as well as his girlfriend Gwen Stacy and their friend Mary Jane Watson. At this point, the elder Osborn’s Goblin persona had been buried along with the knowledge that Peter Parker filled out Spider-Man’s suit. The stress of his son’s sickness built up the breaking point, leaving Norman a mess. He eventually found his way to an old warehouse that held his Goblin gear. Wanting revenge on Peter, the villain grabbed Gwen and left a pumpkin bomb waiting in his apartment.

Off his game thanks to a wicked head cold, the Web-Spinner swung out into the city to find the Goblin who had set up shop on the top of the George Washington Bridge. During the ensuing fight, the emerald-hued baddie skimmed past the unconscious Gwen and sent her toppling off the side of the bridge. Instead of jumping after her, Spidey sent out some webs which did grab her around the legs, but that didn’t stop a sickening “Snap” sound from letting out. As he pulled her back up to him, Spider-Man quickly realized that she had died. Even the Goblin tried easing his enemy’s guilt by saying the fall—not its abrupt conclusions—killed the young woman, but that didn’t seem to help much.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #121

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #121

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In the following issue, an enraged Peter looked all over town for Norman, eventually getting some information about the warehouse from Robbie Robertson. During the battle, Spider-Man damaged the Goblin Glider, which Osborn attempted to use against the Web-Slinger, but Spidey leaped out of the way and it lodged itself into the villain’s own chest. Even with his girlfriend’s killer dead, Parker felt no relief from the pain. An old friend, namely Mary Jane, helped Peter deal with his grief.

A Tangled Web

Even though he repeatedly referred to Gwen Stacy as “boring” in the 2007 introduction to the DEATH OF THE STACYS trade paperback, writer Gerry Conway recognized that the character became far more interesting after her death. One of the cases he specifically pointed out in that intro came in the form of 1994’s MARVELS #4 by Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross. While trying to prove Spider-Man’s innocence in the death of Gwen’s dad Captain Stacy—originally published in the pages of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #8892—the series’ star Phil Sheldon befriended the young woman. Through the course of their meetings, the jaded photographer realized that the heroes surrounding them “were here to save the innocent.” He went to meet her the day she died at the hands of the Goblin; the incident left him crushed and even led him to quit the photography game.

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