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

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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
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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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Kingpin takes advantage of social tensions to steal a major artifact!

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!

Trouble rumbled through the pages of 1969’s AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #68 by Stan Lee and John Romita. The issue kicked off with Kingpin learning of an ancient clay tablet on display at Empire State University that he wanted, even if it meant throwing down with Spider-Man once again. Meanwhile, Spidey swung around after his battle with Mysterio, grumbling about not snapping any pictures of the fight. He got home only to find that his roommate, Harry Osborn, had locked the window!

The next day Peter Parker went to school on the E.S.U. campus and met Robbie Robertson’s son Randy. Moments after, a fellow student named Josh asked the young scholar about his thoughts on an on-campus issue; apparently the powers that be at the school intended to close down the exhibition hall and turn the building into rooms for visiting alumni. Josh represented a group that wanted the administration to turn that space into low-rent housing for students with financial difficulties.

Things looked up for our hero after he ran into Gwen Stacy and had a nice visit with Aunt May, but we readers learned that the latter had received some bad news from the doctor that she didn’t relay to her nephew. Back on campus the next morning, a protest had begun in an effort to convince the school to turn the hall into cost effective student housing. Josh wanted to take the building by force if necessary which did not sit well with Mr. Parker who pushed away from the group and went inside the hall to look at the tablet.

With enough of a crowd listening to him, Josh called for everyone to rush the hall. Kingpin saw this on TV and realized it would be the perfect distraction to steal the artifact. For his part, Peter also took advantage by snapping pictures of the demonstration. At dark, the villainous crime lord and his crew showed up and used an explosion to draw focus away from them as they ran into the not-so-secure location. Inside, Wilson Fisk actually came face to face with Peter Parker for a moment. As the Kingpin of Crime made his way to his goal, our hero ducked into a corner and changed into the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #68

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #68

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In the chamber holding the artifact, Spider-Man and Kingpin finally battled, with the well-dressed crime boss reminding the hero that his white jacket hid muscles galore. During the fray, Randy ran in and got smashed into a wall by the villain. Spidey grabbed him and escaped as part of the hall came crashing down and Fisk made off with the tablet. In the next issue, the police questioned Randy and Josh, assuming they had helped Kingpin with his plot. Meanwhile, out in the world, the villain allowed Spider-Man to find them, but the Wall-Crawler didn’t fall for the trap. The pair battled fiercely until Fisk’s cane gun backfired on him.

When the cops showed up, Kingpin lied and said that he and Spider-Man were actually allies. So, when the police saw Spidey him later, they opened fire. Peter wound up with the tablet in his possession until AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #71 when he gave it to Captain Stacy right after proving the kids didn’t have anything to do with Kingpin’s crime.

A Tangled Web

Thanks to Peter’s pictures of Kingpin’s attack, Randy Robertson avoided an unjust prison stay. Afterwards the two became friends, but Randy eventually met a woman named Mandy and the two got married. After they split up, the younger Robertson returned to New York City and started rooming with Parker. Years later, Dan Slott brought him back in the pages of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. He started a relationship with Front Line reporter Norah Winters which didn’t sit well with Phil Urich, who doubled as The Hobgoblin. The two broke up after the events of Spider-Island when Norah made more of an effort to cover the story than to save Randy’s life!

Next time, tragedy strikes Peter Parker once again when Green Goblin and Gwen Stacy have a date with destiny in the pages of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #121!

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Peter Parker gives up his crime-fighting career!

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!

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #50 by Stan Lee and John Romita started off like many of the issues that came before, with the title hero making short work of a bunch of wannabe thieves. However, the 1967 comic took more than a few wild turns before the last page. Even though he saved a man and woman from the robbery, the former still worried about the masked man’s presence thanks to all the mud J. Jonah Jameson slung his way. Clearly it bothered the young hero as he thought, “The public! The more I help them…the more they hate me!” after changing back into his civvies.

Just as he arrived at the apartment he shared with Harry Osborn, Peter got terrible news that Aunt May had taken ill. Feeling guilty about not being around when she needed him, Peter let May get some rest and headed back into the world—but of course, he couldn’t focus. The stress led to a worried night that distracted him from studying for a big exam the next day. He also had to turn down an invitation to Gwen Stacy’s party and questioned whether he really knew Mary Jane Watson that well or not!

Wracked with guilt and feeling unappreciated and even hated because of Jameson’s most recent tirade against him, Spidey took to the streets, wandering around and trying to figure out what to do with his life. Ultimately he decided to literally trash his Spider-Man costume and move on! Of course, the suit soon made its way to Jameson’s office at the Daily Bugle and he made a huge deal about playing such an integral part in getting the Webslinger to apparently quit the vigilante business.

Even though he didn’t appreciate Jameson framing his old costume and putting it up in his office, Parker still felt pretty good about leaving the life behind at first. He even got to ostensibly quit his photog gig to focus on school. He spent time with Gwen, Mary Jane ,and Aunt May, which made him feel good about his decision.

However, nature and bad guys abhor a vacuum, so with the hero out of the picture, Kingpin kicked off a crime wave that threatened to wipe the whole city away. Pete thought about running off to help, but remembered he’d quit. Later, though, he couldn’t let a mugging go by without jumping in to help. He then remembered how his lack of effort lead to Uncle Ben’s death and made a pledge to return to his alternate identity.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #50

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #50

  • Published: July 10, 1967
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: John Romita
What is Marvel Unlimited?

“I can never renounce my Spider-Man identity! I can never fail to use the powers which a mysterious destiny has seen fit to give me! No matter how unbearable the burden may be…no matter how great my personal sacrifice…I can never permit one innocent being to come to harm…because Spider-Man failed to act…and I swear that I never will!”

With that, Peter scaled the Daily Bugle building, broke into JJJ’s office, donned the costume, waited around to rub it in the old walrus’ face and swung off to take on the Kingpin in the next issue!

A Tangled Web

After Alistair Smythe accidentally killed Marla Jameson while aiming for her husband, Spider-Man took that pledge from AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #50 up to another level. In AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #655 by Dan Slott and Marcos Martin, Peter first attended Marla’s funeral and then suffered through a gut-wrenching nightmare. With a new outlook, he climbed up and made a new vow to the world: “I’m done,” he said. “Done accepting things the way they are. I swear to you…from now on…whenever I’m around, wherever I am…no one dies!” That theme became a huge one for the rest of Slott’s run on that volume and on through to the current one.

The Wall Crawler tries to deal with Kingpin’s plans and a crisis on campus in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #68 from 1969.

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Will the Wall-Crawler allow mounting pressures to crush him?

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!

Starting college can be crazy-stressful. You’ve got to get a handle on the campus layout, figure out where to take your classes, get all your books and meet the new people you’ll spend most of your life with. As you can imagine, the first day of school for Peter Parker comes filled with trials and tribulations galore!

Starting with 1965’s AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #31, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko started putting the Wall-Crawler through some intense paces. First, he battled some masked and uniformed crooks stealing radioactive devices for The Master Planner. They distracted him long enough to get the stolen goods away, survived a helicopter crash and escaped with SCUBA gear.

The next day, Peter headed to Empire State University for class registration. That night he returned home and Aunt May fainted. He called a doctor who in turn requested an ambulance to take the frail woman to the hospital. Once she got settled and dozed off in her hospital bed, Peter left May and returned home—but didn’t sleep a wink because of worry and guilt.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #31

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #31

  • Published: December 10, 1965
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Steve Ditko
What is Marvel Unlimited?

That put Peter in a less-than-great mood on his first day of school where he blew off brand new characters Gwen Stacy and Harry Osborn repeatedly. By the next issue, Parker’s fuse has run shorter than we’d ever seen. Why? Because he learned that Aunt May’s got radiation poisoning from living with him all these years! All this, and Doctor Octopus revealed himself as The Master Planner!

Spidey then enlisted Dr. Curt Connors to help figure out how to heal Aunt May. They ordered a serum that got stolen by Master Planner at the airport which sent Spider-Man on a searching rampage. This led him to Doc Ock’s underwater headquarters where he unleashed his anger. This actually brought a ton of machinery down on top of him, not to mention water from the river overhead.

In AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #33, broken, beaten, and close to drowning, Spider-Man dug deep, thought about Aunt May and Uncle Ben, and eventually lifted the rubble off of himself and got out before the water rose too high. On the way out, he grabbed the serum, deliriously fought off Master Planner goons, returned to Dr. Connors, and successfully saved his aunt!

A Tangled Web

Noted Spidey scribe Dan Slott referenced the battle between Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus in the underwater lair in the pages of SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #19. At that time, Otto inhabited Peter’s body, but could also access his memories. In doing so, Octavius allowed the Parker personality to dig itself out of the rubble it had been buried under since the ninth issue of that series, eventually paving the way for Peter to regain control of his body, move back over to AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and take on the epic challenge of Spider-Verse.

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Peter Parker’s high school career comes to a molten end!

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!

Do you remember your high school graduation? For a lot of us, the event offered something of a sigh of relief as we put one stage of life behind us and prepared for the next. Sure, we may have had trouble sitting through the speeches, but aside from nerves about tripping on your way to get that diploma, no huge challenges presented. Peter Parker had a lot more going on in Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #28 from 1965. While other Midtown High students ran around getting their caps and gowns, Peter headed over to Dr. Smythe’s lab to get his Spider-Man costume back.

After Spidey switched his actual costume for a store-bought one, Smythe’s assistant Mark Raxton burst in demanding his share of a liquid metal alloy they developed together so he could sell it off and make some quick cash. Peter tried to stop the escalating altercation, but Smythe’s spider-sensitive traps caught him. He watched helplessly as Raxton knocked Smythe out and then tumbled backwards, cracking the jar against a wall and spilling the alloy all over himself.

Out in the world, Raxton realized his new form offered him super strength, some degree of invulnerability, and a numbness to pain. He quickly christened himself “Molten Man” and went to his apartment to plan his first big super villain crime. Spider-Man popped up soon after he arrived and started to brawl. In true Spidey fashion, Peter worried about showing up to graduation with face bruises. The concern proved appropriate as Molten Man shrugged off Web-Head’s strongest blows and webbing proved nearly useless.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #28

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #28

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Eventually the brawl led down into the building’s basement where Spidey killed the lights and used his webbing to bind Raxton’s arms and legs together. The villain still had some fight in him, but the Wall-Crawler did the major lifting so the arriving cops could haul the heavy in.

Back home, Peter and Aunt May had a nice moment where she shared her pride over her nephew’s accomplishments. At the actual ceremony the principal announced that both Flash Thompson and Peter received scholarships to Empire State University. Afterwards, J. Jonah Jameson worked to get Peter back as a Daily Bugle photographer and Liz revealed that she’d had a crush on him all this time!

And with that, Peter Parker left the life of a high school student behind to move on to bigger and better things!

A Tangled Web

As it turned out, this would be Liz Allan’s last appearance for over 100 issues. In AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #132, Gerry Conway and John Romita reintroduced the character by having her bump into Peter on the street. While she rested at Mary Jane’s place, Spider-Man ran into another familiar face: Molten Man! They fought and the villain escaped, leaving Peter with some kind of radiation poisoning. The story carried over into the next issue in which Liz revealed Raxton to be her stepbrother. After high school, she got a job as a nurse to help take care of him. Mark got fed up and escaped, but the lack of treatment made his moniker all the more true with each passing day. Liz stuck around the Spidey books for a while and even married Harry Osborn for a time. After that fell apart, she moved over to DAREDEVIL and started seeing Foggy Nelson.

Between college pressures and Aunt May’s illness, Peter Parker nearly gives up in the pages of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #3133.

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