The Amazing Spider-Man
Introduction to Amazing Spider-Man
Spider-Man first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15, and proved popular enough to get his own title seven months later. Amazing Spider-Man #1 was released with a cover date of March 1963 and ran for 700 issues over 50 years, rebooted a couple of times and switched back to the original numbering system in 2017. Steve Ditko - whose unusual art direction stood in stark contrast to that of Jack Kirby, Marvel’s most noted artist of the era - drew the first 38 issues. When he left, John Romita, Sr. took over as the main artist and did most of the title’s story art for the next 77 issues and most of the covers through issue Amazing Spider-Man #168. Stan Lee continued writing the stories through the 100th issue in 1971. After Romita’s stint as primary artist, and Lee’s stint as the primary writer, the series had frequent changes in artists and writers in the ensuing years. Best known artist include Gil Kane, John Byrne, and Ross Andru. It was Todd McFarlane’s art in 1988 that had the greatest impact since Romita took over. His run was so popular, they let Todd write and draw a new book simply called Spider-Man.
Brief History of The Amazing Spider-Man
In the early issues, Peter Parker is a high school student, who begins working as a freelance photographer at The Daily Bugle. In 1965, Parker graduated from high school and began attending Empire State University shortly thereafter (Amazing Spider-Man #31). As the series progresses, Parker enters into a romantic relationship with Gwen Stacy, which ends in dramatic fashion when she is killed during a fight between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin (Amazing Spider-Man #121). The Goblin meets his own untimely end in the following issue. Gwen's death serves as a catalyst to bring Peter and Mary Jane closer together. Peter falls in love with her, and in a story published in 1987, they get married (Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21).
Many of the most important characters were introduced in the first few years of the Amazing Spider-Man comic during the Lee/Ditko era. The Amazing Spider-Man #1 saw the introduction of publisher and Peter’s boss J. Jonah Jameson, his son John Jameson who later becomes Man-Wolf and Spider-Man's first super-villain, the Chameleon. In the months that followed, Vulture, Doctor Octopus, Sandman, the Lizard, Electro, Mysterio, Scorpion and perhaps his greatest villain, the Green Goblin, in Amazing Spider-Man #14 were all introduced.
Moving past the Lee/Ditko era, we encounter a few baddies over the decades. The first would Kingpin in Amazing Spider-Man #50. His popularity is such that he’s gone on to terrorize several super-heroes throughout the Marvel Universe. Mobius, featured in a recent movie made his debut in Amazing Spider-Man #101 followed shortly by the spin-off character with the most success, the Punisher in Amazing Spider-Man #129. The Hobgoblin flew onto the scene in 1983’s Amazing Spider-Man #238. The most recent two to have a big impact on Spider-Man’s life are Venom (Amazing Spider-Man #300) and Carnage (Amazing Spider-Man #361) from 1988 and 1992 respectively.
Peter’s Love Interest
Spider-Man’s love life as Peter Parker is perhaps more varied than any other super-hero ever produced. Superman may still have his Lois Lane after 80 years but not so with Peter. Betty Bryant and Liz Allen both pursued Peter starting with Amazing Spider-Man #4. Mary Jane Watson is first mentioned by name in issue #15 and after several cameos finally meets Peter in the last panel of Amazing Spider-Man #42. In the meantime, we saw in Amazing Spider-Man #31 the introduction of Parker's Silver Age love interest Gwen Stacy, as well as Prof. Warren, who later becomes the Jackal and his future best-friend-turned-enemy Harry Osborn. After Gwen Stacy’s tragic death at the hands Green Goblin as chronicled in Amazing Spider-Man #121, after a time, Mary Jane became his main love interest. No commitment was made and Black Cat (Amazing Spider-Man #194), Silver Sable (Amazing Spider-Man #265) and several others have wormed their way into Peter’s heart. But he always seems to come back to Mary Jane.
Everyone has their own favorites. Here’s popular ones you can check out.
Amazing Spider-Man #31 through #33
Aunt May’s health is in danger! A common troupe during the early years but we now have a fleshed out cast we can bring in. Parker’s new classmates wondering why he’s ignoring them, Doc Connors (the Lizard) is pulled in to secretly examine Peter’s blood, May’s only hope and what’s Doc Ock up to? One of the best cliff-hangers at the end of Amazing Spider-Man #32. Stan Lee and Steve Ditko at their peak.
Amazing Spider-Man #50 through #52
Its always nice to make your debut with a classic cover and Amazing Spider-Man #50 is arguably the best Silver Age Spider-Man. Kingpin decides to make his move on Manhattan now that word is out that Spider-Man has quit. Others with nefarious intent also want their voices heard in this 3-part story of triumph and tragedy. Stan Lee and John Romita Sr. are the creators of this tale.
Amazing Spider-Man #121, 122
As mentioned previously, the death of Gwen Stacy had a huge impact on the stories that followed and is a pretty good tale of tragedy and loss in its own right. Gerry Conway, John Romita Sr. and Gil Kane produced this classic.
How much are Amazing Spider-Man comics worth and what is the most expensive Amazing Spider-Man sold at auction?
Amazing Spider-Man #1 is currently ranked #7 on the Overstreet Top 50 Silver Age Comics list, and put the value for a Near Mint Minus (9.2) at $78,000. In fact, high-grade copies consistently fetch higher values than Overstreet listings. In November of 2016, the CGC 9.6 Curator Copy went for $262,900 in a Heritage auction.
Be aware that no matter the comic, the condition of the comic has an overwhelming effect on its value -- with mint condition comics being exponentially more valuable than anything else.
What are the most expensive Amazing Spider-Man comics?
The earliest issues in the series are typically the most valuable, although milestone stories will elevate associated issues higher than other issues immediately preceding or after. Ranging in value in 9.2 from $14,000 to $3,900, the 2019 Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide ranks the following 10 issues as the most valuable:
1) #1 – Spider-Man’s origin is retold. First appearances of J. Jonah Jameson and the Chameleon. Fantastic Four appearance.
2) #2 – First appearance of the Vulture and the Terrible Tinkerer.
3) #3 – First appearance of Doctor Octopus.
4) #4 – Origin and first appearance of the Sandman.
5) #5 – Dr. Doom appearance.
6) #14 – First appearance of the Green Goblin.
7) #6 – First appearance of the Lizard
8) #13 – First appearance of Mysterio.
9) (tie) #7 – The Vulture reappears and #9 – Origin and first appearance of Electro.
Amazing Spider-Man #4 Value
The second most expensive Spider-Man to sell at Heritage Auctions after Amazing Spider-Man #1 is #4, the Twin Cities CGC 9.6 issue for $77,675 in May, 2011.
Amazing Spider-Man #2 Value
Next would be Amazing Spider-Man #2, a CGC 9.6 copy, without a pedigree at $72,895 in November of 2015.
Amazing Spider-Man #1 Cover Art
The cover art for Amazing Spider-Man #1 was created by Steve Ditko, a well-known comic book artist, and the co-creator of Spider-Man.
How Much is Original Spider-Man Cover Art Worth?
Todd McFarlane blew away the competition with his staggering auction price of $657,250 for his Hulk-defying Amazing Spider-Man #328 cover sold July 2012. At the time of its sale, it tied for the highest price paid for a US comic art page.
Long-time favorite John Romita Sr. takes 2nd place in the Heritage Auctions archive with his sale of the cover to Amazing Spider-Man #100. Inked by Frank Giacoia, this cover features headshot of every important person in Spider-Man’s life through the first 100 issues. It garnered $478,000 in February 2018.
Most recently, March 2020, John Romita Sr. struck again with his first cover appearance of Kingpin on Amazing Spider-Man #51 for the tune of $312,000.
Heritage Auctions has not been offered or ever sold an Amazing Spider-Man cover by Steve Ditko.
Characters from Amazing Spider-Man
Popular characters who made their debut in Spider-Man and went on to their own series include: Mobius (first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #101); Punisher (debuted in Amazing Spider-Man #129); Venom (broke on to the scene in Amazing Spider-Man #300). All have had at least one Hollywood movie produced.
How to tell original Amazing Spider-Man #1 from a reprint?
Golden Records included a reprint of Spider-Man #1 in 1966 that look very much like the real thing. Look for a price. The reprint doesn’t have one. It also only contains 24 pages instead of 32. All the ads are striped from the reprint. In 2003, to promote the new Spider-Man movie, newspapers all around the country included a reprint of Amazing Spider-Man. The telling giveaways are they put a black border around the front cover, fewer pages and modern ads.
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