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The Amazing Spider-Man

Comic Books

Publisher: Marvel

Spider-Man first appeared in issue #15 of Amazing Fantasy, and proved popular enough to get his own title seven months later. The first issue of The Amazing Spider-Man was released in March 1963 and ran for 700 issues over 50 years, ending its run with the February, 2012 issue. 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 #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. Many of the most important characters were introduced in the first few years of the comic, the Lee/Ditko era. The first issue saw the introduction of J. Jonah Jameson and Spider-Man's first super-villain, the Chameleon. In the months that followed, Doctor Octopus, Sandman, the Lizard, the Green Goblin, Mysterio, and the Scorpion were all introduced. Issue #31 saw the introduction of Parker's future love interest Gwen Stacy and his future best-friend-turned-enemy Harry Osborn. Mary Jane Watson made her first appearance in issue #45, and the Kingpin made his first appearance five issues later. 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. 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 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. 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. The 2015 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 Doc Octopus. 4) #4 – Origin and first appearance of the Sandman. 5) #5 – Dr. Doom appearance. 6) (Tie) #6 – First appearance of the Lizard and #14 – First appearance of the Green Goblin. 7) #13 – First appearance of Mysterio. 8) #9 – Origin and first appearance of Electro. 9) #7 – The Vulture reappears. 10) # 11 – First appearance of Bennett Brant. Issue #1 is currently ranked by Overstreet as #5 on its Top 50 Silver Age Comics list, and estimates that a copy in Near Mint Minus is worth $60,000. In fact, high-grade copies consistently fetch higher values than Overstreet’s listings. In 2012, a Near Mint copy went for over $100,000 in a Heritage auction.

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