New Reader Guide: Spider-Man
Welcome to the Austin Books & Comics New Reader Guide! We’re here to introduce some of our favorite books that you may not already know about, and maybe even help you find your next favorite comic series!
Amazing, Spectacular, Ultimate. Lots of different titles have been used to describe arguably Marvel’s (and the world’s) most popular superhero, Spider-Man. First appearing in 1962’s Amazing Fantasy #15, Spider-Man’s enduring popularity is due in no small part to the combination of thrilling superheroics and the relateable drama of being an awkward, nerdy teenager, all under the mantra that with great power must also come great responsibility.
In this guide you’ll find the most accessible Spider-Man (and Spider-related) titles.
All titles are available at the store, and if not we will be happy to special order them for you!
Amazing Spider-Man (2008)
In 2008, Spider-Man experienced a soft reboot of sorts with One More Day, which among other things undid Peter Parker and Mary Jane’s marriage. This brought Spider-Man back to his roots and introduced a brand-new, very accessible status quo. Written by the rotating “Spider-Man Brain Trust” of Dan Slott, Marc Guggenheim, Bob Gale, and Zeb Wells, among others, the Brand New Day era of Spider-Man was a great period for exciting new stories, characters, and long-running plot elements that are still around today.
Superior Spider-Man (2013)
Written by Dan Slott, this controversial series featured Doctor Octopus taking over Peter Parker’s mind. In doing so, he realized why Spider-Man does is the way he is, and decides that not only can he still be Spider-Man, he can do it better. Unfortunately, his villainous tendencies still crop up, such as hitting the bad guys a little too hard and hiring a mercenary army of Spider-Men to enforce his own version of justice.
Amazing Spider-Man (2014)
Written by Dan Slott, the 2014 Marvel NOW! relaunch of Amazing Spider-Man found Peter Parker back in control of his body, but still having to deal with the fallout of Doctor Octopus running the show. This includes fixing strained and broken relationships with friends, family, and the superhero community, and trying to regain the trust of the public.
This story arc (collected in volume 3 of the 2014 run as well as its own deluxe edition with all the tie-ins) brought together basically every alternate version of Spider-Man when a family of interdimensional vampires known as the Inheritors start killing off the Spider-people of different universes. Incredibly fun, exciting, and very funny, this event included and introduced a huge variety of Spider-people such as Spider-UK, the Captain Britain of his universe, anarchist hero Spider-Punk, breakout star Spider-Gwen, and even obscure versions such as the 1970s Japanese Spider-Man (complete with giant robot!) and the black and white daily newspaper comic Spider-Man.
Amazing Spider-Man (2015)
Written by Dan Slott, the most recent relaunch came along with Marvel’s entire linewide relaunch post-Secret Wars. This series finds Peter Parker as the globetrotting CEO of Parker Industries, an international technology company. Not just constrained to the urban jungle of New York, Spider-Man travels all around the world working with allies in SHIELD helping to prevent one global catastrophe after another, as well as preventing Parker Industries tech from being used for evil purposes. Similar in some ways to Tony Stark, but still with the goofy Parker charm.
A throwback to Spider-Man’s early days, this series features Peter Parker trying to balance being a superhero with his regular life as a teenager. Spidey hearkens back to the classic Stan Lee/Steve Ditko era, while bringing a fresh, modern take on the classic Spider-Man tropes.
Written by Brian Michael Bendis, this series follows Miles Morales following the events of Secret Wars, in which elements of the Ultimate and 616 (main) universes were folded together. With Peter Parker operating globally, Miles becomes the main Spider-Man of New York City. Frequently guest-starring the other teen Avengers Ms. Marvel and Nova, Spider-Man is a fun, modern take on the classic Spidey tropes.
Spider-Man and the Human Torch (2005)
A five issue miniseries chronicling Spider-Man and Human Torch’s friendship throughout the years, with each issue taking place in a distinct period in Spider-Man’s (and comics) history from their early days to the present! An accessible, all-ages friendly love letter to the rich history of Spider-Man.
Ultimate Spider-Man (2000)
In 2000, Marvel launched the Ultimate line of comics, in which their classic characters’ origins were reimagined and updated to modern times. The most consistent and enduring of these was Brian Michael Bendis’ Ultimate Spider-Man, which fleshed out Spider-Man’s origins, tying them in with the likes of Harry Osborn, Oscorp, Doctor Octopus, and SHIELD. The series also had new and modern takes on Kraven the Hunter, Mysterio, the Kingpin, Venom, and the infamous Clone Saga, among others. Ultimate Spider-Man was also notable for breaking Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s record for longest run of a single creative team (108 issues in Fantastic Four) with 111 issues written by Bendis and drawn by Mark Bagley.
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man (2009)
After the events of Ultimatum, the entire Ultimate line was relaunched as “Ultimate Comics.” Bendis continued his run, joined by artists such as David Lafuente and Sara Pichelli, further balancing the thrilling action with grounded teen drama. This series was capped off with the Death of Spider-Man event, which saw the death of Peter Parker and the introduction of Miles Morales, who ended up becoming the new Spider-Man.
All-New Ultimate Spider-Man (2011)
Spinning out of the Death of Spider-Man, a new Spider-Man appeared. Miles Morales, a brilliant tween, was bitten by another genetically altered spider inadvertently stolen from OsCorp, which granted him not only the same spider powers as Peter Parker, but also limited invisibility and bioelectric venom blasts. Initially hesitant to use his powers, Miles is pushed by his best friend Ganke to use his newfound abilities to help people and continue the legacy of Spider-Man.
Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man (2013)
Following the Cataclysm event, this relaunch of the Miles Morales Spider-Man series saw the return of Peter Parker, further involvement with SHIELD, as well as a deepening of the conspiracy surrounding Miles’ father and uncle.
Spider-Gwen (2015, 2016)
Written by Jason Latour, this series is a twist on the classic Spider-Man mythos. First appearing in Edge of Spider-Verse #2, Gwen Stacy of Earth-65 was bitten by a radioactive spider, granting her the proportional strength and speed of a spider. This series follows her adventures as Spider-Woman: fighting crooks, playing in a punk band, trying to clear her name for the death of Peter Parker, and hiding her secret identity from her detective father.
Silk (2015, 2016)
Written by Robbie Thompson, spinning out of Spider-Verse, Cindy Moon was a classmate of Peter Parker who was bitten by the same radioactive spider that granted Peter his powers. However, she was unable to control her powers, and is locked in a bunker in order to protect her and her family from Morlun and the Inheritors. She leaves the bunker just prior to the events of Spider-Verse, and soon discovers that her family has disappeared without a trace. The series follows her journey to find her missing family, as well as fit back into the world after being locked away for a decade. Best described as “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt with spider powers,” this series is bright, very funny, and often heartwrenching.
Web Warriors (2015)
Also spinning out of Spider-Verse, this series, written by Mike Costa and draw by David Baldeon, stars a team of multiuniversal Spider-people including Spider-UK, Spider-Gwen, Spider-Ham, steampunk Lady Spider, Spider-Man India, and more, as they help protect the interconnected Web of Life from interdimensional threats. An incredibly fun, exciting series with a distinctive cartoony style, this is a must-read for fans of alternate versions of Spider-Man, and fun comics in general.
Written by Rick Remender, this series introduced a new version of Venom, starring former bully-turned-war hero Eugene “Flash” Thompson. After losing his legs serving in the Middle East, Flash volunteers for an experimental military program in which he is bonded with the Venom symbiote. This grants him not only the ability to walk again, but also super strength, speed, web shooters, and shape shifting powers. Codenamed Agent Venom, Flash can only stay bonded with the symbiote for up to 48 hours at a time before it becomes permanent. Dark, exciting, and deeply introspective, this series adds a ton of depth to what is often dismissed as just another extreme 90s character.
Venom: Space Knight (2016)
After his time with the Guardians of the Galaxy, Flash’s symbiote is purified, and he is recruited by the Agents of the Cosmos, traveling the stars to help those in need. He ends up teaming with depressed robot 803, Skrull soldier Tarna, deceptively cuddly bounty hunter Pik Rollo, and warrior queen Iqa, as well as his now-sentient Klyntar symbiote, as they travel across the galaxy evading bounty hunters and battling despotic warlords.