The 8 Biggest Spider-Man Moments of the 1960s
Get in the '60s spirit ahead of this week's 'Spider-Man: Life Story' #1!
He’s been swinging around New York City for almost 60 years now, so it was only a matter of time until Marvel Comics explored the different decades of Spider-Man.
In the new limited series, SPIDER-MAN: LIFE STORY by Chip Zdarsky and Mark Bagley, readers get glimpses of what the famous wall-crawler was up to during key events of the 1960s (when he first debuted) and then each decade through to the present.
With the ‘60s-era issue dropping tomorrow, we decided to take a look back at some of the biggest, most shocking Spider-Man issues and stories from the 1960s, which was full of firsts for the character. And while there are dozens of issues and stories we could mention, we decided to cap our list at an arachnid eight...
Help us ring in Marvel’s 80th birthday this year by celebrating the early history of one of the world’s most beloved and iconic Super Heroes!
SPIDEY SWINGS ONTO THE SCENE
Peter Parker, the nebbishy student who would become everyone’s friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, first appeared in 1962’s AMAZING FANTASY #15.
The issue, written by Stan Lee and drawn by Steve Ditko, introduced us to Peter, Aunt May, and Uncle Ben. More importantly, the book featured the radioactive spider bite heard ‘round the world—the bite that gave Peter his super powers and forever altered his life.
Mirroring Parker's path, comic readers everywhere would never be the same.
March of 1963 was a big moment for Spider-Man as it marked the publication of his first-ever solo series, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, once again helmed by Lee and Ditko. Jack Kirby also pitched in for the front cover of issue #1, which showed Spider-Man meeting the Fantastic Four.
The debut ish of Spidey’s popular ongoing series also marked the first-ever appearance of none other than J. Jonah Jameson, the Daily Bugle publisher whose favorite pastime involves yelling, smoking cigars, and running stories about how Spider-Man is a “menace” to society.
LET THE GREEN GAMES BEGIN
Thirteen issues later, Spider-Man (and not to mention his readers) met one of the most well-known villains in all of Marvel Comics, the dreaded Green Goblin! To add even more green to the issue, Hulk showed up as a guest star, but let’s focus on the Goblin for now.
The baddie showed up before even Spider-Man did, hopping aboard his motorized “flying broomstick.” In fact, Peter Parker didn’t show up until page 5 of issue #14 of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. The Goblin’s alter-ego of Norman Osborn wouldn’t actually make his debut until issue #37.
MEETING MARY JANE
Issue #25 of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN not only featured Spidey battling a robot controlled by J. Jonah Jameson, it also introduced Mary Jane Watson, Peter Parker’s main love interest over the years. Interestingly, her actual face wasn’t shown in this issue as it was obscured by a flower at Aunt May’s house.
May told Liz Allan and Betty Brant that MJ was the niece of her next-door neighbor and the two women who both remark (in their heads) on Mary Jane’s unbelievable beauty. Of course, Peter would marry MJ a little over two decades later in 1987’s iconic WEDDING! issue by Jim Shooter and David Michelinie.
LOVE AT FIRST STACY
Gwen Stacy showed up for the first time in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #31, an issue dedicated to “you, the great new Marvel breed of reader!”
Sitting behind Peter in class, she remarked (in her head, of course) that he wasn't as husky as Flash Thompson and that he was quite attractive. Meanwhile, Parker was distracted by Aunt May becoming ill and ending up in the hospital. When Harry Osborn proposed that they all play a prank on Peter, Gwen was the only one who objected. Then, when she tried to approach him and “ask for a pen,” his cool and aloof manner made her angry enough to go along with the prank, but when it got Peter in trouble with the professor, she immediately regretted her actions.
Gwen began to think that Peter wasn’t such a bad guy deep down, but when he spurned her advances once again, she lost her temper. Maybe it was better if Gwen had stayed away...as her involvement with Parker led to her death less than a decade later.
FOUR ARMS ARE BETTER THAN TWO
In issue #3 of his first ongoing series, Spider-Man felt that he was too powerful and hoped for an enemy that would pose a real challenge. Little did he know that his desire was about to come true...and then some.
Enter Otto Octavius, a brilliant scientist with a collection of four mechanical arms that allowed him to handle dangerous substances from a safe distance. After a radiation-based accident, Octavius suffered a great deal of brain damage, which drove him insane and into the persona that has troubled Spider-Man ever since. Indeed, the opening pages of the book describe Dock Ock as “The only enemy ever to defeat Spider-Man!”
SOMETHING SINISTER THIS WAY COMES
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #1 marked the initial appearance of the Sinister Six, a team of villains that would haunt Peter again and again over the years, albeit with different lineups. The initial group consisted of Doctor Octopus, Mysterio, Vulture, Kraven the Hunter, Sandman, and Electro.
When the team couldn’t decide on who would attack Spider-Man first, they drew names out of a hat. After that, they decided to send Spidey on a scavenger hunt of sorts, allowing him to beat them up one-by-one as he went along, collecting clues pertaining to the whereabouts of a missing Betty Brant.
SPIDER-MAN NO MORE
Issue #50 opened normally enough with Spider-Man thwarting a bunch of robbers from robbing an office. Afterwards, however, Peter ruminated on the fact that the more Spider-Man helps people, the more the public (like Jameson) hates him.
Upon arriving home, Peter received the news that Aunt May was ill and that if he had just been home, he could have called an ambulance much sooner. To make matters even worse, Peter’s grades began to slip. All of these things infected Peter’s mind, making him believe that he was a menace and that Spider-Man was ruining his normal life. As a result, readers got the now-iconic panel of the Spidey suit hanging out of a dumpster as Parker walked away from it in the pouring rain.
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