Tangled Webs: What Are Your Favorite Spider-Man Stories?

The upcoming release of Spider-Man: Homecoming gives an excuse to do something the Crawlspace has never done: A countdown of the best Spider-Man stories as chosen by the panelists and columnists.

But we felt it was important to also get a sense of what the readers/ listerners want. So you guys are invited to send in your own lists, which will be compiled in the Crawlspace Readers edition of the best of Spider-Man in a few months.

Here’s how it’s going to work: You pick your 15 favorite Spider-Man stories, and rank them. Then email the list to spidertop50cs@gmail.com. I made an email account just for you guys.

I’ll then compile a master list based on how many points stories get. If something is your favorite story, it gets 4 points. If it’s in your top five, it gets three. If it’s in your top ten, it just gets two. If it’s one of the honorable mentions (11-15) it gets one point. There will also be bonus points based on how many people have chosen a particular story (So if nine people have a story in their Top 15, it gets nine bonus points.) The difference between your second favorite story, and your fourth favorite, to give an example, could be a tiebreaker if two or more stories receive an equal number of points when it’s time to tally everything.

I suppose the main questions are what’s eligible, what the criteria are, and how you would count stories that could be done in different ways. For example, is a vote for “Spider-Man No More” in Amazing Spider-Man #50 a vote for the first Kingpin saga? (Yes) Would you have to split Mark Millar’s run into three four issue chunks (Nope.)

This should be limited to Spider-Man comics. So, it wouldn’t count movies, television, prose or video games. The main criteria is quality, so a good comic book that doesn’t necessarily say anything significant about Spider-Man would still count. It can feature any version of Spider-Man, be it the classic Spider-Man, the Ultimate Spider-Man, an alternate future Spider-Man, etc.

Even if Spider-Man’s appearance is limited and even if he doesn’t appear in the comic, if a comic is identifiably a Spider-Man product (IE- Tom Defalco’s Green Goblin monthly, a Tangled Web issue where Spider-Man barely appears) it counts. For the most part, minor guest-starr appearances and event books (IE- Infinity Gauntlet) don’t count. Spider-Man tie-ins to those events would count, as would significant guest-starr appearances, or team books where Spider-Man is a member and has a prominent role in that particular issue/ storyline.

Here are our decisions on stories of ambiguous length (the material that one reader might see as one storyline, which others might see as multiple stories.) Mentioning a story is not the equivalent of an endorsement.

The early Lee/ Ditko issues of Amazing Spider-Man with multiple tales will count as one entry each. The way I figure it, that was how the writer and artist meant for it to be read. So Amazing Spider-Man #1 counts as one story. Amazing Spider-Man #2 counts as one story.

Spider-Man quitting from Amazing Spider-Man #17-19 could count as one story.

The first appearance of the Rhino, and Mary Jane’s arrival from Amazing Spider-Man #41-43 counts as one story.

“Spider-Man No More” would be considered part of the Kingpin three parter from Amazing Spider-Man #50-52.

The Tablet of Time (Amazing Spider-Man #68-77) is widely considered one big story, so I’m fine with that.

“The Return of the Burglar” would include several preceding stories that set it up (Amazing Spider-Man #193-200) with the first appearance of the Black Cat, the departure of the Kingpin, and the return of Mysterio.

Roger Stern’s Hobgoblin saga would probably count as three separate stories (238-239, 244-245, 249-251.)

The Owl/ Octopus war and its aftermath (Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #72-79) would count as one big story.

The Alien Costume saga (Amazing Spider-Man #252-259) would count as one story.

The issue in which Peter proposes to Mary Jane (Amazing Spider-Man #290) and the subsequent Spider Slayer two-parter (Amazing Spider-Man #291-292) would count as one story. The wedding (Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21) is its own story.

DeMatteis’ first Spectacular Spider-Man run counts as multiple stories. I’d list the Child Within and it’s epilogues (178-185) as one story, Funeral Arrangements as another, and #200 as a third. I’d also list #189-190 (featuring encounters with Harry Osborn and the Rhino) as one story, since the latter is a clear epilogue.

The Clone Saga is way too big to count as one story, so we’d consider the separate parts. For example, Web of Carnage would be one story.

The Gathering of the Five, and the Final Chapter from the 1990s were part of the same arc even if it was marketed as two different storylines, so that count as one piece.

“Confessions” from Ultimate Spider-Man #13 continues plot threads from the Learning Curve storyline so it’s part of the package.

“The Conversation” from Amazing Spider-Man Volume 2 #38 resolves a cliffhanger from JMS’s first TPB so I’d include it as part of the Coming Home storyline (which also includes Amazing Spider-Man Volume 2 #30-35.)

Mark Millar’s Marvel Knights Spider-Man run counts as one big story, which is typically how these kinds of lists do it.

The Gauntlet: Rhino (Amazing Spider-Man #617, 625) had a break in between, but it has a beginning, middle and end, and it’s by the same creative team, so it’s one big story. It was originally meant to be one issue.

The decision was that the first ten issues of Superior Spider-Man would count as one story with the ghost Peter plot, and its epilogue. “Dying Wish” is a separate story. For later Superior Spider-Man stories you could vote for the issue in the case of standalones or the arc (IE- Superior Venom or Goblin Nation would be one story each.)

Some recent event stories have had tie-in mini-series, so it can get complicated figuring out what counts as a vote for the main series. Would a vote for Spider Island include the Cloak and Dagger mini-series? Would a vote for Spider-Verse include the Spider-Man 2099 issues? The main way it works is to consider the tie-ins that were most important to the narrative of the larger story, to the extent that these shaped the larger story. There’s also the feeling that anything written by the writer of the main event would count as part of the main event. Tie-ins that were more separate would count as their own stories. “Spider Island” would include Amazing Spider-Man #666-673, as well as the corresponding Venom issues, and the various Infested preludes. “Spider-Verse” would include Superior Spider-Man #32-33, as well as the prologues and epilogues. A vote for Clone Conspiracy would include the Amazing Spider-Man preludes (#16-24) and tie-ins as well as Clone Conspiracy Omega.

Recent storylines would count as long as they came to an end before the vote is due. You can vote for Clone Conspiracy, the Miles Morales/ Spider-Gwen crossover, or the first arc of Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows. You would not be able to vote for anything that came in later in those books. The cutoff for Spider-Man/ Deadpool would be up until #14, as a new crossover is kicking off after that.

If there are any questions or disagreements about whether something could be considered for the purposes of the list, hit the comments section.

We’ll start publishing the Crawlspace list in about three weeks as part of an epic crossover between Tangled Webs and Cobwebs. The reader’s list will be published when we’re done with that. The current due date would be May 15th 2017. If there are any changes updates will be listed at the end of this article, and in the comments. 

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(10) Comments

  1. Thomas Mets - Post author

    I updated the post to reflect a decision that might change the minds of some people making entries. The early Lee/ Ditko issues of Amazing Spider-Man with multiple tales will count as one entry each. The way I figure it, that was how the writer and artist meant for it to be read. So Amazing Spider-Man #1 counts as one story. Amazing Spider-Man #2 counts as one story. Amazing Spider-Man #8 counts as one story.

  2. hornacek

    That UNMASKED cover is a bit weird. The split down the middle of Peter/Spider-Man indicates that the left side is the secret identity and the right side is the superhero persona. There are 5 floating heads on each side, which makes it look like the ones on the left are the secret identities of the ones on the right. Meaning we have the following characters: Uncle Ben is the Green Goblin Aunt May is Venom Mary Jane is Carnage (which is what happens in season 4 of USM) Jonah is Doctor Octopus Robbie is the Jackal

  3. Evan

    @Thomas Mets -- Yay! And -- I remember buying that Spider-man Unmasked book back in high school! This ranking idea is wonderful, by the way. I can't wait to see the results, for both panelists/columnists and readers.

  4. Old Guy

    Well, Let's see... Amazing Fantasy 15 introduced Peter Parker, The Amazing Spider-Man Amazing Spider-Man #1 introduced the Chameleon ASM #2 introduced the Vulture ASM #3 introduced Dr. Octopus ASM #4 introduced the Sandman ASM #5 featured Dr. Doom ASM #6 introduced the Lizard ASM #7 was a slow day bringing back the Vulture ASM #8 introduced the Living Brain ASM #9 introduced Electro ASM #10 Peter Parker Unmasked by Dr. Octopus ASM #11 introduced Mysterio ASM #12 introduced the Green Goblin ASM #13 introduced Kraven the Hunter ASM #14 introduced the Ringmaster and his Circus of Crime Or I suppose you could count all of these as one story since these issues introduced a supporting cast of characters that carried the books for 30 or 40 years.

  5. Thomas Mets - Post author

    @Evan, I'm not asking anyone to wade through five hundred yards of foulness. If this leads to people rereading a bunch of favorite Spider-Man comics to figure out what's in their top 15, that should be a good thing.

  6. ac

    How about Secret Wars? Spider-Man doesn't do a lot, but the epic beat down of Titania and the X-Men is pretty cool.

  7. ac

    Not sure if it will get my vote, but what about Secret Wars? The epic beatdown of Titania and the X-Men are great, but he isn't a big factor in the rest of the story.

  8. hornacek

    "We’ll start publishing the Crawlspace list in about three weeks as part of an epic crossover between Tangled Webs and Cobwebs." AHA! I knew it! This is all just a scam to get Tangled Webs readers to start reading Cobwebs, and vice versa!

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