The fourth of July is now in the history books, which can only mean one thing: Football season is just around the corner! No, wait a minute. I think I’m getting ahead of myself here…
.. Oh right, what I meant to say was that now that the fourth of July is behind us, it means we are only a couple of days away from “Spider-Man: Homecoming” hitting the big screen. With that in mind, I figure this is as good time a tine as abt to tell you about some more underrated Spider-Man stories.
Before we get to my list, a quick reminder: just like my previous underrated comics posts, this Spider-Man comic list features a few stories you may have missed when they first came out. But these comics are by no means necessary to enjoy “Spider-Man: Homecoming” in theaters. And finally, my Spidey list is not in any particular order. These are just good comic stories you might enjoy before or after seeing the movie. And away we go:
The Amazing Spider-Man #341-343 (1990-1991)
After an experiment to map Peter Parker’s blood goes wrong, he temporarily loses his powers, but soon Peter realises this could be a blessing in disguise. This might be his one chance to live a normal life so that Mary Jane and Aunt May don’t lose him to some villain.
The Amazing Spider-Man #341 was not my first Spider-Man comic, but this issue did come with a few firsts for me: Issue #341 was my first issue of Amazing; this was my introduction to Erik Larsen’s art; and the first time I saw the Black Cat. These three issues of Amazing Spider-Man changed everything I knew about the character, and it was all for the better.
Startling Stories: The Megalomaniacal Spider-Man #1 (2002)
Peter Bagge is not a name you’d expect to see on a Spider-Man comic. Bagge is probably best known for underground comics like Hate. but in 2002 he delivered The Megalomaniacal Spider-Man one-shot, one of the most unusual Spider-Man stories I’ve ever seen.
Peter Bagge’s take on Peter Parker sees the character go from being a selfless superhero spurred on by the death of his Uncle Ben, to a self-absorbed greedy CEO of Spider-Man Inc. This comes as a result of discovering that dear Uncle Ben was a gambling addict and Aunt May had been manipulating her nephew for most of his life.
So instead of saving lives as Spider-Man, Peter Parker makes a ton of money off of the Spider-Man character, employing J Jonah Jameson and marrying Gwen Stacy. Eventually the day comes when the world needs Spider-Man again, but when Peter finds he is too fat to put on the costume, J Jonah Jameson takes his place! What happens from there you need to see to believe.
Peter Parker Spider-Man #33 (2001)
On the anniversary of Uncle Ben’s death, Peter Parker heads to one of his Uncle Ben’s favorite places: Shea Stadium for the Mets’ home opener. There Peter reminisces about the man whose words formed the mantra of his life, and about the day when fate dropped out of the sky and landed on young Peter Parker’s head.
Paul Jenkins and Humberto Ramos deliver a true gem here. To this day, Peter Parker Spider-Man #33 is one of the most touching and funniest comics I have read. This issue has moments that tear me up, and others that make me cry from laughing so much. My favorite part of this comic however, is probably the cameo by Mr. Met. Also, the cover features cameos by the kids from Humberto Ramos’ Out There comic series.
Spider-Man #15 (1991)
Peter Parker and his wife Mary Jane have been discussing having kids. Mary Jane says that she is frightened to conceive a child that might be a mutant due to Peter’s blood. Peter knows that this is a possibility, but he can’t bring himself up to face the fact that they may never have kids.
Peter hates not having all the answers to Mary Jane’s questions. But he knows someone who might know the answers, and that someone is the X-Man known as the beast.
Erik Larsen makes his second appearance on my list with 1991’s Spider-Man #15. This single issue story deals with some heavy stuff, but Erik Larsen writes the subject with the seriousness it deserves. He also draws one kick ass looking Beast. The splash page of the two heroes jumping into action is a masterpiece.
Peter Parker Spider-Man #38 (2002)
In late 2001, Marvel decided to devote an entire month to something they called Nuff Said! The idea was to publish and entire month of comics without any dialogue, just art. This was inspired by G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #21, a silent issue from 1984.
Most of the comics published that month were average at best, but for me the biggest highlight of Nuff Said! was Peter Parker Spider-Man #38. In this issue, Spidey faces his fiercest and quietest foes: a gang of murderous Mimes! I know it sounds crazy, but Paul Jenkins really made it work. This issue is funny all the way through, and Humberto Ramos’ facial expressions surpass any expectations you may have.