The Greatest Spider-Man Storylines in Comics

Over 2.1K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Greatest Spider-Man Storylines in Comics
Voting Rules
Vote up the Spider-Man comic book story arcs that most defined who Spidey is and what he's all about.

Spider-Man is one of the most ubiquitous figures in pop culture. He's everywhere. Comics, TV shows, movies, video games. You name it. You can go to almost any country in the world, show somebody the Spider-Man mask, and they'll know exactly who it is. How did Peter Parker and Spider-Man get to this amazing place in the world? What makes Marvel's Spider-Man so special? What are the best Spider-Man comics storylines for new webhead fans to get into?

Well, for starters, the writing of the Spider-Man books is part of what makes his stories so iconic. Spider-Man is the everyman hero. He's not Superman with his invincibility and alien heritage, he's not the brooding, billionaire Batman, and he's not a mutant either. No, he's that nerdy guy in science class trying to use his powers responsibly. "With great power comes great responsibility" as they say in the pages of Marvel Comics. 

Which Spider-Man stories have most shaped this spectacular character? Did his impressive rogues gallery shape our beloved wallcrawler? The Green Goblin, Venom, Carnage, Doc Ock, Shocker, Electro, Lizard, and countless others assuredly played their parts in Spidey's character formation throughout the series. But what about his allies the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, or any of others he calls friends? Was it people closer to Peter Parker like Mary Jane Watson, Gwen Stacy, The Black Cat, or even his Aunt May? Who and what made Spider-Man the hero he is today?

Well, now is the time to take a look back. To remember Spider-Man's greatest adventures, his greatest achievements, and those moments that shaped him: the best Spider-Man comic book stories. These are the best Spider-Man tales found in comic books, some of which have been adapted for Spider-Man movies and Spider-Man TV shows. Make sure to vote up all your favorite Spider-Man tales from Spider-Man comic book history

Most divisive: Flowers for Rhino

  • If This Be My Destiny…!
    Photo: Metaweb / CC-BY

    Story found in:
    The Amazing Spider-Man #31-33 

    In this early Silver Age Spider-Man story, Spidey really hits his stride. Peter Parker starts college at ESU, introducing us to Gwen Stacy and Harry Osborn for the very first time. The Master Planner's identity is finally revealed to be Doctor Octopus and the iconic moment of Spider-Man using every ounce of his strength to lift metric tons of machinery to save his Aunt May happens here!
    548 votes
  • The Night Gwen Stacy Died
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY

    Story found in: 
    The Amazing Spider-Man

    This was a storyline so iconic that it ended the Silver Age of comics, ushering in a more grounded, realistic Bronze Age, more akin to comics today.

    During a battle between Spidey and the Green Goblin (one of his greatest nemeses), the love of Peter Parker's life, Gwen Stacy, is killed. Worse yet, the way things played out, Peter will never know if she accidentally died by his own hand, or if the Goblin had already killed her.

    This is arguably the most defining moment in Spider-Man's life, save for the death of his Uncle Ben, and is the definitive Spider-Man story.

    667 votes
  • Story found in:
    The Amazing Fantasy #15

    The beginning! This is the classic origin of Spider-Man. Developing the web-shooters! Learning to climb up walls! The big, showy wrestling match! The tragic death of Uncle Ben! It's all here. With great power truly does come great responsibility.
    567 votes
  • Spider-Man No More
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY

    Story found in:
    The Amazing Spider-Man #50 

    Beyond the iconic cover, this is the momentous issue in which Peter Parker has finally had enough and gives up being Spider-Man altogether. Throughout the issue, he recounts and reevaluates his choices and eventually dons the suit again. It's a classic Parker/Spider-Man turmoil tale.
    477 votes
  • Story found in:
    Web of Spider-Man #31-32, The Amazing Spider-Man #293-294, The Spectacular Spider-Man #131-132. 

    Kraven the Hunter goes from B-list bad guy to a top Spidey foe in this incredible psychological thriller. Kraven achieves his greatest goal: he hunts, defeats, and buries his arch rival, Spider-Man. He then takes up the mantle of Spider-Man for a time, to prove he is superior. During this time he defeats and tortures Vermin.

    Then, having nothing left to live for, he leaves a note for the police letting them know he had been running around as Spider-Man, and commits suicide with a rifle. Dark, haunting, and real. A must read.

    707 votes
  • 6
    414 VOTES
    Best of Enemies
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY

    Story found in:
    The Spectacular Spider-Man #200 

    A beautifully written parallel to the drug epidemic of the time, Peter's best friend Harry has become addicted to a number of drugs (in addition to the Goblin serum). He traps all of Peter's loved ones in a building and sets it aflame. During a brief moment of clarity, he realizes what he's done and begins rescuing everyone.

    Harry and Spider-Man save everyone in the building just as Harry succumbs to the drugs, overdoses, and dies.

    414 votes