A few months ago, Marvel asked the fans what they thought were the best stories Marvel ever published. The results are in and starting October, Marvel will reprint the top 25 of the list. Since this is a Spider-Man fan site, I thought it would be nice to ask around and see what the best Spider-Man stories are, according those connected in one way or another to this fan site.
I can tell you the results are amazing. If I didn't know any better, I'd say we are a bit morbid. On all the lists I received, more than half the stories dealt with death. Investigating further shows why these stories were selected. The death of a major character wasn't something to forget easily, and because it was a character we cared about deeply. And caring is what reading Spider-Man stories should be about.
I think that's why the current JMS Morlun storyline in Amazing Spider-Man was also mentioned often on the lists. Not often enough the reach the top five though. But it's a strong story and we really care about the outcome. Will Spidey survive (probably) but most importantly, how will he survive? Just take a look at the number 5 on the list. It's the same idea, Spidey is in a very tough spot, it's unlikely he will escape, but eventually he does.
The number 4 spot is taken by a story which was extremely good at the time. Nowadays, all that happened in that story has been made undone, thus taking away the impact of the story. In a way, still having Aunt May around is good, but her death in Amazing Spider-Man 400 brought tears to my eyes.
At number 3 we have a major break through in Spidey history. It's not the first time Spider-Man gets unmasked (that was in Amazing Spider-Man 12) but this time the villain really knows what he's doing. The outcome of this story is felt even now, 35 years later, in the current stories. It shows good stories do not have to be about killing a major character.
Which takes us to the top 2 of this little list. Both had the same amount of votes and I decided that I would pick the number 1 story myself from those 2. After all, I'm writing this rave, right? Both stories deal with the death of a major character. One a villain, the other a member of the supporting cast. The death of the villain is on number two. It's the much talked about suicide of Kraven the Hunter.
And on the top spot we find The Death Of Jean DeWolff. Breaking the rules, Peter David kills off a major character in an inglorious way, in her sleep, at the beginning of the story. The real tragedy of this story is that she and Spider-Man were getting along. If not for Peter David, there might have been... hmmm, who knows? No clone saga?
OK, here's the top five in it's full glory.
The Death Of Jean DeWolff
from Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider 107-110
Kraven's Last Hunt
from Web Of Spider-Man 32-33, Peter Parker, Amazing Spider-Man 293-294, The Spectacular Spider 131-132
from Amazing Spider-Man 39-40
The Gift (Death of Aunt May)
from Amazing Spider-Man 400
If This Be My Destiny
from Amazing Spider-Man 31-33
And I think I should mention that The Beastly Bananas from Spidey Super Stories was voted for the least of all stories, sorry Eric. ;-)