I have this prominent memory of visiting my cousin when I was 11 in 1986 and purchasing Amazing Spider-Man #275. It was an oversized book that featured Spider-Man vs. the Hobgoblin and also a retelling of Spidey’s origin. When I think about when I started collecting comics, this seems to be the point. It would be years before I would miss another issue of Amazing Spider-Man and I dropped a boatload of money at my local comic shops during that time as well.
But when I sat down to write this update, I wondered about aspects of that memory. While the above did happen it seems to be specific to my collecting of Spider-Man as opposed to my obsession with comics. I clearly remember getting each issue of Secret Wars II as they were released, which would have been a year prior. I also remember buying the final issue of Secret Wars (before attempting to hunt down back issues) which would have been in 1985 as well.
My points being that I’ve been reading comics a long time, Secret Wars I & II hold a special place in my heart, my memory sucks and I am old. We actually won’t touch on Secret Wars II in this update, but it will finish up with the original. Given the way I have structured the chronology, you could argue that the bulk of Secret Wars should go in my “cameos” series of articles Spiders, Spiders Everywhere. In many issues Spider-Man barely appears. But Secret Wars is so key to the Marvel universe, and just awesome in general, you should be reading it anyway. Not to mention it features the chronological first appearance of a certain symbiotic black suit that our friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man would begin to wear upon his return to his regular titles.
Before we get into the list, some housekeeping. As I mentioned I like to keep the Spider-Man cameos in other titles to a minimum so as not to clutter up the main chronology. One cameo that I’ve already posted in a Spiders, Spiders Everywhere column is Spidey’s appearance in Avengers 221. It’s actually a bit of a lengthy appearance spanning 4 pages, as Thor attempts to recruit Spider-Man for the Avengers. It doesn’t have any real context to place it exactly, and never amounts to anything so up to this point I hadn’t included it here. But then a snowball of events happened as I was reading through. Amazing Spider-Man 245 directly referenced a cameo in Avengers 235, which directly referenced Avengers 221. And since I don’t like to exclude cameos that are referenced as significant, Avengers 221 graduates to the main list.
- Avengers 221 [P5, P7-9]
It was very late in the game that I discovered Ka-Zar The Savage issues 21-26 involved a lengthy Spider-Man/Peter Parker appearance. Unfortunately, there is nothing definitive to really place it. Peter makes a couple of illusions to his love life being in turmoil (what else is new?) and his having his own emotional crises, but there are no further details. Many chronologies place it during the time when Black Cat is in the hospital, but I’m not a fan of that. Peter and Shanna never get together, but both think about it a lot and she stays at his place for over a week. And during all that time Peter never mentions Cat and her being in hospital? Peter and Shanna’s mutual attraction stands out even more after reading Marvel Team-Up 128 when Peter is racked with guilt over similar feelings for a friend while Cat is recuperating. So I’ve placed it before the beginning of the Ock/Owl arc in Spectacular Spider-Man that will end with Cat in hospital. Peter is not really seeing anyone at this time, only trying to help out Debra Whitman.
- Ka-Zar The Savage 21
- Ka-Zar The Savage 22
- Ka-Zar The Savage 23
- Ka-Zar The Savage 24
- Ka-Zar The Savage 25
- Ka-Zar The Savage 26
And now, let’s continue on from the last update that concluded with Spectacular Spider-Man 073:
- Marvel Team-Up 125 [Spider-Man story only] – After Aunt May has moved out of nursing home (Marvel Team Up 124). Mentions “losing Black Cat”, so takes place after Cat “dies” in Amazing Spider-Man 227.
- Amazing Spider-Man 237 – Not a direct reference but news report talks about Spider-Man teaming up with Tigra earlier that day in Marvel Team-Up 125. After May moves to halfway house in Marvel Team-Up 124. No reference to specific issues but several mentions of Doc Ock and Owl in the midst of a gang war over in Spectacular Spider-Man. So has to be after Spectacular Spider-Man 73.
- Spectacular Spider-Man 074 – Mentions Doc Ock and Owl getting ready for war. Deb leaves town. Black Cat returns.
- Spectacular Spider-Man 075 – Immediately after Spectacular Spider-Man 74.
- Spectacular Spider-Man 076 – Immediately after Spectacular Spider-Man 75.
- Amazing Spider-Man 238 – Direct reference to Marvel Team-Up 124.
- Amazing Spider-Man 239 – Potentially weeks since Amazing Spider-Man 238 given the Goblins crime spree. Direct reference to Spectacular Spider-Man 76. Seems to be before Spectacular Spider-Man 77 when Doc Ock returns.
- Marvel Team-Up 127 – Suddenly it’s Christmas…but not going down that road again.
- Marvel Team-Up 128 – Direct reference to Spectacular Spider-Man 76 and likely before Spectacular Spider-Man 77. Spidey sells his pictures of Vermin to the Bugle in Spectacular Spider-Man 78. Direct reference to Caps cameo in Marvel Team-Up 127.
- Spectacular Spider-Man 077
- Spectacular Spider-Man 078 – Day after Spectacular Spider-Man 77. After Spidey battles Hobgoblin over in Amazing. Peter says he has pics of Spidey vs Doc Ock, Owl, Gladiator (all recent Spectacular Spider-Man issues) and Vermin, so this has to be after Marvel Team-Up 128.
- Spectacular Spider-Man 079 – Immediately after Spectacular Spider-Man 78.
- Marvel Fanfare 06 – Spidey says to Scarlet Witch “long time no see”, which has no context, but might not want to place it around/after their Marvel Team-Up issues together (129-130).
- Amazing Spider-Man 240 – There is a newspaper headline regarding possible gang war between Ock and Owl. So has to at least be after that started in Spectacular Spider-Man 73. Peter’s dream features Gladiator so one assumes it is after Spectacular Spider-Man 77. Peter says that Doc Ock got away from him…is this before Spectacular Spider-Man 78-79 when Ock is captured? There is no clean way to fit it in after Doc gets away in Spectacular Spider-Man 77. Will just have to leave as is and ignore Peter’s “Ock got away comment”. Or could move it after Amazing Spider-Man 239 and ignore Peter’s Gladiator dream. Neither is a great alternative.
- Amazing Spider-Man 241 – Immediately after Amazing Spider-Man 240. Direct reference to Spectaular Spider-Man 76.
- Marvel Team-Up 129
- Marvel Team-Up 130 – Immediately after Marvel Team-Up 129.
- Marvel Team-Up 131
- Amazing Spider-Man 242 – Direct reference to Marvel Team-Up 129-130. Peter says he has been “practically living at the hospital watching over Black Cat”. Direct reference to Spectacular Spider-Man 76. After Deb has quit and moved away (Spectacular Spider-Man 74). After Spidey has defeated Doc Ock (Spectacular Spider-Man 79).
- Amazing Spider-Man 243 – Immediately after Amazing Spider-Man 242. Direct reference to Spectacular Spider-Man 72 and 76. Peter quits grad school.
- Spectacular Spider-Man 080 – Minor but Peter and Lance Bannon seem a bit chummy here, so placed after they resolve their differences in AMZ243.
- Marvel Team-Up 132 – Direct reference to Amazing Spider-Man 243.
- Marvel Team-Up 133 – Immediately after Marvel Team-Up 132.
- Spectacular Spider-Man 081 – Direct reference to Amazing Spider-Man 242-243. After Peter decides to drop out of school.
- Spectacular Spider-Man 082 – Continues from Spectacular Spider-Man 81. Black Cat sneaks off from hospital.
- Amazing Spider-Man 244 – Black Cat mentions Spider-Man tracking down the Punisher which places this during Spectacular Spider-Man 81 and more so 82. So would be a bit odd for her to mention that prior to those issues.
- Marvel Team-Up 134 – Peter leaves ESU after applying for leave of absence in Amazing Spider-Man 244.
- Avengers v1 235 [P6-P8] – Just a cameo but referenced in Amazing Spider-Man 245, so including it. Direct reference to Avengers 221 and Spidey turning down being an Avenger.
- Amazing Spider-Man 245 – Direct reference to Avengers 235.
- Marvel Team-Up Annual 06 – Direct reference to Spectacular Spider-Man 64.
- Spectacular Spider-Man 083 – Direct reference to Amazing Spider-Man 245. Black Cat is out and about. Nothing implies that this is directly continued from her leaving the hospital in Spectacular Spider-Man 82. She could have been out multiple times.
- Amazing Spider-Man 246 – After Black Cat’s little excursion from her hospital bed in Spectacular Spider-Man 83 (one would assume). Direct reference to Avengers 236-237, but they seem to be after this story.
- Avengers 236 – Direct reference to Thor trying to recruit Spidey in Avengers 221. Direct reference to Amazing Spider-Man 243 and Marvel Team-Up Annual 5.
- Avengers 237 – Continues from Avengers 236.
- Marvel Team-Up 135
- Spectacular Spider-Man 084 – Black Cat released from hospital.
- Amazing Spider-Man 247 – Direct reference to Spectacular Spider-Man 84, Marvel Team-Up 121 and 131.
- Amazing Spider-Man 248 – [Story 1] Immediately after Amazing Spider-Man 247. [Story 2] The classic “Kid Who Collects Spider-Man”.
- Spectacular Spider-Man 085 – Not a direct reference but recaps the events of Amazing Spider-Man 245.
- Amazing Spider-Man Annual 1983 (#17) – After the break ins at Osborn Industries. Liz is pregnant. After Peter has dropped out of grad school. Direct reference to Spectacular Spider-Man 85.
- Marvel Team-Up 136 – After Peter has quit grad school.
- Marvel Team-Up 137
***A whole lot of overlap here prior to Secret Wars. All three series end the same way but take different routes to get there. Many of which trip over each other. Other chronologies place the flashback story in Web of Spider-Man 26 here, but I don’t think that really works, so will try to place it elsewhere. There is nothing that really places it chronologically except for Spidey in his red and blue suit and Robbie is Editor In Chief. ***
- Amazing Spider-Man 249 – Peter’s Spider sense is triggered mysteriously which will end up as foreshadowing for Secret Wars. Direct reference to Spectacular Spider-Man 85.”
- Amazing Spider-Man 250 – Immediately after Amazing Spider-Man 249. Spidey has another massive Secret Wars warning blast from his spider-sense.
- Amazing Spider-Man 251 – Immediately after Amazing Spider-Man 250. Spider-sense returns. JJJ resigns, Robbie becomes Editor in Chief. Peter’s chat with Harry, this is the day after battle with Hobgoblin. Same Secret Wars ending as the others.
- Marvel Team-Up 138 – Direct reference to and has to be after Amazing Spider-Man 249. After he has fought Hobgoblin during blackmail scheme and has lost his spider-sense. He also references the spider-sense warning from Amazing Spider-Man 249 that is Secret Wars related. Direct reference to Spectacular Spider-Man 87, Peter hasn’t decided if he should reveal his identity to the Black Cat and reference says to see Spectacular Spider-Man 87 for his decision. But since Spectacular Spider-Man 87 occurs immediately after Spectacular Spider-Man 86, probably need to move this issue before it. Does that make sense with him losing his spider-sense? No, he has his Spider Sense in Spectacular Spider-Man 86. Might need to ignore that. Spectacular Spider-Man 86 seems like it takes place not long after Spectacular Spider-Man 85, but there has to be a passage of time somewhere as Spectacular Spider-Man 87 takes place after Spider-Man has next tangled with Hobgoblin.
- Spectacular Spider-Man 086
- Spectacular Spider-Man 087 – Immediately after Spectacular Spider-Man 86. Peter reveals his identity to Black Cat. Direct reference to Amazing Spider-Man 249, the Secret Wars “warning” and losing his spider-sense.
- Spectacular Spider-Man 088 – Direct reference to Amazing Spider-Man 249-250 and the Secret Wars warnings.
- Marvel Team-Up 139 – Peter’s spider-sense still gone. Direct reference to Amazing Spider-Man 249-250. Mentions Secret Wars warnings.
- Marvel Team-Up 140 – Peter’s spider-sense is back or simply artistic license? Direct references to Amazing Spider-Man 249-251. Conversation with Harry “one day later” from Amazing Spider-Man 251, then third “monster tingle” then enters transport and off to Secret Wars!
- Spectacular Spider-Man 089 – Majority of this issue deals with the Black Cat over the span of at least a week after Spectacular Spider-Man 88. It ends with the same meeting with Harry and then the transport to Secret Wars, so this issue overlaps at least Amazing Spider-Man 251 and Marvel Team-Up 140.
- Secret Wars 01
- Secret Wars 02
- Secret Wars 03
- Secret Wars 04
- Secret Wars 05
- Secret Wars 06
- Secret Wars 07
- Secret Wars 08 – First chronological appearance of Spider-Man’s symbiote costume.
- Secret Wars 09
- Secret Wars 10
- Secret Wars 11
- Secret Wars 12
Spider-Man & The Secret Wars was a fun little series released about 25 years after the original Secret Wars. It contains untold tales and retells certain pieces of Secret Wars, all from a Spider-Man perspective. In terms of continuity, it could possibly be ignored but nothing technically excludes it.
- Spider-Man & The Secret Wars 01 – A re-telling/re-imagining of Secret Wars #4 with an additional untold tale.
- Spider-Man & The Secret Wars 02 – An untold tale as Spidey and Ben Grimm stumble across Dr Doom’s recruit drive of Volcana and Titania in Denver prior to giving them their powers in Secret Wars #3.
- Spider-Man & The Secret Wars 03 – An alternate take from Spidey’s perspective of Secret Wars #8-9.
- Spider-Man & The Secret Wars 04 – An alternate take from Spidey’s perspective of Secret Wars #10-11.
Be on the lookout for further updates coming soon. And you will always be able to find the Complete Chronology in it’s permanent home under Spotlight Features in the menu under the Gabbing Geek banner.