When us old folks look back, it seems like Spider-Man had his symbiote suit (that would eventually turn into Venom) for an extended period of time. Hard to believe he only wore it in “real time” for six months. From Amazing Spider-Man 252 until 258. Of course, he also wore it during that time in Spectacular Spider-Man, Marvel Team-Up and all variety of guest appearances. So it wasn’t just 6 issues, but it seems like it should have been a longer time. The time span was actually so short that the costume debuted and was rejected by Peter before it’s origin even appeared in the Secret Wars mini-series.
Speaking of guest appearances wearing the symbiote costume, we’ll first look at an issue that I haven’t included in the Chronology.
Back in 1984, the now globally well known Transformers franchise was just getting on its feet. Marvel had the comic rights and began publishing a four issue mini-series…that would end after 81 issues in 1991. It was popular. But before Transformers and G.I. Joe really exploded for Marvel, they needed some way to bring attention to the books. Keep in mind the books are done months in advance, so when the time came to do issue #3, they had no idea yet what they had on their hands.
So what better way to hype up a book then by having probably your most popular character guest star. And so, Peter Parker, your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man joined up with the Autobots against the Decepticons. The question for our purposes becomes, is this book canon? Just based on reading it, your first thought is yes. It even goes so far as to add an editor’s note that the issue takes place before Spider-Man stops wearing the symbiote in Amazing Spider-Man 258. Very specific.
The issue is not a bad read. But when you are done you stop and you think…ok…so if Spider-Man just appeared in this issue, and it is in continuity…that means that the entire Transformers universe as a whole is part of Marvel continuity. There are a lot of comics between 1984 and 1993 (the year the last Transformers books were published by Marvel) that I haven’t read…but I don’t think Optimus Prime or Megatron or anyone showed up elsewhere. You’d think at some point over that decade if the Transformers were part of the Marvel Universe they would have shown up somewhere. Conversely, there were no more collaborations between the robots in disguise and the Marvel heroes until 2007’s New Avengers/Transformers inter-company crossover. I haven’t read that yet, but when I do, maybe I will have to revisit my thoughts here. But for now, Transformers #3 (of 81) is out.
If you’ve read Update 12 for the Chronology, you are already aware of what this update will and will not include from Marvel 1985, Marvels, Marvels: Eye of the Camera and Code of Honor. I won’t get into the specifics again here, but they will be backfilled into the chronology as follows:
- Marvels 4 – Almost all about Spidey and the deaths of George and Gwen Stacy.
- Marvels – Eye of the Camera 2 – Fair size Peter Parker and Spider-Man cameos.
- Marvels – Eye of the Camera 03 [Spider-Man pages only] – Decent size Spider-Man cameo that is mostly a recreation of the end of Amazing Spider-Man 175 from a different perspective.
But wait, there’s more! I also had to add some other issues that have been missed up to the last update. (I’m sure there may be more in the future.)
- Marvel Two-in-One 090 – Other chronologies place this after Spectacular Spider-Man 70 and before Marvel Team-Up 120. But I don’t think that makes sense with Debra Whitman’s timeline. If placed there, Deb knows Peter is Spider-Man, is dating Biff and is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. None of which seems to be present in this issue. Definitely seems like it should be earlier when Peter and Deb are occasionally dating. As such, I’ve moved this before Amazing Spider-Man 213. It fits much nicer around there as they are kinda/sorta dating but Peter is always ignoring or ditching her. This moves it way up in publication order but makes much more sense.
- Incredible Hulk Annual 011 [Story one] – Peter still at ESU. Spidey only appears on pgs 9-15. But read the whole thing.
- Incredible Hulk 278 – I originally had issues 277-279 pegged as cameos. Which I am going to leave 277 and 279 as. However, in Marvel Team-Up Annual 7, Spidey makes several references to knowing Sasquatch from when Hulk got amnesty in issue 278. So I am going to include it, though Spidey doesn’t appear much or do much. Very skipable.
- Marvel Two-in-One 096 – Has to be after May opens her halfway house as Peter says he is heading over to help paint.
- Marvel Fanfare v1 47
Whew! When I started writing this update I was wondering what had taken me so long since the new additions continued below only amount to 48 issues. But having typed up all of the above, now I remember why.
With all that out of the way, let’s continue post Secret Wars. Of note, the issues involving Spider-Man’s return from Secret Wars overlap greatly, and are full of continuity problems. I could try and slice and dice the next few issues into something that makes more sense, but not sure how much that will even help. I did make one exception.:
- Amazing Spider-Man 252 – Returns from Secret Wars. First published appearance of Spider-Man’ black suit. Direct reference to Spectacular Spider-Man 88.
- Marvel Team-Up 141 – Begins prior to Amazing Spider-Man 252. About halfway the return scene from Amazing Spider-Man 252 is reproduced.
- Spectacular Spider-Man 090 – Direct reference to Avengers 237. Mostly takes place prior to Spider-Man’s return in Amazing Spider-Man 252, then overlaps and then takes place after.
- Spectacular Spider-Man 091 [P1-P7] – Immediately after Spectacular Spider-Man 90. Direct reference to Amazing Spider-Man 252. Definitely seems to be before Amazing Spider-Man 253…but…it has a direct reference to Amazing Spider-Man 253 being “the other day”. Well, that makes no sense. So I split this issue up to sandwich the events of Amazing Spider-Man 253.
- Amazing Spider-Man 253 – Spider-Man says he knows Felicia is hiding something from him, which has to be after Spectacular Spider-Man 91. Well, the beginning of that issue anyway.
- Spectacular Spider-Man 091 [P8-P22]
- Amazing Spider-Man 254 – Direct reference to Spectacular Spider-Man 91.
- Spectacular Spider-Man 092 – Direct reference to Amazing Spider-Man 254.
- Spider-Man/Human Torch 04 – Flashback issue. But like many of these types of series there are major continuity issues. Jean DeWolff wonders why Spider-Man is hanging around with a known felon like Black Cat…but DeWolff is instrumental in getting Black Cat amnesty in the official timeline. Black Cat is antsy about being around the police…but she has amnesty. Black Cat is trying to get Peter to help with a heist (which is not quite what it appears to be)..though she is “reformed”. Whole thing seems out of character or should occur earlier…but Peter has his symbiote suit.
- Marvel 1985 05 – Can really go anywhere during the alien costume saga. Other chronologies have this slightly earlier after Marvel Team-Up 141, but I don’t like the flow there. More on Marvel 1985.
- Marvel Team-Up 142
- Marvel Team-Up 143 – Immediately after Marvel Team-Up 142.
- Amazing Spider-Man 255 – Direct reference to Marvel Team-Up 142-143 and Spectacular Spider-Man 91-92.
- Marvel Team-Up Annual 07 [Spider-Man story only] – After fight with The Answer (Spectacular Spider-Man 92), Black Cat takes pictures of the Blob (Spectacular Spider-Man 91), Peter tells Aunt May he quit grad school (Amazing Spider-Man 253) and fight with Jack O’ Lantern (Amazing Spider-Man 254). Peter sells his photos of The Answer to the Bugle. It seems to be the pics from Spectacular Spider-Man 92 and they appear in the paper in Spectacular Spider-Man 93. I have one issue with the placement here. Spidey has a conversation in this issue with Black Cat where she talks about not going looking for him and risking his identity. Which she had done previously in Spectacular Spider-Man 90. So from that standpoint it is fine. But in Spectacular Spider-Man 93, Spider-Man brings it up as an issue to Black Cat and they talk about it. Seems odd for her to declare it the way she does here and then they have a conversation about it after the fact.
- Spectacular Spider-Man 093
- Marvel Team-Up 144 – Not a direct reference but talks about fighting the Red Ghost and his Super Apes which occurred in Amazing Spider-Man 255.
- Spectacular Spider-Man 094 – Spider-Man and Cat still “fighting”. Not a direct reference but mentions fighting The Beyonder, The Blob, Will-Killer, White Dragon and The Answer in rapid succession.
- Spectacular Spider-Man 095 – Immediately after Spectacular Spider-Man 94. First occurrence of Spider-Man’s suit taking control while he is asleep and this gives an explanation of why Peter is so tired. Direct reference to Amazing Spider-Man Annual 18 occurring after this issue. Direct reference to Marvel Team-Up 141.
- Marvel Team-Up 145
- Amazing Spider-Man 256 – First Puma appearance. Direct reference to Spectacular Spider-Man 89. Peter and Cat not “fighting”, but that might be confined to Spectacular Spider-Man.
- Amazing Spider-Man 257 – Immediately after Amazing Spider-Man 256. Symbiote costume starts acting up. References current Spectacular Spider-Man run with regards to Kingpin, but no specific issues. MJ reveals she knows Peter is Spider-Man.
- Amazing Spider-Man 258 [P1-P10] – Immediately after Amazing Spider-Man 257. Direct reference to Spectacular Spider-Man 94-95. There is a break after page 10 with 11 being “sometime later”. I don’t think it was quite meant to be this much later but gives an opportunity to place come issues here that wouldn’t fit otherwise.
- Marvel Team-Up 146
- Spider-Man Family 01 [Story 1] – Peter says the symbiote suit is “acting up again” which occurred for the first time in Amazing Spider-Man 257. Minor spoiler, since this story is a flashback, the intro spoils the fact that the symbiote is alive, which reading chronologically won’t be revealed until Amazing Spider-Man 258.
- Spectacular Spider-Man Annual 04 – Symbiote in control while Peter sleeps. Direct reference to Amazing Spider-Man 258 being on sale in 7 days. Story 2 – Spider-Man mentions Puma, who first appears in Amazing Spider-Man 256.
- Amazing Spider-Man 258 [P11-P23] – Costume first revealed to be symbiote and captured by Reed Richards. First Fantastic Bag-Man costume appearance. There is a break before that as well after page 4 which may work better from a “I really should go talk to Reed Richards about this costume” point of view. Biggest problem with this break is that when we return to Peter he is boarding up his broken window. I doubt that was left for days on end. Though Peter says later that the time between MJ revealing she knows he is Spider-Man to after the visit with Reed Richards has only been 24 hours. And when MJ returns she says that her reveal occurred “yesterday”. So neither break really works perfectly. It begins snowing as Peter walks home.
- Spectacular Spider-Man 096 – Cloak story seems to continue immediately after Spectacular Spider-Man 95 though it begins to snow. But Spider-Man story has to continue after snow has started, MJ reveals she knows his identity and Reed removes symbiote. Technically back in the red and blue suit for the first time. Amazing Spider-Man 259 has a similar scene, but doesn’t necessarily have to be the first time he put it on. Majority of this issue takes place while it is still snowing.
- Amazing Spider-Man 259 – Spidey returns to the red and blue costume. After the snowstorm.
- Spectacular Spider-Man 097
- Marvel Team-Up 147 – Peter back in old costume. Direct reference to Amazing Spider-Man 257-258.
- Marvel Team-Up 148 – Story continues from Marvel Team-Up 147, but not immediately. Direct reference to Amazing Spider-Man 258.
- Amazing Spider-Man Annual 1984 (#18) – Spidey in his old costume. Direct reference to Amazing Spider-Man 258. Ned Leeds is back. Wedding of Marla and JJJ.
- Questprobe 02 – After Spidey returns to old costume and MJ reveals she knows his secret. You have to wonder if this is even in continuity given that it is basically a set up for a video game. It sure seems to be though with direct references to Spectacular Spider-Man 94-96. Note, issues 1 and 3 don’t feature Spider-Man.
- Web of Spider-Man 026 – Hard to place exactly. Spidey is in his red and blue suit. Robbie is editor in chief, so it is after AMZ251, but not immediately. Other chronologies have it just before Spider-Man returns with his black suit from Secret Wars, but it doesn’t work very nicely with the books around that time period. So placing it here shortly after Peter has returned to the red and blues.
- Uncanny X-Men 190 – Direct reference to Marvel Team-Up Annual 6.
- Uncanny X-Men 191
- Amazing Spider-Man 260 – Hobgoblin attacks Harry at Oscorp. About a week after Jonah’s wedding in Amazing Spider-Man Annual 18. Liz and MJ kidnapped.
- Amazing Spider-Man 261 – Continues with kidnapping from Amazing Spider-Man 260, but not immediately, it’s the next day. Contains a scene of the symbiote escaping from the Baxter Builder that is recreated almost panel for panel in Spider-Man/Fantastic Four 2 as well as Fantastic Four 274.
- Fantastic Four 274 [P21-22] – A more flushed out version of the symbiote’s escape as shown in Amazing Spider-Man 261.
- Spider-Man/Fantastic Four 02 – Flashback issue. Takes place after Peter is back in red and blue costume. The symbiote escapes and attaches itself to Reed Richards, She-Hulk, Sue Richards and Franklin Richards. Takes place after Liz and Harry are attacked by Hobgoblin in Amazing Spider-Man 260 and Liz ends up in hospital at the conclusion of 261. This issue makes absolutely no sense continuity wise. So much so that it’s probably best to think of this as “What If the Venom Symbiote Possessed The Fantastic Four?”
- Spectacular Spider-Man 098 – No direct reference but just after the symbiote has escaped. Black Cat finally reveals to Spider-Man how she got her powers. 1st appearance of The Spot.
- Marvel Team-Up 149 – Direct reference to Marvel Team-Up Annual 6
- Amazing Spider-Man 262
- Spectacular Spider-Man 099 – Black Cat sews new black costume for Spider-Man, but he refuses to wear it.
- Amazing Spider-Man 263 – Almost immediately after Spectacular Spider-Man 99. Spidey first wears black costume sewn by Black Cat but switches back by issues end. Harry and Liz’s baby is born.
- Marvel Team-Up 150 – Direct reference to and has to be after Spectacular Spider-Man 99. Direct reference to Amazing Spider-Man 259.
- Spectacular Spider-Man 100 – Spider-Man and Black Cat break up.
- Web of Spider-Man 001 – Continued directly from Spectacular Spider-Man 100.
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.
Noteworthy Issues: The Superior Foes Of Spider-Man #7 (December, 2013)
Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Characters Case File #422: Misfit
Noteworthy Issues: Batman Vs Robin #4 (December, 2022)