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  1. #1

    Default The Top Ten Most Important Spider-Man Stories of the 1980s

    In a discussion on the most important stories of the decade, the question was asked if the current decade was the craziest ever. And that got me thinking about the most important stories of previous decades. The 1980s are my favorite decade of the comics, so it's worth considering the important stories.

    10. Cloak & Dagger debut (Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #64)
    9. The Death of Jean Dewolff brings darkness to Spider-Man/ change his partnership with Daredevil (Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #107-110)
    8. Kraven's Last Hunt
    7. "The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man" is the definitive story of Spider-Man meeting fans (Amazing Spider-Man #248)
    6. Black Cat becomes a major love interest (Amazing Spider-Man #226-227)
    5. "Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut" is the definitive Spider-Man battle (Amazing Spider-Man #229-230)
    4. The Debut of the Hobgoblin (Amazing Spider-Man #238-239)
    3. The wedding (Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21)
    2. The Alien Costume/ Mary Jane reveals she has always known Peter's secret identity (Amazing Spider-Man #252-259)
    1. Debut of Venom & Todd McFarlane (Amazing Spider-Man #298-300)

    What do you guys think? Is there something I left out? Would you rank it differently?

    I'll note that this is asking about significance, rather than quality.

  2. #2
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    What do you guys think? Is there something I left out? Would you rank it differently?

    I'll note that this is asking about significance, rather than quality.
    Most of the stories in your list is definitely high up in importance and significance. I wouldn't quite rank them that way (or in fact rank them at all because to me they're all equally important). I'd keep 8 of your picks, except these two.

    Cloak & Dagger debut (Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #64)
    No apologies to Cloak & Dagger fans but why is their debut among the top 10 most significant happenings to Spider-Man in the '80s. I mean as far as crossovers goes, Secret Wars 1984 (which introduced the Symbiote), Spider-Man Versus Juggernaut and Spider-Man versus Firelord, as well as Spider-Man v. Wolverine (significant for being the first time Uncle Ben is attributed to saying "With Great Power Comes Great Responsiiblity"). And as far as most important character debuts in Spider-Man, Monica Rambeau's Captain Marvel who showed up in ASM Annual #16 and was the first female Captain Marvel to boot is far more important in that decade alone.

    4. The Debut of the Hobgoblin (Amazing Spider-Man #238-239)
    Hobgoblin ultimately became a dead-end and afterthought the minute Venom showed up, and more-or-less defunct when Norman returned, so I don't think he's of great importance and significance in the long run. He seemed that way in his time but ultimately not so much.

    IN place of them, I'd add

    Secret Wars - The first Marvel Wide crossover event where Spider-Man plays a major role and gets the Symbiote costume and black costume. Defalco's "Black Costume Saga" is good but mostly it's just continuing the baton pass from Shooter/Zeck.

    Spider-Man versus Juggernaut - Spider-Man's biggest battle and a story that restored to him his super-strength.


    If we were to go top 10+, I'd add:
    -- "The Commuter Commuteth" -- PAD's first Spider-Man story a fill-in at ASM that ultimately became influential on Spider-Man Homecoming and other places.
    -- Parallel Lives -- The first major Spider-Man OGN, published in 1989 by Gerry Conway and Alex Saviuk.
    -- The Owl/Octopus War -- A story of such magnitude that it kind of killed Octopus as a villain for the entire 80s, until David Michelinie's ASM#296-297 had to have Peter psyching Ock up again out of his funk, leading to his revival in the 90s with Revenge of the Sinister Six.

  3. #3
    Incredible Member jb681131's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    In a discussion on the most important stories of the decade, the question was asked if the current decade was the craziest ever. And that got me thinking about the most important stories of previous decades. The 1980s are my favorite decade of the comics, so it's worth considering the important stories.

    10. Cloak & Dagger debut (Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #64)
    9. The Death of Jean Dewolff brings darkness to Spider-Man/ change his partnership with Daredevil (Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #107-110)
    8. Kraven's Last Hunt
    7. "The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man" is the definitive story of Spider-Man meeting fans (Amazing Spider-Man #248)
    6. Black Cat becomes a major love interest (Amazing Spider-Man #226-227)
    5. "Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut" is the definitive Spider-Man battle (Amazing Spider-Man #229-230)
    4. The Debut of the Hobgoblin (Amazing Spider-Man #238-239)
    3. The wedding (Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21)
    2. The Alien Costume/ Mary Jane reveals she has always known Peter's secret identity (Amazing Spider-Man #252-259)
    1. Debut of Venom & Todd McFarlane (Amazing Spider-Man #298-300)

    What do you guys think? Is there something I left out? Would you rank it differently?

    I'll note that this is asking about significance, rather than quality.
    Well you've probably listed the best of the 80.
    It's hard to rank but I would add:

    * Hyde in Plain Sight (aka Hyde & Seek) - Amazing Spider-Man #231-232
    * Whatever Happened to Crusher Hogan? - Amazing Spider-Man #271
    * The Hobgoblin Revealed - Spider-Man versus Wolverin + Amazing Spider-Man #289 + Web of Spider-Man #29-30
    * Venom Strikes Back - Amazing Spider-Man #315-317

    For your information the Wedding starts in AMS #290-292

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Most of the stories in your list is definitely high up in importance and significance. I wouldn't quite rank them that way (or in fact rank them at all because to me they're all equally important). I'd keep 8 of your picks, except these two.



    No apologies to Cloak & Dagger fans but why is their debut among the top 10 most significant happenings to Spider-Man in the '80s. I mean as far as crossovers goes, Secret Wars 1984 (which introduced the Symbiote), Spider-Man Versus Juggernaut and Spider-Man versus Firelord, as well as Spider-Man v. Wolverine (significant for being the first time Uncle Ben is attributed to saying "With Great Power Comes Great Responsiiblity"). And as far as most important character debuts in Spider-Man, Monica Rambeau's Captain Marvel who showed up in ASM Annual #16 and was the first female Captain Marvel to boot is far more important in that decade alone.



    Hobgoblin ultimately became a dead-end and afterthought the minute Venom showed up, and more-or-less defunct when Norman returned, so I don't think he's of great importance and significance in the long run. He seemed that way in his time but ultimately not so much.

    IN place of them, I'd add

    Secret Wars - The first Marvel Wide crossover event where Spider-Man plays a major role and gets the Symbiote costume and black costume. Defalco's "Black Costume Saga" is good but mostly it's just continuing the baton pass from Shooter/Zeck.

    Spider-Man versus Juggernaut - Spider-Man's biggest battle and a story that restored to him his super-strength.


    If we were to go top 10+, I'd add:
    -- "The Commuter Commuteth" -- PAD's first Spider-Man story a fill-in at ASM that ultimately became influential on Spider-Man Homecoming and other places.
    -- Parallel Lives -- The first major Spider-Man OGN, published in 1989 by Gerry Conway and Alex Saviuk.
    -- The Owl/Octopus War -- A story of such magnitude that it kind of killed Octopus as a villain for the entire 80s, until David Michelinie's ASM#296-297 had to have Peter psyching Ock up again out of his funk, leading to his revival in the 90s with Revenge of the Sinister Six.
    "Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut" was fifth on my list.

    Cloak & Dagger do have a TV show, although good call on the debut of the Monica Rambeau Captain Marvel.

    There's a weird publishing question with Secret Wars in that the alien costume saga was published before Peter got the costume in Secret Wars #8, which was set earlier.

    Quote Originally Posted by jb681131 View Post
    Well you've probably listed the best of the 80.
    It's hard to rank but I would add:

    * Hyde in Plain Sight (aka Hyde & Seek) - Amazing Spider-Man #231-232
    * Whatever Happened to Crusher Hogan? - Amazing Spider-Man #271
    * The Hobgoblin Revealed - Spider-Man versus Wolverin + Amazing Spider-Man #289 + Web of Spider-Man #29-30
    * Venom Strikes Back - Amazing Spider-Man #315-317

    For your information the Wedding starts in AMS #290-292
    Hyde in Plain Sight would be one of the best stories of the decade, but it's not particularly important.

    I personally don't see the proposal issues as being the same arc as the wedding, kind of how the story where Peter graduates high school is different from the story of where he begins college.

  5. #5

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    1980 - 89, that's a lot to think about. Hmm.

    I'm one of the few fans of the Spider-Man vs. Wolverine one-shot. I felt it gave a kick-start to the evolving relationship with Logan and Peter.

  6. #6

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    When I made this thread, I forgot that Marvel Team-Up 101 came out in the early 80s. It was the first Spider-Man story by J.M. DeMatteis.

    Now I'm wondering if I should swap something out for that.

    Roger Stern's first issue was Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #43, which was also the debut of Roderick Kingsley. It depends on how much the first issue mattered to him getting to write more Spider-Man comics.

  7. #7
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    When I made this thread, I forgot that Marvel Team-Up 101 came out in the early 80s. It was the first Spider-Man story by J.M. DeMatteis.

    Now I'm wondering if I should swap something out for that.
    DeMatteis' real breakthrough was Kraven's Last Hunt and Marvel Team-Up 101 did not directly lead to that. At various times, KLH was going to be a DC Story, a Batman-Joker story, and then it came to Marvel where it was going to be a Wonder Man story and so on.

    So I don't see how Marvel Team-Up #101 is important.

    Roger Stern's first issue was Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #43, which was also the debut of Roderick Kingsley. It depends on how much the first issue mattered to him getting to write more Spider-Man comics.
    -- Roderick Kingsley is ultimately not an important character in the Spider-Mythos.
    -- Stern's most important Spider-Man stories are The Cat Came Back, Spider-Man V. Juggernaut, The Kid Who Collected Spider-Man, and The Daydreamers.

    To be honest, Chip Zdarsky's Spider-Man Life Story already rapped the most-important stories per-decades thing. For the 60s, he chose Norman Osborn revealed as GG, for the 70s he chose Gwen's death and the first clone saga, for the 90s, it was the Clone-Saga, for the 00s, it was Morlun and Civil War, for the 2010s it was Miles Morales and Superior Ock. And for the 80s he chose Secret Wars, KLH, and Venom.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    DeMatteis' real breakthrough was Kraven's Last Hunt and Marvel Team-Up 101 did not directly lead to that. At various times, KLH was going to be a DC Story, a Batman-Joker story, and then it came to Marvel where it was going to be a Wonder Man story and so on.

    So I don't see how Marvel Team-Up #101 is important.



    -- Roderick Kingsley is ultimately not an important character in the Spider-Mythos.
    -- Stern's most important Spider-Man stories are The Cat Came Back, Spider-Man V. Juggernaut, The Kid Who Collected Spider-Man, and The Daydreamers.

    To be honest, Chip Zdarsky's Spider-Man Life Story already rapped the most-important stories per-decades thing. For the 60s, he chose Norman Osborn revealed as GG, for the 70s he chose Gwen's death and the first clone saga, for the 90s, it was the Clone-Saga, for the 00s, it was Morlun and Civil War, for the 2010s it was Miles Morales and Superior Ock. And for the 80s he chose Secret Wars, KLH, and Venom.
    If JM DeMatteis didn't have the tryout in Marvel Team Up #101, would he be given the title ten issues later? Would he be in a position to go with his later run, or to even write Kraven's Last Hunt?

    Good catch on the significance of Daydreamers, in what in hinted about Mary Jane's backstory.

  9. #9
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    If JM DeMatteis didn't have the tryout in Marvel Team Up #101, would he be given the title ten issues later? Would he be in a position to go with his later run, or to even write Kraven's Last Hunt?
    Are you seriously suggesting that MTU #101 is more important than KLH?

    Gerry Conway cut his teeth on Ka-Zar, Astonishing Tales and other stuff before being given the gig to write ASM in the 1970s, by this logic, those early stories are more important than The Night Gwen Stacy Died.

    Good catch on the significance of Daydreamers, in what in hinted about Mary Jane's backstory.
    Roger Stern created that (Defalco's major addition was the idea that MJ learned Peter's secret some time before) and wrote an outline for it.

    That change has remained lasting and definite and transformative, since MJ shows up far more often as the child of a troubled home than as a party girl. And it's far more enduring as an addition than Hobgoblin turned out to be.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Are you seriously suggesting that MTU #101 is more important than KLH?

    Gerry Conway cut his teeth on Ka-Zar, Astonishing Tales and other stuff before being given the gig to write ASM in the 1970s, by this logic, those early stories are more important than The Night Gwen Stacy Died.
    No, KLH matters more

    I'm wondering if MTU 101 could be important enough to crack into the top ten.


    Roger Stern created that (Defalco's major addition was the idea that MJ learned Peter's secret some time before) and wrote an outline for it.

    That change has remained lasting and definite and transformative, since MJ shows up far more often as the child of a troubled home than as a party girl. And it's far more enduring as an addition than Hobgoblin turned out to be.
    It could be interesting to count stories where MJ's backstory is important vs stories where Hobgoblin appears.

  11. #11
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    No, KLH matters more

    I'm wondering if MTU 101 could be important enough to crack into the top ten.
    Certainly not if it's only importance is JMD writing for Spider-Man for the first time.

    JMD's work on Spider-Man leads from KLH. KLH led to the run on Spectacular, which led to the run in ASM that led to ASM#400 and The Lost Years.

    It could be interesting to count stories where MJ's backstory is important vs stories where Hobgoblin appears.
    Why don't you simply make a better case for Hobgoblin being an important character? Or that Roderick Kingsley's story is more important and influential than Secret Wars or even Parallel Lives?

    Hobgoblin faced three strikes:
    -- It was created to be a permanent replacement for Norman, then Norman returned in the '90s.
    -- He was a major new addition to the Rogues Gallery, only to be displaced when Venom and then Carnage showed up.
    -- The most influential Goblin story after Norman's death was ultimately "Best of Enemies" in Spectacular 200 featuring Harry Osborn.

    There are the other strikes namely,
    -- The Hobgoblin mystery became a dead-end and a product of the weakest phase of that decade, i.e. the Gang-War story between Defalco's firing and Michelinie being hired.
    -- Hobgoblin Lives, Stern's salvage story from the '90s ultimately led him to be written out of the books for a decade plus.
    -- Hobgoblin returned under a new legacy of Phil Ulrich.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Certainly not if it's only importance is JMD writing for Spider-Man for the first time.

    JMD's work on Spider-Man leads from KLH. KLH led to the run on Spectacular, which led to the run in ASM that led to ASM#400 and The Lost Years.
    The importance isn't that Dematteis wrote Spider-Man for the first time, but that he was invited to come back.

    His run on Marvel Team-Up made him a known quantity at the Spider-Man offices, useful to getting to write KLH years later. Kraven's Last Hunt built on characters from that run, including Vermin and even the dead stool pigeon in issue one.

    Why don't you simply make a better case for Hobgoblin being an important character? Or that Roderick Kingsley's story is more important and influential than Secret Wars or even Parallel Lives?

    Hobgoblin faced three strikes:
    -- It was created to be a permanent replacement for Norman, then Norman returned in the '90s.
    -- He was a major new addition to the Rogues Gallery, only to be displaced when Venom and then Carnage showed up.
    -- The most influential Goblin story after Norman's death was ultimately "Best of Enemies" in Spectacular 200 featuring Harry Osborn.

    There are the other strikes namely,
    -- The Hobgoblin mystery became a dead-end and a product of the weakest phase of that decade, i.e. the Gang-War story between Defalco's firing and Michelinie being hired.
    -- Hobgoblin Lives, Stern's salvage story from the '90s ultimately led him to be written out of the books for a decade plus.
    -- Hobgoblin returned under a new legacy of Phil Ulrich.
    In a top ten, it is possible to note the cons of another candidate.

    Secret Wars is a little messy to consider because it's largely a Marvel event, rather than a pure Spider-Man story. The publishing history is complicated. Secret Wars #8 was also published over half an year after the introduction of the alien costume in Amazing Spider-Man #252.

    With Parallel Lives, there isn't much that's stuck. The idea that Mary Jane has always known that Peter was Spider-Man has barely referenced, and we've never actually seen any untold story showing her perspective when she was a member of the supporting cast and aware of Peter's identity at a time when she knew his secret but he didn't knew she knew.

    It's important as an early Spider-Man graphic novel, although it is predated by Hooky, graphic novels haven't really been that important to Spider-Man's publishing history (possibly due to the focus on Peter's private life which necessitates sequential storytelling), and should graphic novels come to be a bigger part of the Spider-Man comics, it's more likely to be to the success of books in another line than Parallel Lives.

    As for the Hobgoblin saga, you suggested MJ's backstory was more consequential, so I considered one test.

    Thinking of the pros and cons of Hobgoblin's first appearance being influential.

    Pros
    - The mystery of the Hobgoblin would dominate Amazing Spider-Man for years to come, through multiple runs.
    - Even if the focus on the Hobgoblin contributed to DeFalco's run ending in a disappointing manner, that speaks to the character's importance.
    - These stories have regularly been available in TPB form, exposing new readers to the arc, beyond just those who picked up the run on the stands or back issues.
    - The Hobgoblin was a major villain in the 1990s cartoon, appearing in several multi-part stories. He popped in multiple video games as well.
    - The Jason Macendale Hobgoblin is pretty lame, but popped up a lot.
    - The Hobgoblin has returned in the comics, with several appearances in Dan Slott's Amazing Spider-Man, a mini-series and more, as a new hook has been found for the character as a supplier for other bad guys.
    - He is consistently rated as a top ten villain, a rarity for someone who wasn't introduced in the silver age.
    https://www.ign.com/articles/top-25-spider-man-villains
    https://www.newsarama.com/15454-the-...l-time.html#s3
    https://www.cbr.com/50-greatest-spid...s-master-list/

    Cons
    - The Harry Osborn saga solidified the Green Goblin as Spider-Man's archenemy and the Hobgoblin as a knockoff who didn't have the mystery that made him impressive in the first place, and didn't have the ability to go after Peter Parker that made the Green Goblin successful after the mystery ended.
    - After Norman's return, the Hobgoblin barely had a niche. When Dan Slott was able to use Norman Osborn, that character became the big bad.
    - The connection to the Osborns makes him difficult to introduce in the films, which is one reason he hasn't been seen in those yet, and may never pop up there. It could take a while to introduce the Osborns and to have enough time after their defeat for viewers to get interested in a new goblin.

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    Loony Scott Taylor's Avatar
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    Well, I generally like the list in the OP, but would swap in Secret Wars somewhere, plus:

    Amazing Spider-Man #200 The end of the Burglar story (January 1980)
    Every day is a gift, not a given right.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Taylor View Post
    Well, I generally like the list in the OP, but would swap in Secret Wars somewhere, plus:

    Amazing Spider-Man #200 The end of the Burglar story (January 1980)
    Was Amazing Spider-Man 200 important? It did tie up the original story, but it's not referenced that often. Entire runs of Spider-Man would be no different if the Burglar were alive or dead.

    I'm not really counting Secret Wars because it's not really a Spider-Man comic. He's just one of many characters in that story. The new costume's debut occurred in Amazing Spider-Man months before Secret Wars #8 came out (the Secret Wars gimmick was that every Marvel comic referenced some big event that heroes swore not to talk about and the mini-series revealed) and that was the title where it turned out to be alien.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Certainly not if it's only importance is JMD writing for Spider-Man for the first time.

    JMD's work on Spider-Man leads from KLH. KLH led to the run on Spectacular, which led to the run in ASM that led to ASM#400 and The Lost Years.



    Why don't you simply make a better case for Hobgoblin being an important character? Or that Roderick Kingsley's story is more important and influential than Secret Wars or even Parallel Lives?

    Hobgoblin faced three strikes:
    -- It was created to be a permanent replacement for Norman, then Norman returned in the '90s.
    -- He was a major new addition to the Rogues Gallery, only to be displaced when Venom and then Carnage showed up.
    -- The most influential Goblin story after Norman's death was ultimately "Best of Enemies" in Spectacular 200 featuring Harry Osborn.

    There are the other strikes namely,
    -- The Hobgoblin mystery became a dead-end and a product of the weakest phase of that decade, i.e. the Gang-War story between Defalco's firing and Michelinie being hired.
    -- Hobgoblin Lives, Stern's salvage story from the '90s ultimately led him to be written out of the books for a decade plus.
    -- Hobgoblin returned under a new legacy of Phil Ulrich.
    If Hobgoblin wasn't as "important" as you say, why did constant writers felt the need to revisit him well into the 90's? He was the first successful addition to Spider-man's rogue gallery in years. They could have easily capped him off with the Ned Leeds reveal and that would have been it. But they immediately replaced him with Macendale and then Phil Urich. So the identity certainly has legs.

    I will agree that Norman's return made all goblins irrelevant once he was back. But nobody anticipated him coming back when Stern created him. It was respectful of Stern because he resisted creating yet another Green Goblin and, according to him, he wasn't about to revive Norman as he felt it would cheapen The Night Gwen Stacy Died.

    The presence of the Hobgoblin doesn't take away from Norman. If anything, it adds to his legacy. Because, even though he had been dead for years, his shadow still loomed over Peter's life. In many ways, you could argue that Norman is indirectly responsible for the Hobgoblin's actions as it was his gear and journals that Kingsley used. Without them, there would have been no Hobgoblin.

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