Spider-Man is one of the most beloved and recognizable superheroes in the world. From a multi-billion dollar movie franchise to a series of animated shows to a metric ton of toys, games, t-shirts, and bedsheets. Peter Parker has been delighting fans for decades, but let’s take an opportunity to celebrate five of the creators who have shaped his stories over the years.
Countless writers have written stories of Spider-Man but few have been as prolific as Slott who was the main writer of the series for 10 years (the longest run of any writer). He introduced the game changing Superior Spider-Man arc that saw supervillain Dr. Octopus place his mind in Peter’s body. He also had Peter go full Tony Stark and start up his own company, Parker Industries. He introduced fan favorite characters like Agent Venom and Scarlet Spider and created the Spider-verse, the basis for the hugely successful and Academy Award winning film adaptation.
Dematteis contributed a lot of fascinating stories during his turn as writer on Spider-Man. But it’s his work on the all time classic story Kraven’s Last Hunt that lands him on this list. Taking Spider-Man and the titular supervillain to a darker and more grounded place than readers had ever seen before. He added depth and incredibly serious stakes to the often light tales of the web slinger and brought in a whole new generation of readers who might have previously thought of these stories as just for kids.
If we’re talking high stakes Spider-Man stories we can’t forget the man who killed Gwen Stacy (I know technically it was Norman Osborn who actually did the deed in the story). Conway had the not so small task of being the first writer to take over after the iconic Stan Lee created the character. Conway pushed Spider-Man in new directions and challenged Peter time and again to really figure out what he believed in and what kind of hero he wanted to be.
Spider-Man is a classic character without question, but by the early 2000s he no longer resembled the put upon teenager he had started as. Leave it to Bendis and his Ultimate Spider-Man series to deliver a brand new version for the 21st century audience. Coming quickly on the heels of the smash hit Sam Raimi film, Bendis begins the Spider-Man story again in modern day and slaps a fresh coat of paint on the entire universe. Bendis would challenge things even further when he killed Parker (more blood on Norman Osborn’s hands) and introduced a new Spider-Man in the form of Miles Morales. It took fans a little while to warm up to Miles, but he’s now just as popular as the original Spider-Man.
There is much debate as to what exactly Stan contributed to the myriad of creations he’s credited with, but if there’s any character who personifies the voice of Stan Lee it’s Spider-Man. From his hard luck home life to his quippy sense of humor, it always felt like Peter Parker was Stan’s avatar in the Marvel Universe. A lot of the original heroes that Stan first wrote would come to really be defined by future writers, but Spider-Man arrived pretty much fully formed. The first story introduces an origin story that has never really been deviated from and Stan was just getting started as he proceeds to introduce one of the best rogues galleries in comics history (possibly only Batman beats him). Green Goblin, Doc Ock, Sandman, The Lizard, Electro, Vulture, Kraven The Hunter, just to name a few. Stan made Spider-Man a character he and subsequently any reader can relate to and still stands as his greatest creation to this day.
For more on comic creators, check out Top 5 Batman Writers!