The 10 Saddest Spider-Man Comics
The Amazing Spider-Man is known as one of Marvel Comics’ most upbeat and fun heroes. The Web-Slinger has a colorful and creative roster of villains, while Peter Parker himself is a relatable guy with an arsenal of jokes and one-liners. He seems to have it pretty well, though the media usually has it for him.
However, all is not rosy and sunny for Spider-Man. Even the Web-Head has a hard time, and nearly every superhero faces at least one great tragedy in their time as a masked vigilante. Spider-Man is no different in this regard, and there are some truly heartbreaking Spider-Man comics waiting to be read.
9 A Hunter’s Obsession Consumes Him With “Kraven’s Last Hunt”
Sergei Kravinoff, aka Kraven the Hunter, took things to a new extreme when he seemingly killed Spider-Man and buried him. Spider-Man was still alive, but it took him two weeks to escape from the coffin. Meanwhile, Kraven sought to prove he could be a better Spider-Man than Peter Parker ever was. When Peter breaks free, he finds Kraven crazier than he’s ever been before, and Kraven commits suicide in this story by JM DeMatteis and Mike Zeck.
This tragedy was compounded when the Kravinoff family sought to resurrect Kraven by The Sinister Hunt by Joe Kelly, Michael Lark and Marco Checchetto. In this tale, Kraven murders Mattie Franklin (aka Spider-Woman), Madame Web, and Kaine Parker (aka Scarlet Spider).
8 Spider-Man suffered one of his most brutal tests in ‘The Other: Evolve Or Die’
One of Spider-Man’s most brutal adventures occurred when his powers seemingly killed him and the interdimensional vampire known as Morlun hunted the Wall-Crawler. It was The other: grow or die event that took place on several different Spider-Man titles from creators including Peter David, Reginald Hudlin, Mike Wieringo, Pat Lee, and Mike Deodato Jr.
During this story, Peter is beaten into a coma, apparently dies, loses his skin and is reborn, and has an eye gouged out of his head. However, he eventually gains new powers and faces the otherworldly entity known as the Other.
7 One of Peter’s most tragic enemies takes a dark turn (ASM #630-633)
Curt Connors never wanted to become the Lizard, and he can’t control himself when the Lizard personality takes over. Curt’s wife and child developed cancer from a company called the Monnano Corporation, and Curt’s wife Martha perished. Billy was able to recover, but his life would still be cut short.
The lizard, despite Curt Connors, killed and ate Billy Connors. Curt’s influence on the Lizard faded due to the trauma and the Lizard became the shed. This new form was more powerful than the Lizard and even developed telepathic abilities. Spider-Man barely beat the shed by reappearing Curt Connors from the Lizard.
6 Cloak and Dagger Birth Comes From Death (Spectacular Spider-Man #64)
Cloak and Dagger are a pair of young heroes who were created by Bill Mantlo and Ed Hannigan in Spectacular Spider-Man #64. Cloak, aka Tyrone Johnson, has the ability to teleport himself and others across the Darkforce Dimension. Dagger, aka Tandy Bowen, can summon daggers of light that stun and stun opponents.
The two gained their powers after being kidnapped and subjected to a brutal experiment involving narcotics. Tandy and Tyrone were the only survivors of the experiment, along with countless other runaway teenagers who died in the process.
5 Harry Osborn’s quest for revenge calls for him (Spectacular Spider-Man #200)
Harry Osborn never forgave his former best friend, Peter Parker, for the death of his father Norman Osborn. Of course, Norman never really died, but Harry didn’t know that. Harry has donned the Green Goblin persona more than once, apparently becoming addicted to the goblin formula the same way he had a pill addiction years before.
In Spectacular Spider-Man #200 by J. M. DeMatteis and Sal Buscema, Spider-Man and Harry as the Green Goblin duel once more before Harry realizes the Goblin Formula is killing him. Harry and Peter finally speak, and the two forgive each other before the Formula sends Harry into a fit, eventually taking his life.
4 One of Pete’s best friends died in the Negative Zone (Fantastic Four #587-8)
Harry Osborn wouldn’t be the last close friend Spider-Man lost. Johnny Storm, aka the Fantastic Four’s Human Torch, was Spider-Man’s first superhero friend. The two were also close, and that made it difficult for Spider-Man when the Human Torch perished in the Negative Zone of Fantastic Four #587 by Jonathan Hickman and Steve Epting.
The next problem, #588, deals with the fallout as the FF and their allies attempt to deal with the death of the Human Torch. Thor and Hulk allow the Thing to vent his feelings in a one-sided brawl, and Spider-Man attempts to console young Franklin Richards, who feels partly responsible for Johnny’s death. This led to Spider-Man joining the FF when they recreated as Future Foundation.
3 Spider-Man’s origin is a tragedy in itself (Amazing Fantasy #15)
Of course, it’s worth mentioning that Spider-Man’s birth was itself a tragedy. After gaining his spider powers in Incredible Fantasy #15 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, Peter Parker sought to capitalize on his newfound abilities. However, this made him selfish, causing him to allow a burglar to escape after robbing the people who had scammed Peter.
This same burglar would go on to kill Benjamin Parker, Peter’s uncle and father figure, in a shootout. This tragedy inspired Spider-Man to use his powers to benefit others, because with great power should also come great responsibility.
The death of (Ultimate) Spider-Man (Ultimate Spider-Man #153-60 and Ultimate Fallout) showed the death of a hero
While not quite the Spider-Man everyone knows and loves, it was still a great tragedy when the Ultimate Spider-Man of Earth-1610 died after a fight with his greatest enemies, including the Green Goblin. It happened in Ultimate Spiderman #153-160 with the sequel taking place in Ultimate Falloutwith creators such as Brian Michael Bendis, Sarah Pichelli, Mark Millar, Leinil Francis Yu, Mark Bagley, Chris Samnee and David Lafuente leading this tale.
Peter Parker and Norman Osborn killed each other in the final fight, with Aunt May arriving to comfort Peter in passing. Little did May or Peter know that Miles Morales was watching Peter’s death in the crowd, and Miles was going to succeed Peter Parker as the next Ultimate Spider-Man.
2 Back in Black and One More Day (ASM #538-545) had Spider-Man at rock bottom
After revealing his secret identity to the world at the behest of Iron Man, Peter Parker’s life has become more difficult than ever. He was drafted into the Superhuman Civil War to help stop Captain America and his renegade Avengers, but defected to Cap’s side after becoming disgusted with Iron Man’s tactics. Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin, hired an assassin to kill Peter in his own home, but the bullet missed and hit Aunt May instead. May Parker was near death when Peter again donned the black suit to hunt down and beat Fisk nearly to death. This story was told through Amazing Spider-Man #538-545 by J. Michael Strazynski, Ron Garney and Joe Quesada.
Soon after, Peter Parker and Mary Jane would be approached by Mephisto with a deal that Peter and Mary Jane would accept. It was an infamous deal that would change Peter Parker’s life forever and lead to bashing new day story.
1 The Night Gwen Stacy Died (ASM #121-2) Was a Turning Point for Peter Parker
The death of Gwen Stacy is one of the most eponymous and tragic events in the life of Peter Parker, being even partly adapted for that of Sam Raimi. Spider Man and Mark Webb Amazing Spiderman 2. This story finds Green Goblin discovering Spider-Man’s secret identity and seeking to strike Peter through those he loves.
Green Goblin kills Gwen Stacy in Amazing Spider-Man #121 by Gerry Conway and Gil Kane. In the follow-up issue, Spider-Man and Green Goblin have a brutal confrontation that ends with Green Goblin seemingly accidentally killing himself with his own Goblin Glider. Although Peter may have won the fight, he still has to deal with the loss of the woman he loved.
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