Ever since Spiderman swung through the pages of Amazing Fantasy #15, he’s never stopped amazing us. But, we can’t give all the credit to Peter Parker – there were plenty of heroes who helped him along the way. So here are five of the best team-ups Spider-Man got into over his half a century of splurting web in the funny books.
Marvel and DC’s rivalry has become one of nerdom’s most enduring cornerstones that the industry would be rendered unrecognizable if it didn’t exist. However, there were times that the stars aligned and these two purveyors of capes and tights decided to profit together. One of the results of these ever so rare unions is 1976’s Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man, written by Gerry Conway and illustrated by the dream team of Ross Andru, Neal Adams, and John Romita, Sr. The story is exactly as it sounds: it’s the Last Son Of Krypton fighting Webhead, because who needs drama when you get to see two men in tights beating the snot out of each other?
Back before Len Wein (god speed, sir) and Dave Cockrum put their spin on the Children of the Atom, the X-Men franchise was at the bottom of the popularity pile, which means readers just aren’t picking them up. So, to boost sales for the property, what better way than to pair Marvel’s mutants with their #1 franchise? Hence, Marvel Team-up #4 was published in 1972. In the issue, penned again by none other than the legendary Gerry Conway with the incomparable Gil Kane on art duties, Spidey and the original X-Men go up against Morbius the Living Vampire (and even Frankenstein’s monster!). The team-up proved to be quite a charm, as X-Men comics’ sales went up after this was published.
Long before Robert Downey, Jr. decided to conscript child soldiers for his war against Captain America, Spidey and Iron Man have been on adventures together in the funny books. It all started in 1973, when Marvel Team-up #9 was published, which had Tony Stark and Peter Parker going on a romp to the future. Now, what makes this issue interesting aside from its historical significance is the way the two characters’ relationship was established, where Iron Man and Spidey have more of a partnership than an apprenticeship.
The Fantastic Four and Spider-Man are two Marvel properties that have had close ties to each other ever since they came out of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s minds. Even further, it’s the Spider-Man and Human Torch’s dynamic that shines here, given that the two characters are roughly the same age. This relationship just became more of a classic when Marvel Team-up #1 was released in 1972. It’s a Christmas story where the two heroes duke it out with the Sandman, who was just on his way to deliver some presents to his mom. Yeah, superheroes can be jerks too.
All the other entries here are iconic, but none are as perfect as when Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man teams up with the Merc with a Mouth. So much so, that a whole series dedicated to this holiest of pairings was published in 2016 on the pages of Spider-Man/Deadpool #1. It’s about them doing what superheroes do, but it’s the banter which makes it so appealing. Come on, we’re talking about two of mainstream comics’ greatest quippers here.