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50 Greatest Spider-Man Covers of All-Time: #50-41

In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of Spider-Man, we’re doing four straight months of polls having to do with Spider-Man, culminating with the release of the Amazing Spider-Man film in July. Future installments will deal with Spider-Man creators, Spider-Man characters and Spider-Man stories, but this month will be about Spider-Man covers.

You all voted, now here are the results! We’ll be doing five covers a day after today, but for our first day, I’ll reveal the first ten covers. Here is a master list of all the covers that have been revealed so far.


50. Amazing Spider-Man #90

Pencils by Gil Kane, Inks by John Romita Sr.

49. Amazing Spider-Man (Volume 2) #36

48. Amazing Spider-Man #301

Art by Todd McFarlane

47.Amazing Spider-Man #135

Art by John Romita Sr.

46. Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1

Art by Steve Ditko

45. Amazing Spider-Man #131

Pencils by Gil Kane, Inks by Frank Giacoia

44. Amazing Spider-Man #578

Art by Marcos Martin

43. Amazing Spider-Man #136

Art by John Romita

42. Amazing Spider-Man #24

Art by Steve Ditko

41. Amazing Spider-Man #600

Art by Alex Ross

Check back tomorrow for #40-36!


How much more black could the cover of AMS # 36 be?

And the answer is none. None more black.

Or, you know, ASM.

A little surprised that ASM #24 isn’t higher, but this series has had a lot of cool covers.

Aunt May was totally gonna bone Doctor Octopus.

I don’t like the cover that Alex Ross made for ASM 600. Here is hoping that the cover that JRJR did will appear further on.

At least one of my top 10 are on here.

Not a fan of the Alex Ross cover. The others covers are pretty good. I love the covers for #90 and for #135. My favorite of the bunch is the one by Marcos Martin. Fantastic cover.

I hope Michael Lark’s recent cover with the new vulture reflected on Spider-man’s eye gets on the list.

I am sure “Spider-man no more” will be a top 5 cover.

I agree with Scott–that’s one of my favorites.

God seeing the cover of issue 135 brings back so many fond memories. When I was a teenager I read all those old Spidey stories and they were simply amazing (lol). Who was the writer during that period, I cant remember.

Im gonna have to look for those trades now.

I always love the hate for Alex Ross on this site. I just don’t get it. I mean, I didn’t vote for this cover, but I really liked it. I’ve always enjoyed Ross’ work, regardless of his writing or his preference of characters. Kingdom Come will always be one of my favorite comics, and I loved his designs and cover work on the Earth X trilogy. And his work on Uncle Sam… damn. His Catwoman cover back in Faces of Evil… Project Superpowers… c’mon, let’s not always hate on stuff!

Hell, I’ll defend everyone who gets bashed on these forums from now on! Bring on the Byrnes, the Winicks, the Lobdells, the.. gasp… Liefelds!

Of this group, only 578 was on my list.

I know this is probably sacriledge but that ASM Annual 1 cover art is just ugly. Look at those faces! Kraven and Sandman especially look odd and ugly (and not in a ‘TV Ugly, not Ugly Ugly’ way). Electro’s mask is all wonky. The angle Spidey is hanging is just weird too. Talk about making yourself the biggest target possible.

I like Alex Ross, but I don’t think that cover is great. The mono-red just kind of washes out the image and makes the whole thing just kind of dull from a graphic design standpoint. Another design issue for me is the logo otherwise awesome cover for #578; I get what they are going for, but it just doesn’t quite work for me personally. I might have gone with just a small logo in the upper right corner to really emphasize the weight of the image. The cluttered, haphazard letters I think diminish a little form the power of the image.

p.s. “With this ring, I thee… WEB?”

Actually, I really like the Alex Ross cover a lot precisely because of the red. It really pops for me as a cover. But my fave of these is the Marcos Martin one. I always loved the way they coloured the letters in the ASM Annual 1 cover individually, like it was supposed to be shown on 1960s colour TV.

And I agree, ““With this ring, I thee… WEB?” is genius. I never noticed that before!

Man, I had so many different covers to vote for written down, but just kept finding more. Spider-Man is my all time favorite regardless of artist (however Todd is up there being from Az and my first ever comic was Spider-Man #1) writer, storyline. I dont care I love me some Spider-Man. Happy to see one of my potential votes up there, #301. Im happy to see some covers I havent seen before too.

Amazing Spider-Man was the first Marvel comic I ever bought.

AS-M #24, that is.

@ Rockin69
I’m sure it was Gerry Conway as writer, with Russ Andru as the artist.


Hate? What hate? I just don’t believe that’s a good cover. I have one of Alex Ross’ lithographs on Spidey (the one with the wall-crawler standing on the Brooklyn Bridge, facing Green Goblin). But Spider-man has appeared in more than 1000 covers in regular series, plus special guest appearances and I believe that there are greater covers than this.

Had I not been too lazy to vote, #135 would have been in my Top 5. Maybe even #2.

Why would any one vote for a solid black cover? Do these voters hate the other Spider-Man cover artists that much that they would prefer the covers had no drawings at all? I don’t get it.

On the bright side, I’m glad to see Marcos Martin and Ditko already making a strong showing. I hope that’s a sign of things to come. Also, if the voting had been for Top 13 instead, ASM #600 certainly would’ve made my list. I’m not the biggest Alex Ross fan, but cmon, dude killed on that one.

Why would any one vote for a solid black cover? Do these voters hate the other Spider-Man cover artists that much that they would prefer the covers had no drawings at all? I don’t get it.

It is not like the cover was black by mistake. It was an artistic decision. To wit, when John Byrne did that issue of Alpha Flight with the all-white pages, he got paid for drawing those pages since it was an artistic decision. Having the pages be white achieved an artistic purpose, as did the all-black cover. It evoked the emotions it was trying to evoke.

I’m guessing that those that question the all-black cover are unaware of the content.

“I’m guessing that those that question the all-black cover are unaware of the content.”

OK, but I thought this was supposed to be about gnarly covers, not whatever’s behind them.

I always thought AMS 36 was an awful story. Doctor Doom crying? please

What about the one where the Black Cat is sitting on his face and ripping out a few?

It’s a shame there’s not a little bit of commentary with each of these. I always like Brian’s commentary on this sort of thing.

I too miss Brian commentary, especially he’s such a big Spider-Man fan he usually has something to add. Hope he does something for the best Spidey writers next month

I dunno, the covers sort of speak for themselves, don’t they? The other stuff will have write-ups because they need them. I don’t think covers need anything – they’re designed to be good on their own, after all.

That ASM 301 cover really needs 300 beside to provide the contrast as they’re really a pair together

The black cover of ASM 36? Really? I mean, not only is it not one of the best Spider-Man covers, it’s not even the best cover of an Amazing Spider-Man number 36.

I mean, I suppose it’s better than a cover with absolutely terrible art, but surely it ranks below any cover that’s in the least bit good.

Bronze Age Chris

March 22, 2012 at 2:45 pm

The Black cover? Seriously?

It may be memorable but I have to wonder how anyone can vote for it as one of their 10 greatest. Any offers for an explanation?

I’m pleased to see the love for Romita Sr. already although I’m surprised #136 (which is the only one out of this 10 that I personally voted for) is so low down but Spidey has a long history of classic covers and there are lots to choose from.

ASM #136 was the first Spider-Man comic I ever bought (man, I’m old). Those Romita covers stand up pretty well. (Gotta love those bell bottoms.)

Hooray, one of my top ten made it! (ASM 135) and I probably wouldn’t have even thought of it if I hadn’t seen it as a t-shirt recently in a mall.

I was considering 131 as well, it’s pretty classic.

The Sinister Six cover did not make my list, but would probably make my top ten favourite spidey stories list, so it’s nice to see that one, too.

I really am old. So old my memory has gone kaput. ASM 129 was the first Spider-Man comic I ever bought, not 136. (And I’ll be stunned if it’s not #1 on this list.)

Joining the ‘the black cover shouldn’t be on the top 5000 Spider-Man covers of all-time” chorus.

Also, @phred: the “marvel comics” is utterly unnecessary; that could make room for more black. And the logo and number could have been done in relief rather than ink. So it could certainly have been a lot more black.

It is not like the cover was black by mistake. It was an artistic decision. To wit, when John Byrne did that issue of Alpha Flight with the all-white pages, he got paid for drawing those pages since it was an artistic decision. Having the pages be white achieved an artistic purpose, as did the all-black cover. It evoked the emotions it was trying to evoke.

I’m not familiar with the Alpha Flight issue, but I knew that the ASM cover was an artistic choice; I was just feeling a bit peevish in that post. I disagree, however, that the cover achieved any kind of artistic purpose, even if the creators felt they were making an artistic choice, much as having Dr. Doom shed tears at Ground Zero was an artistic choice, but achieved nothing artistically because the scene rings hollow (I know many disagree; I won’t dispute the point further). The solid black cover suggests that some things are too grave for the standard superhero fare. Quite right, but then, turn the flap – there’s Spider-Man in costume high above the city, as X-men below lend a hand to the rescure workers. It makes me uncomfortable, but not because I’m meditating on the solemnity of 9/11.

At the time, I thought it was bad, but now – and I accuse none of the creators – all I can think of when I look at it is how much money people made off that book and continue to make. For example, this lovely little bit of Americana:


So yes, a solid black cover for 9/11 and a solid black polybag for the death of Superman: both resulted in a lot of money being made off a comic book.

I know we’re early on the list yet, but I’m a bit disapointed these are all from “Amazing.” There were some great covers on “Spectacular,” “Web,” “Spider-Man” and “Sensational” that I hope make the cut.

Let’s see…
Issue 136 was my #10 pick.
And I made myself a top 50 which included issues 24, 90, 131 and 301, and which certainly should have included 135 had I taken more care, and possibly should have included 578 as well, as that is a good a choice.
However, the votes for the Sinister Six cover, Doc Ock cover and the black cover represent a different taste in Spidey covers than I have.

I consider Spidey annual 1 to be one of the 5 best Spidey comics ever, and the interior art is gorgeous; I just don’t like the cover.

Re #36 Black Cover,

I have no issue with this showing up. While I did not personally vote for this cover, it certainly crossed my mind as a cover to consider. I recall when this comic was issued and how striking and different it was at that time.

Based on the criteria as well, it just said YOUR favourite 10 covers for whatever reasons, and I consider it very memorable. Different story about the content though, can’t recall much of that :)

None of mine here yet!

randypan the goatboy

March 22, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Wow a black cover….are you sure you dont have metallica’s black album in its place? It has a black cover too. That was the dumbest shit i could imagine and it really made me not care about the rest…

wow 131 made it! lol. put it in as a joke. but when i was shopping for ASM back issues that cover grabbed me and i now have a copy.

Not a lot of Spinal Tap fans on here then?

I was gonna say Deathblow #1 is blacker than Spidey #36, because it had TWO shades of black on it, but it has a red logo so I guess they’re even.

Two from my list come and gone already. Had to go with the Ock marriage– that’s a heckuva hook with a solid layout– and #24 is definitely one of Ditko’s finest covers, a good concept with a clever perspective.

ASM 100 Anniversary cov

ASM 50 Spiderman No More

ASM 39 -Green Goblin/unmasked Spiderman

ASM 33 Trapped Cover

ASM 68 -Crisis on Campus Cover

Those are my top 5, lets see how close I get…. i went all old school though so I am assuming that some McFarlane HAS to sneak up there…

The all black cover? Seriously? Gosh, people are so dumb for having different standards for what constitutes a great cover, rageragerage

#47 (ASM #135) is one of my favorite covers simply because it was reproduced as part of a line of Marvel portfolios — like Pee Chee folders — at my mom’s favorite discount store of the 70s, Pic ‘n’ Save.

Ah, memories.

The all-black cover to ASM 36 is a great, simple cover, and obviously used as a September 11th tribute of sort.

The poll didn’t ask for the best art or coloring on a cover, or best logo or lettering, or anything like that I am assuming.

It asked for the greatest Spider-Man covers, and to me, and obviously to others, ASM 36 is a GREAT cover.

There is no art, but that’s the whole point, and why such a simple thing can mean so much. :)

Phred – My review of that cover is merely a two word review, which I won’t reprint here because this is a family blog.

I’ve never been into Spider-Man, although as a Marvel Zombie I’m still fairly familiar with his stories and comics. And yet I’ve never seen that cover for ASM #90 before. Kind of surprising.

And personally, I think it’s hilarious that a solid black cover made the top 50 covers list, regardless of the reason.

@PHRED – Too much, too much f*cking perspective now.

“With this ring, I thee … web?!!” Fabulous. This is why I have always loved comics.

Pleased that 2 of my 10 are already on the list and disappointed that they didn’t place higher (#s 131 and 136).

And Phred, we are out here… Even though I’m surprised the Black cover made the list, I thought it was a better chioce than Smell the Glove.

It goes to Eleven…

I didn’t vote for it, but I really like the Alex Ross cover. It’s well-drawn, the action is clear, and effect of the red is striking. Alex Ross has done some boring, boring covers, but I like this one.

The black cover… well, okay, it stands out and symbolizes mourning after the 9/11 attacks, It’s not for me, but I can see why people voted for it.

Man thesse suck.

Amazing 301! GOT IT!

I think Alex Ross cover is the best from the above list. Its simple yet cool. And I think spider man no more cover will be top 3.

This is going to be fun! Love the Marcos Martin & hope we’ll see more. I’m personally partial to the cover to 300, but can see why 301 would make the list since it features the classic red & blue ‘stume.

@ Scott

It’s not evident at all that the black cover is a 9-11 tribute. I had no idea until I read your post. The black cover, by itself, says nothing, means nothing, and leaves no impression at all. It’s a shitty cover. It’s place on the list suggests that the voters didn’t understand the purpose of the poll. This is depressing.

none of these would make my top 100 much less top 50.

I think to be a great cover, it should have to be something an everyday person without a hint of artistic ability could not make. Anyone could’ve made that all black cover, therefore it cannot be great. It’s the “polar bear in a snow storm” of comic covers.

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