During his two years on the title, Roger Stern augmented the backgrounds of long-established Spider-Man villains, and with Romita Jr. created the mysterious supervillain the Hobgoblin in #238-239 (March–April 1983) Fans engaged with the mystery of the Hobgoblin’s secret identity, which continued throughout #244-245 and 249-251 (Sept.-Oct. 1983 and Feb.-April 1984). One lasting change was the reintroduction of Mary Jane Watson as a more serious, mature woman who becomes Peter’s confidante after she reveals that she knows his secret identity. Stern wrote “The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man” in The Amazing Spider-Man #248 (January 1984), a story which ranks among his most popular.
David Michelinie took over as writer in #290 (July 1987) that led to the marriage of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21. The “Kraven’s Last Hunt” storyline by writer J.M. DeMatteis and artists Mike Zeck and Bob McLeod crossed over into The Amazing Spider-Man #293 and 294. Issue #298 (March 1988) was the first Spider-Man comic to be drawn by future industry star Todd McFarlane, the first regular artist on The Amazing Spider-Man since Frenz’s departure. McFarlane revolutionized Spider-Man’s look. His depiction – large-eyed, with wiry, contorted limbs, and messy, knotted, convoluted webbing – influenced the way virtually all subsequent artists would draw the character. McFarlane’s other significant contribution to the Spider-Man canon was the design for what would become one of Spider-Man’s most wildly popular antagonists, the supervillain Venom. Issue #299 (April 1988) featured Venom’s first appearance (a last-page cameo) before his first full appearance in #300 (May 1988). The latter issue featured Spider-Man reverting to his original red-and-blue costume.
Other notable issues of the Michelinie-McFarlane era include #312 (Feb. 1989), featuring the Green Goblin vs. the Hobgoblin; and #315-317 (May–July 1989), with the return of Venom. In July 2012, Todd McFarlane’s original cover art for The Amazing Spider-Man #328 sold for a bid of $657,250, making it the most expensive American comic book art ever sold at auction.