J. M. DeMatteis became the regular writer in mid-1991, injecting a grim, psychological tone into the series. DeMatteis began his run with the story arc “The Child Within” (#178–184, July 1991-Jan. 1992), featuring the return of the Harry Osborn Green Goblin. As written by DeMatteis, Harry sank further into insanity and gained the same super-strength possessed by his father, battling Spider-Man again in #189 (June 1992), before being killed in #200 (May 1993). In an undated 2000s interview, DeMatteis said, “I really loved the two years on Spectacular Spider-Man that I wrote with Sal Buscema drawing. Talk about underrated! Sal is one of the best storytellers and a wonderful collaborator. I loved that run.”
DeMatteis left the book in mid-1993 to write The Amazing Spider-Man. Steven Grant and other writers followed through late 1994, when formerAmazing Spider-Man writer Tom DeFalco took over. By this time, all the Spider-books were affected by the controversial “Clone Saga” that culminated with Spectacular Spider-Man #226 (July 1995). This story revealed (though it was later reversed) that the Spider-Man who had appeared in the previous 20 years of comics was a clone of the real Spider-Man. This tied into a publishing gap after #229 (Oct. 1995), when the title was temporarily replaced by The Spectacular Scarlet Spider #1–2 (Nov.-Dec. 1995), featuring the “original” Peter Parker. The series picked up again with #230 (Jan. 1996).
Todd DeZago then wrote for a year before DeMatteis returned through May 1998. Luke Ross succeeded Sal Buscema as the artist and remained until the series ended, but there was no regular writer for the last half-year with Glenn Greenberg, Roger Stern, John Byrne and Howard Mackie all contributing during this time. The final issue was #263 (Nov. 1998).