Cletus Kasady was introduced in The Amazing Spider-Man #344 and first appears as Carnage in issue #361. He is the main villain in the 1993 “Maximum Carnage” crossover, a 14-part story line crossover that spanned through all the Spider-Man titles. In 1996, two one-shot comics centered entirely around Carnage were released, entitled Carnage: Mind Bomb and Carnage: It’s A Wonderful Life, both of which expand on his character.
The series was launched with an April 1985 cover dated issue by writer Louise Simonson and penciller Greg LaRocque and featured the return of Spider-Man’s alien black costume, which attempted to rebond with Peter Parker. Peter managed to rid himself of the costume again using church bells and the alien was presumed to have died after that. The first issue featured a cover painting by artist Charles Vess.
In issue #18 (September 1986), Peter Parker is pushed in front of an oncoming train. He thinks to himself that this should not have happened, as his spider-sense would have warned him of the danger. Writer David Michelinie has said that he wrote this as the first “teaser” appearance of the characterVenom, whom he was planning to introduce at a later date. Venom is an amalgam of reporter Eddie Brock and the alien costume. The costume could nullify Spider-Man’s spider-sense, and this was the first clue of a puzzle that Michelinie was planning to weave to introduce Venom.
Web of Spider-Man Annual #2 (1986) featured stories drawn by Arthur Adams and Mike Mignola. A followup to the Spider-Man vs. Wolverine one-shot appeared in issue #29. The “Kraven’s Last Hunt” storyline by writer J.M. DeMatteis and artists Mike Zeck and Bob McLeod began in issue #31 (October 1987).
Amazing Spider-Man reverted completely to its original numbering for #500 (Dec. 2003). Mike Deodato, Jr. penciled the series from mid-2004 until 2006. That year Peter Parker revealed his Spider-Man identity on live television in the company-crossover storyline “Civil War“, in which the superhero community is split over whether to conform to the federal government’s new Superhuman Registration Act. This knowledge was erased from the world with the event of the four-part, crossover story arc, “One More Day“, written partially by J. Michael Straczynski and illustrated by Joe Quesada, running through The Amazing Spider-Man #544-545 (Nov.-Dec. 2007), Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #24 (Nov. 2007) and The Sensational Spider-Man #41 (Dec. 2007), the final issues of those two titles. Here, the demon Mephisto makes a Faustian bargain with Parker and Mary Jane, offering to save Parker’s dying Aunt May if the couple will allow their marriage to have never existed, rewriting that portion of their pasts. This story arc marked the end of Straczynski’s tenure as writer.
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.
Comics journalist Jonathan Miller summarized Marvel Team-Up in a retrospective article:
“The series was admittedly formulaic; either Spider-Man or that issue’s guest-star would encounter a menace and then by sheer chance cross paths with another hero who would lend a hand. The title’s guest-stars were an equal mix of A-list characters whose presence was likely to increase sales and fledgling heroes being given exposure in the hopes of launching them into stardom but who for the most part continued to languish in obscurity.”
The third Marvel Team-Up series launched in January 2005 and ran for 25 issues which starred a variety of characters.
The underlying difference between this title and the other Spider-Man titles was that Marvel Knights Spider-Man was done with a more mature slant (in style if not content), thus the “Marvel Knights” prefix.
Intended to replace the canceled Spider-Man’s Tangled Web series, Marvel Knights Spider-Man was originally supposed to be written by Kevin Smith, but due to scheduling problems he was replaced by Mark Millar. When Millar completed his year-long story arc, he was followed by writer Reginald Hudlin.
With the consolidation of the Marvel Knights line, Marvel Knights Spider-Man was renamed The Sensational Spider-Man as of issue 23. At this time, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa took over writing duties on the book.