Nerdy, teenager Peter Parker and his superhero alter ego, Spider-Man, first appeared in a Stan Lee-Steve Ditko comic called “Amazing Fantasy” in September of 1962. Though issue 15 proved to be the last for the “Amazing Fantasy” series, it was just the beginning of Spider-Man, who was given his own comic, “The Amazing Spider-Man,” in March of 1963.
Both had covers by Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, and each is among the most collectible comic books around, with “Amazing Fantasy” being the more prized of the two. Other particularly collectible Spider-Man comics include issue three in July of 1963, which featured the first appearance of Dr. Octopus, and issue 14 a year later, when the Green Goblin made his debut.
The Spider-Man team of Lee and Ditko stayed together through issue 38, when Ditko left Marvel for a publisher called Charlton, where he had worked previously. Stan Lee continued to write stories about Peter Parker through issue 100, working with artists John Romita, Sr. and Gil Kane.
Kane’s collaboration with Lee on issues 96-98 in 1971 is notable because these were the first comics Marvel had published that were not approved by the Comics Code Authority. Known as the “Drug Books,” the issues featured the Green Goblin and had an explicitly anti-drug message, but the Comics Code forbade any mention of drugs at all, so the comics ran without the Authority’s famous seal of approval. The Code was subsequently updated.