Spider Man’s Black Suit When Did It First Appear?

I’ve read that Amazing Spiderman 252, Spectacular Spiderman 90 and Marvel Teamup 141 have the fist appearances. I’ve also heard that Marvel Age 12 is another one that’s considered a first appearance. Anyone know which one is the right one?

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14 Responses to Spider Man’s Black Suit When Did It First Appear?

  1. Brent Frankenhoff says:

    Strictly speaking, Marvel Age #12 cover-dated March 1984 could be said to have the first appearance, since it’s devoted to Secret Wars and has preliminary sketches of the new costume (with red highlights instead of the finished white ones), but it’s a news piece, not an actual Spider-Man story.

    The other three possibilities (Amazing Spider-Man #252, Spectacular Spider-Man #90, and Marvel Team-Up #141) are all cover-dated May 1984 and each has the citation in our database of “new costume.” Again, strictly speaking, we’d have to know when each shipped in that period to answer the question completely. At this point, call it a tie for when the black costume first appeared in a Spider-Man story. I suspect that a majority of collectors would defer to ASM if a “first” designation needed to be made.

  2. Lee Houston, Junior says:

    I realize your answer to Spider-Fan’s question is right from a chronological calendar perspective, but what about from the overall story continuity point of view?
    In other words, how does the black costume’s debut during the original Secret Wars mini-series fit into your answer?


  3. Jim Johnson says:

    >> I suspect that a majority of collectors would defer to ASM if a “first” designation needed to be made. < < Collectors have long accepted Amazing Spider-Man #252 as the first appearance of the black costume. This issue shipped before its first appearances in the other titles. I can’t prove it, but ASM most definitely shipped first. Retailers and readers of the day will readily recall the hubbub caused upon this issue’s release. The issue sold out immediately and within days was then selling for inflated prices, at least in the Detroit area. While there was demand for the subsequent Spectacular and Team-Up issues, these were easier to locate, and didn’t command as high a price. The relative back-issue prices of each issue should affirm that ASM is in fact known to be the costume’s first appearance. I don’t know if Marvel Age #12 has ever had much value to collectors; I know I’ve rarely if ever seen if offered for sale, at least compared to the above Spidey issues. I imagine that it would fetch a pretty high price if collectors found interest; it was, after all, the first real-time appearance, and Marvel Age issues are fairly hard to come by nowadays, especially in decent-to-high grade. Continuity-wise, the earliest appearance would logically be Secret Wars #8, when Peter first discovered and donned the costume.

  4. William Vanderburg says:

    Not that I want to be a wise-acre here, but how do you know ASM #252 shipped before those other titles IF you cannot prove it?

    As far as I am concerned, Spider-Man “jumped the shark” the day Marvel changed from red/blue to black. I stayed a fan of Spider-Man during this brief trial, but if Marvel “jumps” again, as I have heard rumors to that effect, I will no longer purchase ANY Spider titles.

    (Actually, I think Spidey “jumped the shark” several times: Parker clone, Aunt May dying/resurrecting, Spidey Car, Symbiote Costume, eight-legged Spidey, you get the idea).

  5. Jim Johnson says:

    >> . . . how do you know ASM #252 shipped before those other titles IF you cannot prove it? < < Because I remember it! Sorry, I’m not trying to be a wise-acre, either. I just know it did. Anyone who recalls otherwise, please speak up. I actually liked the idea of a new costume, but never truly believed it would last. Maybe no one did. I thought it was a nice change, though. And there were some excellent stories told in both ASM and PPTSS during this time that had nothing to do with the costume, other than that Peter was wearing it.

  6. Brent Frankenhoff says:

    Well, Lee, if you remember, the events of Secret Wars, including Spidey’s new costume, were immediate, even though the actual events, including those of Secret Wars #8, weren’t seen for several months. But, yes, continuity-wise, the costume could be said to “first appear” in Secret Wars #8. I think it would be safer to say that its origin is shown there, however.

    At the end of Amazing Spider-Man #251, Spider-Man investigated a strange device that had suddenly appeared in Central Park. Next issue, he returned from Secret Wars with his new costume.

    Thanks, Jim, for filling in the gaps in my collecting memory from that time. I was a financially strapped college student at the time, so wasn’t following much of anything comics-wise at that point. I actually didn’t read Secret Wars until a few years later, although I was tangentially aware of it at the time.

  7. William Gatevackes says:

    To back up Jim, my memory also recalls that ASM #252 came out first. And not that this is proof, but rather that it is additional evidence that it is true, the cover homage of that issue to Amazing Fantasy #15 was an indication that Marvel was using ASM #252 to showcase the first appearance of the costume. In other words, aping the first appearance of the character to present the first issue of the new costume.


  8. WLLilly says:

    …Said ASM #252 has , just , been reprinted , in the out-now new SPIDER-MAN FAMILY one-shot !!!!!!!!!
    ( I’d rather prefer it be #3 ,…BUT………..)

  9. ducky1513 says:

    MTU 141 actually shipped the week prior to Amazing 252. I too remember this… Hence technically the “first” appearance. I’m not sure the collecter marketplace is ready to include Marvel Age, which was nothing more than a “hype” mag a true first appearance. As this would probably make the “Previews” a first appearance haven!

  10. Gary Dunaier says:

    Well, if you’re going to go there, then New Adventure Comics #26 (May 38) should be considered the first appearance of Superman, because a house ad for Action Comics #1, which includes a reproduction of the cover, appears on the inside front cover.

    (Acknowledgement: the illustration of the house ad was taken from a posting by Allen Ross on the Marvel Masterworks Message Board.)

  11. ducky1513 says:


    as I said…. “I’m not sure the collecter marketplace is ready to include Marvel Age, which was nothing more than a “hype” mag a true first appearance. As this would probably make the “Previews” a first appearance haven.”

    Is validating your post as well. I was not aware of the in-house add you mentioned, thanks for that history lesson.

    However, I was a very interested collector at the time. I remember the shop manager putting Marvel Team Up 141 on the shelf and buying many multiple copies! With limited funds at the time I was anxiously waiting for this issue to “take off”. Much to my chagrine, I watched the “market” suddenly accept Amazing 252, which did arrive one week later, as the first appearance of the black costume. I have watched Secret Wars 8, be called the first appearance as well, as that issue truly introduces the costume to Peter Parker. I am still waiting for MTU to be acknowledged as the true “news-stand” appearance, not that would improve the value of those long sold multiple copies, but it certainly would make me feel better in knowing that I was right all along..hehe

  12. Gary Dunaier says:

    This is where the fanzines of the day come into play. Unfortunately, I don’t think The Comic Reader or The Comics Journal included shipping dates in their new-comics listings.

  13. psicelt says:

    add my vote to the continuity cops for ASM 252; i bought this issue at a local comics shop(now defunct, take off yo’ hat), & my immediate reaction was, ‘what the f???’ whazzis? some pretender? we had to wait 4 months or so for an ‘official’ explanation of this black suit? coulda been done better at the time, but in retrospect, not a bad thing at all. i remember feeling a bit disappointed when reed richards zapped the suit off yer friendly neighborhood webhead. at least we got a really cool villain out of the deal(two if you count carnage).

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