Dan Slott

A Look Back At Dan Slott And His Amazing Spider-Man Run

When you think of writers on The Amazing Spider-Man, the first name that comes to mind is Stan Lee, right? Who is the second name that comes to mind, though? It could be Gerry Conway, Tom DeFalco, or maybe J. Michael Straczynski. It should be Dan Slott, who just recently ended the longest run on The Amazing Spider-Man in its history. Slott wrote 164 total issues on the main title, plus all the one-shots and spin-offs that we won’t even bother to count (it’s a lot). He left behind a legacy on The Amazing Spider-Man title that will remain in history forever.

Dan Slott has never shied away from writing the big story, or causing a little controversy along the way. Whether it was killing Peter Parker and replacing him with Doc Ock, or confirming that Gwen Stacy’s death did come at the hands of Peter. All of these stories have led to Slott having his fair share of haters. Nevertheless, Slott loves the character of Spider-Man and it shows in his work. Dan Slott led Peter Parker on countless epic adventures, giving him new suits, gadgets, and a few new jobs.

Dan Slott
The Amazing Spider-Man #600 (Marvel Entertainment)

For years, Peter Parker was the kid who took photos for The Daily Bugle. Other than a few teaching stints here and there, Peter never quite strayed away from photography jobs. Slott, however, took Peter Parker, the scientist, and opened the door for some amazing new jobs for him. We, as fans, saw Peter grow more in Slott’s run than any other run since Stan Lee. Join us as we stop and look back at some of the best moments in Dan Slott’s run on The Amazing Spider-Man.

Big Time

Dan Slott began his time on Spider-Man long before Big Time. Slott was one of the regular writers on the book when Brand New Day began, and the book is released three times a month. He even got to write his first milestone issue in #600. We would soon learn just how talented Dan Slott is when it comes to planting seeds for future stories. Some events that took place in his issue #600 would have ramifications in issues #698-700.

In 2010, Slott would take the lead on the book himself with #648. Beginning the Big Time story, Slott and the team immediately introduced a new feel for the book. Slott gave Peter a brand new job at Horizon Labs, working under the genius Max Modell. This new job wouldn’t only open the door to many adventures soon to come, but it also gave Pete a place to work on some new Spidey gadgets, and new suits ranging from stealth to bullet proof armor.

Spider-Man got some immediate team-ups with friends Black Cat and Human Torch. Spider-Man wasn’t the only character Slott gave a new look. Phil Urich, son of the famous Marvel comics journalist Ben Urich, became the new Hobgoblin. Slott gave the new Hobgoblin a sonic scream and a fire sword, presenting some difficult new challenges for Spidey. There were a lot of questions and doubt about Dan Slott becoming the sole writer of Marvel’s flagship title. It didn’t take long for him to silence the doubters as his first few stories showed attributes of a writer that was a fan of the character and inspired to give a new twist to the book.

Spider-Island

Ever wondered what it would be like to have the same powers as Spider-Man? In Dan Slott’s first big cross over event, Spider-Island, the entire city of Manhattan found out. Well, almost the entire city. When spider-related experiments being performed by the Jackal lead to people around the city suddenly attaining the powers of a spider, chaos ensues. Scientists at Horizon Labs team up with Mister Fantastic to find a cure, eventually using Anti-Venom to create one. The downside is that the people of New York don’t just have Spider-Man’s powers anymore, they are mutating into giant spiders. So, there is not much time to cure everyone.

Dan Slott
The Amazing Spider-Man #672: (Marvel Entertainment)

While Peter’s girlfriend at the time, Carlie Cooper, was in the process of mutating, Peter teamed up with ex-girlfriend Mary Jane. Mary Jane also had spider powers but was not mutating as fast as everyone else due to her past relationship with Peter. Peter used some of Doctor Octopus’ old octo-bots, and gave each a dose of the cure. Pete unleashed an army of octo-bots against the army of spiders New York had become, and cured the city.

The Stories In Between

After the events of Spider-Island, Dan Slott threw in a few 1-2 issue story arcs. From Spider-Man trapped in space with Johnny Storm, to facing off against Vulture, and preventing the destruction of New York after seeing the future in a “door to tomorrow” created at Horizon Labs. These short stories have always been what have made Spider-Man great. They’ll never be remembered as Spidey’s essential stories to read, but they perfectly represent everything Spider-Man is about.

The short story arcs came to a halt at the start of the Ends of The Earth arc. Slott pinned Spider-Man up against the Sinister Six. With the help of Silver Sable, Black Widow, and some slick new armor, this story was an epic series that would lead to the coming events in the near future. Before Doc Ock could turn the Earth’s population into an essentially vegetable state, Spider-Man put an end to his plan at a terrible price. Silver Sable was met with her death by the Rhino in order to allow Spider-Man to Octavious. This hit Peter hard when, after the death of Marla Jameson, he promised that he would not let anybody else die.

Not So Happy Birthday

After a run-in with the Lizard and Morbius, Spider-Man reached an epic milestone. Dan Slott was presented with the opportunity to write a story for Spider-Man’s 50th anniversary. Unfortunately for Slott, this story was probably his lowest point during his time on the book. Slott created Andy Maguire, a young teen who would be given almost limitless power at the fault of Peter. Peter would be tasked with looking after him by the Avengers. Unfortunately, this Andy Maguire was made as an insufferable jerk who was easy to hate.

After the story, Alpha would get his own solo book at Marvel. The series would only last a few issues due to low sales. Alpha was never able to overcome the negative feedback from his first appearance. Since the end of his run, he is nowhere to be found, and I think Marvel probably wants to keep it that way.

Superior After Death

Dan Slott is known for plenty of his stories on The Amazing Spider-Man. None came close to his start of The Superior Spider-Man. After over 50 years worth of stories and 700 issues, The Amazing Spider-Man comic run came to an end. The fact that the series was “ending” wasn’t what got a lot of people riled up. It was the fact that Dan Slott was turning Doctor Octopus, arguably Spider-Man’s greatest enemy, into the Superior Spider-Man.

During a short 3-issue series involving the Hobgoblin and Kingpin, Spider-Man’s spider-sense went on the fritz. This opened the door for Doc Ock to perfectly execute his plan to swap minds with Spider-Man. This puts Peter Parker’s mind in Otto Octavius’s dying body. Despite a valiant last effort to take down Otto, Peter, in Otto’s body, came up short and died in battle. Otto was then left to take over the title of Spider-Man.

Fans were infuriated by this idea, even to the point where Dan Slott received death threats. I understand why people would be upset by this story, and I know Dan Slott said a million times it was permanent. But anyone with a functioning brain should have known this wasn’t permanent, and death threats are always over the top.

Villain Becomes The Hero

The Superior Spider-Man, despite being heavily criticized, in my opinion, was some of Dan Slott’s best work during his run on Spider-Man. When the series began, Otto, as expected, was an insufferable jerk. But as the series went on we saw Otto grow and slowly turn into a true hero.

Otto, despite causing a load of problems for Peter to deal with upon his return, was able to help him in many ways as well. He got Peter a doctorate, invented a mass of new gadgets and tech, even launched Parker Industries, which proved to be a good and not so good thing for Pete in the future. Otto even falls in love during his time as Peter. Not with Mary Jane, or any of Peter’s exes. Slott introduced a new character, Anna Maria Marconi.

Otto’s love for Anna Maria proved to be the reasoning behind Otto giving Peter his body back. During a battle with Green Goblin, Otto realized that the only one who could save Anna Maria was the true Spider-Man. This proved that Otto, during his tenure as Spider-Man, learned the great lesson that with great power must also come great responsibility. The Superior Spider-Man was a masterpiece by Dan Slott, and it is disappointing that many people never even gave it a shot. Slott took a hated villain, gave him an emotional story, made you care for the character, and felt sympathy for him when it was his time to go.

An Amazing Return

After a long absence, the real Peter Parker made his triumphant return. Pete had a lot thrown at him upon his return. He had to run his own business, deal with Anna Maria, and he quickly found out that he wasn’t the only person bit by that pesky little spider all those years ago. Cindy Moon, later to be known as Silk, was bitten moments after Peter by that same radioactive spider. She was given powers as well, and would later be trained by Ezekial. After years of training to protect her and other members of the Spider-family, Ezekial locked her up and kept her away from the rest of the world. Once Cindy was out, the closer she and Peter got to each other they… well, let’s just say their spider powers caused them to become very close to each other.

Silk went on to get her own solo series by Marvel. With her arrival into the Marvel Universe along with Spider-Man and Spider-Woman and all the other spider-family members, this opened the gates to another one of Slott’s big stories. One where he would use every version of Spider-Man ever created, plus some brand new ones.

Spider-Verse

In Spider-Verse, Peter had to partner with a mass of other Spider-Men and Spider-Women from alternate dimensions to defeat Morlun and his family. Slott excels at writing these characters with his own personality, making the interactions between them a whole bunch of fun. Though the story itself is a simple one, this is definitely a personality-driven story. All of the issues, crossovers, and one-shots, came out in order. There were even pages taken directly out of other books and placed in another so the story could flow easily.

For a huge cross-over event, this was an impressive display by Slott and the rest of the team at Marvel. It was fun to see all of the different spiders and learn about their individual stories. Sure, a lot of them were on the gimmicky side, but they were fun gimmicks. Marvel did not go down the usual route with this story. This wasn’t your typical “heroes go against unspeakable odds, win, and no one dies” cliché. We saw multiple spiders from other dimensions killed in this story-line. The threat of loss felt very real.

Clones, Clones, And More Clones

A character Dan Slott used quite a bit was the Jackal. In The Clone Conspiracy, Slott made the Jackal go down a road he really hadn’t explored yet. He wasn’t just cloning people, he was making exact clones of people who were dead. These clones were different though – they had every single memory that the original version ever had. All the way to their last second. This opened the door for Slott, never one to shy away from causing controversy in his books, to confirm a moment in Spider-Man’s history that was debated for a long time.

Was Gwen Stacy dead before Pete even made it to the bridge? Or was it the sudden stop during her fall due to Pete’s web which caused her neck to snap? Of course, Slott chose the option that would cause the most uproar. We saw everything Gwen was thinking and seeing right up to the moment Pete’s web snagged her, snapping her neck. This story has affected many people, from J. Jonah Jameson, the Rhino, to Curt Connors. They all got their loved ones back, and they were happy.

Dan Slott has this amazing skill. Slott creates a story that is full of emotion and is even heart wrenching at times. Peter is left to make the extremely difficult decision to stop the Jackal. Even though people are happy, he knows they aren’t the real versions of the friends and loved ones of people lost throughout Spidey’s history. Pete would go on to undo all of what the Jackal had done, and put a stop to his plan. All with the unlikely help of Doctor Octopus and his friends Spider-Gwen and Ben Reilly.

Endless Amounts Of Stories

Slott’s run is so long and unprecedented that it would take forever to go over every story he wrote. Whether it’s the encounters with the Black Cat, battles with Electro, working with Mockingbird overseas or fighting off the Venom symbiote. He made a mark on the book that will last forever in history. The great thing about Dan Slott’s run was how different it was compared to past runs. He took the book and broke it out of its comfort zone. Slott could easily have continued the old, tired stories of Peter being broke, taking pictures for Jameson, etc. We all know the story.

Instead, Slott took the book and grew it. He evolved the character and the book, all while keeping the core of the character alive. Everyone knows about that old “Parker luck.” When everything is going great for Peter, everything bad that can happen, happens. Dan Slott emphasized that this quality is better than most that came before him.

Almost every character that has appeared in Spider-Man’s universe was touched on during Slott’s run. It felt as if Slott wanted to leave no stone unturned while on the book. At the same time, he introduced new characters to the world of Spider-Man. He created new friends for Peter in Silk, Anna Maria, Carlie Cooper, and even some new enemies like Mr. Negative.

End Of An Era

How do you end the longest run on The Amazing Spider-Man book ever? How about taking the Green Goblin, one of Spidey’s greatest villains, and giving him the Carnage symbiote? That is exactly what Dan Slott did. He created a murdering psychopath with almost unstoppable power. Osborn went after the people closest to Peter, from Mary Jane, to Aunt May, and Harry Osborn. It was up to Peter to save them all, with the help of a few friends.

Spider-Man was in for the fight of his life. Red Goblin was on a rampage leaving behind a trail of bodies, including a long-time fan favorite, Flash Thompson. At the end of the day, Spider-Man proved victorious once again, even though it came at a price. The story proved to be the epic finale we all expected to Slott’s run.

Dan Slott & Spider-Man

Few people can say they have written on The Amazing Spider-Man series. In fact, nobody can say they have written more on it than Dan Slott. His impact on the character is undeniable. Of course, it was not all him. Slott worked with plenty of great artists and creative teams. Whether you are a fan of his or not, you have to respect what he did, or attempted to do, on the book. Dan Slott knew what he had been doing for years before him. He wanted to take the book in a new direction. This made his run unique compared to the rest.

If you have ever met Dan Slott, you will know how he is a friendly, love-able guy, even though it may not always seem like it looking at some instances he has had on social media. Nevertheless, Dan Slott loves the character of Spider-Man and loved his time on the book. When you look back at his run, it is fascinating to see the long journey that got us to where we are now. From the start, to Big Time, all the way to the epic finale face-off against the Red Goblin. There isn’t much you can do to show appreciation for this incredible feat by Dan Slott. The best thing you can do is enjoy it, and well, you wrote it yourself, Dan.

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