Amazing Fantasy #15
Amazing Fantasy #15 is the first comic book to feature Spider-Man, one of the most popular comic book superheroes of all time.
The comic started life as ‘Amazing Adventures’ in June 1961, which then changed to ‘Amazing Adult Fantasy’ by issue 7 in December of that year. The motto on the cover read “The magazine that respects your intelligence”, and the stories were often more off-beat and sophisticated than many other similar titles of the time.
The books were collaborations between writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko, who created the character of Spider-Man to appear in the 15th issue. As it was due to be cancelled, issue #15 turned out to be the final issue of the now re-named ‘Amazing Fantasy'. The cover was drawn by Jack Kirby as a last-minute replacement for Ditko’s original cover art.
The character of Spider-Man was given the following introduction at the start of his first story:
"Like costumed heroes? Confidentially, we in the comic mag business refer to them as "Long Underwear Characters"! and, as you know, they're a dime a dozen! But, we think you may find our Spider-Man just a bit…Different!"
The character’s origin story sees teenager Peter Parker bitten by a radioactive spider whilst on a school trip to a science exhibition. He then develops superhuman abilities, but struggles to balance his new-found powers with his everyday life. The story features the line that came to dominate the Spider-Man mythology: "With great power there must also come great responsibility!".
It was Lee’s naturalistic approach to the storytelling that made Spider-Man stand out from many other characters at the time, and led to his enduring popularity. Although Amazing Fantasy was cancelled, the character of Spider-Man had proven so successful that he was brought back several months later in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man #1’ (March 1963).
In 2007 comic book dealer Comicconnect sold a copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 graded CGC 9.4 for a record price of $227,000.
In March 2011 ComicConnect announced the sale of a near mint copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 for $1.1m. The copy is currently the most expensive Silver Ager comic ever sold at auction.