Amazing Spiderman #252 Homage Covers

Amazing Spiderman #252 (Ron Frenz & Klaus Janson Newsstand Edition) - May 1984

1st Appearance of Spiderman’s Black Suit – By Release Date

Cover Date: May 1984
Covert Artist(s): Ron Frenz & Klaus Janson
Writer(s): Tom DeFalco & Roger Stern
Penciler: Ron Frenz
Inker: Brett Breeding
Colorist: Glynis Wein

The first printed appearance of Spiderman’s now-iconic black suit is in Comics Journal #85 in a single-panel preview. The black suit would also be previewed in Amazing Heroes and Marvel Age magazines before appearing in any of Marvel’s comic books.

The honor of first comic appearance belongs by release date to The Amazing Spiderman #252, though there has been some debate among collectors. Amazing Spiderman #252 is an important book for collectors because the black suit would eventually turn out to be an alien symbiote who attempts to take over the body of Peter Parker aka Spiderman. Parker, of course, rejects the symbiote, who then becomes Venom 48 issues later in The Amazing Spiderman #300. Venom has since become one of Marvel’s most dangerous villains and a popular anti-hero. Cementing The Amazing Spiderman #252’s key status, Venom would spawn other like-minded symbiotes, the most famous of which is Carnage, who craves violence and murder for their sake.

The debate, however, centers on the first comic appearance by release date, by cover date or by continuity. As noted above, Amazing Spiderman #252 wins the release date debate, released on January 31, 1984 with a cover date of May. However, two other Spiderman titles which feature the black suit also share a May 1984 cover date: Marvel Team-Up #141 and Spectacular Spider-Man #90. If collectors consider cover dates, these three comics share the honor of the black suit’s first appearance. (The latter books were released to newsstands and comic shops in February, a full two weeks after Amazing Spiderman #252.)

Thornier yet is the black suit’s first appearance by continuity. In this case, none of the aforementioned books garner this award. Instead, this honor is reserved for Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8 – which was released months after the aforementioned books with a cover date of December 1984 – a full seven months later, whether we consider release dates or cover dates!

Regardless which side of the debate individual collectors prefer, none deny the desirable key status of all four books in regards to Spiderman’s black suit.

Sources: Marvel Fandom; (“What Was the First Comic Book That Had Spider-Man’s Black Costume In It?)