Amazing Fantasy
Amazing Adult Fantasy #7 (Dec. 1961). First issue following title change from Amazing Adventures, cover art by Steve Ditko.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
Publication dateAmazing Adventures #1–6 (June 1961 – Nov. 1961)
Amazing Adult Fantasy #7–14 (Dec. 1961 – July 1962)
Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 10, 1962)
Amazing Fantasy #16–18 (Dec. 1995 – March 1996)
Amazing Fantasy (vol. 2) (Aug. 2004 – April 2006)
Amazing Fantasy (vol. 3) (Sept. 2021 – Feb. 2022)
Main character(s)Spider-Man debuted in AF #15 (Aug. 1962)
Anya Corazon #1–6
Carmilla Black #7–12
Vegas #13–14
Death's Head #16–20
Creative team
Written by(1961–62): Stan Lee, et al.
(1995): Kurt Busiek
(2004): Fiona Avery, Fred Van Lente, Simon Furman, et al.
(2021): Kaare Andrews
Artist(s)(1961–62): Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, Don Heck, Paul Reinman, et al.
(1995): Paul Lee
(2004): Various
(2021): Kaare Andrews
Inker(s)(1961–62): Dick Ayers, et al.

Amazing Adult Fantasy, retitled Amazing Fantasy in its final issue, is an American comic book anthology series published by Marvel Comics from 1961 through 1962, with the latter title revived with superhero features in 1995 and in the 2000s. The final 1960s issue, Amazing Fantasy #15 (cover-dated Aug. 1962), introduced the popular Marvel superhero Spider-Man. Amazing Adult Fantasy premiered with issue #7, taking over the numbering from Amazing Adventures.

Publication history

Spider-Man debuts: Amazing Fantasy #15 (Aug. 1962); cover art by Jack Kirby (penciler) and Steve Ditko (inker).

The science fiction-fantasy anthology Amazing Adult Fantasy began with issue #7 (cover-dated Dec. 1961), having taken over the number of the similar anthology Amazing Adventures. The earlier issues before the title change featured stories drawn by a number of artists including Jack Kirby, Don Heck and Steve Ditko. Amazing Adult Fantasy featured exclusively the quick, quirky, twist-ending tales of artist Ditko and writer-editor Stan Lee that had appeared in Amazing Adventures and sister titles primarily featuring rampaging monsters. The cover of the comic carried the motto "The magazine that respects your intelligence".[1]

Lee in 2009 described these "short, five-page filler strips that Steve and I did together", originally "placed in any of our comics that had a few extra pages to fill", as "odd fantasy tales that I'd dream up with O. Henry-type [twist] endings". Giving an early example of what would later be known as the "Marvel Method" of writer-artist collaboration, Lee said: "All I had to do was give Steve a one-line description of the plot and he'd be off and running. He'd take those skeleton outlines I had given him and turn them into classic little works of art that ended up being far cooler than I had any right to expect".[2]

With issue #15 (Aug. 1962) Amazing Adult Fantasy was retitled Amazing Fantasy.[3] This issue's lead feature introduced the superhero Spider-Man, written by Lee and drawn by Ditko, although Lee rejected Ditko's cover art and commissioned Jack Kirby to pencil a cover that Ditko inked.[3] As Lee explained in 2010: "I think I had Jack sketch out a cover for it because I always had a lot of confidence in Jack's covers".[4] In numerous interviews Lee has recalled how the title had been slated for cancellation, and so with nothing to lose, publisher Martin Goodman reluctantly agreed to allow him to introduce Spider-Man, a new kind of superhero – one who would be a teenager, but not a sidekick, and one who would have everyman doubts, neuroses and money problems.[5] However, while this was indeed the final issue, its editorial page anticipated the comic continuing and that "the Spiderman [sic] ... will appear every month in Amazing".[3][6]

Regardless, sales for Amazing Fantasy #15 proved to be one of Marvel's highest at the time,[7] so the company launched the series The Amazing Spider-Man seven months later.[8]

The DVD release of the collector's edition of the Spider-Man film included a copy of Amazing Fantasy #15. In 2001, Marvel published the 10-issue historical overview The 100 Greatest Marvels of All Time, with Amazing Fantasy #15 topping the list.

In 2008, an anonymous donor bequeathed the Library of Congress the original 24 pages of Ditko art for Amazing Fantasy #15, including Spider-Man's debut and the stories "The Bell-Ringer", "Man in the Mummy Case", and "There Are Martians Among Us".[9][10]

Continuation in 1995

For decades, no attempts were made to relaunch the title or to continue it with an issue #16. However, in 1995, Marvel editor Danny Fingeroth decided a story gap existed between Amazing Fantasy #15 and The Amazing Spider-Man #1. In an attempt to fill that gap, Marvel published three Spider-Man flashback stories in Amazing Fantasy #16–18 (Dec. 1995 – March 1996), each written by Kurt Busiek and painted chiefly by Paul Lee.[11]

Volume 2

Amazing Fantasy #1 (Aug. 2004), featuring Araña; cover by Mark Brooks and Jamie Mendoza.

The second volume of the series ran 20 issues (cover-dated Aug. 2004 – June 2006).[12]

The first arc ran through (vol. 2) #1–6 and featured a new teenaged heroine, Araña. The second arc, in (vol. 2) #7–12, published after a short hiatus, featured a revamped, female version of the supervillain the Scorpion. A back-up feature in (vol. 2) #10–12 (Sept.-Nov. 2005) starred the character Nina Price, the Vampire by Night,[12] and (vol. 2) #13–14 (both Dec. 2005) led with the modern-West feature "Vegas", backed up by "Captain Universe". In an attempt to replicate history, Marvel announced that the new issue #15 would introduce a new generation of heroes in a 48-page standalone issue, in the hopes that they would become as popular as Spider-Man. These heroes included Mastermind Excello, Blackjack, the Great Video, Monstro, the Heartbreak Kid, and Positron. The cover to #15 was a revamped version of the original Amazing Fantasy #15 cover, complete with Spider-Man swinging through a modern-day New York City, while the new heroes watch in awe in the background.[12]

The final arc, in (vol. 2) #16–20 (Feb.-June 2006), introduced Death's Head 3.0, a revamp of the Marvel UK character, written by the original version's creator, Simon Furman. Issues #18–19 contain two "Tales of the New Universe" stories as backup features, while #20 featured a Western backup, "Steamrider".[12]

Volume 3

The third volume ran for five issues (cover dated September 2021 - February 2022). Written and drawn by Kaare Andrews, it follows numerous characters who wake up on a mysterious island with no memory of how they arrived.

Collected editions

Volume 1

Title Material collected Published date ISBN
Amazing Fantasy Omnibus Amazing Adventures #1–6, Amazing Adult Fantasy #7–14, Amazing Fantasy #15 July 2020 978-1302922702
Untold Tales of Spider-Man Omnibus Amazing Fantasy #16-18, Untold Tales of Spider-Man #1-25, -1, Annual 1996-1997, Strange Encounter and material from Amazing Spider-Man Annual #37 May 2021 978-1302928612
Untold Tales of Spider-Man: The Complete Collection Vol 1 Amazing Fantasy #16-18, Untold Tales of Spider-Man #1-14 November 2021 978-1302931773

Amazing Fantasy #15 has been reprinted many times, sometimes just reprinting the Spider-Man story.

Volume 2

Title Material collected Published date ISBN
Arana Volume 1: Heart Of The Spider Amazing Fantasy (vol. 2) #1-6 January 2005 978-0785115069
Arana: Here Comes the Spider-Girl Amazing Fantasy (vol. 2) #1-6, Arana #1-6 October 2020 978-1302926465
Scorpion: Poison Tomorrow Amazing Fantasy (vol. 2) #7-12 November 2005 978-0785117124
Captain Universe: Universal Heroes Material from Amazing Fantasy (vol. 2) #13-14 and Captain Universe: Daredevil, Incredible Hulk, Invisible Woman, Silver Surfer, X-23 February 2006 978-0785118572
Amadeus Cho: Genius At Work Material from Amazing Fantasy (vol. 2) #15, Incredible Hulk (vol. 2) #100, Incredible Hercules #126,133,135,137 April 2016 N/A
Death's Head 3.0: Unnatural Selection Amazing Fantasy (vol. 2) #16-20 August 2006 978-0785121084

Volume 3

Title Material collected Published date ISBN
Amazing Fantasy Amazing Fantasy (vol. 3) #1-5 April 2022 978-1302931483

Sales of Amazing Fantasy (vol. 1) #15

See also


  1. ^ Amazing Adult Fantasy at the Grand Comics Database. Accessed September 2, 2008
  2. ^ Lee, Stan, "Introduction", in Yoe Craig, The Art of Ditko (Idea & Design Works, January 2010), ISBN 1-60010-542-4, ISBN 978-1-60010-542-5, p. 9
  3. ^ a b c Amazing Fantasy (Marvel, 1962 series) at the Grand Comics Database. "[T]he decision to cancel the series had not been made when it went to print, since it is announced that future issues will include a Spider-Man feature".
  4. ^ "Videotaped Deposition of Stan Lee". United States District Court, Southern District of New York: "Marvel Worldwide, Inc., et al., vs. Lisa R. Kirby, et al.". p. 37.
  5. ^ Daniels, Les (1991). Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World's Greatest Comics. New York: Harry N. Abrams. p. 95. ISBN 0-8109-3821-9.
  6. ^ "Important Announcement from the Editor!", Amazing Fantasy #15 (Aug. 1962), reprinted at Sedlmeier, Cory, ed. (2007). Amazing Fantasy Omnibus. Marvel Publishing. p. 394. ISBN 978-0785124580.
  7. ^ Daniels, p. 97
  8. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man at the Grand Comics Database
  9. ^ "Library of Congress Receives Original Drawings for the First Spider-Man Story, 'Amazing Fantasy' #15". Library of Congress press release. April 30, 2008. Archived from the original on March 10, 2010.
  10. ^ Raymond, Matt (April 30, 2008). "Library of Congress Acquires Spider-Man's 'Birth Certificate'". Library of Congress. Archived from the original on May 5, 2010.
  11. ^ Amazing Fantasy (Marvel, 1995 series) at the Grand Comics Database.
  12. ^ a b c d "GCD :: Series :: Amazing Fantasy".
  13. ^ "Metropolis Sets Record for Amazing Fantasy #15!". Scoop. Gemstone Publishing/Diamond International Galleries. May 29, 2004. Archived from the original on May 23, 2011. Retrieved July 3, 2017.
  14. ^ "Amazing Fantasy #15 CGC 9.2, First Appearance of Spider-Man, Sells For Record $460,000 At Comic Link". January 16, 2017.
  15. ^ "An Amazing Fantasy 15 CGC 8.0 Has Sold For A Record Breaking $261,010 At ComicLink". June 2, 2017.
  16. ^ "Spidey's Huge at ComicLink". Scoop. Gemstone Publishing/Diamond International Galleries. June 23, 2007. Archived from the original on May 23, 2011. Retrieved July 23, 2007.
  17. ^ Moore, Matt (March 8, 2011). "Spider-Man Debut Sells for $1.1 million". Associated Press via The Washington Post. Archived from the original on November 12, 2012.
  18. ^ "Amazing Fantasy #15 (Marvel, 1962) CGC NM+ 9.6 Off-white pages.... | Lot #93001".

Further reading