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What Was the First Comic Book That Had Spider-Man's Black Costume In It?

Comic Book Questions Answered – where I answer whatever questions you folks might have about comic books (feel free to e-mail questions to me at brianc@cbr.com).

Reader Greg P. wrote in to ask if I could answer definitively the question that seems to constantly confuse collectors, which is which comic book contained the first appearance of Spider-Man’s black costume.

This is one of those fascinating instances where the most collectible comic is clearly NOT the first appearance, as the most popular comic to collect when it comes to Spider-Man’s black costume is Secret Wars #8, the first appearance of the costume in CONTINUITY…

However, that issue came out MONTHS after the costume first showed up in comics.

By the way, before I get into the first comic book appearance of the costume, let’s get the first appearance of the costume in magazines, for those lunatics who view stuff like this as “first appearances.” The costume was first shown in Comics Journal #85…

Obviously that doesn’t count, but hey, if you’re one of those people, that is the first time the costume saw print. Ahead of its similar appearances in Amazing Heroes and Marvel Age and stuff like that.

Okay, now the comic that SHOULD be the first appearance of the black costume was Amazing Spider-Man #252…

As you folks know, though, that’s not how things always work out, like how Uncanny X-Men #266 SHOULD be Gambit’s first appearance, but it is not.

So the trick here is that two other comic books came out that were ALSO cover-dated May 1984, Marvel Team-Up #141 and Spectacular Spider-Man #90…

The rumor over the years has been that Marvel Team-Up #141 came out the same week as Amazing Spider-Man #252, even though Amazing Spider-Man #252 was supposed to come out first.

All the information we have on the subject, though, from the Library of Congress registration (which doesn’t necessarily tell us when it officially came out, but at least it likely tells us if it is earlier than another comic) to the listings in Marvel Age and all of the other comic magazines from the era, is that Amazing Spider-Man #252 came out at the end of January 1984 and the other two books came out two weeks later.

So the winner is Amazing Spider-Man #252!

Thanks for the question, Greg!

If anyone else has a comic book related question, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

In their latest reader-submitted question, CSBG tries to figure out which comic book really had the first appearance of Spider-Man's black costume!

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