Thanks to the various Spider-Man films and Civil War, modern Spider-Man fans may be desensitized to Spider-Man taking off his mask. Tobey Maguire seemed to lose that thing in every other scene during his three films. But back in 1984, it was a very rare thing indeed for Spider-Man to remove his headgear. That’s why it came as such a shock when Peter told a young boy his secret identity.

Written by Roger Stern, penciled by Ron Frenz, and inked by Terry Austin, “The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man” was a backup feature in a comic whose main story concerned Spider-Man fighting a super-powered villain. This tale is a smaller one, with Spider-Man recounting past adventures to Tim, his biggest fan. When Tim asks Spider-Man to take off his mask, Spider-Man’s moment of indecision is captured beautifully. Readers were surprised when Peter agreed. It seemed out of character for him to take a risk like telling a young fan his secret identity. The story’s final page informed us that Tim had leukemia and was only expected to live for a few more weeks. Peter giving Tim the one thing in the world he wanted is still deeply moving.

From The Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #248 (1984)


  1. Wow! That is brilliant and moving!! That’s heroism, doing what’s right when against all odds it should be wrong to do it, not fighting some super-villain over a petty crime!

  2. still bring a smile to my fave that why im a Spider-Man fan.

  3. YES. i remember reading this issue when i was a kid. i found it the other day cleaning out the closet and re-read it, and this story retains all of it’s power. the final page when you learn that Tim has leukemia is an absolute punch to the gut. excellent, excellent choice.

  4. one of the best spiderman issues ever.

  5. Read this as part of an anthology when I was in high school. This is easily my favorite Spiderman story. And if I recall it’s only a backup to an otherwise forgettable issue. If you this story doesn’t make you cry then you have no soul.

    • Never read the story in it’s original print, but reading the intro and just these panels made me tear up a bit. How long was the story itself?

  6. Peter Parker looks like a younger Tony Stark in that last panel.

  7. i would like to read the letters that fans mailed in after that. i wonder if it was as “outa character” for spider-man as it was for batman recently in JL. and similiarly, did it inspire as much outrage?

    • I seem to remember that mail and opinion ran strongly in favor of this story. I know it’s my favorite spidey story from the 80’s hands down

  8. I actually had this one in German as well… was a great story (eventhough I kinda recolored it myself as a kid if I remember…)

    I even remember the story… which is rare because the German languaged books back then where badly printed and translated…

    Great pick!

  9. I remember a whole episode of the Spider-Man cartoon from the 90’s focused on this story. But in the cartoon, it was a girl and she had all the newspaper clippings of SM. I remember her name was Tatiana. It was a good one.