Comic book artist Ron Frenz broke into the industry in the early 1980s. While Frenz also worked for DC, he primarily illustrated for Marvel Comics, and was known for his runs on Thor and Amazing Spider-Man. Along with writer Tom DeFalco, Frenz co-created the New Warriors and Spider-Girl, aka Mayday Parker — Peter and Mary Jane’s daughter from another universe.
Frenz’s art blends aspects of Ditko and Romita’s styles. His work from him is timeless, and his from him many runs on various Spider-books, including spider-girl — an entire series focusing on Mayday — features the birth of the symbiote suit, the identity reveal of the Hobgoblin, and much more.
10 The Black Costume Debuts In Amazing Spider-Man #252
The cover to ASM #252 says it all: “The rumors are true. Introducing… the new Spider-Man.” Following Marvel’s epic event, Secret Wars, Peter Parker returned to Earth, sporting a brand-new costume. The black costume was visually striking. An all black suit with blue (sometimes gray) highlights, it featured white eyes and a giant white spider emblem.
ASM#252 focuses on catching Peter, and the readers, up on what he’s missed while fighting the Beyonder’s war in space. The cover image, also drawn by Ron Frenz, beautifully calls back to the cover of Amazing Fantasy#fifteen where Spidey makes his first appearance.
9 Spider-Man Battles Firelord In ASM #270
Spider-Man is known for exceeding impossible odds. He lifts tons of debris to freeing himself from the Master Planner’s lair. He somehow stops the Juggernaut. He even defeats Firelord, the Herald of Galactus at the time who possesses godlike powers.
In Amazing Spider-Man#270, Firelord seeks revenge on Spider-Man. Spidey spends most of the issue evading Firelord’s attacks as the two traverse the entire city. In the end, Spidey’s frustration gets the better of him, and he knocks Firelord unconscious. It’s a beautifully drawn issue which depicts Spidey defeating a cosmic entity he probably shouldn’t have been able to beat.
8 “The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man” Is An Emotional Comic
Written by Roger Stern and illustrated by Ron Frenz, “The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man” was the B-story in Amazing Spider-Man #248. It’s considered by many to be one of the best-written Spider-Man comic stories of all time, but it’s also an extremely sad story, thanks to its ending.
A boy named Tim Harrison claims to be the biggest Spidey fan in the world, collecting newspaper clippings and mementos of the Web-Head. Spider-Man pays Tim a visit and tells him about his adventures. Before leaving, Spider-Man reveals his identity to Tim. Ultimately, readers discover Tim has leukemia and has been given only weeks to live.
7 Spider-Girl Debuts In What If…? #105
May “Mayday” Parker, created by Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz, first debuted in What If…? #105 along with the entire MC2 alternate universe. In this alternate reality, Mary Jane Watson never lost her baby during the Clone Saga and Peter and MJ became parents.
When May entered high school, she developed spider-powers just like her father and soon became Spider-Girl — wearing a costume very similar to Ben Reilly’s Spider-Man costume. This issue also introduced alternate versions of Green Goblin and led to a series of comic books like spider-girl and Spectacular Spider Girl which explored May’s life in this alternate future.
6 ASM #251 Concludes The Hobgoblin Saga… For A Time
Roger Stern, co-creator of the Hobgoblin, left the Amazing Spider-Man series after issue #250. However, I have provided plot details to Tom DeFlaco who concluded the original Hobgoblin saga in #251, using some of Stern’s notes. While the Hobgoblin’s identity wasn’t revealed, the issue ended with the Hobgoblin’s disappearance.
Ron Frenz crafted an action-packed issue with an incredibly entertaining chase sequence. Spider-Man battled the Hobgoblin inside a high-tech, armored truck as it speeded through the city, crashed into the river. Even though the Hobgoblin would return many times, this issue felt like a final showdown.
5 Spidey’s Classic Costume Vs. The Symbiote In ASM #258
While the new black costume introduced in Amazing Spider-Man #252 and Secret Wars was unique, many fans were unhappy with the costume change, and wrote to Marvel asking them to put Peter back in his classic red-and-blues. Months later, in ASM #258it was revealed that this costume was alive and fighting for control over Peter’s body.
The cover art, also illustrated by Ron Frenz, captured the battle which occurred inside the comic. Readers entered Peter’s mindscape as he fought off the controlling effects of the symbiote. Frenz injected many callbacks to previous Spidey comics, including Peter’s character design — based on his original appearance of him in Amazing Fantasy#fifteen.
4 May’s Adventure Concludes In Amazing Spider-Girl #30
Over 10 years after her comic book debut, Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz were still writing and illustrating May Parker’s adventures in the MC2 alternate universe. Amazing Spider Girl #30 concluded an epic Spider-Girl saga. The final issue featured a showdown between Peter, May, and Norman Osborn, who had resurfaced as the Green Goblin.
May Parker and her family would return in a Spectacular Spider Girl limited series and various one-shots. She even played a large role in the 2015 Spider-Verse event, but since then, the MC2 universe went largely untouched.
3 Gwen Stacy Recalls The Night She Died In The Clone Conspiracy #1
Ben Reilly returned during Clone Conspiracy…with mixed reviews. While it was nice to see Ben following his death in the Clone Saga, he returned as a villain. Despite its flaws, Clone Conspiracy was an interesting story that brought many familiar faces back into Amazing Spider-Man.
Ben attempted to resurrect all of Spidey’s deceased foes and loved ones. Ron Frenz illustrated a B-story for issue #1 where a resurrected Gwen Stacy recalled the night she died. Gwen had discovered Ella’s Spider-Man’s identity moments before Ella’s falling to her death. It was an emotional story that laid the foundations for pivotal scenes that would occur throughout the limited series.
two Roger Stern Returns For The Hobgoblin Lives Miniseries
When writer Roger Stern left the Amazing Spider-Man comic series, his Hobgoblin saga was incomplete. In 1997, he returned to finish what he started in the Spider-Man: Hobgoblin Lives three-issue miniseries, illustrated by Ron Frenz. Spider-Man recalled his epic showdown with the Hobgoblin, depicted by Frenz in ASM #251.
Peter came to the conclusion that Ned Leeds couldn’t have been the real Hobgoblin, so he set out on a mission to discover the villain’s true identity. Hobgoblin Lives provided a satisfying conclusion to Hobgoblin’s story arc which began way back in ASM#238.
1 Frenz & DeFalco Reunite For Sensational Spider-Man: Self-Improvement
Sensational Spider-Man: Self-Improvement‘s main story was written by Peter David, based on a script by Randy Schueller. Schueller was a comic book fan who submitted an idea of how Spider-Man would don a new black costume, but the story was never used. Marvel’s team later went back to adapt that story.
self-improvement also features a B-story, written by Tom DeFalco and illustrated by Ron Frenz. A young man named Peter witnesses his uncle’s death. Feeling responsible, he vows to get revenge, but Spider-Man intervenes and convinces Peter to not make an even bigger mistake by killing the man who murdered his uncle. It’s a heartfelt short story that calls back to the night Uncle Ben died.
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