Amazing Fantasy is a comic book anthology, published by Marvel Comics, that introduced the popular character Spider-Man.
Titled and Retitled
Amazing Fantasy began under the name Amazing Adventures in June 1961, running anthological monster, science fiction and suspense stories, and introducing the fledgling Marvel's first continuing character, the paranormal adventurer Dr. Droom — renamed Dr. Druid when brought back in the 1970s as a supporting character. He was phased out when the book's title changed, with issue #7 (Dec. 1961), to Amazing Adult Fantasy, a name intended to reflect the more "sophisticated" nature of its new exclusive content, the quick, quirky, twist-ending tales of writer-editor Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko. It carried the motto, "The magazine that respects your intelligence."
With issue #15 (Aug. 1962), as Lee has recounted in his book Origins of Marvel Comics and elsewhere, the series, now titled Amazing Fantasy, was slated for cancellation. With nothing to lose, publisher Martin Goodman allowed Lee to experiment with a new kind of superhero — one who would be a teenager, but not a sidekick, and who would have everyman doubts, neuroses and money problems, as well as what Goodman considered a terrible name. Lee and Ditko's Spider-Man wound up proving immensely popular, and Marvel quickly launched The Amazing Spider-Man comic book.
Amazing Fantasy #15, as the debut issue of Marvel's most popular character, is among fans and collectors one of the most important and valued comic books in the history of the medium. In January of 2004, A CGC graded 9.4 (near mint) copy was sold for a record $122,000 at the online auction house Comiclink. In 2001, Marvel published a 10-issue series called The 100 Greatest Marvels of All Time, and Amazing Fantasy #15 topped the list at #1.
Although publishing reasons were responsible for the termination of the original Amazing Fantasy series, for decades no attempts were made to relaunch the title or continue with a #16.
In 1995, Marvel editor Danny Fingeroth decided a gap existed between Amazing Fantasy #15 and The Amazing Spider-Man #1, and Marvel published Amazing Fantasy #16-18, written by Kurt Busiek and painted chiefly by Paul Lee, attempting to fill that gap.
The title was restarted in 2004, as a means of introducing new characters for a younger audience.
The first arc ran through issues #1-6, and featured a new teenager heroine, Araña. The second arc (#7-13), published after a short hiatus, featured a revamped female Scorpion and a back-up story featuring the character called Vampire by Night (a re-imagining of the Werewolf by Night concept and a lead-up to Nick Fury's Howling Commandos).
In issues #13-14, there were two features once more. The main feature was a two-part story featuring a new hero, Vegas, with western themes in a modern setting, while the back-up story re-introduced Captain Universe, which led to a series of one-shots co-starring Marvel characters Invisible Woman, Daredevil, Hulk, Silver Surfer and X-23, and was set to lead to a Captain Universe mini-series in early 2006 which has been either delayed or canceled.
Marvel has announced that issue #15, in an attempt to replicate history, will introduce a new generation of heroes in a 48-page standalone issue, in the hope they will become as popular as Spider-Man. These heroes are: Mastermind Excello, Blackjack, the Great Video, Monstro, Heartbreak Kid, Positron and "The guy in Spider-Man's armpit" (who was on the cover of the first Amazing Fantasy #15).
In addition, issues #18-19 contained two Tales of the New Universe stories as back-up features.