In "When We First Met," we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic lore, like the first time someone said, "Avengers Assemble!" or the first appearance of Batman's giant penny or the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth or the first time Spider-Man's face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter. Stuff like that.
Today, based on a suggestion by reader Tom A., we look at Spider-Man's history with traveling to outer space.
Now, as you perhaps recall, the very first issue of Spider-Man involved Spidey saving John Jameson, the astronaut son of J. Jonah Jameson, from a terrible death when the space capsule that he was set to be traveling in to outer space gets sent flying in the wrong direction. That, though, was all on Earth...
In the second Amazing Spider-Man Annual (like Amazing Spider-Man #1, by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee), Spider-Man is sent into another dimension while teaming up with Doctor Strange, but that really doesn't count as outer space, right?
The answer is quite possibly Marvel Team-Up #7 (note that we're already past a hundred issues of Amazing Spider-Man without Spidey passing the Earth's atmosphere and we're now in a whole other comic book title), where Gerry Conway, Ross Andru and Jim Mooney show an Asgardian villain turn the whole world into a negative of itself. He also did this to Asgard. During this period, Thor had been exiled from Asgard, so he couldn't go there himself to take care of business, so he instead sent Spider-Man.
Meanwhile, Thor tracks the villain down to a moon of Jupiter.
The bad guy is sort of in both places at the same time and when they've defeated him, Spider-Man and Thor are in the same place. Is it on the moon of Jupiter? I dunno.
But anyhow, if you think Asgard is outer space, then this is the answer.
If you'd prefer a more traditional "leaving Earth on a rocket ship" type answer, then you'd have to wait until Marvel Team-Up #54 (by Bill Mantlo, John Byrne and Mike Esposito), where some bad guys are trying to send Hulk into outer space and Spider-Man and Woodgood (yes, Woodgod) help stop them, but in the process, Spidey gets knocked into the rocket and when it launches, the Hulk can't even stop it!
Luckily, in the next issue (with Dave Hunt inking Byrne), Spider-Man runs into Adam Warlock (who had been cosmically mutated into gigantic size in the last issue of his solo series) and Warlock both shrinks down and saves Spidey by taking him to the Blue Area of the moon (the Watcher's home, which has breathable oxygen)....
Soon after that Warlock team-up, Spider-Man was involved in an even more famous Warlock team-up in outer space, in the conclusion of Jim Starlin's Warlock/Thanos story arc in a famous Avengers/Marvel Two-In-One crossover.
There ya go, Tom! Thanks for the suggestion!
If anyone else has a question/suggestion for a notable comic book first, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!