The series originally was conceived as a showcase for Todd McFarlane. McFarlane, who until then had only been known as an artist, was hugely popular at the time and the series was created by editor Jim Salicrup so that McFarlane could pencil, ink, and write a Spider-Man title of his own.
He was succeeded on the title by Erik Larsen, who had succeeded McFarlane on The Amazing Spider-Man two years earlier, and would later join him in the founding of Image. Larsen wrote and drew the six-issue story arc "Revenge of the Sinister Six" (#18-23).
After that came a quick procession of different contributors, including writers Tom DeFalco, Ann Nocenti, David Michelinie, J. M. DeMatteis and Terry Kavanagh, and pencillers Marshall Rogers, Ron Frenz, Klaus Janson and Jae Lee. The creative-team musical chairs settled with Spider-Man #44 (March 1994) when writer Howard Mackie and penciller Tom Lyle began a run on the title — Lyle through #61, and Mackie for over 6 years, through cancellation and into Vol. 2.
The series went on to play a key role throughout the infamous Clone Saga, becoming one of two Spider-Man titles that shifted focus to the new Ben Reilly Scarlet Spider character. The series' run was interrupted by that saga in issues #63 and 64 (Nov.-Dec. 1995), when the title was renumbered to #1 and renamed Scarlet Spider. Spider-Man resumed with #65 (Jan. 1996), with Ben Reilly replacing Peter Parker as Spider-Man.
Intended as a permanent change, Reilly's status as the new Spider-Man was cut short when Bob Harras was named new Editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics in February 1996, and ordered the reinstatement of the character's Peter Parker identity. Spider-Man was the title in which this was to ultimately occur and so, in #75 (Dec. 1996), by Mackie and the series' then regular penciller, John Romita Jr., Ben Reilly was killed by the resurrected original Green Goblin — who had seemingly died nearly a quarter-century before, real time, in The Amazing Spider-Man #122 (July 1973)) — and Peter Parker returned to the role of Spider-Man. That same issue, the title of the series was changed to Peter Parker: Spider-Man to concretely establish that the original Spider-Man was being depicted. This addition to the title also referenced the original title of the "Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-man" series, which had been renamed simply "The Spectacular Spider-Man" years earlier in 1988.
The series had a brief interlude in July, 1997 with Marvel's one-month "Flashback" stunt, when all Marvel titles were numbered -1 and each was set before the events of Fantastic Four #1. This #-1 was published between #81-82. The series then continued uninterrupted until the arrival of John Byrne to the Spider-Man titles heralded a relaunch of the entire line. The book was cancelled with #98 (Dec. 1998) and relaunched as Vol. 2 almost immediately afterward.
The series was a continuance of Vol. 1, with the creative team having migrated to the new, identical title. The renumbering of the title to a new #1 appeared to be a marketing device intended to raise sales in the short term. The unimportance of the renumbering was highlighted when Marvel in June 2001 began a dual numbering system on all its titles that had been relaunched and renumbered. The first issue of Peter Parker: Spider-Man to be dual-numbered was listed as both #30 and #128 on the cover - the second figure achieved by adding the total of issues of the new volume (30) to the first volume's 98. However, the comic's legal indicia, printed on the title page, still listed the series as Vol. 2 #30.
Mackie and Romita Jr. remained through #20 (Aug. 2000) when writer Paul Jenkins and artist Mark Buckingham came aboard. Jenkins would go on to write the character over different titles for the next five years. Buckingham and Jenkins left Peter Parker: Spider-Man after #50 (Jan. 2003) and were briefly succeeded by writer Zeb Wells and an assortment of artists on what was meant to be a two-issue story before cancellation, but due to delays on the replacement book, became seven issues before the title was finally retired with #57 (Aug. 2003). This series was replaced with a new Spider-Man title, Spectacular Spider-Man Vol. 2, which debuted with the team of Jenkins and penciller Humberto Ramos, running for 27 issues until 2005.