This article contains Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse spoilers.
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse brings together versions of Spider-Man from across many different realities in a team-up unlike any other seen on screen. However, these characters are more than just twisted versions of Spider-Man invented for the screen – they each have their own history in the comics just like every other Marvel superhero. Here’s everything you need to know about the team of heroes at the heart of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Spider-Man (Peter Parker)
First appearance: Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962)
Creators: Stan Lee & Steve Ditko
For the purposes of this article, we’re calling this one “prime Spider-Man” – by which we mean the original from the main Marvel Universe of the comics. You probably know the drill, but let’s do it for completeness’ sake: When Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider, he gained the proportionate strength, speed and agility of a spider, as well as the ability to stick to walls and a special “spider-sense” which warns him of danger. Armed with his self-designed webshooters, Peter Parker became a superhero after a crook he could have stopped murdered his Uncle Ben. He’s also a newspaper photographer, scientist, Avenger, dutiful nephew to his Aunt May, and a not-so-dutiful boyfriend to several women. We could go on. But this is the version of Spider-Man from which all others derive.
Of course, in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse we don’t actually see this version, though we DO see two other Peter Parkers. The first is the one who inhabits Miles Morales’ universe – a celebrated version of Spider-Man who dies at the height of his popularity (and has blonde hair). The second is an older, more slobby and jaded version of Peter who rediscovers his inner hero when he comes to Miles’ universe and mentors him. They’re both fairly similar to the Peter we know and love – or at least, closer than the rest of them…
Spider-Man (Miles Morales)
First Appearance: Ultimate Fallout #4 (August 2011)
Creators: Brian Michael Bendis & Sara Pichelli
As in the Spider-Verse movie, the comics version of Miles Morales comes from a world where Spider-Man died, which inspired him to take over the mantle. Unlike the movie, comics Miles didn’t have a Spider-Man to mentor him, though he did find himself in conflict with his uncle Aaron Davis, aka The Prowler, leading to his death.
Miles got his powers the same way the Peter of his world did: from a genetically-engineered spider created through Oscorp’s experiments. Unlike this version of Peter, he hid his powers for several months until the death of Spider-Man gave him a reason to step up and be a hero. Miles has the same basic powers as Peter, although he also has the ability to camouflage himself and to inflict a bioelectric “venom strike” on people.
The prime Peter Parker and Miles eventually met when Mysterio found a gateway between their two universes and took his crime-spree multi-dimensional. Since then, Miles’ reality has ceased to exist but he (and his supporting cast) were permanently relocated to the “real” Marvel Universe by the Molecule Man during the crossover event, Secret Wars. Miles and Peter now exist side-by-side as Spider-Men in the same universe. If any of that sounds simple to you, rest assured it’s only due to some extreme glossing-over of the specifics…
Spider-Gwen (Gwen Stacy)
First Appearance: Edge Of Spider-Verse #2 (September 2014)
Creators: Jason Latour & Robbie Rodriguez
Known informally as Spider-Gwen, Spider-Woman is Gwen Stacy from a universe where she, not Peter Parker, was bitten by a radioactive spider. On her world, the powerless Peter became a version of the Lizard but died in battle with her, leading the authorities – including her own father George Stacy – to consider her a dangerous criminal. She’s a member of Mary Jane’s band, the Mary Janes, and she has what is quite plainly one of the coolest Spider-costumes around bar the original.
Gwen’s super-powers are identical to the prime Spider-Man’s, but through her adventures she has mastered interdimensional travel, leading her to form a relationship with Miles Morales. She first met prime Peter Parker in the comics version of the Spider-Verse crossover and proved instrumental in both gathering the various Spider-Women and defeating Peter’s enemies.
Gwen currently stars in her own ongoing series, Gwen Stacy: Ghost Spider, reflecting her latest code-name.
Spider-Man Noir (Peter Parker)
First Appearance: Spider-Man Noir #1 (February 2009)
Creators: David Hine, Fabrice Sapolsky, Carmine De Giandomenico
The inhabitant of a “noir” Marvel universe, Spider-Man Noir – who in his world is just called Spider-Man – is Peter Parker from a universe where Marvel’s heroes emerged in 1933 (during the Great Depression) rather than the present day. Bitten by a spider that stowed away in an illegal shipment of ancient spider-statues, he has the same abilities as the prime Spider-Man as well as the ability to shoot webs out of his own wrists.
Notably, he is a skilled marksman unafraid of using guns to injure and even kill his enemies. He wages a one-man war on crime following the deaths of both his uncle Ben and mentor, Ben Urich, at the hands of the crime lord Norman Osborn.
Like Spider-Gwen, he was recruited onto a team of Spider-Men during the Spider-Verse crossover, but was returned to his home reality to recuperate when he was seriously wounded. He was recently attacked and killed by the Inheritors during the Spider-Geddon storyline – but it’s still ongoing, so that may yet change!
Spider-Ham (Peter Porker)
First Appearance: Marvel Tails Starring Peter Porker, The Spectacular Spider-Ham #1 (November 1983)
Creators: Tom DeFalco, Mark Armstrong
Peter Porker is a Spider-Man unlike no other, in that he actually started life as a spider (simply named Peter) living in a world of anthropomorphic animals. He lived in the laboratory of May Porker, a porcine scientist who accidentally irradiated herself in an experiment gone wrong and then bit Peter the Spider. He became an anthropomorphic pig himself, but retained his spider-abilities. Following the transformation, while May – in her confused post-accident condition – came to believe she was his aunt.
The rest of Spider-Ham’s dimension is populated by parodies of other Marvel characters, including the likes of Ducktor Doom, Captain Americat, and the Simian Torch. Spider-Ham was also recruited to aid prime Peter Parker during the Spider-Verse storyline.
Spider-Man 2099 (Miguel O’Hara)
First Appearance: Spider-Man 2099 #1 (March 1992)
Creators: Peter David, Rick Leonardi
He’s only in the film for a brief cameo appearance (which we won’t spoil), but Miguel O’Hara is arguably the most established of these alternate versions, having had a long-running ongoing series throughout much of the 1990s, as well as a second more recently.
Miguel comes from the Marvel Universe of 2099, where corporations run the world. While working for Alchemax he developed a technique to rewrite the human genome and attempted to escape the company without giving it to his amoral employers. When he tried to use the procedure on himself, a jealous colleague switched his DNA with a spider’s and Spider-Man 2099 was born.
He has a holographic aide called Lyla (who appears briefly in the Spider-Verse movie) and powers similar to Spider-Man, with extra abilities such as talons on his fingers and toes, web-shooting abilities, fangs that deliver venom and enhanced/telescopic vision. His costume is a modified version of an outfit he wore for a Day of the Dead festival. The prime Peter Parker and Miguel O’Hara first met in Spider-Man 2099 Meets Spider-Man #1, published in November 1995.
Of course, there are many more versions of Spider-Man out there, and with a Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse sequel and spin-off in the works, we wouldn’t be surprised to see them soon…