Spider-Man is such a resilient and iconic character that the legend of the arachnid crime fighter can endure even when Peter Parker isn’t the one under the mask. Heck, even Doctor Octopus was once locked inside Peter Parker’s mind, controlling the hero’s every action, transforming the once likable hero into cold and calculating Superior Spider-Man.
Spider-Man has also been a clone, a robot, fought crime in the future, in alternate realities, and even piloted a giant Japanese mech (what?), but no matter what iteration Spidey has taken, the legend has endured.
With Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse now in theaters, we take a look at the other versions of Spider-Man who have spun a web (any size!) over the years, from the frightening to the cool to the evil and even the downright strange.
Kang’s Spider-Man Robot
First Appearance: Avengers #11 (1964)
Created by Stan Lee and Don Heck
The first time the World’s Greatest Super-Heroes, the Avengers, met Spider-Man, it was not actually Peter Parker in the red and blue suit. It was a robot created by Kang. Now, it’s pretty badass that Kang can just use future tech to whip up a robot that perfectly replicate’s Spider-Man’s powers, but the ‘bot also almost took out the entire Avengers team. The real Peter Parker had to show up to kick the robot’s doppelganger butt and save the Mighty Avengers, marking the first Avengers/Spider-Man team-up, something film fans would chew off their own thumbs to see.
Before it was revealed that this faux Spider-Man was a machine, the Avengers even offered the phony arachnid Avenger’s membership, something the real Spidey would not gain for decades. Changing its name to Timespinner, The Kang Spider-bot even made a second appearance in Marvel Team-Up #4 (1996), taking on Spider-Clone Ben Reilly and the Avengers.
First Appearance Not Brand Ecch #2 (1967)
Created by Stan Lee and Marie Severin
Spidey-Man was the satirical version of Spider-Man that appeared in Marvel’s legendary parody book Not Brand Echh. Spidey-Man was drawn by the recently passed first lady of the Marvel Age Marie Severin so we thought we would honor one of her more lighthearted creations. Thank you for all you did, Marie, you will be missed.
First Appearance: Midnight Sons Unlimited #3 (1993)
Created by Mort Todd
This might be the most ’90s concept ever.
A combination of Spider-Man and the once popular but oversaturated dark world of the Midnight Sons with an X thrown in there for good measure to hook gullible 1990s X-Men fans, Spider-X was a young, super hero obsessed kid named Brian Kornfield. Kornfield was transformed by the demonic tome the Darkhold into the ultra-violent Spider-X. Spider-X is a horrific parody of Spider-Man and his brutal tactics have brought this monstrous arachnid into conflict with Ghost Rider, Morbius, and other dark Marvel heroes.
I mean, is this guy excessive or what? He even shoots acid webs! Oh, early ’90s Marvel, we really don’t miss you. Except for Sleepwalker. We really dig Sleepwalker.
First Appearance Ultimate Spider-Man #1 (2000)
Created by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley
One of the most important alternate Spider-Men, Ultimate Spider-Man took the world by storm with his debut issue in 2000. The concept was simple, follow the Lee/Ditko formula but in modern times. Fans fell in love with Ultimate Spidey due to the earnestness and honesty creators Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley infused the character with as they tweaked the Spider-Man legend.
Ultimate Spidey almost isn’t an alternate Spidey at all because the character is so infused with that Lee/Ditko magic DNA that makes Spider-Man so special. But when Ultimate Spidey dies in battle with the Green Goblin, a new legend as born as Miles Morales rises to take on the mantle of Spider-Man. With this bit of story genius, Ultimate Peter Parker takes on the Uncle Ben role to Miles and the legacy of Ultimate Spidey greatly diverges from the classic Peter.
Ultimate Spidey may be gone, but for over a hundred issues Bendis and Bagley reminded the world why Spider-Man is so great. So thanks Ultimate Spidey, you were truly spectacular and always amazing.
First Appearance: Avataars: Covenant of the Shield #1 (2000)
Created by Len Kaminski and Oscar Jimenez
Yes, having the words Avatar, Spider-Man, and the Avengers all in one concept might make Hollywood’s collective heads explode. Marvel’s Avaatars are alternative reality versions of super-heroes that dwell on a sword and sorcery world called Eurth. It’s kind of like Game of Thrones with more costumes and less incest. The Webslinger is the medieval version of Spider-Man, and fights alongside Captain Avalon and his team of super knights.
Actually, it all sounds kind of cool. Who is up for a return to Eurth? Just think of it: armored versions of Daredevil, Hulk, the Fantastic Four, and Iron Ma-uh, you know what, never mind.
House of M: Spider-Man
First Appearance: Spider-Man: House of M #1 (2005)
Created by Mark Waid, Tom Peyer, and Salvador Larroca
House of M is considered one of the better Marvel crossovers of the modern Marvel era. Of course there was a huge role for Peter Parker in the world where mutants ruled.
The House of M version of Spidey is fraught with irony, as Peter actually lives a good life in the dystopian reality. For one, the world believes Peter to be a mutant and as such, this Spider-Man gains fame and acceptance that the regular Marvel Universe Spider-Man never received, and many great tragedies of the Spider-Man mythos have been avoided. Uncle Ben and Aunt May are both alive and well, Peter is married to and has a child with Gwen Stacy, and Sony never interfered in the scripting of Spider-Man 3 and actually let Sam Raimi make a good movie (I made that last bit up).
First appearance: Spider-Man: Reign #1 (2006)
Created by Kaare Andrews
Spider-Man: Reign is an older version of Peter Parker who comes out of retirement to save his city from a conspiracy involving Venom. Spider-Man: Reign is one of the darkest takes on the Spidey legend you will ever see. The character is killed in Spider-Verse when his head his caved in with his dimension’s version of Mary Jane’s tombstone. See? Told you. Dark.
Amazing Spider-Man Family #1 (2008)
Created by Karl Kesel and Ramon Bachs
Spider-Monkey is almost exactly like Spider-Man. Except he’s a monkey.
Appearing as part of the 2008 Marvel Apes event, Spider-Monkey was kind of an arrogant dick and did not hesitate to kill. He did fight Doctor Ooktavius though, so there you go. Sadly, Spider-Monkey was killed during the Spider-Verse comics event. Also sadly, Spider-Monkey did not shoot webs out of his ass. You missed some easy hanging fruit there, Marvel.
First Appearance Amazing Spider-Man #700 (2012)
Created by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos
Let’s face it, on the surface having Doctor Octopus take over Peter Parker’s body and mind after Parker seemingly dies could have been just a dumb idea. Having Ock stay in the body for well over a year is just batshit insane. But you know what? It all worked, and against all odds and logic, Superior Spider-Man became one of the best conceived and best written alternate Spideys of all time.
At first it seemed that Superior Spider-Man was way more successful being Spidey than Peter ever was. As Spidey, Ock fixed Peter’s life and became a more efficient hero. Or at least he did on the surface, while in Peter’s body, Ock began to see just how rare and special Peter’s heroism was and became a better man through Peter’s example. At the end, Ock sacrificed himself to bring Peter back because the world needed the greatest, the best, the original, Spider-Man.
In recent years, Ock has returned and Marvel is paving the way for Ock as a new Superior Spider-Man. How will Amazing and Superior coexist? Stay tuned, true believer for the next stage of the legacy of the Superior Spider-Man.
First appearance Edge of Spider-Verse #5 (2014)
Created by Gerard Way and Jake Wyatt
SP//dr is an alternate universe version of Spidey created during Spider-Verse. She is a Japanese student named Peni Parker who is adopted by May and Ben Parker. She shares a psychic link with a suit of mech armor and helping her pilot the mech is an intelligent radioactive spider because awesome.
With all the Spider-Verse films and games on the way, we have a feeling that Peni Parker may become a big deal because let’s face it, there is just so much potential in a character that is a young Japanese kid adopted by the Parkers and BFFs with a heavily armored mech spider thing.
First appearance The Amazing Spider-Man vol. 3 #10 (2014)
Created by Dan Slott and Olivier Coipel
No, Spider-Punk is not a surly but compelling wrestler from Chicago who quit the WWE and is really vulnerable to being punched by MMA fighters.
Spider-Punk is another alternate version of Spidey introduced in Spider-Verse. Spider-Punk is really Hobart Brown. Brown lives on a world ruled by President Norman Osborn and uses his powers and punk rock influence to take the battle to the man! In the regular MU, Hobie Brown is the Prowler; so really, Spider-Punk is part of two Marvel legacies. Between comics and video games, Spider-Punk has been all over the place lately, so look for big things from this safety pin wearing punk rocker. OI!!!!
“Golden Sponge Cakes” Spider-Man
First Appearance: Spider-Verse #1 (2014)
Created by Dan Slott and Ty Templeton
Remember those old schools Hostess snack cake adds of the ’70s where the heroes would defeat a large cross section of bad guys by tempting them with Twinkies, cupcakes, or fruit pies? Well, that shit’s canon, and that makes us so happy.
In the Spider-Verse event, writer Dan Slott introduces us to a version of Spidey that runs into the murderous Morlun. When encountering Morlun, this Spidey does what he does best, he tries to tempt the multi-dimensional killer with Golden Sponge Cakes. Morlun kills “Golden Sponge Cakes” Spider-Man. Bastard. But hey, the fact that “Golden Sponge Cakes” Spider-Man Spidey exists proves that there is hope for the human race.
Renew Your Vows Spider-Man
First appearance: Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #1 (2015)
Created by Dan Slott and Adam Kubert
One of the most notorious moments in Marvel history is when Marvel abandoned the child of Peter and Mary Jane. Whaattt? Yeah, it happened. Mary Jane was pregnant, she was kidnapped, an unknown enemy stole the unborn child, and it was never spoken of again. Of course, the Spider-marriage ended as well in One More Day so it seemed like fans would have to live without the wedded Spider bliss. It goes without saying that fans would also have to live without the Spider-Kid… until Renew Your Vows, that is.
Renew Your Vows introduces a world where Peter and MJ are still married and are raising their lost-in-our-universe daughter Annie Parker. The three become a crime fighting trio as Peter trains wife and daughter to be just as amazing as he is. Renew Your Vows Spidey is a great look at what could have been if Spider-Man was allowed to become Family-Man.
First Appearance: Monthly Shōnen Magazine January 1970 – September 1971
Created by Kōsei Ono, Kazumasa Hirai, and Ryoichi Ikegami
Yes, Japan had two Spider-Men of its own. This is the less insane one.
When Junior High Schooler Yu Komori is bitten by a radioactive spider, he is transformed into Japan’s own wall crawling sensation. Similar characters and tropes from the legend of Peter Parker defined the Spider Manga. Yu had a loving elderly Aunt and worked for a cantankerous newspaper publisher, plus, he fought such menaces as Electro, the Lizard, and the Kangaroo.
Now let’s get this straight, of all the great Spider-Man villains to choose from, the Japanese creators of manga Spidey go with the Kangaroo?
Let’s just hope Mark Webb doesn’t follow that lineage of villains. He’s two-thirds there already! Manga Spidey is a fascinating alternate take on Spider-Man and is well worth seeking out, but really Japan, the Kangaroo?
MC2 Peter and Spider-Girl
First appearance: What If (Vol. 2) #105 (1998)
Created by Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz
If old school is your thing, then MC2 Peter Parker and his daughter “Mayday” are the heroes for you. Essentially, the MC2 Universe was designed to be the next chapter in the saga of the Marvel Universe, stories that exist in a possible future.
Spider-Girl saw a retired Peter Parker try to find a sense of non-super-hero normalcy after he lost his leg in the battle with the Green Goblin. After his daughter May develops spider powers, May and Peter are thrust back into a world of adventure.
Writer Tom DeFalco and artist Ron Frenz fought low sales for almost a decade but kept plugging away at the Spider heroes of tomorrow. It’s a bit surprising that neither Disney nor Sony has tried to exploit this property It screams ‘tween sitcom.
Gerry Drew Spider-Man
First appearance: Spider-Girl #32 (2001)
Created by Ron Frenz and Tom DeFalco
Another MC2 DeFlaco and Frenz creation, Gerry Drew was the son of the original Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew. A rare blood ailment was killing the poor Drew child but it also granted him strange powers. Gerry decided to spend his last days fighting crime and trained under Darkdevil (who was, y’know, Daredevil, but dark…oh, comics).
Gerry didn’t wear the webs for long, but he was a neat character study into the psyche of a dying young man. Happily, Reed Richards promised to find a cure for the boy. Usually, Reed keeps his promises of finding a cure unless he’s trying to cure someone covered in orange rocks, so things probably worked out well for young Gerry.
I mean seriously Disney/Sony or whomever, this has CW or ABC Family drama written all over it. Why aren’t you on this? Victoria Justice as Spider-Girl…It writes itself!
First appearance: Ultimate Fantastic Four #22 (2005)
Created by Mark Millar and Greg Land
Superheroes are popular, and so are zombies. When Marvel mashed up their pantheon of heroes with flesh-devouring zombies, they discovered the two genres went great together.
On an alternate universe discovered by the Ultimate Fantastic Four, Marvel’s brightest paragons of justice had turned into lumbering flesh eaters. First Mark Millar and Greg Land, and then Mr. Zombie himself, Robert Kirkman, and artist Sean Phillips presented the dark world of Marvel Zombies, and by Odin’s dangling nether parts, was it disturbing.
Peter Parker was a particularly twisted version of the classic character, as ‘ol Pete was just as ravenous a flesh eater as the other atrocities, except Peter, in true Peter fashion, was ravaged with guilt over once having devoured Aunt May and Mary Jane Watson. One can only guess what happened to Ms. Lion.
After Kirkman, many other writers followed, fleshing (ha) out the twisted world of Marvel Zombies, and poor old guilt ravaged Peter was along for the ride, proving again and again with great power comes great hunger and the need to eat peoples’ faces and internal organs. Where’s Daryl Dixon when you need him?
First appearance: Mutant X #6 (1999)
Created by Howard Mackie and Cary Nord
In the Mutant X universe, (it was a reality where the regular Marvel Universe Havok went for a bit, Storm was a vampire…It was the ‘90s, don’t ask questions). Spider-Man was a mutated hero with four arms that joined forces with the heroes of that reality. He was killed by the villainous Goblin Queen and replaced with a four armed clone who was also killed at some point.
In the regular Marvel Universe, the real Spidey also had four arms for a brief period of time in a classic story by Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, and Gil Kane (Amazing Spider-Man #100-103), where he fought the Lizard and the freshly introduced Morbius. That story was awesome. Mutant X, not so much.
First Appearance: Powerless #1 (2004)
Created by Matt Cherniss, Peter Johnson, Alex Maleev, and Michael Gaydos
On the surface, Marvel’s 2004 mini-series Powerless doesn’t sound like the most gripping of sagas, but it was actually a surprisingly good read with insanely cool art.
The premise of the book is a world of super-heroes with no super powers. Most people just call that reality, but it remains one of Marvel’s best experimental series of the last decade.
In this powerless world, Peter Parker uses the net handle Spider-Man and is still bitten by a radioactive spider. Instead of super powers, Powerless Pete has a nasty, atrophied arm. Of all the Peters in all the multiverse, this one got the short end of the stick. With shriveled nasty arm, comes absolutely no responsibility beyond weekly doctor’s appointments and massive doses of antibiotics.
First Appearance: Marvel 1602 #1 (2003)
Created by Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert
Neil Gaiman’s contribution to the Spider-Man mythos, Peter Parquagh appeared in the great 1602 mini-series. Parquagh was an apprentice to the royal spymaster Nicholas Fury. As Parquagh globetrots with his master, he is constantly coming close to being bitten by unusual spiders. This finally happens in one of the 1602 sequels not written by Neil Gaiman (it was Greg Pak), and Parquagh’s life as a colonial adventure begins in earnest. It’s all very cool and a bit streampunky, and listen, it’s all created by Gaiman, so just read it.
First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #365 (1992)
Created by Peter David and Rick Leonardi
Even in the far-flung future, power and responsibility are irrevocably linked. In the long running Spider-Man 2099 series by Peter David and Rick Leonardi, all the elements that make Peter Parker so special are packaged and shipped into the future, where a geneticist named Miguel O’Hara wields the webs. O’Hara is a hero cut from the same cloth as Peter: a victim of an experiment gone wrong, he uses his powers to help his really close to dystopian future.
Spider-Man 2099 featured kickass world building by David. Using the world of Spider-Man and the Marvel Universe proper as a template, David built a fully functional future that was new enough to grip readers but different enough to provide for an alternate experience to regular Marvel continuity.
O’Hara is currently swinging around the present Marvel Universe and will soon be featured in his own title written by, because the comic gods are kind, Peter David.
The rest of the world learned of the awesomeness of O’Hara in the Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions video game, and it looks like Marvel would like nothing better than a 2099 resurgence.
First appearance: Spider-Man 2099 Meets Spider-Man #1 (1995)
Created by Created by Peter David and Mike Wieringo
When Peter Parker met Miguel O’Hara, another era’s Spider-Man went along for the ride: the tragic Spider-Man of 2211, Max Borne. It appears this Spidey was “Borne” to suffer. (editor’s note: booooooooo!)
With the other Spider-Men, Borne had to fight his age’s Hobgoblin, who was actually his daughter driven completely bugnuts. This Hobgoblin was eventually killed by something called a retcon bomb, a weapon that would later be utilized by Dan Didio (oh, stop, we’re just kidding). If that wasn’t tragic enough, at story’s end, Borne is shot and killed by his era’s Chameleon, posing as Uncle Ben.
Wow, that’s one tragic Spidey. I’m shocked he didn’t Oedipaly kill Uncle Ben and marry Aunt May. Yeeesh. Spidey 2211 was designed by Mark Wieringo, so you know he’s visually awesomesauce.
First appearance: Spider-Man Noir #1 (2009)
Created by Created by David Hine and Carmine Di Giandomenico
His hands were stickier than a pick pocket at a taffy convention, he stuck to walls like dames stick to their make-up mirrors. And the way the creators of the Spider-Man: Noir mini weaved in noir elements while maintaining the super-hero integrity of the story was quite the narrative trick. Spider-Man: Noir remains one of the most successfully daring alternate versions of Spider-Man to date.
Now excuse me while I continue to practice my noir parlance: Miss Watson’s hair was so red it made blood insanely jealous, she had a body that made a priest want to break a stained glass window…
This version of Spidey also appeared in the Shattered Dimensions video game.
First Appearance: Spider-Man: India #1 (2004)
Created by created by Sharad Devarajan, Suresh Seetharaman, and Jeevan J. Kan
Pavitr Prabhakar became the Spider-Man of India in a book published in India and reprinted in the U.S. It’s actually pretty cool how the legend of Spider-Man really does translate well into very distinct cultures. It shows the universality of Peter. At least our creative friends in India had the good taste to not include the Kangaroo in their book.
Seriously, Japan, what’s up with that?
Original Run: 1999 -2001
Created by Michael Reaves and Will Meugniot
Batman Beyond was a pretty big hit back in 1999, so that same year, the fine folks at Marvel Animation created their own alternate take on Spider-Man. After the successful Spider-Man cartoon of the ‘90s, Marvel took Spidey and shunted him off to an alternate Earth where he had a new costume and met up with such characters as the High Evolutionary and Bestial versions of some Marvel’s most famous characters.
While an animated High Evolutionary should have given fans multiple nerdgasms, the haphazard animation and non-traditional take on Spidey and his world just made fans turn the channel. No Daily Bugle, No Aunt May, no M.J., no great rogue’s gallery, no thanks. Even Venom and Carnage as the recurring baddies couldn’t save this show.
This taught Marvel one great lesson: unless you have the talents of Paul Dini and Bruce Timm on your show, stick with tradition. Some cool characters did show up on the series like X-51 and bestial versions of Electro and the Green Goblin, which makes this one worth revisiting for curiosity’s sake.
Marvel also published a short-lived comic that tied into the show, featuring a Bestial Wolverine, so haunt those quarter boxes if you’re really that curious.
First appearance: as Mac Gargan — The Amazing Spider-Man #19 (1964)/as Spider-Man — Dark Avengers #1 (2009)
Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko
As Mac Gargan, he was one of Spidey’s greatest foes, and when Eddie Brock gave up the symbiote, Gargan became the new Venom, but for a time, Gargan also took the identity of Spider-Man.
When Norman Osborn formed his own team of Dark Avengers to mock the heroic foes he despised so much, it would only be appropriate that Osborn made one of his twisted Avengers Spider-Man. Enter Mac Gargan, wielder of the Venom symbiote, and the most evil Spider-Man to date.
Gargan turned the sacred profane by giving into his baser cannibalistic instincts while calling himself Spider-Man. With his psycho teammates, like Bullseye as Hawkeye and Moonstone as Ms. Marvel, Gargan’s Spider-Man cut a bloody swathe across the Marvel Universe.
First appearance: Osborn #1 (2011)
Created by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Jamie McKelvie
After the fall of the first team of Dark Avengers, Osborn tried again, and he still get a kick out of pooping on Spider-Man’s name. Osborn’s second Spidey was a South American Spider God transformed into a six armed version of Spider-Man.
Ai Apaec was dispatched when he was shrunk down by the Avengers and squished by USAgent. A fitting end for a disgusting monstrosity, that’ll learn ya to masquerade as our hero, you six armed freak. *
* Den of Geek would like to apologize to any followers of ancient archaic South American proto-religions that worship spider monsters.
First appearance: The Infinity War #1 (1992)
Created by Jim Starlin, Ron Lim, and Al Milgrom
Speaking of disgustingly horrific, multi-limbed versions of Spidey, we have this thing.
The Spider-Doppelganger was created by the villainous Magus, himself a clone of Adam Warlock, and was really the only monster clone that stuck around the MU after Infinity War. Spider Doppelganger (holy crap, is that a pain in the ass to type) had all the powers of Spider-Man, but looked like Steve Ditko’s worst LSD nightmare.
Doppie played a huge role in the ultra-popular, not as good as most people seem to remember, “Maximum Carnage” mega-event, where he became sort of a weird pet to Cletus Kasady. It should be noted that Doppie’s Toy Biz figure produced in 1996 completely ruled.
First appearance: Amazing Spider-Man #367 (1992)
Created by David Michelinie and Jerry Bingham
Blood Spider was an evil version of Spider-Man hired by the Red Skull and trained by Taskmaster. You know when your origin involves two guys with skulls for heads, you’re an evil S.O.B. Blood Spider was last seen trying to kill Venom. It didn’t go well. Blood Spider teamed up with evil versions of Hawkeye and Captain America named Jagged Bow and Death Shield because the ’90s.
First Appearance: Spidey Super Stories #25 (1977)
Created by Jim Salicrup, Nicola Cuti, Bill Mantlo, and Win Mortime
Before the Scarlet Spider, before the “Clone Saga,” there was Web Man, a villainous clone who wore an awesome inverse of the classic Spider costume. Web Man’s only appearance was in the Electric Company’s Spidey Super Stories comics for young readers.
Web Man was created by Dr. Doom. How many one-off villains produced for an educational comic can say that? Say what you will, Web Man’s one story was more clean, concise, and entertaining than any part of the “Clone Saga.” So take a bow Web Man, you may be all but forgotten, but you got the clone thing right. Seriously though, that is a really cool costume. But yeah, Dr. Doom must have spent two whole seconds coming up with that name.
What do you want from a villain who thought Doombot was clever?
Turkish Spider-Man (1973)
OK, brace yourself now. 3 Giant Men (AKA: Captain America and Santo vs. Spider-Man; Turkish: 3 Dev Adam) features an evil Spider-Man taking on a Turkish Captain America and Mexican Wrestler El Santo.
No, I haven’t gotten into Grant Morrison’s stash. This is real:
So how does a Mexican wrestler team-up with a Turkish version of the living embodiment of America to take on an evil version of a famous super-hero? Who the heck knows, but in this nightmarish thing posing as a movie, Spider-Man uses guinea pigs as weapons and survives certain death multiple times.
There seem to be four different evil Spider-Men that survive Captain America and El Santo. In one scene, Spider-Man kills a nice young couple in cold blood and then steals a statue…I have no idea why.
The whole emo dance sequence in Spider-Man 3 doesn’t seem so bad now, does it? God, would I love to have been in the writers’ room for this one.
“No, no, clearly this movie needs a Mexican wrestler!”
“Yeah, in America, he is a hero, but in our film, statue-stealing thrill killer. That will rake in the liras!”
First appearance: Ultimate Fallout #4 (2011)
Created by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli
When Marvel killed off the Ultimate version of Peter Parker — seemingly for good — fans thought the House of Ideas must have lost their ever loving minds. Then they met Miles Morales, and most fans who gave the young new hero a chance, fell in love.
Miles came to the MU with his own supporting cast, his own set of problems and motivations, and most importantly, Peter Parker himself plays the Uncle Ben role to Miles. So by extension, Uncle Ben’s universal lesson of power and responsibility extends to Miles through Peter, and that’s pretty cool.
Miles continues his adventures, filling the late Peter’s shoes so nicely in the pages of Ultimate Spider-Man. Miles is more than just a flash in the pan, a place holder till Peter comes back, he is a true legacy character, and an everyman that lives the legend of Spider-Man. After the events of Secret Wars, Miles and many of his supporting cast have been shunted into the Marvel Universe proper and has taken his proper place as part of the mainstream Marvel pantheon of heroes. His diverse background makes him one of the most important new characters of the 21st Century.
Electric Company Spider-Man (1974-1975)
Many fans, who are now in their forties, were first exposed to Spider-Man through the educational public access show, The Electric Company.
The Electric Company’s Spidey appeared in shorts during the fourth and fifth season of the show, and saw the Wall Crawler communicate through word balloons designed to help the young viewers learn sight words. Not a bad idea actually. Many of these shorts were narrated by Morgan Freeman, which is 78 kinds of awesome.
Over the course of 2 seasons worth of shorts, educational Spidey took on such menaces as the Fox, Silly Willy, the Sandman (not the cool Sandman, but some dude that dresses as Wee Willy Winkle), the Yeti, the Bookworm, and the Sack (Stop that now!). The Electric Company Spidey suit was actually pretty cool, and the whole thing still has a wonderfully wholesome nostalgic feel, as the shorts remain a vital part of many fans’ Spidey evolution.
Attention Dan Slott and Brian Michael Bendis, we dare you to revive Silly Willy or the Sack. We dare you.
Japanese TV Spider-Man (1978)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, wow! So this exists:
In 1978, Marvel and the Toei Company signed a character exchange agreement where each company could use the others’ properties in their respective countries. This led to the Shogun Warriors comic in America and a Tomb of Dracula animated film in Japan.
Not to mention this gem.
The Japanese Spider-Man stuck pretty close to Marvel’s version except for the fact that Japanese Spidey was a motorcycle racer named Takuya Yamashiro who found a UFO and was given super powers. He also used a giant mech named Leopardon. You know, exactly like Lee and Ditko envisioned. By the way, the name of the UFO was the Marveler and it was from the planet Spider.
This Spider-Man goes up against the Iron Cross Army, led by Professor Monster and the Amazoness, who use giant monsters called Bems to attack Spidey. Spidey frequently uses the Leopardon to defeat the Bems. I love this sentence.
By the way, one episode featured a song called “Spider-Man Boogie” (which is seriously the best thing ever). Thank you for this, Asia. Seriously. Thank you.
First appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #149 (1975)
Created by Gerry Conway and Ross Andru
It all started out innocently enough. DC had great success with alternate version of Batman and Superman, and Marvel wanted in on the fun, so they brought back the Jackal-created Spider Clone that first appeared and was destroyed in The Amazing Spider-Man #149 by Gerry Conway and Ross Andru.
Dubbed Ben Reilly, the Spider Clone actually lived, dyed his hair blond, and had lived a life away from Peter. Now Ben was back, and Spider-Man had to deal with the fact that there was another version of him running around.
Ben soon donned the Scarlet Spider costume, and other than an inexplicable hoodie, it was all pretty cool. That is, until Marvel revealed that Ben was the REAL Peter and Peter was the clone, basically telling fans the last 20 years of Spidey stories had starred the wrong Spidey. It was all a not so clever way to get rid of Spidey’s marriage to Mary Jane, but it didn’t work at all, as fans rejected the idea that their Spidey was the false Spidey. Instead of cutting their losses, Marvel decided to keep the story running for two whole years, and introducing more and more clones till the whole thing got more convoluted than six DC reboots.
Want to know how it ends?
Spoiler: Marvel lost 100,000 readers. The end.
Ben did spend a long time as Spider-Man in his own distinct costume, and even participated in the Marvel and DC crossover, defeating Superboy. Ben could have been a pretty cool character, as Marvel would prove later with the second Scarlet Spider, but poor Ben remains a symbol of ’90s excess, a marketing idea gone horribly, horribly wrong.
Or does he? Because after the events of The Clone Conspiracy, Ben Reilly has returned. At first a misguided villain, Reilly is trying to redeem himself by becoming a hero once again. Once one of the most reviled concepts in the Marvel Universe, Ben Reilly is now starring in a vastly entertaining book written by the legendary Peter David. So not so fast Spider-Fans, there might be some greatness in this once hated character.
First appearance: Marvel Versus DC #3 (1996)
Created by Karl Kesel and Mike Wieringo
The Amalgam Universe was a mash-up universe where Marvel and DC’s biggest stars were joined together like brightly clad, heroic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Characters like Dark Claw (Wolverine and Batman) and Super Soldier (Captain America and Superman) fascinated fans in two separate months of crossover events.
The only issue with Spider-Boy was, and I say this with all due respect to Superboy, that the modern Superboy was just not as iconic as Spider-Man, so fans kind of just raised an eyebrow at this oddity.
At the time, Spider-Man was a clone, as was Superboy, so you can see why the powers that be thought this sort of thing was clever. But it was all just a mish mash of stuff from Spider-Man and Superboy mythos.
Spider-Boy was created by Project: Cadmus and raised by Thunderbolt Ross (wait that’s a Hulk character…You know what, just go with it). The mash-up hero could walk on walls and had a web pistol. He also took the identity Pete Ross (traditionally Superboy’s BFF), so there really wasn’t much Spider-Man about him at all.
Oh well, Spider-Boy had a terrific creative team, so he had that going for him. Web pistol?
First appearance: As Kaine — Web of Spider-Man #119 (1994)/As Scarlet Spider — Scarlet Spider #1 (2012)
Created by Terry Kavanagh and Steven Butler
Ah, Kaine, good old Kaine, who in recent years proved that the wholeclone thing could work if done right. Originally, Kaine was a rejected Spider-Clone who went bad. He became a major thorn in the side of Ben Reilly and Peter Parker, and served as an anti-hero/straight up villain throughout the ponderous “Clone Saga.”
In recent years, Kaine returned, and because he is engrained with Peter Parker’s sense of responsibility, reluctantly became the Houston, Texas-based vigilante, the new Scarlet Spider. Kaine’s solo book rocked and showed the story potential of a Spider-Clone that didn’t actively piss on two decades of continuity.
Kaine is currently running with a brand-spanking-new team of New Warriors, another great book worthy of any Spider-Fan’s attention.
First appearance: The Spectacular Spider-Man #222 (1995)
Created by Tom DeFalco and Sal Buscema
Spidercide was the most monstrous clone of Peter Parker, who had all of Spidey’s powers but could also grow and shrink and grow blades from his body. If an alien race observed Earth through mid-90s Marvel, they would believe that every human could grow blades from their body. So thank you mid-90s Marvel for stemming off an invasion of Earth.
Oh yeah, Spidercide sucked.
Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham
First appearance: Marvel Tails #1 (1983)
Created by Tom DeFalco and Mark Armstrong
Wow, for good or for ill, Tom DeFalco sure created a ton of Spider-Man derivatives, but none cooler than Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham.
Long before Homer Simpson sang “Spider-Pig, Spider-Pig,” Peter Porker was doing the arachnapig thing with gusto. Peter was once a spider that was bitten by May Porker and was transformed into a pig-spider hybrid.
Peter Porker teamed with Captain Americat and the Goose Rider, and the fact that something called the Goose Rider exists should fill everyone with a blissful warmth.
Who doesn’t love Peter Porker?
Let us not forget Magsquito and Iron Mouse, or Ducktor Doom and Deerdevil. The whole thing is just pure gold, so thank you, Mr. DeFalco, Peter Porker more than makes up for Spidercide.
First appearance: Avengers: The Initiative #3 (2007)
Created by Dan Slott and Stefano Caselli
The Scarlet Spiders were three mysterious men who donned the Tony Stark’s red and gold Spider Armor and served in the Avengers Initiative team. What’s cool about this trio is that Dan Slott created them before he became the writer on Amazing Spider-Man. This was during a time where Peter Parker revealed his identity to the world during the Marvel Civil War.
The Scarlet Spiders lied and said that Peter used to be one of them, raising doubts in the public that Peter was really the true Spider-Man, providing Marvel an out during the whole public identity era of Spider-Man.
Slott never got to use this particular subplot because Mephisto and One More Day happened, but the Scarlet Spiders remains a fascinating curiosity in the Spider-Man mythos and pretty cool characters in their own right. Ironically, the Spiders also turned out to be clones, but not of Peter, but of the little known hero named MVP.
First appearance: As Ollie Osnick — The Spectacular Spider-Man #72 (Nov 1982)/As Spider-Kid — Amazing Spider-Man #263/As Steel Spider — Spider-Man Unlimited #5
Created by Bill Mantlo and Ed Hannigan
Ollie Osnick was once an overweight but brilliant kid who idolized Dr. Octopus. Ollie went on a crime spree after he buildt his own Ock arms. When Spider-man stops Ollie, the shy lad begins idolizing Spidey and becomes the Spider-Kid.
As Ollie gets older, and loses some weight, he becomes the Steel Spider. The Steel Spider’s greatest claim to fame is having one of his real arms eaten by the Mac Gargan Venom.
The MC2 version of the Steel Spider doesn’t have such a tragic fate, as Ollie joins the Avengers in that universe. Ollie also once joined up with the Toad and Frog Man to form the Misfits, and Marvel should get right on giving that trio their own comic.
First appearance Edge of the Spider-Verse #2 (2014)
Created by Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez
No, not vampire or zombie dead, for real dead. So Spider-Gwen has become quite the thing, huh? In an alternate universe, it is Gwen Stacy who gains the proportionate strength and powers of a spider and Peter Parker who takes a dirt nap, inspiring Gwen to use her powers to help others.
After Gwen received her powers, she began fighting crime as Spider-Woman. Peter Parker was inspired by this new hero and injected himself with a serum that transformed him into this reality’s Lizard. This ended up with Peter dead and Gwen broken hearted but inspired to make sure this kind of tragedy never happens again. So in the Gwen-verse, Peter never became Spider-Man, ended up becoming the Lizard, and is now six feet under because who besides Curt Conners thinks it’s a good idea to just inject lizard DNA into one’s arm?
Oh well, this dead Peter was a dope…but an inspirational dope because he pointed Spider-Gwen in the right heroic direction after he lizard died.
First appearance: Edge of the Spider-Verse #2 (2014)
Created by Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez
William Braddock is exactly like Peter Parker, except Braddock is British, a member of the Captain Britain Corps, blond, a punk rocker, and did we mention he’s British? Spider-Man UK (who’s British) was introduced in the Spider Verse saga and eventually joined the Web Warriors. As we mentioned, he is also a Captain Britain so that’s like being Spider-Man and Captain America all mashed together…except for the nationality thing. There was no Brexit with Braddock as he loyally serves with his fellow Spidey’s in the Web Warriors.
So there you have it. All the Spider-Mans! Spider-Men? Spider-Mens? Remember, no matter the country, planet, or reality – with great power comes great responsibility. Except in Turkey, evidently.
Did we miss any of your favorite Spideys? Tell us in the comments! Read more of Marc Buxton’s work here!