The excitement surrounding everyone’s favorite friendly neighborhood Spider-Man and his latest adventures hitting the big screen has, once again, given everyone a serious case of spider-bite fever (if that’s a real affliction, we apologize to anyone affected). Basically, the world can’t get enough Spidey-themed things with the arrival of Spider-Man: Homecoming and an action-packed video game coming to PlayStation 4.
In the new film, Spidey battles his way through a few classic baddies and the upcoming game sees him going toe-to-toe with at least one relatively new villain, Mr. Negative. With all the battles Spider-Man has ahead of himself, it’s tempting to think that movie and game designers may someday run out of villains for him to fight. Thankfully, the 50+ years of Spider-Man comics have given more than enough awesome bad guys for him to fight as well as a fair share of ridiculous ones we’ll likely never see in any movie or game.
So, in the spirit of giving those un-sung villains at least a little bit of time in the spotlight, here’s our list of Spider-Man’s 15 Most WTF Villains Ever.
What’s a guy to do when your professional wrestling license gets revoked after an investigation is conducted following an editorial by J. Jonah Jameson? Why, the answer is simple! You wait about ten years until the opportunity presents itself to attack The Daily Bugle in a mechanical grizzly bear suit you obtained that makes you super strong! It’s a tale as old as time, really.
At least that’s what a certain Maxwell Markham did way back in 1974’s Amazing Spider-Man #139. Since The Daily Bugle is a place frequented by Spider-Man, one can probably guess how his rampage went. Maxwell “Grizzly” Markham was defeated by the wall-crawler and promptly sent to prison for his attack on print media.
Oddly– as if it was waiting for him in the manila envelope of his possessions while in prison– Markham took the Grizzly’s Exo-Skeleton to the Tinkerer for some upgrades after he was released. From there, he continued his life as a repeatedly defeated Spider-Man villain alongside a group that became appropriately known as the “Legion of Losers.”
The short-lived Spider-Man villain Spidercide marks every box on the ’90s comic checklist. Mysterious clone of our beloved hero created by an evil genius? Check. Ability to melt and reform like the T-1000 from Terminator 2? Check! Badass ’90s costume covering a Rob Liefeld-esque disproportionately weird physique? You bet your Spider-lovin’ butt that’s a check!
Spidercide was a clone of Peter Parker and– as most clones are known to do from time to time– wasn’t too keen on playing second fiddle to the real deal. The Jackal created him with the hope of killing Peter and everyone he held dear and– as a Parker clone– was imbued with all the abilities a not-so-friendly Spider-Man would have.
Additionally, Spidercide had the ability to manipulate the the shape of his body on the molecular level. Basically, think equal parts Spider-Man, Venom, and Mr. Fantastic.
There is absolutely no legitimate reason that the Hypno-Hustler would ever show up in a Spider-Man TV show or movie as a formidable villain but, boy oh boy, it’d be great if he did. First appearing way back in a 1978 issue of Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #24, the Antoine “Hypno-Hustler” Delsoin is a clear relic of the disco era.
Delsoin was a musician who realized he could make more than just a cut of the ticket sales if he used his music to hypnotize crowds into handing over their valuables. At one such performance, Peter Parker and his friends were in attendance, which ultimately lead to Spidey saving the day.
Since that first interaction, Hypno-Hustler has appeared in a few comics over the years including some alternate Marvel universes and surprisingly even showed up in more than one Spider-Man video game.
The earlier days of Spider-Man comics were a much more simple time. The foes Spidey went up against weren’t always written with, let’s go with, the most subtlety or nuance in terms of powers and back story. This was especially true with a Spider-Man villain named Frank Oliver. He was from Australia so, naturally, the comic writers gave him a power-set that wasn’t at all insulting or stereotypical.
Oh, we’re just kidding! Oliver was also known as the Kangaroo and had developed incredible leaping abilities due to having grown up with, you guessed it, a whole bunch of kangaroos.
This fine, young, Wrath of Khan-looking villain was later outfitted with some leap-enhancing air jet implants by nefarious Dr. Jonas Harrow. Harrow, as some may remember, is the same scientist responsible for another on-the-nose named villain, Hammerhead.
The Answer is one of the lamest names for, quite possibly, one of the cooler power-sets in the entire Marvel universe. Aaron Nicholson is a human mutate with the unique ability to “answer” any situation he’s in with either information or physical characteristics.
This means that – if posed a question or faced with an attacking opponent – Nicholson is able to answer the question or manifest a superhuman trait to counter it. These “answers” have appeared as superhuman strength, durability, speed, flight, senses, and the ability to create force fields.
With these powers, Answer has proven himself in battle against Spider-Man and a number of other super-powered foes over the years and, for a time, was a valued asset to Wilson Fisk’s criminal empire.
Despite having the ability to adapt to almost any situation with the right answer, Nicholson has often been seen teamed up with a number of low-level villains and– more often than not– spending time behind bars.
Swarm might not be the most famous Spider-Man villain of all time but as a skeleton of a Nazi scientist surrounded by a swarm of super-intelligent bees, he certainly wins any and all awards for giving someone the willies.
When he wasn’t doing evil Nazi science, Fritz von Meyer was an avid bee keeper who happened upon a group of highly intelligent bees like he’d never seen before. Being a comic book Nazi scientist, he couldn’t resist experimenting on them, which caused them to attack and kill him. While getting exactly what he deserved for messing with bees and, you know, being a Nazi, the bees somehow absorbed his consciousness.
While it’s a bit odd to see such a pixelated evil-doer show up in the 2006 issue of Spider-Man Family Featuring Amazing Friends #1, die-hard Spidey fans will know that Videoman made his first appearance way back in 1981 in an episode of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.
Origins differ slightly but the comic version of this low-resolution baddie emerged from a computer processor unit out of a classic arcade game with super strength and the ability to rapidly fire energy blasts. Since this list is about Spider-Man villains, you can safely assume Videoman put those powers to good use in an evil rampage that Spidey had to stop.
As an homage to Videoman’s ’80s TV appearance, he once again proved to be a formidable foe for Spider-Man who then had to enlist some help from some other heroes. In fact, he may not have been defeated at all in the comics if it weren’t for the intervention of Iceman and Firestar.
Of all the weird Spider-Man foes, there’s a certain level of understanding one has to give Slyde. Jalome Beacher only set out on his life of crime after he was fired from his job and simply wanted some money to start up his own business. He had developed a chemical coating that, when applied to an object, eliminated any and all friction. His goal was to start a company with this coating but needed money to do so.
As it happens, Spider-Man is rarely keen on anyone turning to crime to solve their problems so the two obviously had friction. Adding to how relatable Slyde was, he remains quite possibly the only Marvel character to specifically go through a midlife crisis (which made him change his costume to a sleeker “ninja” look) within the pages of the comics.
Putting a character like Mindworm on this list is actually pretty unfair. William Turner’s introduction back in the ’70s was pretty standard fare for comic book villainy. He was weird-looking, kind of crazy, and had the ability to drain mental energy from humans around him.
However, his initial adversarial run-ins with Spider-Man may have been the best thing for him since he eventually came around to befriend Peter Parker and even adopted the best piece of Spidey wisdom ever uttered, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
Unfortunately, Mindworm’s story ended on a bleak note. After being exploited by criminals, Mindworm ended up lonely, homeless, and unwilling to use his powers for fear of hurting anyone. Peter struggled with how to help him but was too late in doing so and, sadly, Turner was killed by a street gang.
Over the years, the very literally named Plantman has battled so many Marvel heroes that it’s a bit dishonest to just call him a Spider-Man villain. We just really love the picture above where he’s throwing coconuts.
This fear of villainous commitment to any one particular hero is probably due to a very early first appearance in the comics back in 1963. Over a long enough timeline it seems every villain and hero get together in some capacity. Especially in those early days of comics. Come on, it was a different time! The ’60s were weird, man!
Clashing with Spider-Man in any real capacity came about fifteen years after his introduction, when Plantman’s plant-based plant villainy involved the development of “Pretty Poison” that was used on Captain America. Falcon joined forces with Spidey to defeat Plantman and get the antidote to heal cap.
Remember the character named Station from Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey? The two small aliens that combined into one larger alien who then built the Good Bill and Ted Robots? Well, Marvel comics sort of did that in Amazing Spider-Man #208 back in 1980.
Brothers Hubert & Pinky Fusser did not get along well at all but still, somehow, ended up working in the same building. Hubert as a scientist, and Pinky as a janitor. When Hubert was involved in an accident in the lab, Pinky went running to his aide only to be merged together into a two-headed radioactive being calling itself “Fusion.”
Spider-Man intervened and battled Fusion (also called Twin Terror) but it was Pinky’s strength of will that ended the mayhem. Not wanting to continue on his brother’s path to evil genius status, Pinky forced the two to separate.
4. Big Wheel
Who hasn’t been in the situation that Jackson Weele found himself in Amazing Spider-Man #182. Down on his luck and contemplating suicide, Weele did the only logical thing he could think of; pay the Tinkerer to create a giant armored mono-wheel perfect for a good ol’ rampaging on the streets of New York City. Unfortunately for Weele, now calling himself Big Wheel (original, right?!), his rampage lead directly into battle with Spider-Man.
In prison, Weele joined Villains Anonymous (we kid you not!) and tried to go on the straight and narrow once released by performing at monster truck rallies.
Sometime later, Big Wheel returned to a life of crime and did just about the stupidest thing possible by taking a job to kill Johnny “Ghost Rider” Blaze and ended up on the wrong end of a Penance Stare.
3. The Spot
Of all the weird and WTF Spider-Man villains out there, The Spot might just be one of the coolest. While working for the Kingpin and being exposed to the appropriately-named “Spotted Dimension”, scientist Johnathon Ohnn was imbued with the power of teleportation.
The black spots that appeared on his body can be “removed” and serve as teleportation portals which– as one might imagine– really come in handy for a life of crime. They also remain active portals on his body which results in a fairly frustrating target for any hero wanting to lay a hurt on him.
Spider-Man has battled on a number of occasions and he even appeared in an episode of Marvel’s 1994 animated Spider-Man series. Despite looking most of the way dressed for a dalmatian cosplay, Spot’s unique teleportation methods make for some truly interesting comic panels and one of the more memorable episodes of the Spidey cartoon.
2. Leap Frog
How can anyone not love Leap Frog and the later, re-named Frog Man? It’s 100% pure, unadulterated tomfoolery and we– the collective comic book loving public– are lucky to have him leap into action every once in a while. Granted, his time as a villain was fairly short-lived and the mantle was then taken up for attempted super-heroics but, you know, just work with us here.
The totally ridiculous frog suit was designed by failed inventor Vincent Patilio who used its “electrically powered leaping coils” to exact froggy vengeance on jewelry and money that wasn’t his. After being defeated, the frog suit was passed to Patilio’s son Eugene who decided to do some good with it. Calling himself Frog Man (there aren’t many other choices) he tried his hand at being a hero.
So far, Eugene’s Frog Man is far more successful than his father’s Leap Frog but we still have to thank Vincent’s evil leanings for the treat that is seeing a goofy man-sized frog walk around New York City.
Saying Gordon “Typeface” Thomas is a super-villain is a fairly generous thing to do. Yet, somehow, Typeface has continued to appear in Marvel comics since his introduction back in 1987.
Gordon’s origin story is just about as bland as his powers (if you can even call them powers). After his wife left him, Gordon started a job making signs for a living. The last straw came when the company was bought out and he was laid off. Where most people would check the classifieds for similar work, Gordon knew the only thing left to do was become super villain with letter-shaped weapons and– very inexplicably— was able to initially defeat Spider-Man in their first tussle.
In the years since his criminal beginnings, Typeface did his best to hit CTRL+Z on his villainous ways and tried his hand at being a vigilante with varying levels of success.
Are there any other crazy villains in Spider-Man’s history? Let us know in the comments!
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