He’s amazing, he’s spectacular, he’s your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man! Since his debut in Amazing Fantasy #15 way back in 1962, the wall-crawler has been a mainstay of American comic books and one of Marvel’s most popular characters. With the release of his first live-action feature film back in the summer of 2002, the Spider-Man character expanded his reach beyond comic book stores and into the mainstream.
Being as popular as he is, much of Spider-Man’s mythos is considered to be common knowledge at this point. Nerdy high school teen gets bit by a radioactive spider, acquires super spider powers, and learns that with great power comes great responsibility. Fighting supervillains and saving New York, all the while just trying to get through life as a normal guy; you know, standard stuff everybody deals with.
With these basics set in place, most people may think they have a pretty good grasp of who Peter Parker is and who Spider-Man is on top of that, but those people would be mistaken. The world of comic books is ever changing, and with Spider-Man being one of Marvel’s flagship properties, he has found himself in a ton of unique situations that most people, unfortunately don’t know about.
To help catch you up on what this web-slinger has been up to as of late, here’s a look at the 15 Things You Wouldn’t Know About Spider-Man If You Haven’t Kept Up With The Comics.
15. Peter Parker Made A Deal With The Devil
Any self-respecting superhero will go to whatever lengths it takes to protect the innocent, especially when those innocent are the ones they love. This was never more evident than in the winter of 2007 when Peter Parker would make a decision that would change not only the course of his life, but those he cares about most forever.
During the events of Marvel’s first Civil War, Spider-Man did the unthinkable in support of the Superhuman Registration Act; he unmasked himself live on the evening news. With his secret identity now public information, Peter found himself in the exact situation he had dreaded for years, with his closest friends and family now at risk. When an errant sniper bullet hits his beloved Aunt May, Peter makes one of the toughest decisions of his life.
In a controversial move, Peter encounters the demonic entity known as Mephisto who agrees to save his Aunt May’s life. As with any devilish agreement, this gift came at a price, and that price was Peter and MJ’s marriage.
That’s right, Peter made a deal with the devil that cost him his marriage to the girl he loved, but in exchange he saved his dear Aunt May and wiped his secret identity from the minds of everyone that saw it. It was no doubt controversial, but it would set Peter on course for all the adventures that would unfold over the next decade.
14. Spider-Man Meets Obama
With his presidency now at an end, it seems only fitting we take a look at Obama’s inauguration, also known as the day he met Spider-Man. Okay, so maybe President Obama didn’t actually meet New York’s resident web head in real life, but they surely crossed paths at the conclusion of Amazing Spider-Man #583.
The story begins at Obama’s inauguration, with Peter in the sea of reporters all vying for the perfect shot of the new president. Just as the festivities were getting underway, a second Barack Obama pulled up in a limo. Peter threw on his trusty red and blue suit and hit the scene only to discover it was none other than the Chameleon posing as the soon-to-be president. After thwarting the Chameleon, Spidey takes off, but not before shaking hands with President Obama, who’s apparently a big Spider-Man fan.
While the story itself was nothing more than a backup feature in the issue, the cover featuring Spider-Man hanging from a web and snapping a shot of a smiling President Obama giving a thumbs up quickly became a highly sought after commodity. When it was all said and done, Amazing Spider-Man #583 went to five printings and became the highest selling issue of a standard, ongoing comic book series for the decade.
13. Carlie Cooper
In the wake of the events of One More Day, where Peter and MJ sacrificed their marriage to save Aunt May, Peter finds himself newly single in New York City. As any fan of Spidey knows, however, for a guy that spends as much time complaining about his love life as Peter does, he rarely has much trouble finding interested suitors.
The first major love interest for Peter in the post-MJ era was Carlie Cooper, a member of the New York police department’s crime scene unit. There was an immediate and obvious connection between Peter and Carlie, but in typical Parker fashion, a string of almost-dates and superhero related interruptions would nearly derail the relationship before it ever got off the ground. Things eventually worked out and the two became a romantic couple, but as things so often do for Peter, this would all come to an end at the hands of a goblin.
Carlie was kidnapped and injected with the goblin serum by none other than Norman Osborn himself, now acting under the guise of the Goblin King. While Carlie would eventually escape from the clutches of the Goblin King, she would leave New York, realizing she wouldn’t ever have the chance to live a normal life while being associated with Peter/Spider-Man.
12. New Yorkers Get Spider Powers
Towards the end of 2011, Peter found himself face-to-face with something he never would have imagined having to deal with: an island full of super spider-powered people. Due to the latest shenanigans of the Jackal and his new partner, the Spider Queen, Manhattan Island becomes Spider Island as a chaotic outbreak of newly super-powered spider people run roughshod over the city.
The Spider Island crossover was the latest example of how Peter’s responsibilities as Spider-Man tend to be at their more difficult just as his personal life is looking its best. Peter was finally in a good place with his girlfriend, Carlie Cooper and things between him and MJ were as good as they had been in years. When Carlie begins to exhibit spider powers, it would be the beginning of a giant battle between Spider-Man and the Avengers against the entire city of New York.
Spider Island was a huge event that managed to remind new and long-time readers alike just how special Peter Parker truly is as a person, even when surrounded by an entire island full of other similarly powered beings.
11. Peter Parker’s Death
As 2012 came to a close, Marvel made a decision that caused fans everywhere to scream out in horror, they were going to kill off Peter Parker. It may seem like a shocking move to kill off one of your most popular characters, but there’s a couple of things for sure when the subject of a comic book death is at hand. The first is that a quick boost in sales is usually on the way and the second is that the character will usually be back in the fold within a couple of years.
Both of these predictions eventually came to be, as The Amazing Spider-Man #700 was one of the highest selling comic books of the year and Peter eventually returned to the pages of Marvel comics less than two years later. Still, the decision to kill of Peter Parker, even temporarily was one that will no doubt go down in history as one of the character’s most iconic moments. Best of all, Peter Parker’s death did not spell the end of the Spider-Man mantle, as a surprising new man decided to take up the responsibilities and don the costume.
10. The Superior Spider-Man
After the events of “Dying Wish,” with Otto Octavius having succeeded in swapping his mind into Peter Parker’s body, he makes the decision that may come as a shock to some fans; he decides to become a hero. The Superior Spider-Man, as good old Doc Ock was now calling himself, was Otto’s attempt to prove that not only could he now be a better hero than Spider-Man, but he could be a better person than Peter Parker. Otto, however, was constantly affected by the memories within Peter’s mind, causing his ambitious desires to clash with Peter’s own set of values and principles.
While killing off a popular character like Peter Parker always tends to result in controversy, the decision to put Otto Octavius’ mind in control of his body was even more questionable. The move paid off in the end, with The Superior Spider-Man storyline exceeding expectations, in great part due to the combination of eye-catching artwork by artist Ryan Stegman and the cerebral storytelling of writer, Dan Slott.
The switch gave readers a unique look at the relationship between Peter and Otto, as the pair represent two sides of the same coin in many ways. If things went slightly differently early on in either’s lives, they very well could have found themselves on different sides of the law in their own right. If anything, the magnified focus on Doc Ock proved that there’s a reason the character has stood the test of time as one of the main villains in Spidey’s rogue’s gallery.
9. Peter Parker: CEO
After reassuming his own body, Peter Parker suddenly finds himself in the middle of a situation that is completely foreign to him in every imaginable way; he was now the CEO of his own company. That’s right, while Doc Ock was galavanting around New York proving his spider superiority, he took the time to start an advanced technology and defense company called, Parker Industries. When the real Peter assumes the role of CEO of his company, he comes face to face with a slew of new problems that he never even dreamed of.
As any Spider-Man fan knows, a lot of what people love about Peter is the way in which we can all relate to his daily struggles. The balance between superheroing and maintaining a normal life is integral to nearly every superhero, but it is essential to what makes Spider-Man the hero we all know and love.
Watching this time tested formula get turned on its head gives readers a new perspective on the character of Peter Parker. This was now a Peter Parker who was no longer simply struggling to make ends meet, but struggling to keep a multi-million dollar company running smoothly. It’s kind of like watching Peter try to be Tony Stark, minus all the suave confidence and with a lot more nerdiness.
You’re no doubt familiar with Peter Parker’s origin story; radioactive spider bite at a science demonstration, but what you might not know is that Peter wasn’t the only one bitten by that particular spider on that fateful day.
Cindy Moon, a young Asian-American student at that same science demonstration met the same fate as our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. With Cindy Moon possessing the same spider powers as Peter, you may be wondering why we haven’t seen her before. As it turns out, Cindy and her family were approached by none other than Ezekiel.
The charismatic supervillain Ezekiel convinced the Moon family that only he could show Cindy how to control her newfound powers. After years of training in the ways of the spider, Ezekiel locked Cindy up in a vault for her “protection.”
After Peter discovers Cindy and frees her from captivity, she decides to do as any other good super-powered being does and becomes a superhero. Silk, as Cindy was now calling herself, would now need to navigate a new world that she would been locked away from for years, all the while searching for her mysteriously missing family.
While we all love good old Peter Parker and the trouble he always seems to find himself in, sometimes a little variety is welcomed. As an answer to this need for variety, a slew of skilled writers over the years have taken up the task of creating alternative versions of the Spider-Man character. A few years ago, Marvel made the decision to take all these different versions of Spider-powered heroes and pit them against their greatest foe yet.
Some fans may remember the supervillain Morlun from J. Michael Straczynski’s legendary six year run on Spidey’s flagship series from 2001 to 2007. For those not in the know, Morlun hates spiders and hunts down any and all spider-powered beings. During the massive Spider-Verse crossover, Morlun jumps between dimensions with a singular goal in mind, the destruction of all spider-powered entities. The battle that followed between Morlun and his family and the Spider men and women of Marvel’s multiverse was nothing short of epic.
On the heels of the Spider-Verse crossover, no character received the sheer amount of fanfare that one particular Spider-Woman did. Spider-Gwen, as she is affectionately known to fans, is the Earth-65 version of our favorite web slinging hero. In this universe, it wasn’t Peter Parker who was bit by that radioactive spider, but none other than his first love, Gwen Stacy.
To say that the character of Gwen Stacy is a fan favorite would be an understatement. The problem is, as much as fans love her, the death of Peter’s first love is an integral aspect of his character. Marvel’s solution to this problem, the introduction of an alternate super-powered version of Gwen Stacy for a new era.
A fully developed character with an awesome-looking costume and her own share of trials and tribulations, Spider-Gwen was easily the most popular character to come out of Spider-Verse and she’s showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. With her own comic book series and appearances on animated television already under her belt, only time will tell what the future holds for Spider-Gwen.
5. Miles Morales: Spider-Man
The “Dying Wish” storyline wouldn’t be the first time that Peter Parker would meet an untimely end. Roughly a year before the main Marvel universe’s Peter would be replaced by Doc Ock, the Ultimate universe Spider-Man would meet a similar fate.
The Ultimate Marvel Universe launched back in 2002 as a sort of entry point into reading comic books. The idea was that a newly founded universe would make things easy for new readers to jump into after the renewed interest in the comic book industry in the early 2000’s. The Ultimate Spider-Man series was clearly one of the most popular, which makes the decision to kill off Peter Parker a puzzling one. After Peter’s death, however, comic book readers would be treated with meeting a new Spider-Man for a new generation.
Miles Morales is a biracial character who takes over the Spider-Man mantle after Peter’s demise. His growing popularity led to his eventual inclusion in the main Marvel Universe after the events of Spider-Verse as well as in the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon show and the recently announced animated feature film.
4. Peter Teaches The X-Men
The death of Wolverine would cause a ripple of effects throughout the Marvel Universe, with Spider-Man being no exception. Following his death, Spider-Man would take over Logan’s role in the Wolverine and the X-Men series during a special limited series called, Spider-Man and the X-Men.
As a last request of sorts, Wolverine asks Spider-Man to go to the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning and investigate things for him. Wolverine suspected there was a traitor amongst the students and sends Spider-Man to figure things out under the guise of working as a new faculty member. Given Peter’s optimism and values, he teaches the young mutants on ethics and acts as a counselor for them. After a few adventures together, Spider-Man and his group of X-Men succeed in defeating Mister Sinister without having to expel anyone from the school.
Spidey’s trademark humor fits in well in an X-Men comic series based around the school. The way he interacts with the young mutants is a highlight of the story and is something that fans of the limited series want more of soon.
3. The Clone Conspiracy
Many fans who are familiar with the Spider-Man mythology will cringe at the very mention of clones, due to the poor reception of the original Clone Saga from the mid-1990’s. The newer Clone Conspiracy storyline, however, results in the return of significant characters from Spider-Man’s past including Ben Reilly, Gwen Stacy, and even Uncle Ben.
The Jackal returns and gathers together a team of supervillains, offering a chance for them to be reunited with some of their loved ones who have recently perished. As it turns out, the Jackal has discovered a new method of cloning that allowed the clones to retain the memories of their past lives, essentially being reborn anew.
The end of the story results in Ben Reilly, one of Peter Parker’s clones and the original Scarlet Spider becoming the second Jackal. Perhaps more importantly, over the course of the story he creates a clone of Gwen Stacy that proves once and for all that she was indeed still alive when she was thrown off the bridge by the Green Goblin. As if that wasn’t enough, the Jackal hints at the story’s conclusion that a revived clone of Uncle Ben may be on the horizon.
2. Venom: Villain No More
When it comes to the subject of Spider-Man’s most iconic villains, it’s hard to argue that Venom is near the top of the list. The alien symbiote known as Venom has long been a thorn in Spider-Man’s side, but what truly makes this symbiote such a fantastic character is the way it interacts with its host, changing and evolving with its companion. The one consistent factor, however, is that the symbiote was always in control, always driving the ship, but that all changed towards the end of 2016.
After the symbiote’s run alongside Flash Thompson and the Guardians of the Galaxy, it finds a new host in former Army Ranger, Lee Price. For the first time, however, the symbiote is taking a backseat, so to speak, to Price’s mind. Due to his intense training as an Army Ranger, Price was trained to resist mind control and psychological attacks.
1. Teaching Deadpool To Be A Hero
Few comic book heros can match the mainstream popularity of Spider-Man, but if there’s anyone that’s reaching into that upper echelon within the pantheon of Marvel superheroes, it’s Deadpool. The Merc with a Mouth has long been a fan favorite and a comic convention cosplay favorite, but for many years, he tended to remain a niche character within Marvel’s roster. This would all change when Wade Wilson returned to the big screen with the release of the 2016 feature film starring Ryan Reynolds, bringing the character into the mainstream spotlight.
Marvel’s latests Spider-Man/Deadpool comic book series has hit the ground running, piggybacking off of the recent success and popularity of the characters. Since its debut at the beginning of 2016, the Spider-Man/Deadpool series has proved to be one of the best in Marvel’s repertoire. The bromantic nature of the pairing’s banter has led to tons of memorable moments, but none more so than the heartfelt exchange that occurred in the thirteenth issue of the series. In a rare moment of honesty and vulnerability, Deadpool comments that he has learned to be a better person and how to be a hero from his team-up with Spidey.
With a year under their belt, the team behind Spider-Man/Deadpool shows no signs of slowing down and we’re all just happy to be coming along for the ride.