The Amazing Spider-Man first appeared on the scene in 1962 as a joint creation of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Since that first comic, Spidey has appeared in hundreds of adaptations, including animated features, television shows, and movies. While he’s had some historic and outright epic moments, the friendly neighborhood webslinger has also had his fair share of weird moments.
Here are Screen Rant’s 12 Weirdest Moments in Spider-Man History.
12. Spider-Man Gets His Own Wheels
On the surface, giving Spidey his own set of wheels is not a terrible idea. Batman has the Batmobile. Wonder Woman has the invisible jet. The Avengers have the Quinjet. Why not give Spider-Man his own mode of transportation?
Debuting in Amazing Spider-Man #130 (March 1974), the Spider-Buggy was built with some state-of-the-art technology. According to the comics, Corona Motors was looking for a way to promote their new non-polluting automobile engine. Who better than to promote this environmentally friendly breakthrough than your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man? With the help of Johnny Storm (aka The Human Torch), the first Spider-Buggy, or Spider-Mobile if you prefer, was born. After a few successful runs with his new toy, Spider-Man crashed the buggy into the water while under the influence of the powerful Mysterio (Amazing Spider-Man #159-160). And this is where things start to get really weird.
After first being unable to locate his lost car, Spidey does eventually find it … although now it’s been modified and turned evil. The inevitable battle of hero versus auto takes places with Spider-Man coming out the victor. He “retires” the buggy only to find it later on display in the Smithsonian.
But the saga of Spidey’s wheels doesn’t end there. In recent years, Peter Parker’s own company (Parker Industries) brings back the Spider-Mobile. This time the car is upgraded with some 21st century improvements, including the ability to scale surfaces and web-based airbags. All this thing needs now is an electric motor from Tesla and Spider-Man really will be cruising in the hippest ride in town.
11. Spider-Man is the Inspiration for a Song
The web-slinging wall crawler isn’t the first superhero to get his own tune. However, he’s the only one to inspire a song from Weird Al Yankovic. From the artist who recorded such timeless hits as “Amish Paradise” and “Smells like Nirvana” comes “Ode to a Superhero”. The lyrics tell the tale of Peter Parker in Yankovic’s signature satirical style.
Dedicated Spidey fans might complain that Yankovic’s tune relies too heavily on Sam Raimi’s 2002 film. And while such criticism is fair, it’s hard not to smile and tap a foot to this odd tune. It’s weird, but definitely in way that hyper-nerd Peter Parker would approve.
10. Spider-Man of the “New World”
Neil Gaiman is a modern legend in many comic circles. The author of American Gods, Stardust, and of course, The Sandman, he’s one of the most popular writers working today. On paper, it seems like a no-brainer when presented with the proposition of Gaiman’s writing a Spider-Man story. So what went wrong?
With Marvel 1602, Gaiman transported several Marvel heroes and villains back to the Elizabethan era. Facing an unknown threat to the universe, the heroes work across the European continent interacting with numerous historical figures. Conceptually, it’s all pretty solid, and some elements of the layered story work pretty well. The concept was novel and a clear departure for Marvel, but the series was received very well by fans and critics alike.
While he starts off as Nick Fury’s assistant, by the end Peter experiences a familiar origin story. Donning a mask and calling himself “The Spider,” our hero walks and talks very much like the webslinger we know and love. But longtime Spider-Man fans were unlikely to get over the images of their beloved hero dressed in 17th century attire. O Spidey, where art thou?
9. Spider-Man PSA
When you’re the most popular comic hero on the planet, it’s a guarantee you’ll be asked to do your part to promote the public health, and this certainly was the case for Spider-Man in the 1970s. When Marvel was approached by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help raise awareness on healthy snacking, they offered Spidey as a spokesperson. But whoever created this PSA really took some bizarre liberties.
An unexplained Tyrannosaurus Rex rises from the East River and threatens the good citizens of Manhattan. Never fear, as your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is on the scene. A couple of quick blasts from his web shooters somehow completely disables the rampaging dinosaur, but somehow, Spidey fighting a prehistoric beast is actually NOT the weird part.
After saving the city, our hero is offered a medal and a generous cash reward. He quickly declines the money. Instead, he wants only one thing — a banana. Yes kids, healthy snacking is its own reward.
8. Spider-Man the Zombie
The walking dead are everywhere! Back in 2005, Robert Kirkman (creator of the comic that spawned the hit AMC series) was given the keys to the Marvel kingdom to create a limited series involving zombies. Marvel Zombies (December 2005 – March 2006) transformed many familiar superheroes into zombified versions of themselves. The story takes place on a different Earth in an alternate universe, where the zombie population is running out of food. In one of the more unique story angles, the heroes retain much of their personality and intellect. However, they are still undead, and are consequently driven by “the hunger” for human flesh. It is an all-consuming obsession that leads our heroes to consider new places to look for food.
After gory battles with Magneto, Silver Surfer, and Galactus, the once great Marvel heroes are off to the cosmos to find new planets full of flesh to devour. It’s a strange story by any standard, and one that may have been created as a bit of an experiment, though it did well enough to justify a sequel series and inclusion in the Secret Wars (2015) storyline.
7. Spider-Man Has Some Strange Toothpaste
The Revenge of the Green Goblin (January 2002) story is based on a pretty fantastic premise. What if Spider-Man’s archenemy was able to psychologically torture him into thinking that he’s in fact the bad guy? Not just any villain, but the archenemy himself. Norman Osborn, aka The Green Goblin, hatches the ultimate plan to destroy Spider-Man. He’ll make him the heir to Osborn’s evil legacy and the next Green Goblin. To do this, Osborn needs Peter Parker to embrace his dark side.
It’s easy to see at this point how this would be the basis for a story arc that would carry on for nearly a year and utilize not one, but three talented writing teams at Marvel. And it’s not Peter’s psychological breakdown or images of the darkness that land this one of the weirdest list. It’s how the writing team chose to have Osborn push Parker over the edge.
Hallucinogenic toothpaste (LSD Crest?) and compact discs with subliminal messages were the primary means of messing with Spidey’s mind. Again, with three teams of writers working on such a groundbreaking story for Marvel’s marquee hero, how is this the best they can come up with? The laughable mechanisms are a distraction to an otherwise solid story, and one has to wonder if Peter Parker has brushed his teeth since? Has his trust in tooth-cleansers been shaken forever? Why is Marvel not answering these questions?
6. The Spider-Clones
On the surface, cloning one of the greatest superheroes of all time is not such a far-fetched idea. In the last decade, cloning technology has advanced far enough to make the possibility of cloning a human being (even a superhuman) still something of science fiction, albeit not quite as far a stretch as it once was. But at the time of Spidey’s first encounters with clones, it was still a strange science.
Artificially created Spider-Man wannabes have taken a few incarnations, but none more memorable than the Spider-Clone Saga from 1994-1996. This was actually the second story arc to feature the famed webslinger and clones. In 1973, writer Gerry Conway introduced comic readers to Spidey’s first bout with a clone that was created by Professor Miles Warren. This original clone saga is actually pretty well done and even addresses some lingering guilt Peter felt over the death of Gwen Stacey.
It’s in the mid-90s when things get weird. Having Spider-Man battle one clone would not prove to be enough for the decade of excess. Instead, the Spider-Clone Saga would involve several clones with some being clearly evil and others more ambiguous. From Ben Riley (whose turns out to be more of a good guy) to original clone reject Kaine (evil) to Spidercide (real evil), the story only continue to get more and more tangled up. The truly mad scientists of this thing turned out to be the writing team that lost control of the story and created one of the weirdest chapters of Spider-Man’s existence.
5. The Worst Spidey Suit Ever
Sometimes it doesn’t pay to get a little help from your friends. Peter’s problems all started with a nasty bout with symbiote (that stuff that creates Venom). He turns to friend and fellow superhero Reed Richards for help. Richards is able to remove the parasite, but it temporarily leaves Peter without his Spidey suit. So, in The Spectacular Spider-Man #256 (April 1998), he dons the now infamous Bombastic Bag-Man suit. Wearing a modified blue Fantastic Four suit (customized with a “kick me” sign on his back) and a paper bag, Peter sets off to continue his crime fighting duties. And for some really unknown reason, the suit came without footwear, giving fans an opportunity to watch Spidey do his stuff in his bare feet.
4. Japanese Spider-Man
It’s no secret that Spider-Man is a global icon. He’s one of the most recognizable and popular superheroes in history. But when a Japanese company produced a Spidey knock-off program in the late 1970s, one of the most epic and weirdest Spider-Man moments was created.
Toei Company was responsible for the production of Supaidāman that altered his origin story and gave him a few extra tools to work with. In this version, a young motorcycle rider named Takuya Yamashiro sees a UFO crash and investigates. It turns out to be carrying a creature known as “The Marveller” who comes from the planet “Spider.” The Marveller has the ability to give Spider-like powers to anyone it shares its blood with. This begins the new and weird genesis of Spider-Man’s superpowers.
But the strangeness doesn’t stop there. This Spider-Man also has a giant robot (a la Power Rangers) that he can pilot called the Leopardon. This thing is a colossal giant at over 60 meters tall and weighing over 25,000 tons. Nobody’s messing with Spider-Man when he comes rolling up to fight crime in this thing. There is so much more weirdness to found in this program, which lasted over 40 episodes, but maybe all a viewer needs to really see is the opening sequence.
It seems that it’s always been understood that Spider-Man is more man than spider. Sure, that radioactive spider bite changed him forever, but he never ceased being a human first. Except of course for that time he grew six arms and became the Man-Spider.
Starting with Amazing Spider-Man #100 and spanning three issues in 1971, The Six Arm Saga starts with a despondent Peter Parker who is tired of being Spider-Man. His best friend, Harry Osborn, is an out of control drug user. The father of his girl, Captain George Stacy, is dead and Gwen blames Spider-Man. In his anguished mental state, Peter has a revelation. Spider-Man must die!
What follows is Peter’s radical chemistry experiment that doesn’t exactly kill Spider-Man but does transform him into something else. Waking up with a few extra appendages, Peter realizes he’s has failed to eliminate his spider powers. In fact, he’s managed to amplify them. In a story arc that reads more like a dime store monster comic from the 50s and 60s than your usual Marvel comic, Spidey goes out and continues to fight crime until Dr. Connors can help him brew an antidote. It’s a weird case of monster mutation that creates some of the strangest Spider-Man artwork of all-time. If only those extra arms had been really useful…
2. Spider-Man Strikes a Deal with the Devil
In a storyline that starts in the Amazing Spider-Man #544 (November 2007), Peter becomes desperate when Aunt May is hospitalized after taking a bullet intended for Spider-Man. After trying to secure money for her treatment and facing the real possibility that he’ll lose his beloved aunt, Peter turns to Dr. Strange for help, but not even Marvel’s best wizard can reverse fate. Just when all seems lost, a young girl stops him after he leaves Dr. Strange and claims that while Strange cannot help Aunt May, she can.
Curious and desperate, Peter follows the little girl, only to lose her after a short distance. Then the story takes a turn for the crazy. With interactions that bare more than a passing resemblance to Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” Peter has multiple conversations with people along the way who essentially warn him against changing the timeline. Eventually, Peter becomes frustrated, and it is revealed that Mephisto is creating the illusion of the little girl. Note: Mephisto is another version of the Devil aka Lucifer.
The dastardly villain offers to change the timeline so that Aunt May is never shot. Of course, this comes at a hefty price: Peter must give up his true love Mary Jane. At this point in the life of the Amazing Spider-Man, Mary Jane is Mary Jane Watson-Parker, and Peter elects to discuss Mephisto’s offer with his wife. After spending one last night together, they agree to the offer, and Peter also demands that Mephisto alter the past so that his secret identity would not have been revealed during the Civil War. Mary Jane has a request of her own, but that secret stays between her and Mephisto. Like the total jerk he is, Mephisto taunts Peter while he’s changing the past by revealing that the little girl who had appeared to him previously was his and MJ’s future child. Enraged, Peter attacks Mephisto but it’s too late. Suddenly, Peter is at a party with his good buddy Harry Osborn, fresh off a breakup with MJ.
Probably the most disappointing element of this overly complex and convoluted multi-issue arc is that it’s nothing more than a cheap illusion. The writing team at Marvel was having a difficult time writing for a happily married Peter Parker that had revealed his identity to the world, so they simply hit the “reset” button. While one can argue that such a rough restart to the Spider-Man story was necessary, getting it done by having Spidey make a deal with the Devil was just a little too out there for our taste.
1. Spidey Has Lethal Sex
Superheroes have their flaws sure; it’s what makes them interesting. But what no one would ever imagine is that a superhero would be lethal with sex. And yet, starting in Spider-Man Reign (December 2006), that’s exactly what we find out about the webhead.
Death is the dominant theme in this storyline, with multiple characters ultimately biting the big one. Spidey does battle with the Sinister Six in a showdown that looks like it will be his last. Ultimately, he’s saved by William Baker (aka Sandman), who suddenly grows a conscience and changes sides. Sandman gives Spidey the means to kill all of the Six, including himself. The twist that turns Sandman into a martyred hero isn’t even the weird part.
Mary Jane is sick and dying of cancer. While the disease is all too common in the real world, the writers felt it necessary to neglect to depict her bout with cancer in a remotely organic or reality-based way. You know, like the sort of storyline readers could perhaps relate to? Instead, we learn it is Peter who is responsible for MJ’s cancer. You see, he’s got radioactive sperm. *Deep sigh*
What do you think readers? Did we miss any of Spider-Man’s weirdest moments? Let your voice be heard in the comments below.