Spider-Man sure does get around. Since his debut in 1963, he’s become the poster boy for all things Marvel. He’s the icon at the center of the brand, as crucial to Marvel as Mickey Mouse is to Disney. This is why it’s such a relief to him return to the big screen under the Marvel banner in the appropriately named Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Many fans have been going back and watching the previous movies and cartoons and reading the comics after watching web-slinger’s theatrical. With Homecoming's positive reviews, fans are more anxious than ever to get their next fix of Spidey, especially since Spider-Man Homecoming 2 feels so far away.
There are plenty of blind spots out there in Spider-Man’s history that even the most devoted fan might have missed. From comics and cartoons to video games and even movies, Spider-Man’s popped up in the strangest of places.
Some of these might be things you encountered in childhood, but chances are high that more than a couple of them will be a total surprise. In this list, we’re counting everything from comic book crossovers to cartoon cameos to make up the strangest Spider-Man appearances you never knew existed.
Here are the 15 Spider-Man Cameos You Never Knew Existed.
15 Spider-Man and Batman
In this brief comic crossover, Batman and Spider-Man team up-- despite being from different universes-- in order to stop the Joker and Carnage. What makes this comic interesting, though, is that, in exploring how completely different these two heroes are, it also exposes some of their similarities. Spider-Man might make jokes while Batman definitely does not, but they’re both heroes defined by loss.
What also makes this team-up fascinating is that neither the heroes nor the villains actually get along. Joker refers to himself as the “Orson Welles of crime and chaos” while he compares Carnage to David Hasselhoff.
However, they're both similar in one way: Carnage proves to be the only other villain that Batman can’t run a complete psychological profile on. At the end of the day, though, it’s the clash of personalities between Batman and Spider-Man that really makes the crossover stand out.
14 X-Men: The Animated Series
While the ‘90s cartoons saw a two-part crossover on Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Spidey actually made an earlier appearance in an episode of X-Men.
Not only this, but Spidey's cameo came during the biggest event of that show’s five season run. During the height of the action and chaos of The Dark Phoenix Saga, a few different heroes are shown to be affected by the cosmic event. In one scene, there’s a glimpse of War Machine and then Spider-Man’s hand shoots a web to save people from falling debris.
It truly is a quick cameo, but it serves a purpose, believe it or not. The Phoenix Saga aired in September of 1994, two months before the premiere of Spider-Man’s own animated series on the same network.
Keeping this in mind, it serves as a nice nod at things to come. A year later, the entire X-Men group would take part in a storyline on Spidey’s show loosely based on the Mutant Agenda comic crossover.
13 Muppet Babies
For kids who love The Muppets and are immersed in pop culture, Muppet Babies is a gift. In their playtime adventures, the little Muppets imagine themselves into great stories, allowing for parodies of iconic movies like Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Spider-Man makes an appearance in the episode “Comic Capers” alongside his co-creator Stan Lee. In the episode, Rowlf and Skeeter imagine themselves as Spider-Dog and Spider-Girl, but prove that they lack the responsibility that comes with the power of being a superhero.
Spider-Man shows up to thwart a bank robbery while the babies get scolded by Stan Lee, who reminds them that there’s “only one Spider-Man.” Naturally, as the kids aren’t great about learning valuable lessons, they cover Lee in webs. There’s also an ending gag that sees Animal and Gonzo awkwardly sharing a Spidey costume.
12 Revenge of Shinobi
Revenge of Shinobi, also known as Shinobi II: The Revenge, is a Sega Genesis game follows a fairly simple plot of a ninja taking down the criminal organization that kidnapped his bride. It’s a side-scrolling adventure game, definitely fitting the go-to style of action games of the era.
However, the thing that really makes the game stand out is its assortment of enemies. As Joe, the hero, players face off against Rambo, the Terminator, Batman, Godzilla, and, of course, Spider-Man.
Spider-Man and Batman are explained away as being forms taken by a shapeshifting villain, but their appearances are shocking and surprising nonetheless. Obviously, these characters got the game into some legal trouble. Villains looking like Rambo had to have their appearances changed, but in a surprising move, their off-brand Spider-Man was changed to resemble the actual licensed character.
This was made possible because Sega had already obtained the license to Spider-Man for Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin. This licensed version of the character is not a shapeshifter and is apparently the real Spider-Man, which makes his inclusion all the more puzzling.
Once upon a time, Spider-Woman had her own short-lived animated series. While it was doomed to fail, it's still a great treat for a character that’s never been as widely recognized as she should be.
In a move which was no doubt made to help ratings, Spider-Man makes a couple of appearances on the show. In fact, he even lends his help in the pilot, helping Spider-Woman track a mummy in Egypt. (Yes, you read that right.) He also makes an appearance in “The Kongo Spider” a King Kong riff that sees the two heroes go up against a giant spider.
Surprisingly, when Jessica Drew faces off against classic Spidey villain the Kingpin, the web-slinger does not make an appearance. It’s worth noting that the comic incarnations of these characters rarely teamed up before both joining the New Avengers.
Although the show was short-lived, Spider-Woman also received a motion comic miniseries in 2009. Spider-Man makes an appearance in this as well.
10 Iron Man: The Animated Series
Spider-Man’s cameo in the Iron Man cartoon is truly a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it ordeal. Similar to Gambit’s cameo in X2, this is a name-drop only.
Peter Parker’s name is clearly displayed on Iron Man’s computer database, an easy way to let audiences know that the characters exist in the same world, especially because Spider-Man’s own animated series was also airing at the time. Spider-Woman, however, was a mainstay of the Iron Man series, although it was the Julia Carpenter version, not Jessica Drew.
While Iron Man: The Animated Series proved to be short-lived, he would wind up making substantial appearances on Spider-Man: The Animated Series.
Appearing in the Carnage and Secret Wars storyline, Tony Stark is shown as a character that Peter Parker looks up to, and when Spider-Man is thrown into the role of leader, Iron Man is the one who most often has his back and encourages the other heroes to follow his lead.
9 The Punisher: The Ultimate Payback!
The Punisher: The Ultimate Payback! is a 1991 Game Boy port of LJN’s 1990 NES game, The Punisher. The game features several differences, chief among them being an appearance by Spider-Man.
The web-slinger makes several appearances. His role in the game is basically to swoop in and rescue hostages after Frank finishes shooting their captors. He also briefly pops in every now and then to give information to help Punisher catch up with Jigsaw.
This is a big change from the 1990 game, as the final boss of this version was the Kingpin. Spider-Man’s appearances in the game came under some scrutiny at the time, however, with fans and critics pointing out that it’s completely out of character for Spider-Man to aid the Punisher in anything that results in loss of lives.
Still, the game is ultimately more well-received than its predecessor, with some fans finding the gameplay easier and even finding Spider-Man’s appearances to be refreshing. The music is also pointed out as a highlight, mostly because the NES version is almost entirely devoid of score.
8 Fantastic Four
There are a ton of cameos loaded into Fantastic Four's season two episode “Nightmare in Green”. The plot deals primarily with the Hulk, as Bruce Banner comes to Reed Richards for help in curing himself.
Dr. Doom, meanwhile, has plans to use the Hulk in a plot to kill the Fantastic Four. Joining Banner in his guest appearance is his friend and sidekick Rick Jones. Rick and Johnny become friends, as both them are young with more rebellious natures and are often the overlooked members of their respective teams.
During one scene, Johnny lets Rick take the Air Cycle out for a spin and, in this one random sequence, several major Marvel characters make cameos. Scarlet Spider, Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, Jean Grey, Gambit, and Juggernaut are all seen while the cycle makes its way through the city.
The Scarlet Spider is worth including on the list as, at this point in time, this is just before he takes over for Peter Parker and fills the shoes of Spider-Man through the mid-nineties.
7 Ren & Stimpy: Spider-Man vs. Powdered Toast Man
In what has to be one of the strangest official Spider-Man appearances ever, the wall-crawler faces off against Powdered Toast Man after the latter hero has his mind taken over by his nemesis Dr. Dough-naught in Ren and Stimpy: Spider-Man vs. Powdered Toast Man.
Powdered Toast Man embarks on a rampage throughout the city and it’s up to Spidey to stop him. However, of course, hijinks ensue, which includes Spider-Man whipping up cereal made out of webbing and getting trapped in mucus. Even after he breaks Powdered Toast Man free from the mad doctor’s control, the two heroes don’t necessarily get along.
Ren and Stimpy suggest that the two of them team up, but Spider-Man scoffs at the idea, insisting that Powdered Toast Man isn’t even in the same league as him, which causes Powdered Toast Man to toss Spidey through a brick wall.
It’s one of the most bizarre Spider-Man appearances to date, but it’s notable in that it’s written by Dan Slott, who has now been the regular writer on the main Spidey title for the past several years.
6 X-Men: Mutant Academy 2
The Spider-Man solo game for PlayStation and Nintendo 64 proved to be a massive success. As one of the first open-world games ever, it redefined what could be accomplished in a superhero game.
The Mutant Academy games were simpler fighting games featuring the X-Men. They wanted to get in on some of the Spider-Man success, so the decision was made to include Spider-Man as a playable character.
It definitely works for the purposes of the game, though. The wall-crawler has a lengthy history with the X-Men, even in gaming. They starred together in the Sega Genesis title Spider-Man/X-Men: Arcade’s Revenge.
Spidey brings a different flavor to the game, which makes him an exciting player to unlock, as his skills are different from all of the other X-Men featured as playable characters. Plus, his wet suit and floaties for the Pool Party level are great.
5 Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man
To this day, Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man remains one of the most iconic crossovers ever, even if it’s brief. Touted as the “Battle of the Century,” it only consists of a single issue. However, it’s notable for being the first-ever crossover between DC and Marvel Comics using any of their iconic heroes.
The only time they’d collaborated before this was on MGM’s Marvelous Wizard of Oz. Similarly to Spider-Man and Batman, it sees two of the heroes’ respective villains working together.
This time, it’s a doomsday plot hatched by Lex Luthor and Dr. Octopus. It also makes no note of the heroes being from separate universes, rendering it completely non-canonical.
In order to make it a fair fight, Superman is weakened after Luthor fires a gun at Spider-Man that irradiates his costume, mimicking the effects of a red son. This allows Spider-Man’s punches to actually do some damage before the two inevitably team up to bring the villains down.
4 Sunday Comics Commercial
In another one of the strangest appearances the web-slinger has made to date, Spider-Man and Charlie Brown team up with several other comic strip icons to ask viewers one question: “why aren’t you reading the Sunday paper?”
The commercial never even makes it entirely clear what newspaper it’s for, and many of these comic strips were owned by different companies at the time this was made. Even still, it’s refreshing to see “The Funnies” being celebrated, as they were previously feared by parents who thought that they were warping their children’s minds.
The commercial ends by simply retorting “if you’re not reading the Sunday Funnies… why not?” It’s an advertisement made even more baffling now, when you have to wonder if a child in 2017 would even understand what this outdated commercial is trying to sell them.
3 Marvel Team-Up: Spider-Man and the Not-Ready-for-Prime-Time-Players
Marvel Team-Up would generally see Spider-Man teaming up with the iconic heroes of the Marvel Universe. Issue #74, however, does something very different by teaming up the superhero with the then-current cast of Saturday Night Live.
This includes iconic comedy stars like John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Jane Curtin, Gilda Radner, and more. It’s even written by iconic comics scribe Chris Claremont, and is one of the first instances of Marvel poking fun at itself and breaking the fourth wall, especially with SNL’s guest being none other than Stan Lee.
The basic premise is that Peter and Mary Jane are watching the live show when the Silver Samurai and his goons crash the party. The cast, not wanting to cause a panic, pretend it’s all part of the act, even going so far as to disguise themselves as iconic heroes.
There’s a nice moment at the end when Lee remarks that the live show is nothing like the rehearsals, with Radner simply stating “that’s why it’s so much fun.” It truly is surprising that this comic is half as sweet and funny as actually is.
2 Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
Much like his appearance in Mutant Academy 2, Spidey showing up in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 was done to promote his own game at the time. He makes it into the game as an unlockable character, and he’s worth unlocking.
His agility and enhanced stats easily make him one of the best skaters in the game. In addition to sporting his regular appearance from the PlayStation Spider-Man title, the web-slinger also features three alternate costumes, all of which stem from the same game. Players can choose his regular appearance, the symbiote black costume, Spider-Armor, or Captain Universe.
It might be one of the most unexpected places to find Spider-Man, but it makes for an extremely fun and silly gameplay. Plus, with Spider-Man serving a role in the Tony Hawk games, the weird amounts of skateboarding in The Amazing Spider-Man can be seen as an homage in retrospect.
This kicked off a tradition of random, iconic properties that were added to the Tony Hawk franchise as secret characters.
1 X-Men: The Movie
As soon as the X-Men film was announced, fans began to wonder if it meant that the long-gestating Spider-Man movie could finally be on the horizon. Luckily, the film’s success at the box office did make Spidey’s big screen adventure a reality.
However, the hero continued a long tradition of crossover with the X-Men by making a brief appearance in their movie— or, in the blooper reel, at least. When the X-Men make their way into the Statue of Liberty, Spider-Man runs up behind them, exclaiming “I am completely in the wrong movie. I am so sorry.”
The best thing about this gag is that it completely catches the cast by surprise, with James Marsden even going with the bit and running after Spider-Man after he flees the scene. It’s not an official cameo, but it’s included on the DVD and Blu-ray.
It’s worth noting, too, because it’s probably the only time we’re ever going to see those heroes together in live-action.
Can you think of any other strange things that Spider-Man has cameoed in? Tell us in the comments!
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