Spider-Man comics are having a little fun at Spider-Man Homecoming's expense, specifically when it comes to Ned Leeds and his similarities to Ganke Lee. The best friend of Tom Holland's Peter Parker in Homecoming, Jacob Batalon's Ned is a lovable and scene-stealing presence in the film. Outside the movie, however, Ned caused a bit of controversy for his similarities to another famous character from the Spider-Man comics.
Ned's appearance and function is Homecoming is very similar to the other Spider-Man, Miles Morales', best friend and sidekick, Ganke Lee. Like Ned, Ganke attends school with Miles and he's one of the few people who knows his best friend is Spider-Man. The presence of Ned, without Miles, in Spider Man: Homecoming left more than a few comic book fans confused. It was assumed that the movie was giving Peter Miles' supporting cast, or erasing the possibility of Ganke altogether from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's an idea that Spider-Man #236 is using to have a lot of fun.
In the issue, written by departing Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis, Ganke has adopted a pseudonym. That name, as should be obvious by now, is Ned. The reason for Ganke's subterfuge is that he's been dating a popular Spider-Man vlogger, Danika. Ganke has been trying to keep his identity (and Miles') under wraps from Danika. Yet that all comes to an end. rather quickly. Ganke reveals his name isn't Ned (because he doesn't even look like a Ned), but it's Ganke.
Illustrated by Oscar Bazaldua, Brian Reber, and Cory Petit, the whole sequence is a cute and silly moment, particularly because Danika seems to take the truth in stride and doesn't seem to ready to drop Ganke to the curb for his little deception. Then again, the ease to which she accepts Ganke's true name (and her desire to meet Miles) should be very suspicious to most long-time Spider-Man fans. New characters learning heroes' secret identities is almost never a good thing in comics.
Ultimately though, the joke is just an example of Brian Michael Bendis - who co-created Ganke - having fun with the similarities between his character and Batalon’s Ned Leeds in Homecoming. It's nice that Bendis can have a little bit of fun with the character, even if Ganke has yet to make it into the MCU - especially since Bendis had previously called Ned's role in the movie both "flattering and bizarre."
The joke is also probably the closest fans will get to seeing Ned in the comics... probably. Ned's last name is never actually given in Homecoming. Yet, it's since been revealed his full name is Ned Leeds. There is already a Ned Leeds in Spider-Man comics. The comic version of Ned Leeds has a long history dating back to the later 1930s. Ned's story involved him being brainwashed to believe he was the Hobgoblin and eventually dying. It seems safe to assume Homecoming's Ned won't suffer a similar fate.
Spider-Man #236 is available now.