Now that Spider-Man: Homecoming has finally arrived in theaters, Peter Parker has fully joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe and begun his journey to full-fledged Avengers status. Though Tom Holland shined as both Peter and Spidey during his brief scenes in Captain America: Civil War, seeing a story solely focused on the young hero provides something truly unique in the superhero genre. It's also provided Marvel with another massive hit.
While most of the Avengers— and many other big screen superheroes— have to deal with world-ending threats and existential crises, Spidey’s more concerned with saving his neighborhood and trying to finish his homework. By combining these two threads, audiences are given something that’s closer to Harry Potter than Iron Man.
The addition of the high school angle and the film’s connections to the past of the MCU also allow Homecoming to introduce a ton of new characters from the comics. From supervillains both big and small to all those classmates and supporting characters, Homecoming has greatly expanded the roster of characters in the MCU. But how well do the various players in the latest Spider-Man film match up to their counterparts from the page?
Here’s How 17 Spider-Man: Homecoming Characters Compare To The Comics.
17 Adrian Toomes / Vulture
The Vulture both has a long history in the comics and in the history of Spider-Man films. Debuting in 1963’s The Amazing Spider-Man #2, the Vulture is one of Peter’s oldest foes. A genius inventor and electronics expert, Adrian Toomes went a little mad when he learned his business partner was embezzling money and putting his job at risk. Using a flight harness he had designed— which incidentally augmented his strength— Toomes wreaked havoc on his workplace before descending into a life of crime.
In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Michael Keaton’s take on the character is more of a blue-collar hero who lets others do the actual building. Still, his harness is a grounded update on the more streamlined wings Vulture has in the comics. His vulture tuft is even paid homage to with the pilot jacket Toomes wears.
Interestingly, Vulture almost made it to the screen a couple of times in the past. Both Ben Kingsley and John Malkovich were up for the role in Spider-Man 3 and 4 respectively. In the end, producer Avi Arad convinced Sam Raimi to swap the villain out for Venom in the third film in the trilogy, while the fourth movie was canceled outright.
16 Ned Leeds
Like the Vulture, Ned Leeds has been a stalwart character in Spider-Man comics and was changed a good deal for the MCU. On the page, Ned debuted in 1964’s The Amazing Spider-Man #18 and began his life as a reporter for the Daily Bugle.
Like many characters in Homecoming, Ned is one of Peter’s future work colleagues that was turned into a high school classmate to maximize Spidey’s stable of supporting characters. Eventually, Ned would marry Betty Brant and even get brainwashed into becoming the Hobgoblin. Naturally, most of this is unlikely to happen in the MCU.
The more accurate analogue for Ned in the comics is Ganke Lee. In the Ultimate Comics imprint of Marvel, Ganke is the best friend of the Miles Morales Spider-Man. Virtually everything about Ned in Homecoming is identical to Ganke in the comics, so why the film went the way they did with him is still unknown.
15 Jackson Brice / Shocker #1
Homecoming did a great job of introducing a number of comic book villains without making the movie seem overcrowded. Most of this was due to using them as minions of Vulture, rather than full-blown threats. A key example is Jackson Brice, who doesn’t make it long in the film before being vaporized. With his jacket and gauntlet, he’s the MCU version of the Shocker before he loses his life. In the comics, however, he’s a good deal different.
Like many of Homecoming’s characters, Brice was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Premiering in 1964’s The Amazing Spider-Man #10, Brice is a member of a criminal group called the Enforcers. Rather than going by the moniker of Shocker, however, he simply uses the name Montana. Rocking a cowboy hat and a lariat, Brice doesn’t much resemble his MCU counterpart. Still, he serves as a fitting sacrifice to elevate the real Shocker.
14 Herman Schultz / Shocker #2
Ironically, the Herman Schultz of the comics is much more incompetent than Jackson Brice. Along with getting a confidence boost, the Schultz in the film also gets an MCU upgrade to his suit and powers. While Homecoming was shooting and later promoting, a number of images popped up showing the new version of the Shocker. In the end, those shots— and a toy reveal— don’t match what we see in the film.
Though Brice wears a quilted yellow and brown jacket reminiscent of Shocker in the comics, Schultz merely has some yellow paint on his sleeves. Meanwhile, his gauntlet is a bit of a twist on the source material. Shocker first appeared in 1967’s The Amazing Spider-Man #46 with a pair of gauntlets he created that shoot out concentrated vibrational blasts. In the film, the Shocker’s weapon looks to be a Chitauri upgrade on Crossbones’ hydraulic fist from Civil War. The results are similar, however, in that they allow Shocker to pack a serious punch.
13 Aunt May
In 1962’s Amazing Fantasy #15, Lee and Ditko introduced us to the world of Peter Parker. Along with his spectacular story, we also meet one May Parker.
Peter’s elderly aunt May Reilly is a Brooklyn native who eventually marries Ben Parker and moves to Queens. When Ben’s brother and wife are killed, May and he take in Peter and raise them as their own. Of course, Ben is also killed, leaving May and Peter to help and support each other. Though we’re given almost no backstory on May or more than a hint of Ben, Marisa Tomei’s take on the character looks to be fairly similar to the comics - aside from her age.
At 52, Tomei is not too much younger than her comic counterpart, but a big fuss has been made about the change nonetheless. In reality, Tomei’s May more resembles the Ultimate version of the character who was shown to have a bit more youth and spunk. She also eventually learns Peter is Spider-Man, something the sequel to Homecoming will certainly be exploring.
12 Anne Marie Hoag and Damage Control
While Dwayne McDuffie is best known for co-creating Static for DC, his work with Marvel led to one of the most clever and meta aspects of comics to date. Premiering in 1988’s Marvel Age Annual #4, Damage Control is the answer to all the messes made from superhero and villain battles. Though in the comics the group looks more like Toomes’ operation, the switch to a government agency co-run by Tony Stark serves for a fitting update.
Like in the movie, Damage Control is generally run by Anne Marie Hoag. She first appeared in 1989’s Marvel Comics Presents #18 in another Damage Control story by McDuffie, and has long-served the organization. The early introduction of the group also lines up with a throwaway line from season 3 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., where Damage Control is mentioned in relation to the clean-up of an incident.
As for the proposed TV show, hopefully Homecoming serves as a jumping off point for what could be Marvel’s first true comedy.
11 Aaron Davis / The Prowler
First appearing in Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1 in 2011, Aaron Davis is the imprint’s updated take on the Prowler. Far less flashy than the Earth-616 version of the character, the Prowler is a skilled burglar who still retains his predecessor’s mask and loose color scheme. By day, he’s also Aaron Davis, the uncle of Miles Morales. It’s Aaron’s criminal activities that actually lead to Miles being bitten by the Oscorp spider that grants him his powers. Though the two have some issues, Aaron is not really a supervillain or foe of Spider-Man.
In Homecoming, the Davis we meet looks to just be beginning his career— notice how he perks up when Brice mentions climbing gear. Given that much of the MCU is influenced by Ultimate Comics, it makes sense this is the version of Prowler we meet. It’s also fitting as Donald Glover’s campaign to play Spidey in Amazing Spider-Man helped lead to the creation of Miles in the first place. And just like in the comics, Davis has a nephew who lives in Queens.
10 Flash Thompson
Like Aunt May, Flash Thompson has been an integral part of Peter’s life since his first appearance in the comics. A high school bully, Flash helped to establish the dual sides of Pete’s personality by showing how downtrodden our hero was outside of his costume. For years, he’s harassed Peter while also worshipping Spider-Man. A few years ago, he finally got some depth, however, when he was sent to war, lost his legs, and became a government operative equipped with the Venom symbiote.
Whether Tony Revolori has that future in store for him is unknown, but he’s certainly got the bully thing down. Given Peter’s school has shifted to be more science focused over the years, it makes sense Flash is also a geek of sorts. Granted, he still appears to be the dumbest kid in the school, while maintaining his popularity and a nasty streak. He may not have the bulk of his comic counterpart, but he looks like he’ll be plaguing Peter for years to come.
9 Happy Hogan
Happy Hogan isn’t known for appearing in Spider-Man stories, but he’s been around just as long as the wall-crawler. First appearing in 1963’s Tales of Suspense #45, Lee and artist Don Heck created the character to be Tony’s number two. A lousy boxer who ends up saving Tony’s life, Happy becomes the chauffeur for the billionaire and eventually even learns of his alter-ego. Since then, he’s remained a supporting character for Iron Man, much like Jon Favreau has in the movies.
Though Favreau no longer directs for Marvel, he’s continued serving as Tony’s all-around assistant in the MCU. With Pepper moving up in the company, Happy seems to be taking on just about every task Tony requires. Here’s hoping he gets that title bump he’s been seeking.
8 Liz Allan
Like Flash and May, Liz Allan dates back to the final issue of Amazing Fantasy that introduced the world to Spider-Man. Peter long has a crush on the popular girl who is dating Flash Thompson. Though she eventually returns his affections, it’s only after Peter has moved on.
Despite never quite connecting, Liz would pop up here and there in Spider-Man stories over the years. Eventually, she’d marry Harry Osborn and even become the CEO of Alchemax. Given the company’s nefarious bent, more recent takes on Liz have shown her to be a shrewd businessperson with a bit of an evil edge. Meanwhile, her Ultimate counterpart would become the mutant Firestar.
While the Liz of Homecoming is much more friendly to Peter, the end of the film throws her role in the future of the MCU into question. Then again, by making her the Vulture’s daughter, we could see her pop back up in a future film.
7 Midtown High Students and Faculty
While Ned and Liz get a lot of focus, almost every other student and faculty member we meet has some deeper connection to the comics. The biggest one is Betty Brant, a Daily Bugle employee in the comics and occasional love interest for Peter. Like Ned, she’s been tweaked to be a classmate of Peter’s, though she’s still interested in journalism.
Her partner, Jason Ionello, also has a minor role in the comics, as do Sally Avril (who will apparently be returning in Avengers: Infinity War), Seymour O’Reilly, Tiny McKeever, and Charlie Murphy. The last three are all cronies of Flash’s, while Sally and Jason are merely blips on the radar in Peter’s school. Finally, there’s Abraham. While his last name isn’t given, he could be based on Abe Brown, the brother of original Prowler Hobie Brown.
For the teachers, Mr. Cobwell is based on Professor Cobwell from the comics, first introduced in the same comic that debuted the Vulture. Principal Morita, meanwhile, appears to be the grandson of Jim Morita from the Howling Commandos and is even played by Kenneth Choi, the same actor from previous MCU entries.
6 Cindy Moon
Though her role is as small as many of the other students Peter interacts with, Cindy Moon’s comic history alone makes her worthy of exploration. Created by Dan Slott, Cindy first showed up in 2014’s Amazing Spider-Man #1 before properly debuting in issue #4. In a clever bit of retconning, it’s revealed that Cindy was a classmate of Peter’s and was bitten by the same radioactive spider that gave him his powers. She too develops abilities, including the power to spin organic webs. Unlike Peter, however, she can’t fully control her abilities.
Cindy and her family are soon approached by a mysterious man named Ezekiel who offers to train her. For years they work together, until the young girl is locked away to protect her from a being named Morlun who is seeking Spiders across the multiverse to consume. Eventually, she is let out of her isolation, meets Spider-Man, and becomes the hero Silk.
While the transdimensional energy vampire seeking Spider totems is unlikely, we could still see Cindy’s years of isolation show up. As it stands, she could well be in her training with Ezekiel right now. Hopefully, the small nod to the character means she has a big future in the MCU.
Out of all the tweaks to character’s from the comics, Michelle is the most perplexing. The moment Zendaya was cast in the film, common sense indicated she was going to be Mary Jane. Confusingly, her name was only given as Michelle, making her the one member of the core cast without an obvious comic counterpart. Zendaya, meanwhile, fiercely denied she was playing Mary Jane. In the end, it seems as if it was a bit of both. Her name appears to be Michelle Jones in the film, and her claim at the end of her friends calling her MJ is said by Kevin Feige to be more of a nod to Mary Jane.
First showing up in 1965’s The Amazing Spider-Man #25, MJ isn’t Peter’s oldest love interest but she’s certainly his most important. Over the years, they’ve been on-and-off and Mary Jane has had plenty of her own adventures. Still, her prominent role in Sam Raimi’s trilogy meant Marvel wanted to stay away from bringing her into the movie. Instead, Michelle is a brand-new character who shares a bit in common with the comic book MJ and the initials are simply an allusion to that.
4 Mac Gargan / Scorpion
Though he has a small part in the film, the mid-credits scene for Homecoming sets up Mac Gargan as a bigger future threat. In the comics, the character first appeared in 1964’s Amazing Spider-Man #19. A private eye hired by J. Jonah Jameson to find out Peter Parker’s connection to Spider-Man, Gargan is eventually subjected to a process that gives him many of the same powers as the wall-crawler. Outfitted with a suit of armor and a powerful, weaponized tail, Gargan becomes the Scorpion in the next issue and spends the next few decades fighting Spider-Man.
The version we meet in Homecoming looks to be a little closer to the Ultimate take on the character. A criminal from the get-go, this Scorpion possesses super-durable skin and has ties to both Spider-Man and the Prowler. With the name of the first Scorpion and the look of the second, we’ll likely see a mix of the character appear in future films. All told, he’s a leading candidate for a villain Spidey will face in the sequel to Homecoming.
3 Phineas Mason / The Tinkerer
Though he’s never given a supervillain name in Homecoming, Phineas Mason has plagued Spider-Man as long as the Vulture has in the comics. Introduced in the same issue as Adrian Toomes, Mason’s genius mind and gift for inventions have long made The Tinkerer one of Spidey’s most persistent foes.
In Homecoming, he essentially takes the place of both Toomes and Schultz as he’s designed their tech instead. He’s also responsible for Toomes’ whole enterprise and many of the issues Spidey faces. By the end of the film, he appears to still be at large. Given his ability to outfit supervillains with costumes and gear, there’s a good chance we’ll continue to see Mason pop up throughout the MCU as a handy way to give villains their origin.
2 Tony Stark / Iron Man
Tony Stark is no stranger to the MCU, but his appearance in Homecoming does offer a few new nods to the comics. For one, his inclusion turns Homecoming into a version of Marvel Team-Up. Designed as a way to pair Spidey up with other heroes, the comic introduced the first meeting and fight between Iron Man and Spider-Man. There are also a few nods to the two character’s relationship in the comic version of Civil War, mainly the Iron-Spider-esque suit we see at the end and the gaggle of reporters waiting for an announcement.
Meanwhile, even Tony’s Mark XLVII armor comes from the page. With its silver accents, the suit bears a lot in common with the Iron Man we meet in Ultimate Comics. Given how much the rest of the film borrows from the imprint, it makes sense Tony’s armor would as well.
1 Peter Parker / Spider-Man
Spider-Man has a long, winding history in the comics and is no stranger to film. Still, Homecoming might offer the most comic-accurate take on the character we’ve seen yet. Though he hasn’t dipped into journalism yet, the Peter we meet in the movie is far nerdier, more intelligent, and funny than previous versions. With his youth-focused storyline and hyper energy, Tom Holland’s take on the hero pops in a way we haven’t yet seen.
At the same time, the Spider-Man we meet shares a lot with his comic counterpart. His eyes and web wings date back to Steve Ditko’s earliest designs for the character, while his high-tech suit is reminiscent of Dan Slott’s more recent version of the hero.
This is also the first time we meet a Spider-Man who’s a little incompetent and out of his depth. Though he rallies in the end, the learning curve we see in the film mirrors Spidey’s habit in the comics of always being the underdog.
Which changes from the comics do you think work the best in Spider-Man: Homecoming? Let us know in the comments.