The amazing, friendly neighborhood Spider-Man: Web-head, Wall-crawler, Web-slinger. This hero, known by his many alias, burst onto the scene in 1962 with Amazing Fantasy #15. The character’s trademark mix of youth, soap opera, and action were a hit with audiences, ultimately netting him his own series soon after.
Spider-Man was a relatable hero in a time when there weren’t many. Teenagers in comics were relegated to the role of side-kick and many were able to learn from more experienced leaders such as Batman or Captain America. Spidey changed all of that when the character jumped into comics, dealing with everyday issues such as anxiety, self-confidence, and love along with taking on Marvel’s biggest supervillains. He didn’t just deal with the baddy of the week; he dealt with things we all dealt with. Spider-Man struggled with the human condition, and he had to do it all by himself.
However, while he is Marvel’s definite superhero, there are a lot of different iterations of the character. From movies to shows and several different comic series, it’s easy to get facts about the character lost in translation. He’s been in more media than most Marvel characters. So much is out there about him, that there are some things that even hardcore fans get wrong!
For this list, the comic series being referred to is The Amazing Spider-Man, the series that he has starred in since his conception and is known as the main Marvel Universe or “Earth 616.”
Here are 20 Things That Everyone Gets Wrong About Spider-Man.
20 His Web-Shooters
Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films are modern classics. Well, at least the first two!
The films followed elements of the comics closely and took few liberties with adapting his character. One such liberty taken was to make his webbing organic instead of including his wrist mounted web shooters from the comics.
Raimi decided it was easier to include webbing with his powers to keep his character from being complicated.
Due to the popularity of the films, fans unfamiliar with the web-head took the change as gospel. The change was so popular that Spider-Man was given organic webbing for a time in the comics. His web-shooters were eventually given back to him in later adaptions, but casual fans still get confused when they don’t see sticky goo shooting from his wrists naturally.
19 The Hyphen
There are a lot of “man” characters in comic books. Superman, Batman, Aquaman, the list is longer than the amount of times heroes have died and come back.
Spider-Man is among the group but stands apart by separating his name with a hyphen.
This is the way original creator Stan Lee intended it. In a series of Twitter posts, Lee explains that he included the hyphen to keep people from confusing him with other popular characters like Supes and Batman.
Despite this, his name is still written incorrectly by the public and major publications. It has been misspelled so often that autocorrect on cell phones automatically includes the hyphen.
18 “With Great Power...”
As mentioned before, Raimi’s Spider-Man series was immensely popular, to the point that it shaped much of the public’s knowledge on the character. Many remember the late Uncle Ben’s famous words of advice to the young Peter Parker; “with great power, comes great responsibility.”
It’s a quote that has defined Spider-Man, becoming the reasoning behind his journey into super heroism and reminding him why he does what he does.
While the movies and future comics attributed the saying to Uncle Ben, he actually never said it.
The popular quote first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15 in a narrative caption of the comic’s last panel. Ben was quoted as saying it while lecturing Parker in flashbacks of later issues. Due to the popularity of the phrase and the character in the first movie, the quote stuck with Uncle Ben.
Spider-Man is stacked with powers, with his spider-sense being the most original. It’s been one of his signature abilities ever since the character’s debut, warning Spidey of any incoming danger and allowing him to avoid it.
The sense allows him detection of his surroundings, lets him dodge incoming attacks, find hidden passageways, and warn him of potential threats. However, many people still ask: if spider-sense works so well why does he take hits in a fight?
While spider-sense helps Spider-Man anticipate danger, it’s up to him to react. So if he doesn’t believe he’s in danger, he can be caught off-guard. Spider-sense also can be much slower to work if he is tired, and a few of his enemies - such as the villainous Venom - are completely immune to it.
16 Spidey’s First Girl
The Spider-Man films established Mary Jane Watson as the primary relationship in his life, leaving fans of the trilogy to watch The Amazing Spider-Man and go “wait, why is Mary Jane blonde now?”
Those fans are right in that MJ has been there with him through most of his history, but she’s far from his first girlfriend.
Spidey’s other big relationship with Gwen Stacy came before Mary Jane, but even Gwen wasn’t the first.
No, the first girl that the nervous Peter Parker finally worked up the courage to ask out was none other than Daily Bugle secretary Betty Brant. The two met when Parker began as a freelance photographer. It didn’t last, though, as Spider-Man’s heroics got in the way and Brant feared that Parker cared more for his classmate, Liz Allen.
“Spider-Man. Spider-Man. Does whatever a spider can!” This isn’t just a line from one of the best superhero themes to ever exist - it’s the truth!
A radioactive spider bit the young Peter Parker right on the hand, imbuing him with the powers of an arachnid. Like a spider, he can cling to walls, ceilings, and any other surfaces, no matter how wet they are.
This power is explained in the films as little hairs protruding from his body, an explanation that many fans went with, but the comics tell it differently. According to The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, Parker can “enhance the flux of inter-atomic attractive forces on surfaces he touches, increasing the coefficient of friction between that surface and himself.”
It’s not hard to see why the films didn’t go with that. Spider-science is confusing.
Throughout the history of comics, superhuman characters have been drawn like they partake in body-building competitions on the regular, with their size only seeming to increase as the years go by. In the giant mass of muscular bodies, Spider-Man has always stood apart by being a much leaner hero.
While still muscular, he doesn’t look like he just downed some of Black Panther’s heart-shaped herb and is hitting the Avengers' gym. Due to this and his self-confidence issues, many people consider Spider-Man to be a total wimp. Sure, he’s not as powerful as other heroes, but he’s far from weak!
Although his strength has fluctuated in the comics, he is described as being able to lift 10-20 tons with ease. Some issues have shown him lifting 40+ tons.
13 An MJ In Distress
Mary Jane Watson. The girl next door. She pops into Peter Parker’s life in The Amazing Spider-Man #25, initially being irritated by the hero, but remaining close friends with him. After the loss of Spider-Man’s first love Gwen Stacy, the two get closer and eventually begin a relationship.
MJ was introduced in the Spider-Man films in much of the same way, however her personality was written very differently.
Throughout Sam Raimi’s trilogy, Mary Jane is portrayed as being helpless and defined by the men around her.
Her history in the comics plays much better, as she is written as being more independent and having her own personality to play off Parker’s. Fans often get MJ’s characterization wrong due to the films.
12 Spidey’s Sense Of Humor
In the many ways that Spider-Man stands apart from other heroes, his humor is one of the biggest ones. He toys with his foes and is constantly chattering to throw them off.
Spidey’s villains often remark how they can’t wait to shut him up, something that the web-head wears like a badge of honor.
Spider-Man constantly quips during fights not only to get an opening, but to mask how nervous he is. Fighting massive, world ending opponents at the age of 15 has got to be nerve-wracking, and no hero is more anxious than Spidey.
His tendency to be snarky was downplayed in the original films, leading fans to be confused and even irritated when the character was made to be more playful in The Amazing Spider-Man films. Luckily, they found a perfect middle ground with Tom Holland in the MCU.
11 When he was bitten
As previously mentioned, many adaptions of Spider-Man, including films and different comic series, have portrayed his time in high school as short. The first two series of films had him graduating right after he was bitten by the spider, so it’s often believed that he was around eighteen when the accident happened.
The original comics and later stories state that he was fifteen at the time of becoming Spider-Man.
The Amazing comics just fast forward through his high school years, which could have also mixed up readers. The MCU’s version of the wall-crawler has him being bitten at fifteen, so even though Marvel took many, liberties at least it kept that aspect of his origin.
10 Webbing of Steel
Spider-Man’s webbing is one of the most interesting parts of his persona. Created by the man himself, it's used for a variety of reasons, from swinging through the city to webbing up enemies and fixing structures.
The webbing is extremely powerful, with its tensile strength estimated to be 120 pounds per square millimeter of cross section.
Spidey’s webs are even strong enough to contain large Marvel characters such as the Hulk.
Many fans underestimate his webs based on the bridge scene in the first Spider-Man film. While this was most likely played for drama, his webs are more than strong enough to hold the tram in the film’s third act.
9 The Genius Of Spider-Man
Peter Parker is a genius, no doubt about that. He boasts an IQ over 250 and created everything he needed to be a superhero, from his web-shooters to his costume. Ignore the fact that he was watching YouTube videos for help on electrical charges in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the guy knows his stuff.
However smart he may be, Parker is no nerd. He is portrayed as a character with a passion for science, and though he is initially self-conscious, he grows up to be a confident genius.
Many fans believe him to be this stereotype due to the way the movies portray him, but he’s much more outgoing in his comics.
8 The Midtown High Years
The current Marvel Cinematic Universe version of Spider-Man has him fighting villains back in his high school days. Marvel Studios did this on purpose to differentiate him from other films and give audiences a chance to grow with the character.
While this has been a welcome change by most fans who don’t like a thirty-year-old playing Spidey, it’s not very reflective of his high school years in the Amazing comics. He might not have been thirty, but Spider-Man spent a relatively short amount of time in high school.
Subsequent series such as Ultimate Spider-Man have spent more time on his Midtown High years, which could be where the push to see a younger Spidey has come from.
7 Spidey’s True Love
Mary Jane Watson eventually becomes Spidey’s wife and longest relationship, but many people often forget about Gwen Stacy. She is a character largely ignored in most Spider-Man media, and only came to the forefront of fans' minds with her inclusion in The Amazing Spider-Man films.
Stacy suffered an unfortunate fate at the hands of the Green Goblin, scarring Peter Parker for life and teaching him to be more careful with his superhero activities.
It’s often debated which girl is Spider-Man’s true love, with Mary Jane being the fan’s choice, but he's not completely over Gwen.
In later issues, he muses about how much he misses her and wishes things could have been different. Mary Jane could easily flip on Spidey for this, but she instead chooses to understand the pain he feels from losing such an important person in his life.
6 The Empire State University Years
Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy has been referenced a lot here, with good reason. The first film has Peter Parker coming into his own, establishing many of his supporting characters as friends he has known his whole life.
In the Amazing comic, he didn’t meet any major characters like Mary Jane or Harry Osborn until he reached college.
This was changed in the first films to add emotional connections, but it also took away from Parker being a loner. Spider-Man: Homecoming was criticized for not including any major supporting characters from the comics, minus Flash Thompson, but it’s actually more accurate as he didn’t know any of them yet.
5 Spider-Man’s Origins
There’s no Spider-Man without the spider and Uncle Ben. The accident on that fateful day and his later choices would send Parker’s life into an absolute spiral, setting him on the superhero path forever.
While his origin has kept the major parts in every adaption, the smaller details have changed.
Spider-Man was bitten by a radioactive spider and his Uncle was taken out by a burglar who broke into the Parker home. This is changed in adaptions to having the spider be genetically modified and Uncle Ben is eliminated while waiting or searching for Peter.
Fans often look at the first Spider-Man movie as the actual way his origin is portrayed, and get the small details wrong in the process.
4 Spider-Man and Mary Jane
Spider-Man’s bond with MJ is one of Marvel’s most famous relationships. They are portrayed as a sometimes clashing, but ultimately a strong couple, trough their various hardships related to Parker’s heroics.
The movies did it a lot differently, showing the relationship through the eyes of Peter Parker and making Mary Jane more dependent on the men in her life.
Int the films, a love triangle was developed between the two and Harry Osborn to further up the drama.
This very much deviates from the strongly loyal MJ presented in Spider-Man stories.
As such, fans have come to know Mary Jane as the “damsel in distress” of the Raimi films instead of the independent but fierce character of the comics. Interestingly, her traits are seen in Emma Stone’s portrayal of Gwen Stacy in the Amazing movies.
3 Spidey And The Avengers
Tom Holland’s role as the wall-crawler in the MCU has been widely praised. Critics and fans alike love the youthful energy and heart that he brings to life in the character. They also love the fact that, for the first time, Spidey has been playing with the big boys.
Spider-Man’s banter with his much more experienced Avengers teammates has been a joy to watch. Fans couldn’t be happier to see Spidey with the super team at long last. Just how he has always been, right? Wrong!
Though Spider-Man has had more than a few run-ins with the Avengers throughout his run, the web-head only recently became an official member in 2010, just six years before his MCU debut!
2 His Mind
As previously mentioned, Spider-Man is smart as heck. The arachnid is one of the top minds in the Marvel Universe, ranking up with the likes of Shuri and Tony Stark.
He’s so smart that he eventually becomes a billionaire with the start of his own company, Parker Industries.
His intellect, like a few of his other traits, is played down in the movies, by having Parker be more of a bookworm instead of smart enough to make his own web-shooters. The Amazing movies gave him back some of these traits, but there are still moments like his research on electric charges which aren’t in character at all.
Fans have taken the films as definite and often underestimate how smart he really is. It’ll be exciting to see how his intellect is used in the MCU.
1 The Spider-Totem
Though Spider-Man has been one of Marvel’s most enduring characters, he’s had his fair share of overly complex, convoluted storylines. Two exampls are “The Other” and “Edge of Spider-Verse,” both of which deal with Spider-Man embracing his spider side and his role as a totem. If it sounds really confusing, that’s because it is.
When many fans think of Parker’s spider side, they think of the story in which he grew eight arms, or the various times that Madame Web has helped the web-slinger. Well, it doesn’t have to do with any of that.
His spider side is what he took on after the bite. It halfway connected him to the animal kingdom, and he became a totem as a result. In other words, Spidey is a link between the human and animal kingdoms.
What else does everyone misunderstand about Spider-Man? Let us know in the comments!