Spider-Man is a character that is on many minds right now. Part of that is because of his constant popularity: we are at a point where companies like Sony are confident in releasing standalone films based on Spider-Man’s villains, even if those movies don’t directly feature Spider-Man (we’re looking at you, Venom). Spider-Man also played a prominent role in Avengers: Infinity War, showcasing just how heroic he could be and making us all cry a bit as our heroes lost their initial struggle against Thanos.
Despite the enduring popularity of the character, though, there is much about him that many fans do not understand. And no, we’re not talking about the complexities involving half a century of Spider-Man comics. Instead, we’re talking about something much more fundamental: his body!
Obviously, Peter Parker’s life was changed forever when he was bitten by that radioactive spider, and it caused some major changes to his body that many fans do not know about. On top of that, his assorted weird adventures over the years have resulted in even wilder changes to his body. All of this adds up to a simple answer: there’s a lot you don’t know about the ol' web-head!
Don’t believe us? Just keep scrolling to check out 20 Weird Facts About Spider-Man's Body.
20 Extra limbs
One of the funny things about Spider-Man is that he has some pretty literal bad guys. The Rhino, for instance, actually looks a lot like a rhino. Doctor Octopus has mechanical arms that make him look, well, like an octopus! That’s what makes it a bit ironic that Spider-Man really doesn’t look like a spider. Instead, he looks exactly like what he is: a powerful human who wears some really bright underwear.
There was a time, though, that Spider-Man looked a lot more like his namesake. How, you ask? He grew extra arms! In a classic Spidey tale penned by Stan Lee, Spider-Man whips up a serum meant to make him lose his powers so he could be completely normal. Instead, it backfires and he wakes up with four extra arms!
While this could theoretically make Spider-Man a much more efficient hero, he wasn’t really happy with the new limbs, especially because he looked less “normal” than before.
Fortunately, all’s well that ends well. He ends up getting an antidote from Doctor Curt Connors, a man who sometimes turns into the terrible villain known as The Lizard and knows a lot about keeping yourself from transforming into something strange!
19 Healing Factor
Some of the coolest Marvel heroes are defined by their really robust healing factors. Characters like Wolverine and Deadpool, for instance, are able to soak up seemingly endless rounds of ammo and recover quickly enough to put their enemies down for good. E ven the Hulk has a healing factor tied to his rage, making him nearly unstoppable when he’s mad enough. The good news for Spider-Man is that he, too, has a good healing factor as well. The bad news is that his healing factor is nowhere near that of Wolverine or Deadpool!
For instance, Spider-Man can typically recover from things like a broken bone within a day or two - which is good, as longtime comics fans know that he breaks his ribs with alarming frequency. He has recovered from being blinded in a matter of hours, and during times when his powers have been enhanced, he has been able to recover from a complete supervillain beatdown in only a day.
Again, this healing factor seems humble when you place Spidey next to some of Marvel’s more famous healers. However, he heals much faster than even the healthiest human, meaning he’s always ready and able to get back into action!
18 Radiation Resistant
When you get down to it, many of Spider-Man’s powers don’t make a lot of sense. For instance, his level of strength and specific spider sense don’t really correlate to any specific spider, and his trademark webs are due to his own invention and not his actual powers. Without those webs, Spider-Man is basically just another powered dude in a colorful costume in New York City!
With this in mind, it’s neat to find something about his body and his powers that does make a lot of sense: he is resistant to radiation.
As you know, Peter Parker got his fantastic powers when he was bitten by a radioactive spider. As it turns out, that radiation had a lingering effect in Spider-Man’s body, effectively making him highly resistant to radiation.
The most dramatic example of this occurred when Spider-Man was fighting Morlun, a kind of vampiric monster that Spidey just couldn’t stop.
He gambles and injects a high level of radiation into himself so it will hurt Morlun when the villain feeds on our hero. The gamble worked, and though the stunt left Spider-Man on the edge of life, the fact that he survived at all shows his insanely high tolerance to radiation.
17 Organic Webbing
When you think about controversial Spider-Man movie moments, most people think of Spider-Man 3 and the infamous dance scene. However, for longtime comics fans, Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man made a lot of waves way back in the first movie.
The reason for this was that director Sam Raimi decided that Spider-Man would shoot organic webs rather than using his homemade webshooters that he had in the comics. As those movies became more popular, though, there was a period where the comic Spider-Man followed suit and started using organic webs as well.
This goes back to a weird story in which Peter Parker is bitten by a villain known as the Queen. Like the radioactive spider bite, this was something that ended up transforming his entire body. When all was said and done, Peter now had spinnerets on his forearms that created the organic webbing. While not completely similar, this put the comic character more in line with his onscreen appearances. Later, he seemingly lost this ability and went back to homemade webshooters.
While no in-universe explanation was given, the answer is obvious: starting with The Amazing Spider-Man, the onscreen Spidey had gone back to making his own webbing, so the comics went back to this as well!
16 Super Metabolism
While Spider-Man is a pretty unique hero, we’ve already talked about how some of his powers echo those of other characters - such as his enhanced healing factor. There is at least one way that Spider-Man also mirrors unexpected characters like The Flash as well: he has a super high metabolism.
While this is occasionally annoying for Peter Parker and those in his life, it is also a factor that has saved his life on multiple occasions.
The main downside to a super metabolism is that it puts a crimp in both your wallet and your social life. Qhen the writers remember it, we see how Peter has to eat much more than a typical human in order to stay healthy and strong. While the high metabolism helps him shrug off some toxins (more on that later), it also means he cannot get inebriated easily - though it’s not impossible and has thrown off his other abilities beforee. Perhaps he can ask Wolverine, who is constantly drinking despite a healing factor that would theoretically keep him from getting inebriated.
On one occasion, Kraven shot Spidey full of tranquilizers which stopped his heart. The villain buried Spider-Man, but our hero crawled out of his own grave after two weeks, as his metabolism helped him recover!
15 Super Brain
Whenever fans think of Spider-Man’s body and powers, they mostly focus on his enhanced abilities. After all, these are what separate Peter Parker from any other human walking around on the planet. Interestingly, though, Peter Parker was still unique from the rest of humanity way before that spider bite, and he even remains that way when he loses his powers.
What are we talking about? His super brain, of course!
We’re not just saying Peter Parker is smarter than the average human. No, he’s right up there with the biggest brains in the entire Marvel universe. For instance, the biggest geniuses in the Marvel universe include Reed Richards (also known as Mr. Fantastic) and Tony Stark (Iron Man himself). Both of these big brains actually regard Peter Parker as a peer, which makes a lot of sense: while anyone could have gotten his fantastic powers, it takes the keen mind of Peter Parker to develop his webbing and other tech. Heck, it actually takes insane mathematical calculations to do most of his crazy stunts without just lost his life!
The truth is that even if he never got his powers, Peter’s mind would make him one of the most versatile heroes on the planet!
14 Super Speedy
“Super speed” is a pretty handy power. It is the chief ability used by heroes such as Flash or Quicksilver, allowing them to dodge danger and take out many of their foes before the enemy even sees them coming. This is yet another power that Spider-Man has in small doses. He cannot move so fast that others are practically standing still like Quicksilver does.
He has enhanced speed that, when combined with his spider sense, can make him virtually unstoppable to most villains.
How fast are we talking? As with most comics abilities, this varies depending on the needs and wishes of the writers. However, on foot, Spider-Man is able to outrun moving cars. He’s even faster in the air, and he’s been clocked going as fast as 120 miles per hour when he’s using his webs to move through the city.
One of the best examples of his super speed is when he was fighting a S.W.A.T. team back during the original Civil War event. Witnesses to the battle described that Spider-Man was nothing but a blur, and many of them saw nothing at all before they were knocked out. All in all, speed makes Spidey a formidable foe!
13 Mystic Man
Perhaps the best and worst thing about comics is that characters are constantly changing. On one hand, this is downright logical: it’s weird to read about a character for decades and not see that character experience any major changes. On the other hand, it’s always unpredictable whether such a change will stick around or just be a blip on the character’s history.
Here’s one fact about Spidey’s body that may be best forgotten: he might just be a mystical being!
This ties back to revelations from a mysterious man named Ezekiel. This man claimed that Peter’s spider-given powers did not come from radiation. Instead, the spider was part of a long, mystic tradition and was already attempting to give Peter powers before the radiation destroyed it.
While later stories would play fast and loose with how canonical this was, one issue had Doctor Strange taking Spider-Man to the astral plane. Spidey encounters a mystical spider here and seems to still have mystical powers later when he fights the villain Shathra. Ultimately, the entire story about Spidey’s connection to this mystic tradition is really fascinating. Hopefully it could someday see it pop up in the movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
12 Night Vision
A major question fans have had over the years concerns Spider-Man’s vision: is it hard to see through the eyes of his mask? If so, it would certainly explain why the onscreen Spider-Men have always found an excuse to take their masks off! The short answer to the question, though, is that Spider-Man has no trouble seeing through it, and his spider sense also helps enhance his vision. He also has an unexpected ace up his sleeve: he can actually see in the dark!
Like the organic webbing, this is one of those powers that was introduced in a controversial storyline, and the power is rarely referenced or used later on.
It all went down after Spider-Man was seemingly destroyed by Morlun only to emerge from a cocoon as a new and monstrous being. Peter eventually gets the monster part under control, and he is left with some cool new abilities, including fully functioning night vision. He puts it to use right away, using his enhanced vision to save some people who were trapped under a building that he would not normally have been able to see!
With abilities like these, the idea of enhancing Spider-Man with an Iron Man type of suit seems a bit redundant.
11 Resistance to Toxins
The interesting thing about Spider-Man is that many of his more outlandish abilities have a similar root cause. For instance, many fantastic things he can do can be traced back to his hyper-metabolism that we mentioned earlier. In extreme cases, that metabolism has been able to bring Spider-Man back from the beyond the grave.
In less dire circumstances, though, it has the very positive side effect of making Spider-Man highly resistant to most toxins.
Considering the number of villains who love to knock our hero out, this particular ability really comes in handy!
It’s important to note that “toxin resistant” is just that: Spider-Man is not fully immune to toxins, but it simply takes much larger doses in order to knock him out. Once he is knocked out, he benefits from a superhuman recovery speed.
One of the best examples of this is when Spider-Man fought Swarm, a villain who is literally a collection of bees. During the battle, Spider-Man is stung thousands of times, pumping him full of a huge amount of toxins. Not only does this not end our hero, but he makes a complete recovery in less than a day - meaning he can always bounce back and take out the bad guy!
10 Vampire Resistant
As we have discussed, Spider-Man is immune or resistant to a wide range of attacks. He can shrug off various toxins with ease, and he can absorb enough radiation to destroy a normal person many times over. Such resistance is typically associated with his enhanced body—specifically, his enhanced metabolism. However, there is another area where Spider-Man is surprisingly resistant, and it is much more difficult to ascertain exactly why that is. Specifically, the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is resistant to vampires!
Of course, the devil is in the details. Spider-Man is not fully immune to vampires, and a vampire bite has previously turned Spider-Man into a vampire. However, he was able to soon shrug off the effects and return to normal.
The jury is still out, however, on why he was able to do so: is this just one more example of Spidey’s metabolism being able to shrug off what his body considered as an outside infection? Or is this more due to Spider-Man having a will indomitable enough to resist the control of a vampiric curse? Either way, this gives Spider-Man and his body a rather unexpected edge in the fight against the undead of the Marvel universe!
9 Destroy With a Touch
One thing that is an open secret among Spider-Man fans is that our hero is holding back in just about every single fight. If he were to unleash his full power on his foes, they would be perishing left and right.
This is something that Doctor Octopus soon discovers when he spends some time inside Peter Parker’s body. We’re not just talking sheer physical force, either: there are offensive applications of his powers that Spider-Man is really loathe to use. For instance, his very touch can maim the people he is fighting!
This “surprising” power is actually pretty logical.
Spider-Man has the ability to stick to just about any surface in the world. Imagine what he could do if he decided to use that on a villain’s face?
Strictly speaking, you don’t have to imagine it: a clone of Spider-Man named Kaine uses this ability to burn scars in the faces of his victims. On one occasion, Spider-Man used this ability to fight the Green Goblin, and on another occasion, he ripped a nasty scar into the face of Sasha Kravinoff. Ultimately, this is a pretty dark ability, so Spider-Man holds back to avoid constantly ripping the faces off his foes!
8 Perfect Equilibrium
Some of the abilities on this list are downright weird, and it would be fair if you were wondering exactly how they are supposed to help Spider-Man fight crime. Others, however, are perfectly in line with his other powers and help to make him such a unique force as a crimefighter. Perhaps the best example of this has to do with his ability to balance.
Considering that Spider-Man spends so much time crawling walls and swinging through the air, it’s good that he has something that gives him an advantage: absolutely perfect equilibrium.
We really do mean perfect. Longtime Spider-Man fans have seen the wall-crawler doing stunts like balancing on a single finger on a wire. This perfect sense of balance is complemented by the generally elastic nature of his body.
His ability to contort his body into weird shapes helps him to climb and swing around and also surprisingly helps in combat, as Spider-Man can dodge attacks that other heroes never could. Combined with his super-speed, this means that Spider-Man often looks a bit like Neo from The Matrix when dodging attacks, making him very highly effective - and also very goofy-looking, but it’s definitely worth the tradeoff.
7 Enhanced Senses
Fans and writers sometimes refer to Spider-Man as more of an enhanced human than a mutant or anything else. One reason for such a distinction is to note how Spider-Man is different from, say, the X-Men: he was not born with the unique genetics that would give him powers (like actual mutants), but instead born as a normal human and then altered by a radioactive spider. There is another reason to refer to Spider-Man as an enhanced human, though: it helps to underscore that all of his sense perceptions have gotten a big boost.
That’s right: whatever you can do, Spider-Man can do better!
We’re not just referring to things like his super strength, super speed, and his amazing spider-sense. In fact, all of Peter Parker’s basic senses were enhanced by that spider bite, meaning everything from his sense of sight to his sense of smell have been heightened. Again, he is not as good with some of these enhancements as his peers - characters like Wolverine and Beast will always have a better sense of smell - but he’s better than any human.
At one point, he even gained the ability to feel vibrations in the air and in his webs, making him even more like an actual spider!
6 Radar Detection
On paper, Spider-Man’s spider-sense seems pretty straightforward. If something poses significant danger to Peter Parker, then the spider-sense goes off. Of course, there are some weird loopholes to this: it has been set off by passive dangers (such as electricity coursing through nearby wires), and it can be negated if Peter consciously trusts somebody.
Fortunately, Peter is smart enough to find some of the weirder spider-sense abilities and exploit them. The most visible thing he does with this is also the most unexpected: he can detect radar frequencies!
While this may come as a surprise to you, it really shouldn’t. If you read Spider-Man comics for any amount of time, you will soon see Spider-Man using his custom spider tracers to help track bad guys down. Ever wonder how he tracks these things?
In early comics, he actually had electronic gizmos to do just that, but he eventually found out his spider-sense could track down the specific frequency within a certain range - usually about a hundred yards.
This is also another exhibit in the case of Peter being frighteningly smart: when he hears about Spidey sensing the tracers, Ant-Man wonders how the hell Peter could design something like that at fifteen years old. Ant-Man struggled for years as an adult to perfect similar technology for his helmet!
5 Tobey's Transformation
A major paradox about Peter Parker has always been his status as the outcast nerd. After all, he is supposed to appear to many as this weakling that is easy fodder for bullies, yet once he is bitten by the radioactive spider, he is suddenly covered all in muscles!
We actually see this transformation captured in the very first Spider-Man movie, as we see shirtless Tobey Maguire looking frail and weak. After he is bitten by the spider, though, he is absolutely shredded!
Because the actual actor could not benefit from a radioactive bite, there is actually an interesting story behind his transformation.
The first factor is that major movies take a long time to shoot. That means that savvy directors can time the filming of certain scenes based on a variety of factors. So, when we see the puny, shirtless Maguire early on, that was actually one of the first scenes filmed. Maguire looked weak because he had pretty recently lost a ton of weight to film Seabiscuit. He worked out the entire time he was filming Spider-Man, so director Sam Raimi shot the new shirtless scene towards the very end, highlighting the insane transformation his body went through!
4 Tom Holland's Gymnastic Skills
As we have discussed, one of the primary features of Spider-Man is that he is acrobatic. He is able to contort his body into wild angles and generally move with inhuman grace and speed. The onscreen Spider-Man actors have been able to capture this quality with varying degrees of success.
Fans of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man have noted that he seems to capture this lithe and acrobatic quality in a way that other actors could not.
As it turns out, Holland had a secret weapon due to his past as a gymnast! Tom Holland’s previous hobbies and training ended up being the perfect combination to help bring Spider-Man to life. As a young man, he trained extensively in gymnastics, and he even took up parkour for fun. Later on, he received extensive ballet training so he could take on roles such as Billy Elliott: The Musical.
Obviously, his career has come a long way from stage musicals, and Holland is now a bona fide household name as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, he may never have gotten the role if he hadn’t mastered all of these Spidey-worthy skills (gymnastics, parkour, and even dancing) from a very young age!
3 Peter Parkour
One sore subject among Spider-Man fans is the sheer number of times these movies have been rebooted. After all, Tom Holland makes for our third mainstream version of this iconic hero, and we previously had multiple films starring Tobey Maguire and then Andrew Garfield.
While this answer won’t be satisfactory to everyone, stuntman Vic Armstrong knew why he wanted to help reboot the character after the Tobey Maguire movies were over: according to him, the old stunts just plain sucked! He thought that they relied too heavily on CGI, and when he got the chance to help Andrew Garfield with his Spidey stunts, he used an unconventional idea: make Garfield do it all.
Andrew Garfield was not overly experienced when it came to physical acting like this. Nonetheless, Armstrong and crew had a regular workout regimen for the actor that was basically parkour from hell. He practiced running on buildings as well as swinging over a hundred feet through the air in order to simulate the moves of Spider-Man.
Of course, Garfield still had stunt doubles for certain things that the crew deemed too dangerous, but such doubles were also versed in the same insane parkour and acrobatics training that Garfield was getting. Ultimately, their gambit was quite successful: while Garfield’s Spider-Man movies were not a universal hit, everyone can agree that the stunts look far better than they did in the movies that came before!
2 Itsy Bitsy
Something about the Marvel universe that even the most casual fans understand is how dangerous superhero DNA can be. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we see how mutations such as Hulk and Abomination were created in an attempt to bring a new Captain America into the world.
While Spider-Man is not as revered on a global level as Captain America, there are forces for both good and for evil that understand the potential of his DNA.
In one case, a bizarre new character was created by combining the DNA of both Spider-Man and everyone’s favorite Merc with a Mouth, Deadpool!
It all started when she helped someone named Patient Zero. This guy had beef with both Spider-Man and Deadpool, and part of his revenge plot involved injecting someone with a combination of these two character’s DNA. The result was a new character called Itsy Bitsy, and in many ways, she got the best of both worlds: she has things like the enhanced strength, speed, and spider-sense of Spider-Man while also rocking the legendary healing factor of Deadpool.
This makes her pretty damn hard to take out, which we can see when Deadpool tries to destroy her by pushing her through a plasma breeder. Nonetheless, Itsy Bitsy lived on, creating more headaches for the heroes who unwittingly helped create her.
1 Superior Spider-Man
You can’t throw a rock into a longbox of comics without hitting an issue involving some kind of body swap. It makes sense in a weird way: in a universe filled with magical powers, mystic objects, and telepathic mutants, there are plenty of excuses for the writers to have an entirely new mind “drive” your favorite character’s body. Most of the time, though, these incidents are contained to an issue or two, and we never really see how bad (and weird) things can get if a villain is in a hero’s body longterm. That all changed when Doctor Octopus put his mind into the body of Spider-Man!
Doctor Octopus spends a good, long time inside Peter Parker’s body. What made the story so interesting, though, is that he did not simply return to his villainous ways: something of Peter’s mind and soul remained inside, challenging Doc Ock to be a better man.
The villain took up this challenge and vowed to become a “superior” Spider-Man. He developed an army of robot helpers, employed some ruthless tactics, and even finished Peter Parker’s PhD while he was at it. In time, though, he realized Peter was the better hero and surrendered the body back to its rightful owner.
Did we miss any weird details about Spider-Man's body? Let us know in the comments!