There is no doubt that your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man has one of the most beloved rouges galleries in all of comics. Nemeses like Doc Ock, The Green Goblin, and Vulture have truly left a lasting impression, beating Spidey countless times in various issues, as well as appearing in film.
But alas, like his villain-attracting equivalent at DC Comics, the wall-crawler has also faced less-than fearsome foes in his 54-year run. These bad guys either hardly qualify as competition or are just so plain ridiculous that they were laughed off the page come printing day.
There is a seemingly endless list of cartoonish and weird characters to face off against Spidey, but we’ve compiled a list of perhaps the most infamous and outrageous. Though some have been reinvented or adapted in games and television more successfully than their first appearances, each choice remains an example of how not to make a worthy adversary to the wall-crawler.
Here are the 15 Worst Spider-Man Villains.
“Affectionately” called The Vibrator by his greatest foe, Herman Schultz is easily the most recognizable villain to make this list. When middling career criminal Schultz used his time in jail to craft a shock-wave amplifying battle suit, he escaped confinement and became Shocker.
Though he defeated Spidey on their first bout, it was only because Peter’s arm had recently been broken. We’d like to think things would have gone differently if the Spider’s limbs were all functional. However, Shocker has pulled off some impressive feats, including blacking-out portions of New York City only to spell his name from a bird’s-eye perspective with lights. Shocker was also a member of the Masters of Evil and even fought along-side the Guardians of the Galaxy when they faced alien doubles of themselves.
Yet, despite being one of Spidey’s oldest foes (his first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #46), Shocker is far from one of his greatest. His power-suit gives him the ability to create vibrational blasts and a vibrational shield, hence his rather unfortunate nickname. He’s had some fun moments in both TV shows and video-games, but like the comics, each encounter ends in defeat. It’s no shock that he made our list.
William Turner was born a mutant with an enlarged cranium and incredible intelligence. Through unintentional psionic feeding, he killed his mother, leading his distraught father to run into the streets and get hit by a car. Turner was bullied at the orphanage and given the name Mindworm.
As an adult he moved back to New York, where he fed off of minds of fellow tenets in his apartment. He only fed enough to survive, never so much that he hurt or killed anyone. When Peter Parker moved into Mindworm’s building, he attempted to feed off his mind, but Parker was too strong. He physically beat Turner and left him for the police.
After his release (because he never really hurt anyone) Turner was left homeless and destitute. He was eventually killed by a local street gang.
Mindworm’s otherwise compelling backstory was muddled up over his appearances and he makes the list for being one of the easiest villains to vanquish.
13 The Spot
When The Spot first revealed himself to Spider-Man and the Black Cat in The Spectacular Spider-Man #98, Spidey fell down laughing at the name. However, it isn’t quite as bad as another moniker, the Human Dalmatian.
Spot’s real name is Dr. Johnathan Ohnn, a scientist tasked by Kingpin to research the Cloak’s abilities. Ohnn was initially successful, however after investigating the portal his experiment created, he found himself in a dimension between dimensions. After returning to our own, his body was altered, colored white with black spots, or instances of a dimension.
Ohnn actually used his ability to best Spidey at the first encounter, but every subsequent encounter he found himself easily defeated. Spider-Man simply forced Spot to throw his dimensions off his body (yes, he can do that), leaving Ohnn entirely spotless and vulnerable. We could’ve spotted that one a mile away.
Essentially the T-1000 of Spider-Man villains, Spidercide was actually first introduced in comics as Spider-Man. A clone of Peter Parker created by the villainous Jackal, Spidercide truly believed himself to be the actual Peter, implanted with his memories and abilities.
Spidercide was introduced in one of the strangest and most confusing comic arcs, involving multiple clones of Spider-Man, each with their own odd agenda. Spidercide’s mission was to eliminate Spider-Man, thus committing, you guessed it, spidercide.
From his ridiculous high-heeled boots, to his Mr. Fantastic-like stretching abilities, Spidercide is both odd and underdeveloped. His creators seemed more interested in making a villain that could turn his arm into a hammer than one with actual motivation.
11 Styx and Stone
Though they sound more like a prog-rock band, Styx and Stone are actually disappointing additions to Spidey’s rouges gallery.
Gerald Stone was a scientist searching for a cure for cancer. He believed prolonged exposure to the disease could grant immunity and began controversial human trials on homeless people. One such “volunteer” was Jacob Eichorn, an unstable vagrant. Eichorn was cured of his cancer, but became a living cancer himself, rotting and killing any organic matter he touched. He became known as Styx, and the only pleasure he received was through murdering innocents.
Stone took it upon himself to protect Styx, feeling responsible, and the dastardly duo was born. The first incarnation of Stone had him with no powers, only a suit that protected him and allowed him to throw and project large rocks. Later revivals saw Stone as a giant Thing-like rock monster with a similar power to Styx’s.
The pair attempted to capture Mary-Jane but Peter had no trouble breaking Styx’s and Stone’s bones, though words would never hurt them.
Dr. Vincent Stegron was one of many scientists working under Curt Conners for S.H.I.E.L.D. Obsessed over the Lizard formula, Stegron stole a vial along with an extract of Stegosaurus DNA, and injected them both.
At this time, Marvel was dealing with stories involving the Savage Land, a place in Antarctica where dinosaurs still roamed the Earth, and both Conners and S.H.I.E.L.D. were involved in researching the phenomenon.
Stegron became the Dinosaur Man, and was intent on ruling the world with the formerly extinct lizards by his side. After returning to NYC, he invaded the Natural History Museum with a ray that brought the dinosaur skeletons to life. However, the harsh winters of New York defeated the cold-blooded creature, and he fell into hibernation.
Stegron awoke in human form and lived, homeless in Central Park, until he was hit by a stray mutation ray from Vulture’s gun. Reverted back into Dinosaur-form, Stegron travelled back to Antarctica to gather dinosaur followers. His return was short-lived, because, as any 3rd-grader could tell you, Antarctica is even chillier than New York.
Originally the top hitman for the Kingpin, Aaron Nicholson always had an answer to any problem. Naturally, he was the first to volunteer when Fisk began to try his hand at granting people superhuman abilities.
Nicholson first thought that the experiment was a failure, for he did not exhibit any powers. He later realized that he was given the ability to “answer” any situation by developing the powers to fix the problem. He became known as The Answer, the man with any and every power but only if the situation called for it.
He was sent by Kingpin to fight Spider-Man and the Black Cat and defeated them by learning Spidey’s moves and abilities. He became immune to his webbing and could withstand an onslaught of punches and kicks. After beating the duo, The Answer escaped, saying he got all he needed.
Ironically the character leaves the reader with a ton of questions. Namely, why?
An arachnid hero deserves an insect arch nemesis. Swarm is not that; a former Nazi scientist devoured by a colony of South American killer-bees, Fritz von Meyer is not much more than a joke.
Von Meyer fled Germany at the end of WWII, and as an expert on apiculture (bee-keeping) began searching for a species of bees worthy of his control. Upon discovering a highly-intelligent but passive colony of meteorite-mutated bees, Von Meyer attempted to reawaken their deadly instincts.
A miscalculation led to the bees immediately ripping him to shreds, leaving nothing but a skeleton. Somehow his consciousness spread to the swarm and he was able to control the colony. He faced off against Hercules and the Champions before he met his demise at the hands of the web-swinger.
Spidey simply prepared for his battle by coating his suit in bug repellent. The intense pain of the repellent was too much, and the bees fled. So much for Swarm.
Good stories need friction, and so do good villains. Unfortunately for Slyde, his entire concept involves lacking any friction whatsoever.
Jalome Beacher was a scientist working for Beemont Manufacturing, when he discovered a chemical that eliminates friction between objects and surfaces. He planned to unveil his findings, but his company was bought out and he was fired, losing his research and lab.
Beacher attempted to start his own company but with each bank needing a down-payment, he had to turn to crime to get the funds. He coated a suit in his chemical and adopted the name Slyde. He could slip through his enemies’ grasp and move quickly along any surface.
Though he managed to avoid capture by Spidey after their first encounter, each one following ended with him behind bars. At one point he said he was just happy to have gone “toe to toe” with the wall-crawler.
Imagine if the Punisher was actually just a guy who really liked different fonts and you have the anti-hero and villain Typeface. He shares a similar backstory: a former US soldier, Gordon Thomas returned home to find that his wife had left him and took their son with her. He took a job as a sign smith, but was laid-off when the company switched owners.
Thomas, disillusioned with America, incorporated his sign-smithing abilities into a costume and became the vigilante Typeface. He actually just took a bunch of letters and sort of stuck them to his face. The A stands for Annihilation.
Thomas attempted to kill his former boss, but Spider-Man interfered. Typeface was able to initially defeat Spidey by flinging numerous exploding letters at him, but eventually teamed up with the Spider to defeat the Spider-Hybrid. Typeface even inspired a knock-off vigilante that went by the name Spellcheck. How dastardly!
When you think Australia, you think kangaroos. Apparently so did Stan Lee when he created Spidey foe, Kangaroo. A boxer that grew up in the outback with the bouncy marsupials, Frank Oliver became a fugitive upon moving the United States.
Oliver’s powers were originally to kick a little stronger and jump a little farther than the average man. He was easily bested by the wall-crawler. Later, an evil doctor, Jonas Harrow, augmented his abilities with air jet implants. The increased leaping didn’t save Kangaroo; he was disintegrated by rays in the Hudson Nuclear Laboratories.
A later incarnation of Kangaroo, real name Brian Hibbs, had a costume that… lived up to his namesake. Inspired by Oliver, he sought a life of crime but was defeated by Spidey time and time again. Eventually, he gave up, and for a short time became a professional baseball player.
Melodies can be hypnotic, inspiring the listener to dance or consider purchasing the subject of a catchy jingle. Taking this idea one step further, Spider-Man faced the Hypno-Hustler, a psychedelic performer with a guitar that truly can hypnotize people.
Antoine Delsoin is the lead singer of the band “The Mercy Killers,” a rock band with instruments that produce sound waves allowing mass control over an audience. Peter Parker first encountered the Hypno-Hustler while at a club with his friends in The Spectacular Spider-Man #24.
The music of the Mercy Killers convinced the audience to give their wallets and valuables to the band. Luckily, Peter noticed and quickly changed into his Spider-Man costume. He soon discovered that Delsoin’s headphones grant him invulnerability to his own hypnotic tunes, and simply took them off.
The Hypno-Hustler came back for a few more issues, but it was hard to take a guy seriously who could only persuade you by singing his demands while strumming rock ballad chords.
3 The Iguana
The Lizard is one of Spider-Man’s greatest and most well-known foes. A tragic father-figure for Peter, Curt Conners is a man consumed by his own morality and disfigurement.
Like the fictitious Dr. Jekyll, Conners continuously searched for a cure to his Lizard condition, hoping to be transformed back to the man he once was. Not wanting to test his experiments on himself, Conners resorted to trying his serum on his pet iguana.
Thus, the Iguana was born, a Lizard-like humanoid creature with all the memories of Curt Conners, but none of the actual backstory or humanity.
Spider-Man was so bored when facing the Iguana (in Central Park Zoo no less) that he took the time to pause and converse with both Aunty May and his ex-girlfriend Anna. The Iguana was none-too-pleased, but none-the-less defeated quite handily.
2 The Big Wheel
Born Jackson “Axel” Weele, The Big Wheel has one of the shortest careers in crime of any villain on Spider-Man’s roster. Weele embezzled money from his business in order to purchase a large mechanical wheel from the Tinkerer.
He just drives a large wheel; it’s giant and has a few gadgets, but it is mostly just a wheel. Spidey and Rocket Racer fought the disk-obsessed baddie in Amazing Spider-Man #183 for the first and last time.
The Big Wheel with Weele inside it fell into the Hudson River never to be seen or heard from again. Spider-Man did however give the man a shout-out when besting Reed Richards in a game of “What is the weirdest villain you’ve fought.”
Like Peter Parker, Buchanan Mitty was a student of Empire State University. There, Mitty studied entomology (insects), but was discouraged and quit when his department’s funding was cut.
Mitty began a life of petty crime, trying to steal money to further his research on his six-legged friends. Spider-Man stopped him time and time again, whether he tried to rob an armored car or the American Museum of Natural History.
Despite having a exo-suit that granted him superhuman strength and agility and the ability to communicate with insects, Humbug was completely incompetent. Spidey was TWICE able to defeat Mitty by simply threatening to kill a jar of cockroaches. And for that, Humbug earns top honors on our list.