Spider-Verse is coming! Marvel's latest event series will see all kinds of Spider-Men ( and Spider-Women!) unite across realities to face a common foe. There's been so many different Spider-Man heroes over the years - here's just 10 of the strangest to have ever donned the Spidey suit.
Header image from 'Every Single One' by Gabriele del'Otto, via GMA News
Okay, you know why I'm including this one really - Japanese Spider-Man's sublime opening theme:
Born out of a character-trade between Marvel and Toei in the late 1970's, Supaidaman followed Japanese motorcycle racer Takuya, who, after finding a UFO (From the planet Spider!), inherited the Spider Bracelet, granting him the powers of Spider-Man as well as a protective Spidey-Suit.
Also, a giant Mech named Leopardon, because Japan.
Takyua's adventures fighting off the wonderfully-named Professor Monster and the Iron Cross Army only lasted for a year, but he did get his own movie afterwards.
This monstrous version of Peter Parker came from the Planet Eurth, which was basically Medieval Earth. Created for the miniseries Avataars: Covenant of the Shield in 2000, Eurth was populated by fantasy versions of Marvel's heroes - Captain America, for example, became the Sword-and-Shield Knight Captain Avalon, and Scarlet Witch became Witchfire... who was a Witch.
Anyway, this version of Spider-Man was granted spider-like abilities by the Widow of the Web, under the promise they would never be used for Parker's personal gain. However, when he uses it to save his Uncle from a brigand, the Widow curses Webslinger as an outcast, transforming him into a spider-human creature and making him the Guardian of the Webwood.
When you think of 'Future Spider-Man', you probably think of Spider-Man 2099, Miguel O'Hara, but there was an even further-flung future hero to take on the mantle - Max Borne, perhaps one of the most tragic incarnations of the character yet. And considering Spider-man is a very tragic figure, that's saying something.
Spider-Man 2211 used Doc Ock-styled four robotic arms to aid his fight against 2211's version of the Hobgoblin - who turned out to be his own daughter, Robin. Battling alongside Spider-Man 2099 and our Earth's Spider-Man, Spidey 2211 defeated Hobgoblin, but she was killed in the struggle. As if this wasn't tragic enough, at the end of the story when 'normal' Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099 return to their own time, Max is murdered by 2211's version of Chameleon, who disguised himself as Uncle Ben.
Poor Max, couldn't catch a break.
Speaking of Spider-men with multiple arms...
Man-Spider - also helpfully occasionally called Six Armed Spider-Man, because Comic Books love to state the obvious - was part of the Mutant X universe, a reality where the prevalent Mutant gene lead to widespread acceptance of Mutant kind (until it all changes and everyone hates Mutants again, just like they always do), and his pretty much only defining feature was that he is Spider-Man... but with Six Arms.
Man-Spider, like our Spidey, also had a lot of trouble with clones of himself - at one point, he's killed by the Madelyne Pryor of the Mutant X universe, the Goblin Queen, and replaced by a clone.
Part of Marvel's '1602' series that saw historical recreations of Marvel Heroes, Peter Parquagh worked for the Master Spy Sir Nicholas Fury in Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert's original 2003 run - but he didn't become Spider-Man, the running joke throughout the mini-series being that Parquagh repeatedly escaped being bitten by a Spider.
However eventually because people wanted to see 1602's Spider-Man, Parquagh got bitten in a sequel to the original series written by Greg Pak and became The Spider, operating in Colonial America and fighting against Norman Osborne. The more things change with Spider-Man, the more they stay the same.
The first time Spider-Man ever met the Avengers in 1964, he wasn't even himself - it was a robot, built by Kang to try and trick Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Kang's robot almost defeated The Avengers (not before they inadvertently offered Spidey membership to the Avengers, something he wouldn't actually get for years) before the actual spidey stepped in and defeated the android doppelganger.
Bizarrely enough (because Comic Books), Kang's robot showed up again in 1996, this time renamed as Timespinner and ready to fight the Avengers once more, alongside Ben Reilly, himself a clone of the original Spider-Man. Like I said, Comic Books!
Spider-Boy is exactly what he looks like - a literal mashup between Spider-Man and DC's Superboy. Spider-Boy was part of the Amalgam Universe, a reality where Marvel and DC's heroes were merged into single beings - Wolverine and Batman, Superman and Captain America, you get the picture.
But whilst the idea of those heroes being bunged together was potentially cool, fans were a bit miffed when the iconic Peter Parker got paired up with Superboy, who at the time in 1996, wasn't really a popular character. Even in cross overs, Peter Parker can't catch a break!
Although not technically Spider-Man Canon - his only appearance was in a series of young readers-focused comics called Spidey Super Stories in the 1970's, from the American Kid's show The Electric Company (the series also had a live-action Spider-Man series of shorts, which were also pretty crazy) - but even then Web Man was the first ever Spidey Clone, in a long line of clones of the Webhead.
Created by Doctor Doom - of course - Web Man was basically exactly the same as Spider-Man but a) Evil and b) Wearing an inverted version of the Spidey Suit. That was pretty much all there was to him. But then again, what would you expect from an educational series of comics? That was all you needed.
Years before Homer Simpson sang about Spider-Pig, Spidey had already done the joke with the Spectacular Spider-Ham!
Created in 1983 by Tom DeFalco and Mark Armstrong, Peter Porker - originally called just Peter - wasn't a pig bitten by a radioactive Spider, but a Spider, bitten by a radioactive pig (Who was actually Earth-8311's version of Aunt May - what, you weren't expecting the origins of the Spectacular Spider-Ham to be anything but tongue in cheek, were you?). Granted the form of a pig, Peter took on the mantle of Spider-Ham, teaming up such other animal-Marvel parodies like Nick Furry the Bear, Captain Americat the Cat, and Hulk-Bunny, who was a (obviously) a Rabbit. He's been confirmed to show up in Spider-Verse later this year as well, and has been a popular go-to for Alternate Spider-beings in the long history of Marvel Spidey cartoons. He might be one of the weirdest, but Spider-Ham is definitely one of the most popular Alt-Spider-Men.
Another Alt-Spidey, another animal version. Pitched as a spiritual successor following the success of the all-undead Marvel Zombies miniseries in 2008, Marvel Apes saw sad-sack ex-Spidey villain The Gibbon travel to an alternate Universe where all the Marvel heroes, including Spider-Man were Apes.
Why does Spider-Monkey get the number one spot over Spider-Ham? Mainly because, whilst Spider-Ham was the first attempt at a pastiche with animal versions of the Marvel heroes, Marvel Apes committed whole hog to the 'It's Marvel... but Apes?' idea with having everyone be a goddamn Monkey. I mean, look at this comic cover:
That's a dedication to such a bizarre idea that I can get behind - and Spider-Monkey is just one glorious, glorious part of that.
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