Editorials

Are There Too Many Spiders in the Marvel Universe?

Who is our best-known Spider? Peter Parker, obviously; you don’t have to be entrenched in the Marvel Universe to know that. But what about all these other Spiders? Clones and Symbiotes and parallel universes and legacy Spider-Men? I have trouble keeping track of one character with one name, let alone sixteen different versions of Peter Parker. What am I supposed to do with all these Spider-Mans?

Too many Spiders?With the first introduction of Spider-Man in 1962, Spider-Powers have been around for 56 years, with plenty of time to establish a canon of abilities: wall-crawling, enhanced strength, speed, reflexes, durability, stamina, healing and agility, as well as Peter’s “Spider-Sense,” a power only gained through direct genetic lineage to Peter Parker, like his clones, his kids, and Cindy Moon (Silk) who was bitten by the same spider, and Miles Morales who was bitten by a similarly genetically altered spider. But as the members of the Spider-Verse grew, so did the variances in their powers.

Most Popular Spiders

Too many Spiders

Peter Parker, Spider-Man (Earth-616)

  • Peter Parker is the original Spider-Man. Stan Lee and Steve Ditko introduced him in August 1962 in the anthology Amazing Fantasy #15. He lives as an orphan in New York City, raised by his Aunt May and Uncle Ben. A radioactive spider bit him, giving him spider-related abilities. Peter uses these abilities to fight crime and “deal with the normal struggles of adolescence and financial issues” (Wikipedia).
  • His abilities include genius-level intellect, superhuman strength, speed, durability, and agility, clinging and climbing walls and other surfaces, and precognitive Spider-Sense. He shoots webs through wrist-mounted web-shooters of his own design.
  • Spider-Man was the first teenage character who wasn’t a sidekick. He dealt with emotions young readers could relate to, such as rejection, inadequacy, and loneliness. Peter Parker’s first and longest-lasting series is The Amazing Spider-Man. However, his character and identity have developed over the years. There are now clones, offspring, alternate realities, and a 2012-2014 arc where Doctor Octopus became Spider-Man in a body-swap.

Too many SpidersMiles Morales, Ultimate Spider-Man (Earth-1610)

  • Introduced in 2011, Miles Morales is one of the Marvel Universe’s most popular Spiders. He first appeared in Ultimate Fallout #4 in 2011 following the death of Peter Parker. According to his Wikipedia page, “When Marvel ended the Ultimate imprint in 2015, Miles was made a character in the main Marvel Universe, beginning with stories under the All-New, All-Different Marvel brand that debuted that same year.”
  • Miles possesses similar powers to Peter Parker’s, having been bitten by a spider genetically engineered by Norman Osborn in an attempt to duplicate Spider-Man’s powers. He possesses enhanced strength and agility, the ability to adhere to walls and ceilings, and Spider-Sense, although it is not as strong and only warns him of immediate danger. Unlike Peter, Miles can camouflage himself and his clothing to match his surroundings. He has a “venom strike” that causes paralysis, consisting of concentrated energy conducted through his gloves. He also has a strong resistance to injury.
  • This December will see Miles’ debut filmSpider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Too many SpidersGwen Stacey, Spider-Gwen (Earth-65)

  • Marvel introduced Spider-Gwen in 2015 in Edge of the Spider-Verse #2. The Spider-Gwen series explores a universe where “Gwen Stacey was bitten by the radioactive spider of Peter Parker, forcing her into a career as the Spider-Woman of her world, Earth-65” (Wikipedia).
  • Gwen’s powers as Spider-Woman are similar to Peter’s as Spider-Man: sticking and climbing on walls, sensing danger, and lifting “approximately 10 tons.” Her web-shooters were designed by Janet van Dyne, and help “filter moisture from the air to create an adhesive web-fluid, which itself creates web nets, ropes, and globs.” She also possesses a wristwatch which “allows her to travel to the multiverse following the events of Spider-Verse.” As the daughter of a police captain, Gwen also has detective skills and uses analytical thinking. However, she has no training in fighting, and instead uses moves picked up from movies.

Too many SpidersCindy Moon, Silk (Earth-616)

  • Introduced in April 2014 as a cameo in The Amazing Spider-Man #1 and later as a full appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #4 in July 2014, Cindy Moon is a Korean-American heroine created by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos. Existing in the same universe as Peter Parker, she was bitten by the same spider and locked in an underground bunker for seven years after six years of training by Ezekiel Sims. Her main focus is on finding her family, as well as crime-fighting in New York, occasionally alongside Spider-Man.
  • In her solo series, Cindy’s powers are similar to Peter’s as well, having been bitten by the same spider, though her Spider-Sense (dubbed “Silk Sense”) is stronger than Peter’s, and she can produce organic webs from her fingertips. While she lacks Peter’s superior strength, she possesses an eidetic memory.
  • Not exactly urgent info, but Silk is my personal favorite Spider.

Honorable Mention Spiders

Too many Spiders

Miguel O’Hara, Spider-Man 2099

  • First appearing in The Amazing Spider-Man #365 in 1992, Miguel O’Hara is Mexican-Irish and was the first Latino character to assume the identity of Spider-Man. (And he seems to be only one of two.) He is a geneticist living in New York in the year 2099 A.D. He attempts to “recreate the abilities of the original Spider-Man in other people and later suffers an accident that causes half his DNA to be re-written with a spider’s genetic code” (Wikipedia).
  • Miguel seems to be the most diverse Spider-Man in terms of abilities; not only does he possess the original Spider powers (enhanced strength, speed, agility, reflexes, durability, hearing, and healing as well as already possessing genius-level intelligence), Miguel has enhanced vision (telescopic and night-vision), talons on his fingers and toes for wall-climbing as well as weapons, organic webbing from his forearms, temporary-paralysis venom from his fangs, and wears an indestructible costume of “unstable molecule fabric with air-foil that allows gliding.”
  • His costume is a bodysuit and mask he once wore for a Day of the Dead festival; it is the only clothing he owns made of Unstable Molecule Fabric and will not be torn by his talons.

Jessica Drew, Spider-Woman

Too many Spiders

  • Created by Archie Goodwin and Marie Severin, Jessica Drew is the original Spider-Woman, debuting in Marvel Spotlight #32 in February 1977. She had 50 issues of a solo series titled Spider-Woman and was killed at the conclusion, though she was resurrected for a New Avengers story arc by Brian Michael Bendis, getting her second self-titled series in 2009. As part of the 2014 Spider-Verse event, she got a third series written by Dennis Hopeless, which ended in 2015 with issue #10 and rebooted with issue #1 months later, picking up the story from the previous volume.
  • In Jessica’s original origin story, after months of uranium exposure as a child, her father injects her with an experimental serum based on irradiated spiders’ blood. She is placed in a genetic accelerator to speed the serum’s incubation, but while she is in there her mother dies and her father leaves for the U.S. While in the accelerator, she ages at a decelerated rate, so when she is released she’s only 17.
  • In Spider-Woman: Origin, Jessica gets her powers when her mother’s womb is “hit by a laser beam containing the DNA traits of several different species of spiders while she was carrying Jessica.”
  • Spider-Woman’s abilities include superhuman strength, speed, durability, reflexes, and senses, flight, pheromone manipulation, bio-electric energy projection, and wall-crawling; she is also a master spy.

Too many SpidersJulia Carpenter, Spider-Woman/Arachne/Madame Web

  • Created by Jim Shooter and Mike Zeck, Julia Carpenter made her first full appearance in Secret Wars 1 #7 in November 1984. She was the second Spider-Woman, then the second Arachne, then the second Madame Web.
  • Julia obtained her powers through what was supposed to be an athletic study. But it turned out to be a college friend “accidentally” injecting her with a mix of spider venom and exotic plant extracts. Her powers include superhuman strength, speed, agility, stamina, and durability, healing factor, and wall-crawling; she later obtains telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, and the ability to create webs out of psychokinetic energy once Madame Web’s powers are passed on to her, leaving her blind.

Too many SpidersAnya Corazon, Araña/Spider-Girl/Spider-Anya

  • Created by Fiona Avery and Mark Brooks, Anya Corazon made her first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #1 in August 2004. She had her own 12 issue series in 2005 titled Araña: The Heart of the Spider. As the new Spider-Girl, she appeared in a monthly comic that debuted in November 2010 as a tie-in to an Amazing Spider-Man story arc.
  • Anya acquires her powers through a ritual which gave her a spider-shaped tattoo, endowing her with spider-like powers. After a skirmish between The Spider Society and the Sisterhood of the Wasp, Anya is mortally wounded. A mage from the Spider Society performs the ritual to save her life, then recruits her for the Society.
  • Her powers include superhuman strength, speed, agility, stamina, reflexes and reactions, coordination, balance, and endurance, spider-like grappling hooks, and a blue symbiote-like protective exoskeleton. In place of web-shooters, Anya uses “her own modified bolas out of discs that are about the size of her palm and have eight red legs able to grip objects.” She is also fluent in Spanish and is a proficient hacker.

Too many SpidersFlash Thompson, Agent Venom

  • Eugene “Flash” Thompson was first introduced in Amazing Fantasy #15 in August 1962 as Peter Parker’s high school bully who greatly admires Spider-Man in a delicious twist of irony. Later he is introduced in The Amazing Spider-Man #654 in April 2011, where he joins the Army after college and loses both his legs in Iraq. He is bound to the Venom Symbiote as Agent Venom, becoming the first to control it. In December 2017 he is introduced as the new Anti-Venom in Amazing Spider-Man/Venom: Venom Inc. Alpha #1.
  • His powers include superhuman strength, agility, reflexes, and endurance, organic webbing, immunity to Spider-Sense, limited shapeshifting and camouflage, the ability to cling to most surfaces, and can create armor by taking pieces from the armor of others and adhering it to his venom. He also has marksmanship training and hand to hand combat experience from being in the Army.

Otto Octavius, Superior Spider-Man (Earth-616)

  • Literally Doctor Octopus’s consciousness in Peter Parker’s body.

Clone and Kid Spiders

Too many SpidersKaine Parker, Scarlet Spider/Tarantula

  • First introduced as Kaine Parker in Web of Spider-Man #119 in December 1994, and later as Scarlet Spider in Scarlet Spider #2 in April 2012, Kaine is the Jackal’s first failed attempt to clone Spider-Man.
  • As Kaine, his powers included: superhuman strength, speed, agility, stamina, durability, reflexes, and equilibrium, precognitive Spider-Sense, regenerative healing factor, ability to stick to walls, immunity to the worldwide mind-purging of Spider-Man’s identity, and the Mark of Kaine, which allowed him to burn a distinctive scar into surfaces and flesh. The Mark also allowed him to melt Spider-Man’s webs. He also possessed two retractable claws on the back of each hand, called the “Sting of Kaine.”
  • Tarantula possessed four large spider legs, as well as organic web shooters and enhanced strength. He retained all the abilities he had as Kaine.
  • As Scarlet Spider—with the Tarantula form lost—Kaine now has a normal appearance, a perfect clone of Peter Parker. He still has organic web shooters; he can see in the dark and has some form of communication with spiders and insects. Scarlet Spider also retained the Mark of Kaine and the retractable claws.

Too many SpidersBen Reilly, Scarlet Spider/Spider-Man/Jackal

  • Marvel first introduced Ben Reilly as Peter Parker’s clone in The Amazing Spider-Man #149 in October 1975, then as Ben Reilly in Spider-Man #51 in October 1994, then as Scarlet Spider in Web of Spider-Man #118 in November 1994 (one issue before Kaine Parker), then as Spider-Man in Sensational Spider-Man in January 1996, and finally as The Jackal in The Clone Conspiracy #3 in December 2016. In 2017 Marvel resurrected him for the series Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider. He reclaimed his Scarlet Spider identity; Marvel re-branded him as an antihero “starting a spiritual quest to redeem himself as a true hero once more.”
  • His powers include superhuman strength, speed, agility, stamina, durability, and reflexes, high pain tolerance, precognitive Spider-Sense, and the ability to cling to most surfaces. He is also an expert swordsman, and a master at hand to hand combat. He uses large wrist-worn web shooters to fire various projectiles, including strong artificial webbing, sedative stingers, and mini-dot tracers.

Too many SpidersMay “Mayday” Parker, Spider-Girl (Earth-982)

  • May Parker is the daughter of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson. Marvel introduced her in What If 2 #105 in February 1998.
  • Her solo series Spider-Girl was initially the longest-running superhero series with a lead female character ever published by Marvel. Marvel subsequently relaunched her as The Amazing Spider-Girl and later The Spectacular Spider-Girl.
  •  Her abilities are similar to Peter’s, since she inherited her powers from him. Mayday possesses superhuman strength, speed, agility, stamina, durability, reflexes, precognitive Spider-Sense, and wall-climbing. She can also repel objects and people, and possesses bio-magnetism manipulation.

Anna-May Parker, Spiderling

  • Anna-May is the daughter of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson, in an alternate universe where they fight crime as a family. Marvel first introduced her in 2015 in the Secret Wars Mini-series Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #1.
  • Similar to May Parker, she inherited her father’s powers.

Too many SpidersApril Parker, Mayhem (Earth-982)

  • A clone of May Parker created by Norman Osborne. April’s first appearance was in The Amazing Spider-Girl #20 in July 2008. She is the first human/symbiote hybrid clone, but her symbiote is not sentient so she doesn’t have a shared consciousness. Eventually, she becomes part of the Parker family, taking the name April.
  • As a clone, she possesses all of May Parker’s powers, but as a symbiote, her body is entirely malleable. She can form weapons with her hands, extend tendrils from her body, and elongate her limbs and torso. She can also “alter her appearance and produce organic webbing from her symbiote tissue.”

Obscure and/or Short-Lived Spiders

  • Betty Brant, Spider-Girl (Earth-78227)
    • First appearance: What If #7, February 1978
  • Peter Ross, Spider-Boy (Earth-9602)
    • First appearance: Marvel Versus DC #3, April 1996 (unnamed); Spider-Boy #1, April 1996 (as Spider-Boy)
    • Combination-clone of Peter Parker and Clark Kent
  • Bruce Banner as Spider-Man (Earth-70105)
    • First appearance: Bullet Points #4, April 2007
    • Last appearance: Amazing Spider-Man 3 #9, January 2015
    • An alternate reality where Peter Parker becomes Hulk and Bruce Banner becomes Spider-Man
  • Mattie Franklin, Spider-Woman (Earth-616)
    • First appearance: The Spectacular Spider-Man #263, November 1998
    • Last appearance: Silk 2 #17, April 2015
  • Gerry Drew, Spider-Man (Earth-982)
    • First appearance: Spider-Girl #32, May 2001
    • Son of Jessica Drew (Spider-Woman)
  • Max Borne, Spier-Man 2211 (Earth-9500)
    • First appearance: Spider-Man 2099 Meets Spider-Man #1, November 1995
    • Has four mechanized spider arms
  • Aaron Aikman, The Spider-Man (Earth-31411)
    • First and Last appearance: Edge of Spider-Verse #3, November 2014
    • Created mechanized spider-suit
  • Reilly Tyne, Darkdevil (Earth-982)
    • First appearance: Spider-Girl #2, November 1998 (as Darkdevil); Spider-Girl #26, November 2000 (as Reilly)
    • Peter Parker and Reilly had identical DNA; along with teleportation, fire manipulation, and healing factor, Reilly also possesses Spider-Powers
  • Nell Ruggles, Arachnophilia (Earth-31916)
    • First appearance: Squadron Supreme 3 #1, September 2008
    • Last appearance: Squadron Supreme 3 #12, August 2009

Too many SpidersWeb Warriors

  • Jessica Drew, Black Widow
    • Spider-Woman of Earth-1610
    • Clone of Peter Parker
  • Gwen Stacey, Spider-Gwen
  • May Reilly, Lady Spider
    • Spider Totem of Earth-803
  • Miles Morales, Ultimate Spider-Man
  • Pavitr Prabhakar, Spider-Man India
    • Spider-Man of Earth-50101
    • Powers are magical in nature
  • Hobie Brown, Prowler
  • May Parker, Spider-Girl
  • Peter Porker, Spider-Ham
    • Anthropomorphic pig with Spider-Powers
  • Peter Parker, Spider-Man
    • Earth-616
  • Anya Corazon, Spider-Girl
  • Peter Parker, Spider-Man Noir
    • Spider-Man of the 1930s, Earth-90214
  • William Braddock, Spider-UK
    • Leader of the Web Warriors

Some Spiders I Don’t Know How to Categorize

 Too many Spiders

  • Ezekiel Sims, Old Man Spider-Man (4)
  • Peter Parker, Spider-Assassin (8351)
  • Ashley Barton, Spider-Girl/Spider-Bitch (807128)
  • Hobie Brown, Spider-Punk/The Anarchic Spider-Man (138)
  • Peter Parker, Spider-Cyborg (2818)
  • Peter Parker, old Spider-Man with one leg (982)
  • Benjamin Parker, the Scion (982)
  • Peter Parker, Six-Armed Spider-Man/Polymelian (92100)
  • Peni Parker, SP//dr (TRN451)
  • Mangaverse Spider-Man (2301)
  • Takuya Yamashiro, Spider-Man with a giant robot (51778)
  • Peter Parker, Cosmic Spider-Man/Captain Universe (13)
  • Flash Thompson, Captain Spider (78127)
  • Sir Peter Parker, Spider-Knight/Prince of Arachne/Spider Prince (71004, Marvel Fairy Tales)
  • Patton Parnel (TRN450)
  • Peter Parker, Iron Spider (TRN443)
  • Peter Parker, House of M Spider-Man (58163)
  • Spider-Monkey (8101)
  • Peter Parker, Spider-Armor
  • Peter Parker, Fantastic Four Spider-Man (772)
  • Uncle Ben Spider-Man (3145, post-thermonuclear war Earth)
  • Peter Parker, Spider-Wolf (13989)
  • Spider-Man J (7041)
  • Peter Parker, Spider-Moon-Man (449, same as 616 Spider-Man but everyone in New York lives on the moon)
  • Peter Parquagh, Spider-Man 1602 (331, same as 616 Spider-Man but in England in 1602)

Spiders. So Many Spiders!

Too many SpidersSo, in conclusion—if you made it all the way here—are there too many Spiders in the Marvel Universe? Considering I did eight hours of research and still feel like I’m severely lacking in my Spider-List, I’d give a resounding yes, there are too many Spiders. But, I learned more about the Spider-Verse in one day than I ever thought I’d learn in my entire life. So that’s got to count for something.


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About the author

Lauren Boisvert

lauren a. boisvert is a poet from Florida with work published in spy kids review, The Broken Plate, Coffin Corner, and elsewhere. She lives for fandom tattoos, Mystery Science Theater 3000, and still can't believe The Mummy came out in 1999.

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