As one of the most popular and longest-running superheroes in history, Spider-Man has had many weird and wild stories in the Marvel Universe. Since the character has been making comics for over sixty years now, the writers were bound to come up with some bizarre ideas for the web-slinger’s adventures.
Even for a person who dresses like a spider and swings across New York fighting all sorts of wacky supervillains, these seven facts about Spider-Man are strange, even for him.
In what is supposed to be Spider-Man’s version of The Dark Knight Returns, Spider-Man: Reign portrayed the hero as a retired old man living alone in a dystopian New York. It is eventually revealed that his beloved Mary Jane died from cancer brought on by Peter’s radioactive sperm.
It’s disgusting to imagine that Peter accidentally caused his true love’s death with his, er, DNA, and it comes across as a cheap way to kill Mary Jane with enough shock value to catch the audience’s attention. Well, it worked, but they’ve pretty much blocked it from their memory since then.
You read that right. After Aunt May takes a bullet meant for him, a grieving Peter gets a visit from a homeless man who reveals himself to be the One Above All, the creator of the Marvel Multiverse. The all-powerful entity spends the day with Peter to try to comfort him in this, his lowest moment.
Though Peter questions why it couldn’t use its infinite powers to save May’s life, the One Above All explains that death is a random but normal part of life and that Peter should continue to have faith. This was a pretty profound moment in Spider-Man’s life, and it could’ve helped him grow if he hadn’t sold off his marriage to the demon Mephisto to save May’s life.
One of the things director Sam Raimi introduced to the Spider-Man mythos was Peter having organic web shooters in his body, as it was more believable for a teenager to have those than having built mechanical web-shooters. This concept was introduced to the comics when the web-slinger fought the Spider Queen, a mutant who can control people with the insect gene.
The Queen infected Peter with a mutagenic enzyme that transformed him into a giant spider by kissing him. Peter was then reborn with organic web shooters after bursting out of the spider’s dead body. Amazingly, this wasn’t the first time something like this happened.
In an attempt to get his old life back, Peter creates a serum to rid himself of his superpowers in the comics. But this had the opposite effect, as it strengthened his powers to the point that he grew four extra arms. Peter then worked together with Dr. Curt Conners (The Lizard) to cure themselves using blood from Morbius the Living Vampire.
It’s a pretty strange story that explores how Peter’s Spider-Man persona has consumed his life and how he learns to accept his powers as both a gift and a curse. In some media adaptations, Spider-Man went a step further and mutated into the wild Man-Spider, and a What If … ? showed that Peter could’ve saved Gwen Stacy’s life and defeated villains like Mephisto and Thanos if he kept having six arms.
Many people think that Peter getting bitten by a radioactive spider was an accident. However, it turns out that in the comics, Peter was chosen by a totemic spider deity called the Great Weaver to be its avatar through the spider that bit him.
While this retcon somewhat undermines the idea that anyone could have become Spider-Man, it arguably makes the character much more than a street-level hero. Apparently, Peter’s power comes from the Web of Life and Destiny, a cosmic construct that links every universe together and gives him his precognitive “spider-sense,” making him one of the most important heroes in the Marvel Universe.
Cindy Moon, a.k.a. Silk, was introduced to Marvel Comics as a teenage girl who was also bitten by the spider that gave Peter his powers. The two of them meet years later when Peter frees her from the villain Ezekiel Sims, and they soon discover that they are strongly attracted to each other because of their shared “spider-sense.”
From then on, they were going at it like spiders bitten by radioactive rabbits, making for one of the webhead’s weirdest relationships to date. Seeing how this animalistic urge to be with each other may have been the main reason these two started dating, it’s no surprise their romance didn’t last long.
Fans have wondered why Spider-Man’s name has a hyphen in it at least once in their lives, as the hero often stresses that’s how his name is spelled.
Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee tweeted that he put the hyphen in the hero’s name because he wanted to make sure nobody would confuse the web-slinger with Superman (because apparently, wearing a mask, not having a cape, and shooting webs weren’t big enough differences back then). This hyphen may seem pretty insignificant, but it’s still hard to imagine Spider-Man’s name without it.
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