The Wallcrawler, The Webhead and The Webslinger. TheKing of Taunts and Snark. TheEveryman Hero. The non-sidekick Teen Superhero. Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man!Spider-Man is a Marvel Comics superhero created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in 1962. He is considered to be Marvel's most popular and famous superhero as well as one of the most famous superheroes of all time (along with Superman and Batman).The arachnid-powered Superhero was relatively new to the Marvel Universe when he made his TV animation debut in 1967. Peter Parker, a high school student and freelance news photographer, acquired his powers from a radioactive spider bite. As the web-slinging, wall-crawling Spider-Man, Peter fights crime while trying to keep his identity secret from his widowed Aunt May and from the public at large. The show's main contribution is the Theme Song ("Spider-Man, Spider-Man/Does whatever a spider can...") which has become a popular standard.In the 1970s, a silent costumed actor played Spider-Man on The Electric Company, who only spoke in word balloons viewers were expected to read. Subsequent Animated Series teamed Spider-Man with other heroes, such as Firestar and Iceman. This period saw the beginning of the long-running newspaper comic Spider-Man.Spider-Man was also featured in a short-lived 1970's live-action series (which was pulled when the network noticed that they were running an awful lot of superhero shows at the same time — Spider-Man was a contemporary of Wonder Woman, The Incredible Hulk and The Six Million Dollar Man).A live-action Spider-Man was also produced as a toku series in Japan, which borrowed the costume but little else, and teamed the arachnid hero with a Humongous Mecha. (This series inspired the development of the Super Sentai franchise.)In 2002, Sony Pictures released the first in a series of Spider-Man feature films starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst and directed by Sam "Evil Dead" Raimi. The success of this film helped spark the Marvel superhero movie boom of the 2000's. After three movies in this series, the character's origin was revisited in 2012 with The Amazing Spider-Man.A Broadway Musical based on the characters started production in 2010, called Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. It was originally directed by Julie Taymor and features music written by Bono and the Edge. The production has been plagued with injuries stemming from the stage machinery used to make its titular character swing through the air. After a disastrous series of previews in which critics savaged the show and Julie Taymor's departure from the show, the book was completely rewritten before its much-delayed official debut in June of 2011. Despite the fact that reviews were only marginally better, the show continued to sell well in spite of (or possibly because of) the reputation it gained on Broadway.See also Spider-Man for the comics character, Ultimate Spider-Man for the retooled comic, Spider-Man: The Animated Series for the 1990's show, and The Spectacular Spider Man for the 2000s series.Gottlieb released a pinball machine tied to the comic book in 1980, and Zen Studios released a digital pinball game in 2013. There was a series of video games unrelated to the movies released in the late 1990s and early 2000s, for those, go to Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro. And for the video games actually related to the movies, there's Spider-Man Trilogy.Has a character sheet under construction.
In the Sam Raimi films, Spider-Man's webbing is organic, Gwen Stacy shows up after he starts dating Mary Jane (both of whom have personalities that are closer to each other's comic book interpretations) and there have been a few costume changes (most obviously is the Green Goblin who went from torn purple robes and a rubber mask to a full body green battle suit).
In The Amazing Spider-Man, Peter no longer creates his own web fluid, the Lizard's family is adapted out, Gwen shows up in high school rather than college and is much less stuck up, the Daily Bugle and staff don't appear at all, and Peter himself is much more rebellious.
Aesop Collateral Damage: The origin of Spider-Man is all about this: he refuses to stop a fleeing criminal, and subsequently Uncle Ben is killed by that criminal, teaching our hero that valuable lesson that With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.
Alliterative Name: Stan Lee, Spidey's creator, was the Trope Codifier for the trend, because he found names easier to keep track of if he used alliteration as a mnemonic. Examples include: Betty Brant, Curt Connors, Spencer Smythe, Glory Grant, J. Jonah Jameson, John Jameson, Otto Octavius, Peter Parker, Randy Robertson. Randy's father Joe might also count, since his nickname is "Robbie".
All of the Other Reindeer: Peter got bullied in high school because he was a nerd; meanwhile, Spider-Man gets treated like a criminal by the same media that worships all of the other super-heroes and in the case of J. Jonah Jameson, him treating mutants (the feared and hated minority of the Marvel Universe) better than he does Spider-Man.
Alpha Bitch: Liz Allan started as one of these, before she was Put on a Bus. Like her ex-boyfriend Flash (see above and below), she had become much more mature when Peter runs into her several years later.
Animal Motifs: Spidey and a fair portion of his rogues gallery. Sometimes lampshaded. Deliberately invoked in-universe with Scorpion, who received his powers and codename so he could hunt Spider-Man: in real life, scorpions prey on spiders.
The Anticipator: Spidey is fond of abusing his Spider-Sense for this purpose; he can sense when someone, especially an enemy someone, is coming, and can quickly set up a nice little alleyway confrontation with them. Or simply just not be surprised when someone's behind him; his Spider-Sense averts this trope happening fully to him for the same reason of his power being able to sense when someone hostile is lurking about.
The four that really stand out are Doc Ock (his original archenemy, who reclaims the title occasionally based on what the status of the other three are, helped recently by taking over Peter's body), the Kingpin (who ceased to be archenemy material when he started to focus on Daredevil more), the Green Goblin (killing the love interest does that), and Venom (as his appearance and powers make him a bigger, badder Evil Counterpart to Spidey). Since coming Back from the Dead, however, it's the Goblin who can more or less be considered theArch-Enemy, as he Took a Level in Badass while the others suffered varying degrees of Villain Decay.
Armored Villains, Unarmored Heroes: Spider-Man, pretty much an archetypal skintight-suit superhero, periodically though not invariably goes up against armored opponents of various kinds, such as the Rhino or assorted Spider-Slayer robots.
Ditko's work noticeably improved further into his run. When he was plotting his own stories, his work became more visual.
John Romita Sr's work started out as a close-copy of Ditko's, featuring nine panel pages and such. But as Romita grew more confident with his work and as Ditko's run was further back in the memories of readers, Romita began to space out his work a bit more, allowing for more visual panels, and eventually Romita adopted his own style.
John Romita Jr's work noticeably improved in the interim between his first run with Roger Stern and his second run after the reboot (mostly with J. Michael Stracynski).
Todd McFarlane's work started out fairly standard until proportions and anatomy became more-and-more exaggerated, some would say for the worse. Erik Larsen followed similar trajectory.
Mark Bagley's issue as guest penciller, Amazing #345, was rather rough and the proportions were off and Bagley didn't quite have the character design right. But by the time he'd grown into his role as a regular penciller, his work was so iconic that it was featured on just about every piece of Spider-Man merchandise.
Artistic License - Physics: During the first Sinister Six fight, Spidey grounds himself to make himself immune to Electro's electricity blasts. This actually would make him much more vulnerable to them.
Back from the Dead: Between Carnage and The Green Goblin, it would seem that death is more of an inconvenience than anything. Though the Goblin is notable for lasting twenty-odd years, which seeing as he is an arch enemy is probably a record. Aside from a few cases of impostors and hauntings, Uncle Ben has, however, remained the only Marvel character who hasn't come back.
Gwen Stacy hasn't come back either.
Backstab Backfire: After the Green Goblin killed Gwen Stacy, Spidey tracked him down and beat him nearly to death. Spidey was so angry that he wanted to kill the Goblin, but at the last minute stopped himself. He thought that Osborn was no longer a threat, but Osborn, who was still able to remotely control his goblin glider, positioned it behind Spider-Man and hit the gas, hoping to impale him. Spidey dodged the glider and it hit Osborn instead, killing him. At least, that's how the story originally went.
Badass Bookworm: Spider-Man is a superhumanly skilled acrobat with danger-based precognition and superhuman strength and resiliency (including an ability to block out pain better than ordinary humans). He's also got a high I.Q. and a natural affinity for science.
The Bad Guy Wins: In Amazing Spider-Man #700, Peter fails to reverse the "Freaky Friday" Flip he'd undergone with Doc Ock, and dies in Otto's failing body. Otto remains alive as the new Spider-Man, vowing to be a Superior Spider-Man to Peter, with all of Peter's friends, family, & the superhero community all unaware that the switch occurred. Eventually, Peter came back.
Beware the Nice Ones: Spidey is entirely well-meaning, but in times of severe stress and/or provocation (such as Gwen Stacy's death), he will often fly into Unstoppable Rage, which invariably ends very painfully for the target of that rage. Basically, when he's not wisecracking, the villains had best watch out.
Big Damn Heroes: Spider-Man has been on both sides of this trope, either showing up at the last minute to pull off an amazing rescue (Amazing Spider-Man #261 is just one of many examples), or being bailed out by his superhero buddies, such as when the Sinister Twelve was about to kill him.
Big Good: Downplayed. Although Captain America is the Marvel Universe's Big Good, Spider-Man has proven to have the potential of being as effective a leader as he is and in rare occasions shows more innocence and purity than Steve. If Steve is Marvel U's Soul, then Peter is definitely the Heart. His idealism, which often rivals Cap's obviously, is powerful enough to unite the most cynical of heroes and loathsome villains together and/or bring out the best in them. If he wasn't a Hero with Bad Publicity, he might have fulfilled this trope a long time ago.
Very much downplayed in the greater scheme of things since he tends to be one of the younger heroes on display. To make up for that fact, it is commonly acknowledged that he is extraordinarily experienced as a superhero, especially so for his age. Since he started at 15-16 or so, he has spent at least a decade, including his formative years, fighting evil on a nearly constant basis. Hence comes the wisdom of handing him the reins in a pinch.
In any series that takes place in the future - particularly if it's one that involves successor superheroes, this is taken to its logical conclusion. Most of these timelines depict any heroes' response to Peter as one of reverence — a living legend whose only equal is MU's other living legend (Captain America). And as in his nature, he downplays his importance, though with enough wisdom to use that respect to help younger heroes.
Blow Gun: A group of one-time villains (four criminals who learned to copy Vulture's wings) use those. The curare is fatal for humans — Spider Man is too tough to die, but gets stiffer with every dart and actually comes close to succumbing. The next issue, he has to save their lives when the real Vulture came to town.
Body Horror: At one point, Spidey created a formula to rid himself of his spider-powers, which instead caused him to sprout four extra arms. On no less than three separate occasions he has been forcibly turned into a man-spider hybrid. As if the poor guy didn't have enough to deal with...
Book Ends: In a sense. This◊ was intended to be the cover of Amazing Fantasy #15. Many years later, it ended up being a variant cover◊ for The Amazing Spider-Man #700.
Butt Monkey: Some writers seem to think that the biggest appeal of Spider-Man is that things constantly go wrong for him. As a result, we get countless stories of Peter suffering humiliation, lack of money, sickly aunt, girl trouble, and just all around unpleasantness, to the point that reading the stories can actually get a little depressing. Note that after John Romita Sr started working on the title with Stan Lee, the book became much Lighter and Softer than it had been recently, a move which led most fans to label it as the golden age of Spider-Man.
J. Jonah Jameson, the Shocker, the Jason Macendale Hobgoblin, and others have all shared this role at different times over the years.
Call It Karma: J. Jonah Jameson's attempts to capture and destroy Spider-Man have given him no end of grief over the years.
Camera Sniper: Common, but most of the time it's Peter Parker's own camera on auto-shutter taking the pictures of Spidey in action. But not always.
Canon Discontinuity: A one-off special on child abuse revealing that Peter had been sexually abused.
Carnival of Killers: "Identity Crisis" is about Spider-Man being framed for murder and a $5,000,000 bounty on his head, dead or alive. Eventually he assumes several different costumed identities so he can keep up the superhero game without being harassed, but before he thought of that he was fighting off dozens of bounty hunters every day. The guys after the 5 mil ranged from mundane gun nuts and thrill seekers (like the Hunters) to professionals (like the Dealy Boys) to actual costumed villains (like Override and Aura).
Cat Girl: Western costumed variant in the Black Cat.
The Chosen Many: According to Araņa's series and the The Other, Grim Hunt, Spider Island, and Spider-Verse arcs, Peter is one of a group of arachnid-themed super-powered individuals empowered by a mystical force called the Web of Life, and is theChampion of the totemic spider deity behind the Web of Life, succeeding Ezekiel Sims and to be succeeded by Anya Corizon in the event he turns evil.
Chronic Hero Syndrome: Justified in that he blames himself for his inaction with Uncle Ben when he could have saved him just by stopping the robber earlier, he takes this to the logical extreme and even other superheroes think he needs a vacation at times.
Climb, Slip, Hang, Climb: Ordinarily, this never happens to Spider-Man for obvious reasons, but it does turn up in stories where he loses one or more of his powers and has to fake it.
Close on Title: "The Night That Gwen Stacy Died" does not show its title and splash panel until the last page, in order to prevent readers from finding out too early which Spider-Man character Marvel decided to kill off.
Comic-Book Time: Peter was 15 when he got his spider powers in 1962. Come 2014, he's 28 in-universe.
Commitment Issues: Mary Jane had this vice because of the bad relationships both her parents and her sister and brother-in-law had. Peter proposed to her about three times before she said yes. and then...
Cover Identity Anomaly: In the early 1990's arc where Peter Parker's parents return from the dead, May realizes they're imposters when they refer to the wrong date for their anniversary, indicating that they somehow don't know about their secret wedding several months prior.
Crapsack World: This has been a hallmark of Peter Parker's life for a very long time, although it's perhaps a little more realistic than most depictions when Peter occasionally catches a break every now and again. Character Development would later show that life was no picnic for many of Peter's supporting cast members and even some of his villains.
Curb-Stomp Battle: While Spider-Man's actually on the low end of superhuman physical power in the Marvel universe (he can lift about ten tons, while a lot of other 'strong guys' are in the 50-100 ton range), he rarely uses his full strength, due to most of his Rogues Gallery not being in the same ballpark as him, powers-wise. In particular, the Kingpin was able to hold his own with Peter on multiple occasions due to his mastery of fighting skills and Peter's being unwilling to cut loose. But in the Back In Black storyline, when Aunt May is shot and nearly killed, Peter loses it big time and tracks down the responsible party. When it turns out to be the Kingpin, Peter effortlessly and quite savagely beats the living shit out of him, then informs the battered, broken Kingpin that if May dies, so will he.
While Spider-Man's strength is at the low end of the scale in the Marvel universe, his speed, agility, and reflexes are towards the top, and when you combine all that with his spider-sense (which gives him an enormous advantage in battle), you've pretty much got a nearly unbeatable combination. He holds back so much because he probably spends more time than any other hero except Daredevil just dealing with ordinary criminals committing street crimes, and he's genuinely afraid of killing someone. That being said, most of the people who know him are fully aware of how dangerous he can be when he's really pissed off. Daredevil was nearly unable to prevent him from beating the Foolkiller to death, and the sight of Spider-Man (whom he always known beforehand as being lighthearted and easygoing) being so brutal left a serious impression on Daredevil. In the first Secret Wars, he curb-stomped the entire starting line-up of the X-Men without any particular effort. Later in that same series, he gave such a vicious beating to Titania that she avoided any chance of coming into contact with him for years.
Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Doctor Octopus, the Green Goblin, the Shocker, and Mysterio all invent remarkable inventions that could have earned them large fortunes if they'd used them legitimately. Later subverted by the Sandman, who becomes sick of crime and tries to go straight. He eventually wound up using his powers working for the government of Symkaria under Silver Sable. Spider-Man himself would also end up working for Sable for a little while after she offered him $1,000 a day to do so. Also subverted when Spider-Man actually tries to sell his web formula to a chemical company, only for the executives to reject the offer. Further subverted when Spider-Man saves a banker/stock-broker who cuts Spider-Man a check — only for a bank-teller to deny the check since Spider-Man has no identification.
Osborn is a very good example of this trope, as it is often lampshaded—most notably by the Hobgoblin—that he could be several magnitudes wealthier if he just marketed his stuff, which would give him a lot of the power he is after anyway. It's explained and justified by the fact that Osborn is crazy.
Damsel out of Distress: Go ahead and try to kidnap Mary Jane...call us when you stop hurting from the smackdown she'll give you.
Darker and Edgier: The tone of the Spider-comics has varied widely over the years, ranging from dark, depressing Mind Screw stories to humorous comedic romps.
Dating Catwoman: Literally, with the Black Cat becoming Spider-Man's girlfriend for a couple of years before he married Mary Jane.
It was only a few years in real time, as Mary Jane was only out of Peter's life for a few months in Marvel continuity.
A Day in the Limelight: Different characters related to Spider-Man, such as supporting cast members, villains, and second-tier heroes who first appeared in spider-books have all been developed over the years via subplots and main story-lines or even spin-off mini-series.
Gerry Conway's late 1980's, early 1990's Spectacular Spider-Man run was built upon the concept of "A Day In the Limelight", as far as his run centering around the Joe Robertson, a longtime supporting cast member of Spider-Man. Similarly, the only Spider-Man stories by loathed writer Howard Mackie that are liked by fans are the ones that had Howard focusing on the supporting cast members.
Deconstruction: The series has always had elements of this, long beforeAlan Moore wrote Watchmen. Notably, the series frequently showed how being a superhero would create problems, and how not using your superpowers would create even more.
Also a front runner in the idea that if someone decided to be an ideal hero/citizen/human being, it would have serious ramifications on their social, romantic, family, and professional life.
Delivery Not Desired: Peter records a message to the deceased Gwen Stacy, reflecting on his time with her and explaining she's the reason he's always a bit blue around Valentine's Day. When his wife Mary Jane hears him, rather than be upset that he's talking to his lost love, she understands and asks him to say hello for her.
Derailing Love Interests: Happens to Mary Jane. A LOT. Basically, whenever a writer wants to break them up, they'll try to do so in a way to make Peter look like a victim so he can angst over it. First time was her rejection of his proposal and shallow break up with him (though while MJ was yet to finish her character development and was a bit shallow, it was STILL very out of character for her to be so unapologetic about it), second time was serious bitchification before then killing her off (didn't last, fortunately), third time was, AFTER they already broke up, they decided to have One Moment in Time to explain that it was all MJ's fault, and wrote her as an emotional trainwreck who was ready to break down from stress. Thankfully, only some fans take these at face value and blame MJ for the bad writing.
Determinator: No matter how hard he gets beat down, or how bad his life can get, Peter never gives up.
Distaff Counterpart: At last count, Spider-Man has had no less than five of them, including his own daughter. Unlike most versions, none of them had any major connections to Peter and stood on their own. In fact, in an odd inversion, when the second Spider-Woman was introduced in Secret Wars, the Marvel EIC at the time wanted him to have a black costume similar to hers. Thus, the black costume was made, leading to the creation of Venom years later.
Some of the villains would get this too, including Sandman and the Scorpion.
Distressed Damsel: Averted by Mary Jane, who typically escapes the sticky situations she finds herself in on her own, and has rescued her husband more than once from his enemies.
Don't Tell Mama: The original Green Goblin uses his last words to beg Parker not to tell his son about who he was. Sandman keeps his mother in the dark about his criminal activities, and Spider-Man goes to some lengths to keep Aunt May ignorant of his identity as well.
Dramatic Dislocation: He once did this in order to put a dislocated jaw back into place after battling Hammerhead. Proportionate strength of a spider + metal garbage bin = ow.
Early Installment Weirdness: The original Stan Lee/Steve Ditko run actually reads quite differently from later versions. The characters, for instance, look quite different. From her more recent depictions, you'd never guess that Gwen Stacy started out as this kind of character. Likewise, her personality was also a good bit colder. Peter Parker himself was drawn to look fairly plain whereas John Romita Sr. made him quite handsome. The tone of the stories was also quite tense, since Peter Parker's secret identity meant that he had no real time to make friends and people saw him as cold and aloof. After Ditko left, it was greatly softened and Peter even had a regular circle of friends and a more stable social life.
Not quite. After Spider-Man saves him, he tells the remnants of the symbiote to shut up. After being exonerated for the crimes he committed as Venom, he met Mr. Li, who offered him a job. Eddie accepted, and when Mr. Li touched him, the remnants of The Symbiote were fused to his immune system, turning him into Anti-Venom.
Evil Counterpart: Venom is often positioned as an evil Spider-Man, making Brock similar to Peter but not accepting Great Responsibility. Currently in the comics, the latest Hobgoblin (Phil Urich) is being made into one.
Doc Ock is also one of these, being a fellow man of science, having an "eight-legged animal" theme, having a freak lab accident as his origin...
Failed a Spot Check: Some common criminals have done this to Spidey. Particularly, doing things like robbing a restaurant he is eating at because they thought the guy in the spidey costume at the corner table is just some guy eating in his pajamas and could not possibly be the real deal.
Failure Hero: This is a slowly growing sentiment, particularly amongst long-time readers who can't fail to notice that any good things that happen to Spidey invariably set him up for a painful fall. He can't even escape it in other Marvel Comics; take one appearance in She-Hulk, where he managed to take Jameson to court for libel, but had to call the whole proceeding off because if Jameson went down, Peter Parker would have to go next, as he had supplied Jameson with the pictures the Daily Bugle had used for their slanderous stories.
Freak Lab Accident: How Andy Maguire, soon-to-be Alpha, got his powers in a parallel to Spidey.
First Girl Wins: Averted. Spider-Man's earliest love interest Betty Brant DIDN'T become his long term love and the two characters have basically settled into being "best friends". Some try to use this fact in the "MJ vs. Gwen" debates to argue that Gwen was Peter's first "true" love or his "one" true love, but the books weren't as simple as that.
Fix Fic: After One More Day showed up, there were plenty of these out there. In-universe this has happened several times to help retcon certain parts of the comic's less than well-received issues.
Freudian Excuse: Several villains were revealed to have these in their backstories. The trope is applied literally in the cases of Doctor Octopus and Electro, who had coddling and stifling mothers, respectively.
Actually Mary Jane was literally a girl next door in the original, as the niece of Aunt May's next-door neighbor. Gwen came from a totally different social background: her father was a respected elder citizen of New York who belonged to the same gentlemen's club as millionaires J. Jonah Jameson and Norman Osborn. Her boyfriend before Peter was Harry Osborn, prospective heir of the latter.
Good Colors, Evil Colors: In the first 25 issues of Amazing Spider-Man where many classic villains debuted, almost all of them incorporate the color green. Chameleon, Vulture, Tinkerer, Doctor Octopus, the Sandman, the Lizard, Living Brain, Electro, the Big Man, Mysterio, The Green Goblin and the Scorpion all had green as a part of their overall look (Kraven the Hunter was the most notable exception). Even villains Spidey fought from other comics like Doctor Doom, the Ringmaster and the Beetle all prominently sported green. The creators may have realized this eventually, as many of the classic villains who debuted in the next 25 issues (Crime-Master, Molten Man, the Looter, the Rhino, the Shocker, Kingpin) started to subvert the trend.
Eddie Brock did this, first as Venom and later as Anti-Venom.
Heroes Want Redheads: Pete's love interests have varied quite a bit in hair color over the years, but the woman he eventually married and his most prominent love interest to date, was the redheaded Mary Jane. Until One More Day that is...
Hero with Bad Publicity: To the point where he's the trope picture. He saves countless people, the entire city, and even the entire universe many, many, many, times, but he will still not get the credit he deserves.
Hurting Hero: Just exactly HOW many ribs has he had cracked? (70% or better caused by Venom — to the point it becomes a Brick Joke.
And if Spidey has a cold or flu you know he will battle a villain with relatively weak superpowers before page 24.
Hypocritical Humor: In one of the earlier issues, Spider-Man, of all people, tells Mysterio to quit it with the sarcasm.
Iconic Sequel Character: Many characters iconic to the Spider-Man franchise don't actually appear until MUCH later in the comic's run than one might think. Mary Jane Watson doesn't have her first full appearance until issue 42, four years into the book. Venom doesn't make his first real appearance until issue 300 in 1988 over 25 years of publication later.
It makes sense considering that the Spider-Sense is not infallible. Pete has misinterpreted it at times and been too distracted or in too bad of a condition to pick up on it clearly at other times. It is danger precognition... not omniscience. At one point it was triggered by his own sneezing when he was suffering a truly awful cold.
Informed Ability: Some Marvel Databooks states that Spidey can lift and support the weight of around 10 tons, and yet many writers had Spidey struggle with situations that his Super Strength could easily do the work; common examples are when he is saving people from some catastrophe that wrecked the city, so there are civilians stuck in cars (inside or under them) and debris, much of the time he is struggling to lift some car or piece of concrete that can't weight over a ton and half. It seems Peter can only do justice to his informed strength when he is in Determinator mode, he has supported the weight of collapsing buildings more than once, which in itself is much more than he could possibly endure. Of course, databooks aren't always reliable.
It Began with a Twist of Fate: It varies based on universe and continuity, but Spider-Man generally gets bitten by a certain spider and gains his superpowers through a genuine twist of fate—by simply being in the right place at the right time.
Jack of All Stats: Various other heroes outrank Spidey in combat skill, intelligence, speed, reach or strength, but he's got enough skill in all these areas to handle most situations and bad guys.
Jerk Jock: Flash Thompson. Later subverted in that he smartened up and returned from his overseas military service a much better man. Then Green Goblin put him in a coma and he developed amnesia and lost all memories from the point that he entered the service. Luckily, he reverted back when he rejoined up and lost his legs.
Kayfabe: The comics treated the fight between Peter and the wrestler as real; Grandfather Clause meant that the first movie followed this as well, though it was explained in issue #14 of Spider-Man's Tangled Web that Crusher Hogan was actually a "shoot" wrestler—in which the outcome of the match is not scripted.
Knockout Gas: Enemies of Spider-Man have used it from time to time. Mysterio, Kraven, the Chameleon, the Hobgoblins, and Green Goblins are all culprits.
Lampshaded in "The Amazing Spider-Man #46", Just as Spider-Man is wondering where to start looking for The Shocker (A vibration based villain) He spots a cop in a police call box reporting strange tremors, causing Peter to say.
Spider-Man: "Boy! if it had happened that easy in a movie, I'd say it was too phony!"
Laser-Guided Karma: J. Jonah Jameson's poor treatment of Peter Parker and his financing attempts to capture/kill Spider-Man have repeatedly come back to haunt him.
Look Ma, No Plane!: Spider-Man swings by helicopters all the time. In the game of the second movie, you end up chasing one... if you go too close to the rotors, exactly what you'd expect happens.
Loser Protagonist: Part of the appeal is that, rather than being a millionaire playboy or any other kind of extra-awesome person that other superheroes are, Peter's a normal guy that has to deal with the same mundane problems as anyone else.
Magic Meteor: The Looter's whole shtick was stealing meteorites for their power-granting ability.
Make Them Rot: Carrion, a minor enemy, has the ability to cause organic matter to rot with a touch.
Meta Origin: The spider that bit Peter was revealed to have given powers to two others, Silk (who was also bitten) and the Thousand (who ate it in a bid to become superhuman, explaining what happened to it).
Money, Dear Boy: invoked This is what Peter Parker first thought of using his spider-powers for, before it resulted in Uncle Ben's death. Even then, the first issue of his regular series features him attempting to join the Fantastic Four because he thinks the members get paid.
Dr. Octopus tends to jump around from being the strongest around, to destroying New York / The World, to ruling New York / The World, proving he's the smartest, or being a crime lord. Justified when you take his brain damage into account.
Not quite Motive Decay when you consider his originalEvil Plan was to... hold some hospital staff hostage, followed by some odd scheme to take over a nuclear power plant and rebuild it in his own image, for a purpose whose details were never specified. He then started committing crimes solely to lure Spider-Man into a fight in order to avenge his past defeats.
Just about every adaptation featuring him has gone out of their way to invert this for Venom, making his dislike of Spidey and / or Peter much more personal, if not any more well-founded.
Mutual Envy: The Spider-Man/Human Torch Trade Paperback "I'm With Stupid" shows their relationship through the years, with the last story, "I'm With Stupid" pointing out the good things they have: Spidey gets to be near all the hot women and also be able to follow Reed without needing a translation into "normal," Johnny gets to have the trappings of fame and go to various universes Spidey would do anything to go to. Or the perks of power "with NONE of the responsibility."
Never My Fault: A lot of folks blame poor Spidey for things they are to blame for themselves.
New Tech Is Not Cheap: Twice with film and comicbook canons, with the expenses of web chemicals and the films' plot-related illegal fusion research spurring on crime.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: When Spidey's rescuing Alpha from The Jackal, he at one point tries to encourage Alpha to free himself. Unfortunately, he makes the mistake of telling Andy that he'd lose his powers if The Jackal managed to drain them from him, prompting Andy/Alpha to break free and state that he would rather die then lose his powers and go back to being a powerless nobody like Jackal's failed clones. It's after this incident that he emancipates himself from his parents and strikes out with the family lawyer for bigger fame and profit, and also became even more conceited than he already was. Not quite the result Peter had hoped for.
No Dialogue Episode: Back in February 2002, Marvel did "'Nuff Said Month". Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #39 sees Peter, Mary Jane and Aunt May trying to live their normal lives, but still struggling with the recent changes to them. Peter Parker: Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #38, meanwhile, saw a gang of criminal mimes going after Spider-Man.
No Ontological Inertia: The Lizard always regrows his right arm when in monster mode, and it just dissolves when he reverts to human.
The Adjectival Superhero: Spidey might have the most adjectives. He has Amazing, Spectacular, Sensational, and his favorite Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. He was called the Bombastic Bag-Man, when he borrowed a Fantastic Four costume with a paper bag as a mask. When Venom acted as him during Dark Reign, Venom was called the Sinister Spider-Man. He is also the Avenging Spider-Man, as a member of the Avengers. And the Fantastic Spider-Man as a member of the FF. And the Superior Spider-Man when Otto takes over as Spider-Man
Not Me This Time: Subverted in that even though Norman Osborn will often deny involvement in a scheme hurting Spider-Man, lazy writing will often retcon him as being the mastermind.
Not So Different: In regards to Alpha, MJ points out to Peter their similarities. Deep down, Peter knew that if it weren't for the tragedy of losing Uncle Ben, he'd probably be doing exactly the same things Alpha was doing then.
Outdated Outfit: Mary Jane for one, but the early Steve Ditko-drawn issues are especially bad for this. Seeing almost all the adult men wearing fedoras, teenage boys wearing bow ties, and girls wearing long skirts is especially jarring by today's standards.
Painted-On Pants: Mary Jane usually wears these. So does the Black Cat, both in and out of costume.
Pair the Spares: It's fairly common for supporting cast members to get bounced around like this. Harry Osborne used to date Mary Jane, but ended up marrying Peter's high school love interest Liz Allen after she hooked up with Peter. Similarly, Flash Thompson has dated Mary Jane, Gwen Stacy, Black Cat, Liz Allen, and Betty Brant, though only Betty and the Black Cat were exes at the time..
Perpetual Tourist: In one story, Mysterio's ultimate goal when he takes over the Maggia is to grab as much money as he can, and "buy an island in the tropics where I can sit under palm trees and drink things out of coconuts".
Phlegmings: Just about every time Venom or some other symbiote-based character appears.
Pick on Someone Your Own Size: Most of the villains Spider-Man met when he was a teenager only developed a hatred for him after he kept getting in their way. One notable exception was the Green Goblin, who intended to make an impression on the New York mobs by capturing Spider-Man, who he thought would be an easy target. It all went downhill from there.
Post Mortem Comeback: The entire robot-disguised-as-parents plan was set in motion by Harry Osborn (Green Goblin II) some time before his death. It gets even better because while Harry eventually forgave Spider-Man and moved on, the last time he was seen (prior to One More Day) was here, on a videotape he'd made, gloating over an enraged Spider-Man.
Put on a Bus: This happened to several characters over the years, ranging from Liz Allan to Flash Thompson to Debra Whitman to Harry Osborn to even Mary Jane herself. It turned out to be a roundtrip, since subsequent writers would bring them all back at one point or another.
Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Apparently turning into a reptile is what turns Curt Connors into a humanity-hating villain. Blame it on that "lizard brain" thing, supposedly.
The Reveal Prompts Romance: With Mary Jane, sorta; its subverted quite a bit in the 616 timeline. They already had a close relationship, previously sorta dated, and Peter had proposed to her once before, and it wasn't Peter who revealed himself to her, she revealed she knew who he was and that she loved him, resulting in him proposing to her. Him being a superhero was actually a turn off (she was Genre Savvy enough to know that dating a hero could result inviolent death and that he could end up killed in action and leave her alone), but couldn't shake her feelings for him and so eventually relented and said yes. the Ultimate Universe and the Raimi films, however, its a straighter example. This is averted in the newspaper strip, where Mary Jane was already seriously dating Peter without having prior knowledge of his duel identity. After Peter revealed who he was to her and proposed, she didnt think twice about accepting.
Rogues Gallery: Just about every adaptation has presented the classic villains (the Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Electro, the Shocker, the Rhino, Mysterio, etc.).
Rogues Gallery Showcase: The original "Sinister Six" story was this more than anything, as the story featured Spider-Man fighting each of his enemies one on one rather in a group.
Played more straight with issue #100, which, if you haven't read it, features Spidey briefly battling various enemies, who call him out on his various insecurities, usually one that they share, finally culminating in his speaking with the recently deceased Captain George Stacy.
Rogues-Gallery Transplant: Several B-list villains who started out fighting other heroes would go on to become recurring spider-foes.
And vice versa in at least one case: Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin of Crime, began as a Spider-Man villain, but is now much better known as Daredevil's archenemy. Mysterio did this once on purpose because the real Spidey wasn't available, and made enough of an impression (notably, he indirectly caused the death of Karen Page) that he arguably still has a place there. He is still mostly a Spidey villain but when he shows up, there is a higher than normal chance that Daredevil will too.
It almost happened with The Sandman. After the first two battles he had with Spidey, he became an almost exclusive Fantastic Four villain for the next 10 years. And later on he had a Heel-Face Turn and temporarily joined The Avengers.
Run the Gauntlet: Spidey's first battle with the Sinister Six was one of these, where he was forced to battle the Vulture, Electro, Kraven, Sandman, Mysterio and Doctor Octopus one after another to save Aunt May and Betty Brant.
Samaritan Syndrome: Big time. After Uncle Ben, Pete has taken much more responsibility for the safety of New York than a hero of his modest power set should have. Other heroes respect the hell out of him for it, but consider it unhealthy.
Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: Subverted in that Flash Thompson matured and became a much nicer guy after he graduated from high school and enlisted in the army. His tour of duty made him a much more intelligent and introspective character.
Screens Are Cameras: The earliest versions of the Spider-Slayer robots worked this way. The robots, piloted remotely by J. Jonah Jameson, would seem to have no technological need to project JJJ's face onto a TV screen mounted on the robot's "head," but that's exactly what they do.
Second Face Smoke: J. Jonah Jameson does this a lot; Spidey has found ways of reversing it on him once in a while.
Second Super-Identity: Spider-Man did this as an entire group of heroes. When Spider-Man was accused of murder during the "Identity Crisis" storyline, he temporarily adopted four other costumed identities to allow him to continue fighting crime without appearing as Spider-Man: Hornet, Prodigy, Ricochet and Dusk. Eventually these personae were adopted by other heroes, creating The Slingers.
Secret Identity: Spider-Man's identity was originally secret, before the Green Goblin found out. Since then, a handful of Spidey's Rogues Gallery have found out that it was Peter Parker, Peter unmasked after proposing to Mary Jane, Aunt May walked in on an unconscious and bloody Peter in costume, and it gradually became an open secret amongst part of the superhero community. Then Civil War came, and Spider-Man publicly unmasked, before One More Day erased the knowledge of Spider-Man's identity from everyone. Since then, none of his villains have found out his identity, but he has revealed it to the Fantastic Four and the Avengers.
Kaine still knows, being a clone of Spider-Man. The Jackal also knows, due to his cloning work. And The Queen knows, since the Jackal is working for her.
Seduction-Proof Marriage: One story has Spidey get kidnapped by a sultry villainess that offers him "anything he wants". He request a solid cage thingy so she'll leave him alone as he was Happily Married to MJ at the time.
Shoo Out the New Guy: Alpha certainly seems to come off as this. Andy has many parallels to Peter, with the major differences being he was an average, underachieving nobodynote Peter at least had the whole 'science geek' thing going for him before he got his powers and after he got them, he never really learned to be responsible with them like Peter had, using them to become famous. He was even given a bit of hype before his appearance and became Spidey's sidekick only to be promptly de-powered by Spidey himself after one mistake too many in the third issue he appeared in, seemingly dropping off the face of the earth. In fact, one of the fuels for his rashness was an in-universe comment on his fansite calling him The Poochie!
Shout-Out: Probably the most of any Marvel character outside of Deadpool, as Spider-Man's quippy nature and slight geekiness makes these easy. It goes far enough that at one point when he shows up in Runaways, and the characters begin to say "Look! It's—" he interrupts with "That's right... I'mBatman."
Sick Episode: Quite a few over the years, invariably right before a major opponent shows up. Kraven the Hunter is a good example.
Sidekick: Spider-Man was notable as one of the first teenage Superheroes to not be a sidekick, but a full-fledged Superhero in his own right. Though he normally works alone (except during team-ups obviously), writers have entertained the idea of giving Spidey a sidekick of his own, most recent being Alpha, though it never lasts.
Sky Surfing: The Hobgoblin and Green Goblin can do this with their respective Goblin Gliders.
Spiders Are Scary: Subverted by his fun-loving wise-cracking personality (unless he's fighting somebody who has seriously pissed him off). That said, his superhuman athletic moves and ability to catch foes by surprise can inspire fear, particularly among common mooks.
The whole One More Day storyline supposedly had everyone forget Spidey's secret identity — yet, strangely, in the first issue of the new FF, every member of the Fantastic Four seems to know Peter Parker is Spider-Man.
Because he told the Fantastic Four his identity in issue #591, after the Human Torch figured out that they used to know it, but now didn't. At the end of the issue, Peter unmasks and they regain their memories from before the mindwipe that occurred in One Moment in Time.
Played straight in the Spider-Island arc, which restores Spider-Man's Spider-Sense, removes the psychic blind-spot that prevents people from knowing who he is, has him hook up with Mary Jane again, and has Eddie Brock lose the Anti-Venom symbiote.
Surprise Jump: In his first appearance (and many subsequent presentations of his origin story), Peter discovers his powers when, distracted by the odd sensations he feels after the spider bite, he nearly gets hit by a car — and reflexively leaps halfway across the street to find himself clinging to the side of a building.
Take That: A big one early in the Big Time storyline towards those who disguise their racism through being adamantly against immigration. The Goblin biker gang justifies their idolization of a known criminal by saying Norman Osborn also was a good businessman who made jobs for "good, white Americans," instead of Asgardians.
Thememobile: Deconstructed with the Spider-Mobile, a vehicle that Spider-Man reluctantly endorsed in the early 1970s. He drove it into the East River almost as soon as he got it, and is hideously embarrassed whenever someone reminds him of it.
Took a Level in Badass: "Kraven's Last Hunt" made Kraven a badass after several decades of being a loser villain. Similarly, Electro was given a major power increase in Amazing Spider-Man #425 to allow him Magneto-esque control over electromagnetic energies, Harry Osborn when he's Ax-Crazy, Roderick Kingsley when he became Hobgoblin.
Since he came back, you could say that Harry is an example of this WITHOUT being Ax-Crazy.
The entire point of "The Gauntlet" story arc was this, giving each of Spidey's classic villains a revisit and making them more dangerous then they had been before.
"The Origin of the Species" arc gives one to Spidey after he almost loses it when he's tricked by the Chameleon to think Lily Hollister's baby was killed while he was trying to protect the baby from villains trying to sell it to Octopus. He then starts to hunt all villains in town to avenge the baby and find the one responsible.
MJ, during her character development and switch from friend to romantic interest. She started packing heat, took fighting lessons, and became far more practical and pragmatic in danger. Notable in the Newspaper comics, when Stan Lee got criticized for always making her a Distressed Damsel, so instead he turned her into a badass who often saves Peter's behind, which may or may not be the reason for her becoming a badass in comics too.
Token Motivational Nemesis: The nameless thief who took Uncle Ben's life isn't mentioned for over a decade, until he returns and dies in the 200th issue of Amazing Spider-Man. His only identified name is 'Carradine', and, thanks to the film, most fans have taken to calling him Dennis Caradine.
The Topic of Cancer: Used as Fate Worse Than Death in one version - It turns out Eddie Brock has cancer which, through hormonal imbalance, causes fits of rage, ruining his life. The symptoms also attract the symbiote to him. The symbiote wants to take over Peter but ends up attached to Brock and unable to switch hosts again. It has the power to stop the cancer from spreading but can't afford to cure it as it relies on it for food - this leaves Brock superpowered, angry and in constant pain - for the rest of his life.
A minor but very creepy villain Styx was at one point called "living cancer" - he was a victim of Playing with Syringes trying to find a cancer cure by way of Acquired Poison Immunity - by exposing him to mutagens. Instead it gave him a power to make anything he touches wither and rot. The experience also twisted his mind - if his ability wasn't limited to reach, he would be an Omnicidal Maniac.
Useless Spleen: In the novel The Venom Factor, Venom states that when he finds whoever is responsible for the murders (that Venom is being wrongly accused of) he will eat his spleen. Spider-Man comments that this is an odd choice of organ to target and that Venom likely doesn't even know where someone's spleen is.
Villain over for Dinner: Aunt May and Mary Jane have a tendency of being visited by Spidey's foes in civilian garb.
Venom visited them both, although Mary Jane knew who and what he was and spent a long time terrified of him. He visited Aunt May as "a friend of Pete's".
Norman Osborn did this a lot, obviously since he was one of the first villains to learn of Peter's secret identity.
Though, a few of these times, even he wasn't aware he was the Goblin.
Norman's son Harry did the same. Once again, Mary Jane was aware of what Harry had become and almost had a Heroic BSOD because of it. Remember, Mary Jane was friends with Harry and even dated him at one point.
Waif-Fu: For all that Spider-Man is a full-blown Lightning Bruiser by any human measure his agility and combat precognition lends itself to this fighting style. It is especially noticeable when the wiry fellow of middling height deals with massive behemoths that seriously outclass him in the bruiser category.
For those who don't understand, Doc Ock, at death's door, reveals that he's Peter Parker, and the Peter Parker we've been following for the last issues was, in fact, Doc Ock in Peter's body. And now, he can't do anything to stop him.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Retroactively done with the Amazing Fantasy Starring Spider-Man mini-series, which bridged the gap between Amazing Fantasy #15 and Amazing Spider-Man #1. In the second issue of the series, Peter meets Joey Pulaski, a teenaged superheroine who he became friends with. She ends up being sent to jail after Spider-Man turns her in for committing a number of crimes, and for the rest of the mini-series, Spider-Man is devastated by the memory of her. Of course, since she was created in the mid-nineties, and her story set between those published in the early 60s, her existence begs the question "why haven't we heard of her until now?". The only time she ever appears is in the one story, and her existence is never explored again.
This happens a lot with these retro-active issues. The other villains in the same mini-series (a man named Undertaker and a suppervillain named Supercharger), despite being Spider-Man's first supervillains, never get any mention (indeed, the Chameleon is still toted as Spider-Man's first supervillain in the comics), and the original villains for Untold Tales of Spider-Man generally have never reappeared. The exception to this is The Scorcher, (Spider-Man's first black villain), who died within the series.
Ironic in the fact that Spidey actually predated Wolverine with this type of exposure.
At this point Spidey may have passed even Wolverine and Deadpool in over-saturation as he is now either a member or guest-starring with the three big teams in the Marvel Universe—including the X-Men, the Avengers (both teams), and the new Fantastic Four (known as the FF); plus his own book is released twice a month.
Spidey has been making guest appearances for quite a while, as he is the most popular superhero. He didn't dramatically grow in exposure in a short time simply to sell copies though. He also doesn't take over the entire book. His roles vary.
The Worf Effect: Seems to get knocked around by his enemies more often than other heroes. Then again, he usually comes back to win, so the Effect isn't as bad as it otherwise would be.
If anything, you could argue it's an inversion: Spidey gets knocked around all the time (and often fights enemies who are much stronger and/or larger than he is) to show that he's weak and spindly. But wins anyway.
Wouldn't Hit a Girl: When he first met Princess Python, Spidey lamented that he couldn't hit her. Itwasthe 1960's, after all. Later averted with female villains like Moonstone and Titania, who Spidey doesn't hold back against.