These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Battle-hardened self-taught warrior using a combination of wit, intelligence, strength, and bitter experience to become a dangerous foe? Or young, inexperienced, naive newbie who can't keep his mouth shut? Even the writers aren't sure.
Not that these are in conflict as it is very plausible to imagine the latter during his early years and he starts becoming the former.
In his review of One More DayLinkara paints a chilling picture of Spidey. According to him, despite his Anvilicious motto, Peter is largely irresponsible of any actions that befall his friends and loved ones under the guise of Spider-Man. He never takes the time to make any long term plans in life nor to to help his family in the time of his death, like getting health and life insurances. Instead, he prefers to make excuses and be mopey about how being Spider-Man ruins his personal life. The conclusion is that Spider-Man is nothing but a Man Child whose only reason of existence at this point is being an Escapist Characterfor Marvel writers (See Escapist Character below). Finally, Linkara argues that the character needs to be written like a proper adult already, since he's been out of high school for decades, both in Real Life and (to a lesser extent) in comic time.
Not for decades. About four years of real world time is one year in the Marvelverse, so it's only been a decade,
A recent /co/post◊ has suggested the idea of J. Jonah Jameson as a Secret Secret Keeper who is tough on Spider-Man in order to motivate him to keep working harder in defending the city. Other interpretations:
Jameson is a huckster, and the Bugle is a borderline-tabloid, which he uses for his anti-Spidey crusade regardless of facts.
Jameson is the Butt Monkey, just there for comic relief.
Jameson is a good, honest newspaperman, and the Bugle is a good paper, he just happens to have a bug up his butt about Spidey.
Jameson is a psychopath who has commissioned the creation of supervillains and lethal anti-Spidey robots, and he should be in jail.
Carnage has shades of this; he's seen as a Generic Doomsday Villain by some fans, why other appreciate him precisely for the same reason. Also, does he actually have feelings for Shriek, or is she just a useful tool he'll eventually dispose of? The Carnage miniseries implied it's a combination of the two.
Anvilicious: "With great power comes great responsibility". Yes, Uncle Ben, we got it! You don't need to repeat that Aesop at every adaption and alternate universe and at least twice and thrice a year!
Though it must be noted that in the original Steve Ditko books, this motto was never directly attributed to Uncle Ben himself, it was mentioned in the final caption of Amazing Fantasy #15. The early issues did not dwell greatly on the motto either, focusing to show the conflict in Peter's daily life instead.
Ass Pull: Flint Marko's Face-Heel Turn. After spending nearly two decades (close to half of his existence) as a good guy, he showed up in the relaunched post-Clone SagaAmazing Spider-Man as a villain again for no explained reason. It took a retcon (see Brainwashed and Crazy on the character page) to explain why he was evil again and ever since then he's gone back to being something closer to an Anti-Villain.
Better Than Canon: Some fans consider alternate universes such as Spider-Girl and even the Newspaper Strip to have a better grasp of Spider-Man's life story than the mainstream 616 comics.
Black Hole Sue: Aunt May at times. More than once someone has argued that May is the "most important person" in Peter Parker's life, which tends to lead to a lot of creepy associations. In reality, she largely tends to be the person Peter structures his life around, all the while making him feel guilty whenever he lives his own life. A recent story said that Peter's "greatest sin" was running off the night of Uncle Ben's death to bring in his murderer and not sticking around to comfort Aunt May. Because Peter couldn't have been dealing with any emotional problem of his own.
Spider-Man's marriage, between those who saw it as the natural evolution of the character to those who think it "ruined him forever". The latter, it's not so much that they didn't like the change that One More Day came about, but rather just hated the way they went about (un)doing it.
Carlie's elevation to Love Interest not so long after One More Day has understandably caused dissension over whether she's a good potential romantic interest, or if she's just the symbol to enforce the new Status Quo.
There's also a lot of debate about Peter's portrayal since the launch of Brand New Day.
Norman Osborn, one of Spidey's Arch-Enemies (along with Doctor Octopus and Venom), graduated to Complete Monsterdom following his resurrection in The Nineties. Once a Tragic Villain who suffered from a Split Personality that forced him to become the Green Goblin, Norman was apparently slain after he threw Spider-Man's girlfriend, Gwen Stacyoff a bridge, in what many fans saw as his Moral Event Horizon. Brought Back from the Dead in the nineties, Norman revealed that he had been the mastermind behind the Clone Saga, buried Aunt May alive and killed Peter's clone, Ben Reilly, while gloating that he could now remember all the crimes he'd committed as the Goblin and was proud of them. Since then, he has gone on to be a major player in the Marvelverse, masterminding the creation of the Dark Avengers. During this time period, he kept the Sentry in line via drug addiction (then had his wife killed), planned to have the captured Songbird decapitated (so that he could mount her head on the wall and masturbate to it), and deliberately triggered a war with Asgard by having the U-Foes attack Asgardian warrior Volstaag in a football stadium, resulting in thousands of casualties. During this time, he also seduced and impregnated his son Harry's girlfriend, then plotted to have Harry killed, because he thought Harry's tragic death would earn him public sympathy. These, by the way, are all actions committed by the Norman Osborn persona; the Green Goblin persona remains an Axe CrazyMad Bomber who regularly endangers/kills hundreds of civillians during his battles with Spider-Man, and, in commemoration of Gwen Stacy's death, tried to recreate the tragedy with Mary-Jane Watson, Peter's then Love Interest, as the victim. As Norman Osborn he's a cold-blooded, calculatingpsychopath who treats everyone as a means to an end. As the Green Goblin he's a violent lunatic who threatens every person in the vicinity.
Cletus Kasady was a psychotic, prolific Serial Killer even before he bonded with a bloodthirsty alien symbiote and took the name of Carnage; as a child, he killed his grandmother and pet dog, tortured his mother, killed the headmaster of his orphanage with a lead pipe, and then burned the orphanage down, and pushed a girl he had a crush on in front of a bus because she rejected him. As Carnage he became one of the worst enemies of Venom and Spider-Man both with his psychotic killing sprees through New York where he murdered anyone unfortunate enough to cross his path and if not for Venom and Spider-Man he would have killed thousands more. During the Maximum Carnage event, Carnage created a "family" of fellow super villains, using their powers to drive New York into homicidal insanity and to capture his "father" Venom, in whose captivity Carnage subjected to horrible torture. Not even his own family was safe from Carnage's psychosis and he brutalized his "wife" Shriek for ignoring his instructions before murdering their "son" Doppleganger when he tried defending her. Carnage has a habit of returning from death, always nastier than before, and the intense evil of Cassidy and the symbiote together results in one of Peter Parker's most murderous enemies.
Mary Jane in the comics is an inversion: Most of the fans like her and want stories featuring her, while creators (especiallyJoe Quesada) hate her and are willing to ruin the franchise to get rid of her. This might be because they were readers when they were young, when MJ became the target of Die for Our Ship from Gwen fans following Gwen's death, and MJ and Peter's marriage became a Base Breaker move. As MJ went through massive amounts of character development and became a much more beloved character, a combination of lazy writers using her in uncreative ways during The Clone Saga and old hatred of her and/or the marriage led to people like Quesada gaining control over the writing.
Carlie Cooper, however, has been playing this frustratingly straight:
Introduced at the start of the BND reboot, she was quickly established as being Peter Parker's next love interest. Initially she started off as a minor character who just happened to have a crush on Peter, but recently writers have been cranking it up how much she's perfect for Peter, having both Peter complain about not being worthy of her and Mary Jane telling him he needs to hook up with her. Oh, and did we mention she's named after Joe Quesada's daughter?
Also, she's coming off as a Composite Character to many. Tries hard to invoke the Nerds Are Sexy trope, presumably so that she's "on the same intellectual level" as Peter or some such nonsense? Deb Whitman. Has a tragic past involving her father (really, couldn't even make it the mother? Or another authority figure?), that really doesn't come off as being as bad as MJ's was. Touted as being the "perfect girl" for Peter, being idolized (this time by people in-universe, as opposed to in fans' memories). Gwen Stacy (fans hope she will complete this set by dying) Falling in love with "plain ol' Peter Parker?Mary Jane again.
However, there's a light at the end of the tunnel: the recent Spider-Island storyline ends with Carlie breaking up with Peter precisely because he didn't tell her he was Spider-Man, while Mary Jane gets closer to Peter. The comic also focuses on Carlie's negative traits and MJ's positive ones: when people in New York start developing Spidey's powers, Carlie uses hers to play around while MJ helps Peter and the Avengers fight the Big Bad.
Unfortunately, she's still not going anywhere anytime soon. Despite having had broken up with Peter, Carlie is still sticking around in the book. In addition, she's starting to pop up in other books like The Punisher. Not only won't she go away, she's being featured in more titles despite an utter lack of enthusiasm on the part of the readers. And if you were thinking that she'd be portrayed in a negative light, the creators insist that she - out of anyone else in the books - is perhaps the "sanest" member of the cast.
Oh, and let's not forget, in Superior Spider-Man, she is the first person to figure out that Peter is obviously acting incredibly out of character and decides to investigate. Not Mary Jane, the love of his life who has discovered other Spider-Man impostors on her own before. Not Aunt May, the woman who raised him. Not even the freaking Avengers, who have fought side by side with him for years! This woman is the one who figures it out, in the most simple way possible. You want to know how? She follows Spidey's money trail that he's using to pay for his minions and gear, and it belongs to Otto Octavius. The main character, who many criticize for being a Villain Sue, made such a stupid mistake, and yet nobody figures it out but Carlie.
This one might be justified by the fact she does work for the police.
Many detractors towards Dan Slott tend to paint his usage of Spider-Man villain Doctor Octopus as this, especially after he became the Superior Spider-Man. A major complaint by fans toward this end is that Otto's thus-far-successful attempt at hijacking Peter Parker's life has less to do with him being clever and strategic, and more with all of Peter Parker's friends, allies, and family becoming total, brain-dead idiots, with the plot at times bending over backwards to keep Otto from getting egg on his face.
Mary Jane Watson, to the point that a large majority of the book's fanbase consider her and not Aunt May to be the most important person in Peter's life.
Toxin was also one. Shame that he suffered from Chuck Cunningham Syndrome for so long, and when he returned, the symbiote was acting like Carnage while the host of the suit was nowhere to be found.
To a lesser extent, Toxin's father Carnage and grandfather Venom.
J. Jonah Jameson, when he's written as a multi-dimensional character. There's a reason why fans complain loudly when a writer decides to write J.J.J. as a borderline psychopath obsessed with destroying Spider-Man.
Flash has become the new, heroic Venom and has his own ongoing series.
Mr. Negative is one of the better liked new villains from BND.
The Shocker. A goofy costume, a Nonindicative Name (his powers are based on vibration and air blasts, not electricty) and a reputation for being a bit of a joke thanks to outside media and Ultimate Spider-Man. Yet thanks to his Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain and his more pragmatic approach to villainy (and perhaps being a big part of the '90s cartoon) fans absolutely love him. So much so that when Marvel ran a poll asking fans to pick the next member of the Thunderbolts, Shocker won quite handily in a poll that included characters like Sandman and Absorbing Man.
There's also Sophia Sanduval, aka Chat: Spidey's girlfriend from the Marvel Adventures Spider-Man series. Generally down to earth, sweet, supportive of Peter/Spidey and a generally likable and entertaining companion a lot of people consider her one of Peter's best love interests. So much so that when the series was eventually cancelled the biggest lament was that there would be no more Chat.
Ben Reilly is actually decently popular if only because he was much more mature during the Clone Saga than Peter, whose solution to everything was to Wangst about it.
Escapist Character: Arguably one of, if not THE top reason of why the character became so popular, despite all the Deconstructions he's been through. Yeah, his life and luck might suck way more often than anyone in their right mind would like to, but all the excitement that comes with it would be worth it in the eyes of many (if not ALL). For a lot of people, even the drama itself would too, in a Soap Opera kind of way.
Some fans get really upset if you leave out the hyphen and spell it as one word - And it's rather common that non-comic fans do so. This even applies in universe, as Spidey himself thinks it makes him sound like the Jewish family down the street - Honey, let's have the Spidermans over for dinner. It's so bad that an episode of Friends had Phoebe & Chandler actually discuss this.
Chandler: Because it's not his last name.
Phoebe: It isn't?
Chandler: He's not, like, Phil Spiderman. He's a Spider-Man. Like Goldman's a last name, but there's no Gold-Man.
Curiously averted in Spain. The official name for the character there (used in all comics and all that) is "Spiderman" with no hyphen. It's a long story, but it became so natural to Spaniard fans (And there are A LOT of them) that when the Marvel HQ started supervising foreign editions more closely, they told the Spanish publisher to use the hyphen, and they asked them back to let them continue spelling the name without the hyphen. And it still continues to this day.
Harsher in Hindsight: An issue of the Green Goblin series had Phil Urich (the heroic GG) being terrorized by apparitions of the Green, Hob, and Demo Goblins, which taunt him by saying that no matter how good he tries to be he's doomed to inevitably go insane and become evil. They were right.
Roderick Kingsley has managed to trick Spider-Man and the Kingpin into believing the Hobgoblin was deceased Daily Bugle reporter Ned Leeds for a good ten years real time before being caught. He then blackmailed the Green Goblin into breaking him out of prison, and lived in luxury in the Caribbean. Now he's taken the late Justin Hammer's place as the world's premiere supervillain provider. Not bad for a guy who was originally a fashion designer.
For Doc Ock, his recent outings include firstly, trying to destroy 90% of the world so the remaining ten percent will remember him as the greatest monster that ever lived, and now he's swapped minds with Peter, leaving Peter trapped in his crippled body as he runs free with all of Peter's memories, allowing him to restart his relationship with MJ and live his life without anyone being any the wiser. Though some fans insist that neither May or Mary Jane would be fooled by this, especially since May once correctly deduced two people posing as Peter's parents were phonies, and MJ has figured out other people have impersonated her soul mate like Chameleon and Kraven.
It was teased, in-universe, with a drunken Carly Cooper deciding to get a Green Goblin tattoo to upset Peter when she was mad about him lying about going on a business trip. Keep in mind, that Carly outright declares "Peter hates Osborn!" but seemingly ignores that he hates him for killing Gwen Stacy, his girlfriend at the time that he was very much in love with, and being an all round abusive father to Harry; and that Carly was also friends with Harry and was retconned into being Gwen Stacy's childhood bestfriend before that. She ultimately gets a Spider-Man tattoo instead.
My Real Daddy: DeMatteis' work on Kraven and his kids has clearly influenced every subsequent story about the character.
Narm: Spidey himself flies past Large Ham and straight into this in the first issue of Marvel Knights Spider-Man, during his fight with the Green Goblin. "WHO'S YOUR DADDY NOW, MR. OSBORN?! WHO'S YOUR DADDY NOW?!"
And more after it, such as Spidey somehow being dumb to realize he was drinking alcohol and not soda as he first thought, resulting in a one night stand.
Surprisingly averted when he backhanded a pregnant Mary Jane. Though long-time fans understandably criticize this one moment, you're not likely to find any writers willing to reference it in any way. Hank Pym would surely and understandably be envious of that.
Most media portrayals forever portray Flash as the Jerk Jock.
Also, Peter's Wangsty behavior during "The Clone Saga", Mary Jane once leaving him and turning down his marriage proposal, Venom's cannibalism, and Harry's drug addiction are all pretty minor parts to their character, yet some people don't seem to realize that. The first ends up being an overly cited problem with Spidey books, the second is probably a major cause for Mary Jane's status as a Base Breaker, the third ends up being the defining trait of Ultimate Venom, and the fourth, surprisingly, is handled pretty well by writers when they want to.
Chameleon's getting beaten up by a baseball bat wielding Mary Jane generally weakens the threat of the character.
Venom getting defeated by Spidey using a Zippo lighter.
Padding: The comics back in the mid-90s were really bad at this. Among those were Maximum Carnage (which was 14 parts, compared to the 3 parts the creature's first appearance took) and The Clone Saga, which was meant to last 6 months and lasted two years. Clone Saga's problem was due to Executive Meddling — the Marketing Department noticed how fans were gobbling up the stories and demanded more.
Ben Reilly. As noted above, we was fairly popular due to his maturity during The Clone Saga, but the idea of him being the original had this effect.
Carlie Cooper, for Mary Jane.
And to some, Mary Jane for Gwen.
The Brand New Day era in general used very few established villains, love interests, or supporting characters, and the replacements for them were widely considered inferior. When Dan Slott brought most of the established characters (including Mary Jane) back, many fans were pleased.
Carnage is this coupled with Broken Base. Some people love him, others view him as a cheap Joker rip-off and a perfect example of everything that was wrong with the nineties.
Norman Osborn after his resurrection, since, to many, he came back by being responsible for a massiveDork Age, then was revealed to have had sex with Gwen Stacy, and being responsible for Dark Reign, which was basically a massive example of why the Marvel Universe is filled with idiots. Needless to say, stories involving him since his return are generally not popular, and the fact that many did not want him back means he is not very popular with Spidey fans, never mind Marvel fans in general (thanks to the aforementioned Dark Reign).
Unlike his fellow heroes, when Spider-Man first came along, he was just a teenager. Teenagers tended to be sidekicks for the more adult heroes, but Spidey was himself the hero. These days, teenage superheroes operating on their own is common place.
Gwen Stacy's death. At the time, it was one of the most surprising developments in comics as a hero's love interest was considered totally safe. After this storyline, other writers would follow suit for other characters, taking the edge off the initial surprise. Once again, now it's common place, so much so it's considered a tired and even sexist cliché.
Sequel Displacement: Gargan is actually Venom III, but Venom II was a complete pansy and didn't last very long, so many forget he existed.
MJ and Gwen, being by far the two most supported love interests:
MJ's fans love her due to her compelling Character Development over the years, her funny personality, her natural chemistry with Peter and the fact that she felt in love with him being completely aware of that he was Spider-Man, but not because of it. Their criticisms to Gwen are her dated and inconsistent characterization during the time she was alive in the comics and the fact that she loved Peter, but hated Spider-Man.
Gwen's fans love her due to her moremodernizeddepictions, which have been arguably better than MJ's, and the fact that she and Peter share their common passion for science. What they criticize about MJ are her initial shallow behaviour and her less-ideal depictions. Previously MJ had unarguably the most support, but recent adaptations have really increased Gwen's popularity and it's not so clear anymore.
Squick: Kraven's daughter, who, instead of Most Common Superpower, was a hot Pettanko chick with rockabilly hair and tight clothing. We later find out she's twelve. Curse you, ambiguous art style!
The Venom symbiote, combined with a douse of Nightmare Fuel when you think a bit about it.
Joe Q. named Carlie Cooper, a love interest of Peter Parker, after his daughter.
Strangled by the Red String: Joe Q. has been shoving Carlie down the throats of readers and pointing out how perfect she is for Peter. The dead give away for this was when Carlie was featured as a main character in The Many Loves of Spider-Man before actually hooking up with him. Dan Slott eventually came to the rescue, broke the two up, and downsized Carlie's role in the book to a more tolerable, less forced level.
How some people feel about Mary Jane and Peter getting together. Right down to some bloggers insisting that OMD is, somehow, an "example" of how 'forced Mary Jane and Peter is.'
Super Couple: Again, Peter and Mary Jane. However, they're unique in the sense that their on and off dynamics aren't intentional to keep the readers interested. Ironically, it's due to the editors wanting to separate them, but their popularity as a couple (and the fact that, with the arguable exception of Gwen, their chemistry and romance are overall far better written than with Spidey's other love interests) just make them getting back together every time. Even after One More Day, the possibility doesn't seem to be completely dead.
In the Mark Millar Marvel Knights Spider-Man, for the first time The Green Goblin and Doc Ock met and... it was disappointing. Really, Ock was drugged up and acting crazier and it was one of the few disappointing parts of the arc.
Gargan's whole career is built off this. First he has an awesome intro where he pummels Spidey to a pulp not once, but twice! And then there's there's the awesome potential that he knows that Jameson helped create him and after he is first defeated Jameson thinks "My secret is safe... but for how long?" Only for people to apparently know about it by the time the Fly comes onto the scene in the 1970's. In Scorpion's second appearance, the second fight is downplayed. And then he seems to have some awesome potential during the twelve issue Mark Millar Spider-Man storyline where he serves as The Dragon to that Big Bad and eventually gains the symbiote. Despite being beaten quickly, it seems like Millar was leaving him with the chance to become something great... only for writers to use him crappily.
The aforementioned Venom II, also from Millar's run. A mobster's son is given the suit to man up, and one of his first acts is to kill a former bully of Peter's after identifying Peter as Spidey at his reunion. What happens? Does this new Venom re-establish the symbiote as a great and dangerous villain, showing why Venom was a compelling villain. Nope, Spidey owns him, he runs, the suit abandons the host, causing him to fall to his death. Sigh.
Some people believe that even One More Day could have worked and deliver a compelling tragedy if only Marvel Editorial hadn't been painfully lazy and hacky about it.
Uncanny Valley: In his earlier appearances, Peter was distrusted for emulating a creepy crawly so well. Throw in his sometimes rather painful-looking contortions, as well as his incessant prattling, and its understandable that he might freak some bystanders out. For example, The Wasp admitted to being creeped out by him.
Villain Decay: When Venom and Spider-Man fought for the first time, Venom almost killed him. A later time they fought, Venom nearly killed him again, forcing Peter to fake his death. When Carnage first showed up, Venom took on both Spidey and the Human Torch (fire being one of his weaknesses). Fast forward a few years to the end of the 1990s. Spidey sends him running scared with a Zippo.
Spider-Man tends to fall into this when written poorly. His "Parker is dead, I am the Spider!" phase in the '90s and One More Day are the most frequently cited examples. He had a lot of this in the early Lee/Ditko stories too before John Romita took Ditko's place. And the Sam Raimi films are pretty guilty of this as well.
The Woobie: Considering what her abusive ex-boyfriend (not Biff Rifkin) did to her, and how Peter frequently blew her off and took their friendship for granted, Debra Whitman is a classic example.
Here's the original from Marvel Super Heroes, and here's the jazzy rendition from Marvel vs. Capcom. Needless to say, fans are hoping that this theme gets remixed for Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (Who do you think they're kidding? Spidey's a shoe-in!).
Ear Worm: The intros of the 1960's Spider Man, 1990's Spider Man and Spectacular Spider Man cartoons.
Fridge Brilliance: In the PS1 game, human enemies seem incredibly slow, taking a while to aim and shoot or simply swing their guns for a Pistol Whip. At first that may just seem like game balance to keep the first few levels from becoming frustrating experiences where you're continually stun locked and gunned down, but Spider-Man has been shown to be fast enough to dodge bullets before. Your simply perceiving humans to be that slow because Spider-Man is that fast.
Venom doesn't get an arrow marker showing where he is unless you're looking at him, unlike everyone else in the game. It's possible that the arrows represent Spider-Sense, and as we all know, Spider-Sense doesn't work on Venom (a fact that Spidey points out in the game).
Inferred Holocaust: After his defeat at the hands of Spider-Man, Cletus Kassady is abandoned by the Carnage symbiote, which then bonds with Doctor Octopus and chases after Spider-Man as the underwater base explodes around them. Considering the fight takes place at the bottom of the lab, it's highly unlikely Kasady managed to escape the explosions, and there's no way he would have survived without the symbiote.
Image Boardslove captioning screen shots of the 1960's animated Spider-Man (1967) series. It helps that the dialogue was already absurd and the animation is hilariously awful.
"I want pictures! Pictures of Spider-Man!"
J. Jonah Jameson is the original image for the Aww Yea Guy.
That One Boss: Venom in the 2000 video game can turn invisible (read: completely disappear) and reappear anywhere. He has several attacks in which he grabs you and takes out approximately a quarter of your health and there's nothing you can do to stop it.
You fight him twice. And the second time, you're on a time limit!