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YMMV: Spider-Man

Examples from Spider-Man in Comics

  • Accidental Innuendo: This Spider-Man cover. Whoa Petey, cold shower much? It's supposed to be his knee, but damn, bad placement. Made worse by the two Jail Bait girls in the background.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • 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 Day Linkara 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 Character for 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 over a decade in comic book time, and almost four decades in Real Life.
    • Just... take a look at this series of essays on the Goblin...
    • 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.
    • Lampshaded by "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Ode to a Superhero"note :
    "With great power Comes Great Responsibility"
    That's the Catch Phrase of ol' Uncle Ben
    If you missed it, don't worry, they'll say the line
    Again and again and again...
  • 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 Saga Amazing 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.
  • Author's Saving Throw: Within eleven months, Dan Slott's run undid the majority of the plot developments fans disliked about the One More Day/Brand New Day era, with the exception of the actual Cosmic Retcon itself. Quesada being promoted to a position with more power in the company but less influence over the stories probably helped this.
  • Base Breaker: Mary Jane Watson. An interesting case because the split largely occurs between the audience and the creators. Most of the fans love her, while many at Marvel hate her.
  • 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.
  • Broken Base:
    • 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.
    • Gwen Stacy vs. Mary Jane is the debate that will never end. Ever.
    • Black Cat/Felicia Hardy Vs. Mary Jane as well, for that matter.
  • Cant Unhear It: Go on, try to not imagine Josh Keaton's voice coming out of Spidey.
    • Similarly, who else can you hear delivering J. Jonah Jameson's lines but JK Simmons?
  • Complete Monster: With the franchise having been around so long, Spider-Man has faced many foes. However, a few members of Spidey's Rogues Gallery stand out.
    • 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 Stacy off 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 Crazy Mad 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, calculating psychopath 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.
    • Oneshot villain Carl King, a.k.a. The Thousand, definitely fits the bill. A particularly vicious childhood tormentor of Peter Parker who happened to be at the demonstration where Pete was bitten by a certain radioactive spider. He quickly put two-and-two together and decided to get spider-powers of his own by eating said spider. Instead, he was transformed into a colony of a thousand oversized spiders with the ability to crawl into a human body, eat the host's organs, musculature, and bones from the inside out, and wear their skin like a suit, mimicking both the victim's mannerisms and voice. The first person Carl "possessed" in this fashion was his own mother; the second, who he killed intentionally and for no reason, was his father, and the imagery implies that he killed his dad after having sex with him. Since then, he has come to the conclusion that he should have been Spider-Man rather than puny Parker, and has gone through around a dozen bodies every year, several of which were children, in order to become strong enough to overpower Spidey and steal both his body and his life.
  • Crazy Awesome: Jameson once yelled at GODZILLA.
  • Creator's Pet:
    • Mary Jane in the comics is an inversion: Most of the fans like her and want stories featuring her, while creators (especially Joe 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.
    • Silk is quickly on her way to becoming this. She's constantly played up by others, became Peter's new girlfriend in barely a few issues, has all of Spidey's powers but better, and even got her own ongoing even though fans by large despise her.
  • Creepy Awesome: The first Venom, when his creepiness isn't being flanderized anyway.
  • Dork Age: Hoo boy, Spider-Man is arguably the character most hit with this trope in comics history, with only the X-Men possibly coming close. The Clone Saga, the events in his life during Civil War, One More Day, One Moment in Time and Brand New Day are basically the worst periods in Spider-Man history. Some feel that Superior Spider-Man is also this, but that's more Broken Base.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Several villains, especially Dr. Octopus and Venom.
    • On a related note, J. Jonah Jameson, many fans root for him even at his most bigoted anti-Spider-Man rant believing him to be absolutely right about that "menace".
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Spider-Man himself started out this way for the Marvel Universe. Stan Lee had considerable trouble convincing publisher Martin Goodman to let him try the character out, and was eventually able to stick him in the final issue of Amazing Adult Fantasy (renamed Amazing Fantasy for that one issue). It was only after Goodman saw the huge sales figures for the comic a few months later that a solo series was green-lit, which allowed Spider-Man to quickly surpass The Fantastic Four as Marvel's flagship character.
    • 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.
    • A lot of the new supporting cast members introduced by Dan Slott like Max Modell are pretty popular amongst fans.
    • Of all of Slott's additions, Anna Maria Marconi has become probably THE most popular one. Most people agree that she's one of the best things to come out of the Superior Spider-Man arc. Fans consider her extremely likable, well-written and that Slott treated her dwarfism with impeccable good taste.
    • Roderick Kingsley is considered by fans to be the only Hobgoblin worthy of the title. There was mass rejoicing amongst fans when he was reintroduced into the story and got to take down the most recent pretender to the throne in the process.
    • The Gwen Stacy Spider-Woman from the Edge of the Spider-Verse storyline produced a frenzy of excitement based on little more than a really cool costume. It took Marvel less than a month after she finally appeared in a comic to announce that she was getting a solo series.
  • 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.
  • Evil Is Cool: Pretty much everyone in Spidey's Rogues Gallery that isn't deliberately made lame for humor. Harry, Norman, Octopus, Venom, Hobgoblin, Kraven, etc.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Harry, Octopus, Venom (even in-universe, apparently).
  • Fandom Berserk Button:
    • 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.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: There's essentially three pairings for Spidey that fans find acceptable:
    • Spider-Man/Mary Jane, probably one of the longest running Official Couples in comics and still.
    • Spider-Man/Gwen Stacy, who were a couple at one point but are usually delegated to being Just Friends nowadays (though there are some exceptions).
    • Spider-Man/Black Cat. They actually have hooked up a few times but it never sticks.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain:
    • Electro.
    • Mysterio's fishbowl has been the source of many a joke. Ultimate replaces it with flames, and Shattered Dimensions with a distorted mirror.
    • Shocker is brought to you by Serta! Arguably a case of Tropes Are Not Bad, since his goofy costume is part of why fans love him.
    • Green Goblin's suit hasn't exactly aged well. Some artists can make it look genuinely creepy or cool, but largely, its kinda been in need of a serious update for a while.
      • It got an update during the Mark Millar run on Marvel Knights Spider-Man, which made the amount of green present minimal and was redesigned to look more like armour with the familiar mask/cowl. Furthered during the Warren Ellis Thunderbolts run, which was closer to the original Ditko look but through a realistic lens, and genuinely creepy looking.
  • Franchise Original Sin: A lot of problems in Spider-Man stories stem from the fact that the original Steve Ditko-Stan Lee run taking place before Comic Book Time set in. In the original stories, Peter Parker moved from high school to college student, aging from teenager to young adult, which meant that the foundation placed Peter Parker's story as one of constant growth and change. However, the later policy of adopting Comic Book Time meant that writers often had to ensure Peter Parker did not age too much. This has affected everything from personality to love interests since editors and writers regarded marriage and children as signs of aging. Events such as Gwen Stacy's death, the Clone Saga, and the One More Day story all occur periodically to keep Spider-Man from aging too much, since Gwen Stacy was seen as Peter's soulmate and so would logically become his wife had she lived, Ben Reilly was seen as potentially replacing Peter and well...One More Day is fairly bald in its intent. The end result is that Spider-Man eventually became a story of perpetual adolescence:
    "If you take a look at a current Spider-Man comic, you’ll find that he’s maybe twenty years old, he worries a lot about whats right and what’s wrong, and he has a lot of trouble with his girlfriends...Do you know what Spider-Man was doing fifteen years ago? Well, he was about nineteen years old, he worried a lot about what was right and what was wrong and he had a lot of trouble with his girlfriends."
    Alan Moore, Blinded by the Hype, 1983, The Daredevils.
  • Friendly Fandoms: Spidey fans tend to be close with fans of other street-level New York heroes (Daredevil, Moon Knight, Luke Cage and Iron Fist, etc.) and vice versa. It helps that there's a lot of crossover between said characters in-universe.
  • Japan Loves Spider-Man
  • 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.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In one issue, Spider-Man is on trial and when asked why Jameson might hate him, he jokes that it's because he's black. Then came Ultimate Fallout...
    • #304 of Amazing Spider-Man features a brief scene where Peter and Mary Jane visit Disneyland, years before Disney would go on to purchase Marvel.
  • Iron Woobie: Spider-Man himself of course. Truly taken Up to Eleven when he ends up with all his memories being purged before his spirit is kicked out of his own body.
  • It Was His Sled:
    • Poor Gwen.
    • Everyone nowadays knows that Norman Osborn was the original Green Goblin.
    • A bit less well known, but if you've heard of Amazing Spider-Man #248's famous story, "The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man", then you probably already know that Timothy Harrison has leukemia in the story.
    • The ending of Dying Wish is now a well known fact, largely because of how big and controversial the following relaunch is.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Black Cat, Harry Osborn, Dr. Octopus, Eddie Brock, even the Venom symbiote.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Norman Osborn and Dr. Octopus (Depending on the Writer).
    • Roderick Kingsley, the first Hobgoblin, 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.
    • Tombstone is perhaps the only gangster in New York who can give Kingpin a run for his money in the manipulator department.
  • Memetic Loser: Shocker, though this depends on continuity or writer.
  • Memetic Molester: Norman Osborn, Venom.
  • Misblamed: Joe Quesada gets nearly all of ire for some of the worst parts of JMS' Spider-Man run, mainly the storylines Sins Past and One More Day. While OMD was Quesada's idea, JMS by his own admission agreed with most of the story; it was a disagreement regarding how the marriage would be undone that caused JMS to demand his name be removed from the last issue and Quesada was far from the first person to try and make Peter single again or undo the marriage. Sins Past, meanwhile, was almost all JMS' idea. Quesada merely disagreed with Gabriel and Sarah being Peter's kids which is what caused the change to Norman.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Green Goblin killing Gwen Stacy.
    • In Brand New Day, The Lizard ate Connors' son.
    • 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?!"
  • Never Live It Down:
    • The One More Day fiasco.
    • 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.
  • One True Pairing: Peter and Mary Jane. Albeit supporters of other couples are far from scarce or undevoted (See Ship-to-Ship Combat below), this one has sticked for over 45 years and counting despite the constant attempts from the editors to separate them. Even after the One More Day debacle, their support has only increased with the years. The fact that Mary Jane is Spidey's Official Couple in the vast majority of adaptations and spin-offs definitely helps.
  • 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.
  • Purity Sue: Gwen Stacy's posthumous characterization.
  • Rape as Backstory: Ham-fistedly inserted into the Black Cat's origin as the very reason she becomes the Black Cat, thanks to Kevin Smith.
  • Relationship Sue: Carlie Cooper appeared on the cover of The Many Loves of Spider-Man before even hooking up with Peter.
  • Replacement Scrappy:
    • 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.
    • Pretty much every Hobgoblin other than Roderick Kingsley is this; given that Kingsley is widely considered one of the best Spidey villains ever, it's easy to see why.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • The Scarlet Spider's pretty much the one good thing from The Clone Saga, aside from the opening before it got too long.
    • Kaine in Spider-Girl, depending on how you felt about his Nineties Anti-Hero characterization. In the 616 universe, this happened with Spider-Island and his Scarlet Spider series.
    • Those who read Alpha: Big Time feel it gave serious Character Development to Alpha and made him much more likeable.
    • Since his return Norman Osborn hasn't been overly popular thanks to Dark Reign and him being linked to a bunch of Dork Age retcons. However the character was redeemed by The Superior Spider-Man, in which he was rerailed into a Badass Magnificent Bastard supervillain who succeeds on his own merits rather than relying on the Idiot Ball. It helped that he was going against Spider-Ock who is, at best, incredibly divisive.
    • While initially tied up in the awkwardness of Brand New Day and the 'mystery' of who would become Peter's latest love interest, Norah Winters has since managed to become a prominent part of Peter's cast and has taken a role in the larger Marvel Universe, playing important roles in the Osborn miniseries which appeared shortly after Dark Reign, and the run on The Punisher by Greg Rucka. It helps that her early role as a slightly obnoxious newswoman has gone through some real development to deal with her own morality and making her into a competent reporter.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Aunt May, to those who feel her character has become The Artifact.
    • Madame Web.
    • New "hero" Alpha is one due to basically being the antithesis to everything Spider-Man stands for (has zero responsibility, wastes his gifts, has an ego the size of a mountain, etc.). Dan Slott has stated this was intentional.
    • 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 massive Dork 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).
    • A lot of the villains introduced during Brand New Day, like Freak or Paper Doll, were rather hated by fans due to replacing many of Spidey's established foes as well as the new villains established during JMS's run. At the same time many of said villains lacked the traits that made the old bad guys likable or cool. Fortunately once Dan Slott took over he either wrote them out or just acted like they never existed. The only real exceptions are Mr. Negative and Overdrive.
    • Cindy Moon aka Silk. A pretty girl who got bit by the same spider that bit Peter but spent over a decade locked in a room by Ezekiel. She has all of Spider-Man's powers but, with the exception of physical strength, they're all better than his. She's already proven to be just as competent as Peter, with no training except for watching videos of Spidey in action, and in a few issues has saved him on multiple occasions. She seems to be very important as it's Peter freeing her which seems to awaken Morlun thus setting off the Spiderverse event. Also, she lands a job on the Fact Channel despite not having any education beyond high-school, which likely she didn't even finished. And through all that she's Peter's new girlfriend. A lot of readers find her incredibly annoying while having all of the traits of a Mary Sue. And blatantly so at that.
      • It doesn't help that she is introduced in the same arc where Black Cat undergoes a massive Face-Heel Turn due to SpOck's actions. And when she finds out the truth, her reaction is similar to Carlie Cooper's as she still blames Spidey for her troubles. Many fans (particularly those that ship Spider-Man and Black Cat, but it's common even among those who don't) see this as an example Derailing Love Interests.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny:
    • 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.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: Peter/Mary Jane Vs. Peter/Gwen Vs. Spidey/Black Cat. Have fun, guys!
    • 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 more modernized depictions, 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.'
    • Silk reached this territory faster and harder than any other previous love interest. After barely one issue and without any previous chemistry, she and Peter just can't get their hands off each other. All explained only by the totem connection they share due to both being bitten by the same radioactive spider. The fact that she's arguably a text book Mary Sue doesn't help. Not to mention Black Cat's Face-Heel Turn. Or Mary Jane getting a firefighter boyfriend, which some fans see as her settling for a lesser version of Spidey (being a person who risks his own life to save others).
  • 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 keeps coming back every once in a while.
  • Theme Pairing: Puma and Black Cat.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Ben Reilly, aka Scarlet Spider; though he did got some good time, he ended up replacing Peter, then dying when Marvel decided they didn't need him anymore.
    • Toxin; you gotta wonder how they could waste the potential of a character who was basically a Good Counterpart of Venom and Carnage.
    • Anti-Venom, though he is more of a Base Breaker amongst those who prefer Brock as Venom.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • 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.
  • Too Cool to Live:
    • Sure Marvel, kill Reilly when you're not trying to replace Peter Parker anymore!
    • Toxin too. Probably worse that he was killed off before he could return while his symbiote suddenly lost its unique aspects until it became just a bulkier Carnage.
  • 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.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: In-universe example. Spider-Man is almost consistently feared and distrusted by the masses.
  • 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.
  • What The Hell, Costuming Department?: Black Cat's all-black costume was oaky when ti appeared in the All-New Marvel NOW! Amazing Spider-Man #1, but afterwards, someone decided that there should be eyes on her shoulders to make it look more like a cat motif. But this also included her boobs substituting for the cat's nose, and the result is one of the stupidest costumes ever conceived in the Modern Age that looks like it belongs to a one-shot, Z-list Silver Age villain.
  • Ugly Cute:
    • The first Toxin.
    • Shriek and Doppelganger's relationship.
  • Wangst:
    • Brock during the Lethal Protector run.
    • 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.
    • Spider-Man himself. Also an Iron Woobie as he never lets the hardships he experiences keep him down for long.
    • Mary Jane, given her depressing backstory and abusive father.
    • Slyde, the loser supervillain that Spidey never remembers.

Examples from Spider-Man in Other Media

  • Accidental Innuendo: In the 2000 video game, Mysterio fires lasers, but the placement of where they're fired is... Questionable.
  • Awesome Music: Too bad this only shows up in the fighting games he's 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.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • 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!

alternative title(s): Spider-Man
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