open/close all folders
Adaptation Induced Misconceptions
- Everybody knows that Liz Allan was Peter's first girlfriend—except she wasn't. Peter had a crush on her in high school, and Liz briefly had a crush on him after he started going out with Betty Brant, but they never actually dated. In the comics, Liz's most significant love interests are Flash Thompson (her high school boyfriend) and Harry Osborn (her eventual husband). The animated series The Spectacular Spider Man was the first adaptation that portrayed her as Peter's girlfriend, and the live-action film Spider-Man: Homecoming followed suit.
- As far as most folks know, Spider-Man's chief superpower is his ability to shoot webs. Unfortunately, this is not among his super powers at all. Webshooting was instead the ability of a device Peter Parker had built for himself. Spider-Man's actual super powers are his ability to cling to walls, his "spider sense", and superhuman strength and agility, which all help leverage the usefulness of the device. It's only in the Spider-Man Trilogy movies that he gained the power to shoot webs naturally, although this did make its way to the comics, briefly.
- Everybody knows that Mary Jane Watson is a classic Damsel in Distress who constantly needs to be saved by Spider-Man. While this might be true in the live-action films (where she's something of an Adaptational Wimp), the comics have pretty consistently portrayed her as a spunky and empowered woman who has no problem fending for herself—which is part of the reason why she became a fan favorite compared to Peter's other girlfriends.note
- Everybody knows that Venom has the same powers as Spider-Man, just more powerful. In reality, Venom mimics Spider-Man's powers through Voluntary Shapeshifting—but his powers also allow him to regrow limbs, increase his size, create appendages, form makeshift weapons, and even grow wings and fly. For most of the character's history, he just used his powers to mimic Spider-Man's web-slinging due to their psychic connection.
- The Klyntar—the Venom symbiote's species—are not an Always Chaotic Evil race bent on destruction. This originally appeared to be the case, but it's since been established in Donny Cates' Venom that they're actually a peaceful race. They were previously corrupted by Knull, who forced them to conquer other worlds, but they deeply regretted their past actions after overthrowing him, and even tried to atone by spreading peace throughout the universe. Most of the villainous Klyntar that Spider-Man has encountered over the years (like Venom and Carnage) were corrupted by their hosts' negative emotions, contributing to the misconception.
- Despite the name, Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) is not a Distaff Counterpart of Spider-Man, and she has no connection to him whatsoever. Apart from having a spider gimmick and a few of the same superpowers, they have practically nothing in common. Jessica got her powers from a chemical serum created by her scientist father (not a radioactive spider), she primarily works as a spy (not a reporter), and she has plenty of powers that Peter Parker doesn't have—including energy blasts and pheromone manipulation. By most accounts, Marvel Comics only created the character to prevent another company from claiming the rights to the name "Spider-Woman", and they never intended her to be a part of Spider-Man's supporting cast.note
- Everybody knows that Eugene "Flash" Thompson is a Jerk Jock who relentlessly bullies Peter. This was true in the early days of the comics, but it hasn't been true for decades. Flash went through considerable Character Development after his introduction, and matured considerably after he joined the Army; later writers also humanized him considerably by revealing that his father was an abusive alcoholic. Since then, he has been consistently portrayed as one of Peter's best friends; when Peter and MJ got married, he was even the best man at their wedding. Not to mention that he had a brief stint as a superhero when he became the heroic Agent Venom.
- Contrary to popular belief, the Alternate Universe version of Gwen Stacy from Earth-65 (the world where Peter died, and Gwen became a superhero) isn't actually named "Spider-Gwen". That's the title of the comic book that she originally starred in, but her name was actually "Spider-Woman"; Marvel elected not to call the book Spider-Woman to avoid confusion with Jessica Drew's series (which was still ongoing at the time). More recently, she's begun going by the name "Ghost-Spider".
- Everyone knows that Uncle Ben told Peter that "With great power comes great responsibility". Actually, when this famous line first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15, Uncle Ben didn't say it. In fact, nobody said it: it was a line in the narration. The various Spider-Man adaptations popularized the idea that Uncle Ben said it shortly before his death, and the idea proved so popular that the comics retroactively worked it in. The idea that the quote is Peter's personal motto isn't incorrect, but it's a relatively recent addition to the comics.
- Everybody knows that Peter often has a poor love life because of his double life as Spider-Man, and he's wary about dating because he doesn't want to involve a woman in his dangerous life. This idea mostly originated in the Sam Raimi movies, which used it as a convenient source of drama. In the comics, Peter has a very active love life, and he's been dating various women more-or-less constantly since he became Spider-Man. Even Gwen Stacy's murder—usually portrayed as the most traumatic experience of his life—didn't really put him off dating, and he began dating Mary Jane Watson almost immediately after mourning Gwen.