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"With great power, there must also come great responsibility."

The Wallcrawler, The Webhead and The Webslinger. The King of Taunts and Snark. The Everyman 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, and has been covered by artists as diverse as Aerosmith, The Ramones and Michael Bublé.


In the 1970s, a silent costumed actor played Spider-Man in the "Spidey Super Series" skits on The Electric Company (1971); he only spoke in word balloons that the show's young viewers were expected to read (there was also a Lighter and Softer Recursive Adaptation comic book series in print at the same time). 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.

There was also short-lived live-action series The Amazing Spider-Man (1978) (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, starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. The character has undergone another reboot in the form of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with Tom Holland as Spider-Man, in Captain America: Civil War and the 2017 standalone film called Spider-Man: Homecoming, with more appearances on the way.

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. In addition, a full 3D action title for the PlayStation 4 by Insomniac Games, simply titled Spider-Man, set in its own continuity, released September 7, 2018.

Has a character sheet.

Spider-Man media:

Comics (Marvel Universe)

Comic Strips

Spin-off Characters


Alternate Continuity

Anime and Manga



Live-Action TV



Theme Park Attractions

Video Games

Western Animation

"Spider-Tropes, Spider-Tropes, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Tropes":

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     Tropes A-D 
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Occasionally Spidey will get sick and tired of juggling the demands of heroics and ordinary life for the benefit of an unappreciative world and hang up the web-shooters until something spurs him into action again.
    • Inverted in the mid-90's story "Peter Parker No More", in which Spider-Man suffers a mental breakdown after one emotional hit too many, and decides to all but give up his civilian identity, spending all his time in costume.
  • Adaptation Distillation:
    • 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.
    • In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Peter no longer creates his costume.
  • 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. There's also Ultimate Spider-Man.
  • 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.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Harry Osborn, the second Green Goblin.
  • Alertness Blink: Most times the spider-sense activates.
  • 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.
  • All Webbed Up: Peter created a set of wrist-mounted webshooters on his own in one of the clearest displays of scientific genius on his part. The formula for his webs in particular is nothing short of miraculous, given its tensile strength and adhesive properties. It disappears after a couple hours or so, so he doesn't even leave a mess. For a time after his first encounter with the Queen up to One More Day, Peter underwent a secondary mutation that gave him organic web shooters that functioned in much the same way as his artificial ones. There is little he can't do with his webs. Possibly justified — in real life, spiders do tend to be pretty brilliant with them.
  • 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.
  • Always Save the Girl: Subverted with Gwen Stacy in "The Night Gwen Stacy Died".
  • 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.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: See above.
  • Animated Adaptation:
    • The 1967 adaptation, which introduced the famous "Does whatever a spider can" theme song.
    • A Spider-Woman cartoon, courtesy of Depatie Freleng Enterprises, aired from 1979-1980.
    • Spider-Man (1981), which was most famous for having him meet up with Doctor Doom repeatedly.
    • Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, which aired around the same time as the above series, saw the webhead team up with Iceman and Firestar, and is much better-known nowadays.
    • Spider-Man: The Animated Series was pretty much John Semper doing the best he could with horrible animation, censorship and Executive Meddling. Nonetheless, the series has remained the Spider-Man animated adaptation for many fans, with Christopher Daniel Barnes' portrayal of the character often considered one of the best.
    • The Spectacular Spider-Man is widely considered an Adaptation Distillation. While the show does stay true to the comics (through using a lot of elements from the original Spider-Man comics that were written by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko; the show brought in characters, story lines, and plot elements with a similar balance of action, drama and comedy as well as a high school setting), it also tends to utilize material from all eras of the comic's run and other sources such as the more recent the Ultimate Comics, and the Sam Raimi movies (though a lot of characters were patterned after their 616 counterparts) making a Spider-Man cartoon that is recognizable to both older and younger fans.
    • Ultimate Spider-Man is very loosely adapted from the comic book with the same name while using some elements from the 616 and Marvel Cinematic Universe. Aiming for a more comedic tone than its predecessors, the series tries its best to put a different spin on all the old characters and try to bring in something new.
  • Anime Hair: Andy is a recent example, especially in his Alpha persona while using his powers.
  • 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.
  • Arachnid Appearance and Attire: Spider Man is a notable example for being very colorful. Except when he's wearing his black costume. Notably, while Spider-Man is usually joking, laughing, and having a good time while fighting bad guys, when he stops quipping and gets serious, pissed, or seriously pissed, he becomes an absolutely terrifying opponent. When Peter's the "Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man," he defies this trope. When he drops the "friendly" part, he pretty much codifies it.
    • There's also Venom, Carnage, and Toxin as symbiotes that copy Spidey's powers, and the various Spider-Women.
    • Madame Web also counts.
    • Lesser known Spider-Man foes include Tarantula, and Black Tarantula.
    • The two Scarlet Spiders, both clones of the original Spider-Man.
    • Spider-Gwen and Silk as well.
  • Arch-Enemy: Three villains contest for the role: Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, and Venom. The reason for this is that the Green Goblin died in the 70s and spent a good 20-odd years dead before he came back to torment his foe, which is probably the record to beat for dead A-list villains. In the meantime, Doctor Octopus and Venom filled the roles in the seventies and eighties/nineties, respectively. However, in recent decades Venom became more of an Anti-Hero figure with his hatred of Peter toned down. At the same time, both Osborn and Octavius really hurt wallcrawler in their own nasty ways, so if there is a contest for a mantle of Spider-Man’s greatest enemy, it’s between these two. As Stan Lee put it himself: "The Green Goblin is Peter Parker's greatest enemy, while Doctor Octopus is Spider-Man's greatest enemy.”
    • To elaborate on the quote: Doctor Octopus is the archenemy of Spider-Man in a very classic sense. Otto and Peter have a lot in common, both being scientists, who were bullied in school, and later got caught up in freak accidents that dramatically changed them forever. Both received a lot of power and both decided to channel that power by adopting an alter-ego based on eight-legged animal. The difference is that Peter chose to be a superhero and use his powers for good, while Otto chose to become a criminal, who tries to get back at the world. Doctor Octopus is the most recurring villain of the franchise, challenging the very idea of Spider-Man and being responsible for some of the most dramatic incidents in Peter’s career as a superhero: his first defeat, near death, death of Captain Stacey, establishment of Sinister Six and outright identity theft. At the same time, Otto never really cared about the man behind the mask and kept his rivalry with Spider-Man on sort of “gentlemanly” level, actually making a point of trying not to hurt Peter’s loved ones.
    • Norman Osborn is a different story. For him being a supervillain with secret identity has never really carried any pragmatic benefits and has not served any goal aside from channeling his psychopathic and sadistic urges while maintaining a façade of respectful businessman. Since his very motivation as the Goblin (and later as Osborn himself) is to play out power fantasies, he was angry that someone stood up against him and swiftly decided to punish the person behind the mask. This dynamic between the characters eventually led to a lot of tragedy and pain in Peter’s life over the years as he saw numerous deaths and tortures of his loved ones, starting with Gwen Stacy, at the hands of Norman. Needless to say that it’s a very personal conflict between the two and that Peter hates no one as much as he hates Osborn. He even had to stop himself from killing the latter several times. If Otto challenges the idea of Spider-Man as superhero, Norman Osborn challenges Peter’s morality itself.
  • 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. Though he averts this on occasion, building specialized suits or even Power Armor to deal with specific foes (notably, in Ends Of The Earth, he built essentially Spider-Man themed Iron Man armor specifically designed to take on the latest iteration of the Sinister Six).
  • Art Evolution: Spidey is almost never depicted as the original "boy in a Lucha costume" after Todd McFarlane's run.
    • 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.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: Spectacular Spider-Man #86 was published during Assistant Editor's Month, so the gimmick of that issue was that Bob DeNatale threw out Al Milgrom's artwork in favor of that of Fred Hembeck, whose style is far from realistic. The issue's storyline was that the Fly realised he's losing his humanity and seeks revenge upon J. Jonah Jameson and Spider-Man, and the humor is limited to Spidey's usual wisecracks (apart from the humor stemming from Hembeck's art, like the Fly having Xs for eyes when Spider-Man punches him). After the Fly is defeated, Danny Fingeroth (the actual editor of the comic) returns and puts an end to the cartoonish artwork. You can see images from this issue here.
  • The Artifact: On account of Marvel's decision to set Spider-Man in a Like Reality Unless Noted New York (rather than DC's Fantasy Counterpart Culture approach) as well as its adoption of Comic-Book Time, some aspects of Spider-Man's lore has become a little anachronistic or dated (which only recently has started to change).
    • Spider-Man is fundamentally a street-level superhero like Daredevil and originally his adventures had a realism because The '60s to The '90s was The Big Rotten Apple era of New York City (where real events like the 1977 blackout occurred in the page), a time of high crime statistics where the idea of multiple street-level superheroes in a single city had a little verisimilitude. Since the era of Giuliani and gentrification however, street crime level has dropped down while highly restrictive gun laws have been put into effect. Now of course the presence and activity of supervillains does not depend on that for explanations, but fundamentally the reduction of crime should mean that Spider-Man's status as a street-level hero being so important as to make demands on his personal and professional life need more justification than "it's New York".
    • The issue of gentrification and high costs in New York, and the challenge to the print media by online and the rise of cellphones and the internet has also meant that Peter's old job as a photographer for a newspaper and being the guy who "takes pictures of Spider-Man" and making a sufficient living off of that (despite being paid low by JJJ) and still living in New York, makes it harder to accept. It was already dated in The Oughties that Sam Raimi's adoption of the same came off to more than a few observers as Anachronism Stew (and Raimi made it work by artificially mixing different aspects of New York history in his film). In the Ultimate Spider-Man series, Peter becomes a web designer (albeit initially entering the Daily Bugle with the photographs) and part of the plot had the Daily Bugle transition from a print to an online magazine. Dan Slott's run had Jameson become the Mayor of New York which essentially updated their dynamic.
    • invokedLikewise, the idea of "Peter taking pictures of Spider-Man" which is a beloved trope and central to his dynamic of JJJ suffers because Technology Marches On. In The '60s through The '80s, when all photography was done on film and professional photographs were shot manually with analog controls (i.e. selecting f-stop, exposure, ISO with fingers and in-camera in the middle of a shot), it was believable that a superhero like Spider-Man would be too fast to capture and needed an insider as it were to provide the pictures, which made it possible for Peter to gain exclusive rights to Spider-Man's still photographs. But this made it harder with the digital revolution and impossible in the smartphone age, as such the trope started fading in comics in The '90s and The Oughties and has disappeared in The New '10s.
  • Artifact Domination:
    • When Spider-Man first came into possession of his symbiotic costume he was unaware that it was a living entity. The symbiote, coming from a fairly violent species, slowly twisted Spidey into a more violent version of himself until he realized what was going on and got rid of it. Several other symbiotes exist in the Marvel Universe and the symbiote is a danger to take over its host. However most of these symbiotes have found sympathetic hosts, so it's not known how much influence they exert or how much is the host's own appetite for destruction.
    • After leaving Spider-Man the first symbiote found Eddie Brock whose own hatred of Spider-Man and violent temper were a better fit.
    • Another symbiote found violent serial killer Cletus Kasady and became Carnage, a mass-murdering supervillain.
    • After Eddie Brock rejected the symbiote, he auctioned it off to Don Fortunato who gives it to his under-achieving son Angelo, hoping the power of the symbiote will finally make him into something. However when Angelo becomes frightened of his newfound power and refuses to kill a weakened Spider-Man, the symbiote abandons him.
    • Agent Venom (Flash Thompson) is only allowed to wear the suit for 48 hours at a time precisely so it cannot take control of his mind.
  • Artistic License – Law: During one storyarc, the father of Spider-man's foe Sandman is framed for the murder of an alternate reality Ben Parker and given a quick death sentence. When the governor (or maybe NYC's mayor) learns that Sandman's going to break out his father, he orders the immediate execution of the man, something that violates a wide range of laws and civil rights protections, and nobody involved in law enforcement bothers to say 'you can't do that; it's illegal'.
  • 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.
  • Ascended Extra: Flash Thompson is the current host of Venom, since S.H.I.E.L.D. decided that just the Venom symbiote EXISTING made him the greatest threat on Earth.
  • Aside Comment: The cover of The Spectacular Spider-Man #246 has 4 bizarre looking villains called the Legion of Losers. It also has Spider-Man turning to look at the reader and saying "You've gotta be kidding!". See it here.
  • Author Avatar:
    • Stan Lee has said that Spider-Man was something of this for him. He also created J. Jonah Jameson based on other peoples' view of him.
    • Since Ditko drew and designed the comics as per the Marvel Method, some argue that Peter is more reflective of Ditko himself. The original Peter Parker in the comics bears a startling resemblance to Steve Ditko in his high school picture.
  • Ax-Crazy: Carnage, Venom to an extent.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Bad Butt: Venom and Carnage in the '90s cartoon, so so much...
  • 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.
  • Betty and Veronica: See the Alternate Name, "Gwen And Mary Jane".
    • Later, "Mary Jane and Felicia."
  • 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.
    • Logan once made some insensitive remarks about Mary Jane. In response, Pete put Logan through Mr. Stark's "unbreakable" glass windows from the umpteenth floor. Good Thing You Can Heal indeed.
    • Super Power Beatdown showed perfectly how dangerous Spidey can be. During his fight with Darth Maul, he uses his Spider Sense and agility to constantly dodge a Force user's lightsaber attacks. However, when the Symbiote bonds with Spidey again, The Gloves Come Off and it doesn't take Spidey three seconds to use his senses and agility to have Maul cut off his own head.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Daredevil has been this to Spider-Man from time to time. Overlaps with Heterosexual Life-Partners.
  • 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 were 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...
    • The Tarantula is subjected to an attempt to give him spider powers. It gradually turns him into a monstrous mutated tarantula and he commits Suicide by Cop.
  • 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.
  • Boxing Lessons for Superman: During one arc, Spider-Man lost his "spider-sense" ability. After struggling to defeat enemies who he'd normally have no problems handling he realised just how much he'd relied on it in battle and decided to get training in martial arts from Shang-Chi, The Master of Kung-fu. Together they created "The Way of the Spider", a unique martial art based around Spider-Man's unique combination of superpowered strength, speed and agility to compensate for the loss of his spider-sense. When Spider-Man regained his spider-sense he was able to combine his spider-sense with The Way of the Spider to make him an even more dangerous opponent than he was before the loss.
  • Bragging Theme Tune: Sing along, kids! Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can. Spins a web, any size. Catches thieves, just like flies. Look out! Here comes the Spider-Man.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Not quite as much as Marvel's usual examples, but occasionally.
  • Briefer Than They Think:
    • For all the emphasis in movies and TV shows on Spider-Man as a Kid Hero in high school, Peter graduated from high school and went to college, (the fictitious Empire State University) in Issue 28 of the Lee/Ditko Run. The classic period of Spider-Man as Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World lasted a very short time indeed and the vast majority of his stories since his first publication is as an early 20s young man. It feels longer because adaptations, have always emphasized the high-school element to the point that it has led to Lost in Imitation. Brian Michael Bendis took this to the logical extreme in the Ultimate Spider-Man comics where 200 plus issues are written and completed without Peter or his class graduating from high school.
    • The alien costume period. Spidey started wearing the black costume in 1984 and wore it until 1988 and it is immortalized in notable stories like "The Death of Jean DeWolff" and "Kraven's Last Hunt," cementing it in fans' minds as a long term thing. But in all of those stories the costume was actually cloth. The actual alien costume was first worn in #252 and was removed in #258 before making a one-issue return in Web of Spider-Man #1. In fact, by the time the issue of Secret Wars showing how he got the costume was published he had already ditched the costume and was using the cloth copy.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Peter is a genius that can reasonably be compared to the likes of Hank Pym, Tony Stark, Bruce Banner and Reed Richards, but far more than simply being a case of Reed Richards Is Useless, his only notable inventions are the webslinger and webs, waaay back at the start of his career. He spends most of his time fighting bad guys rather than doing sciencey stuff, which he usually only employs to fight whatever bad guy is making trouble on any particular day. Though the latest Crisis Crossover has left him with his own company, Stark Industries à la mode, so he may be inching towards subverting this trope.

    While Parker Industries is doing quite well as a company, it was created by the Superior Spider-Man, a.k.a. Doc Ock in Peter's body. Since Peter has taken over the reins (of the body and the company), he's usually much more interested in getting away and Spider-Manning rather than being a scientist or businessman. Even when PI produces nifty gadgets or socially-conscious initiatives, it's more a case of Peter saying "Invent this thing, anonymous science lackeys."
  • Building Swing: Spider-Man's usual mode of travel around the city, natch.
  • 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.
  • Can't Stop the Signal: The What If? issue "What If Gwen Stacy Had Lived?" concludes with a reversal of this trope, in that it's the villain who sends information to the press rather than the hero. The Green Goblin posts evidence of Spider-Man's Secret Identity to the hero's "second-greatest enemy": J. Jonah Jameson.
  • 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).
  • Cartesian Karma: This is Peter's problem after he gets his body back following the Superior Spider-Man arc, in which Doctor Octopus controlled his body. Many of his prior relationships are strained, especially that with his former lover, Black Cat, who has made a Face–Heel Turn and doesn't care that it was Octavius in Peter's body when she was attacked.
  • Cat Girl: Western costumed variant in the Black Cat.
  • The Chosen Many: According to Araña'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 the Champion 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.
  • Clark Kent Outfit: Numerous people are surprised to note that the scrawny-looking 'Puny Parker' has "muscles like a weightlifter's" under his clothes.
  • 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.
  • Cloning Blues: Let's start with The Clone Saga.
  • 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.
  • Clothes Make the Legend: Even the black suit retained the form.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: The Vulture, Shocker, The Rhino, Mysterio, technically Doctor Octopus. Subsequently, Venom and the other symbiotes.
    • Spidey himself gets a Iron Man-esque suit of armor, greatly enhancing his powers. In this suit, he's called "Iron Spider".
      • More than once. The first was a silver and blue one that evaporated in water. Then there was the one from Stark that could shapeshift, and we have a new one coming.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Mary Jane, in her earliest appearances, and her ridiculous lingo. It was the 1960's, but nobody ever talked like that, ever. Nobody outside a straitjacket, anyways...
    • White Rabbit is another example of this trope.
  • Comes Great Responsibility: Trope Namer, of course.
  • Comic-Book Time: Peter was 15 when he got his spider powers in 1962. Come 2014, he's 28 in-universe.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: In nearly all his incarnations. Spider-Man's origin story includes Peter Parker getting superpowers, using them for profit, then failing to help stop a criminal who later kills his Uncle Ben. This causes Peter to realise that with great power comes great responsibility. Note that as a coming of age story, Spider-Man's origin story is lopsided. It includes the decision to be an adult, but not the learning to be an adult.
  • 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...
  • Concepts Are Cheap: In lesser stories, "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility" becomes this. It was never really Peter's Badass Creed as later comics and adaptations made it out to be. It was just a caption voiced by the narrator in Amazing Fantasy #15 in classic Stan Lee dated Purple Prose. But the attempt to make this Spider-Man's ethos often leads to much fuzziness about what powers and responsibilities means, leading to much Informed Attribute.
  • Cool Loser: Peter Parker after high school.
  • 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.
  • Crossover: With Peanuts. And it is glorious.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: 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 not high end, he is a lot stronger than he was originally, and his mix of speed, agility, and reflexes are debatably the best outside of speedsters. 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 Sin Eater 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 outfought the entire starting line-up of the X-Men. 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. Even Wolverine, a close-quarters combat expert with literally decades of experience and adamantium claws that can slice through flesh and bone with barely any effort, once observed that he would not want to fight Peter in a serious match-up.
  • 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 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 while before getting back together with and later marrying Mary Jane.
    • Subverted with The Queen. Despite her beautiful appearance and her flirting, Spider-Man is not attracted to her at all and finds her disgusting, but that doesn't stop her from forcing herself on him. However, all of New York thought this trope was being played straight when the News captured the first kiss between them and assumed it was Spider-Man who initiated the kiss with his new adversary.
  • 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.
  • Death by Origin Story: Uncle Ben. His murder is what makes Spider-Man decide to become a crimefighter.
  • Deconstruction: The series has always had elements of this, long before Alan 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.
    • The Superior Spider-Man era of the title deconstructed a number of Peter's assumptions about Spider-Man.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Peter's parents were agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and once saved Wolverine's 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.
  • Demand Overload: In universe. When Spider-Man publicly revealed his secret identity, the Internet broke down because too many people were trying to do a name search on "Peter Parker" simultaneously.
  • 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. He's the page image for the Comic Book section of this trope for a reason.
  • 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.
  • Dork in a Sweater: Peter Parker often weared sweaters before being bitten by the spider. He rarely does after.
  • 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.
  • Driven to Villainy: Several, most notably Lizard and most strongly Hobgoblin 2112.

     Tropes E-I 

  • 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 had no confidant to share his Secret Identity with (no Alfred, no Robin, no Ma and Pa Kent) which meant that he had a Friendless Background for most of the early issues, with only Betty Brant at the Daily Bugle being a partial aversion. When Peter came to college, he had a reputation for being aloof and asocial. After Ditko left, it was greatly softened and Peter even had a regular circle of friends and a more stable social life, and more modern and updated adaptations, especially Ultimate Spider-Man give him confidants and sidekicks to make his life more social.
    • From the way the aesop Comes Great Responsibility is emphasized (with some liken it to Batman's "My parents are dead!"), it is often surprising how underplayed it is in the early stories. For one thing, the aesop was never spoken by Peter out loud nor attributed to Uncle Ben, it comes from the narrative captions at the end of Amazing Fantasy #15 and later writers would Retcon this into a message Uncle Ben told Peter. For instance, Issue 1 of The Amazing Spider-Man has Peter trying to work as a kind of performing artist in New York and parlay his superheroics into some form of income, which belies the impression from later adaptation that Uncle Ben's aesop transformed him overnight into a monkish commitment to superheroism. In fact, for most of the run, Peter was constantly trying back and forth to sort out his life, with the basic impression being that Peter was always muddled and divided about how his life would be like.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Eddie Brock is dying of cancer. Alone, and forgotten except as a remorseless monster to the public at large, and the remnants of his old "pal" are floating around in his head telling him that he still has one chance at revenge by killing a comatose May Parker or just disappearing off the world with nothing to show for it. Or he can just sit in his bed waiting to die with Venom tormenting him until the end of his wasted life. Instead, he cuts himself trying to remove the remnants of Venom from his blood and it works. 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.
  • Elemental Shapeshifter:
    • The villain Hydro Man can transform all or part of his body into water.
    • Similarly, Sandman has the ability to change his body into sand.
    • At one point the two got mushed together into a monster called Mud Man.
  • 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.
    • Rarely, Spider-Man himself can fall victim to this, being too preoccupied with his own thoughts to pay attention to his Spider-Sense warning him he's about to get blind-sided. Those times he's been deprived of his Spider-Sense, he falls into this fairly constantly, since he's come to rely on it so much, even in his everyday life.
    Peter: I haven't had to look both ways before crossing the street since I was a sophmore!
  • 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. Earlier stories maintained a balance, i.e. a low-point for Peter balanced by a high (If This Be My Destiny most famously) but stories that avoid this lean further into it:
    • Peter defines himself by his failure to save Uncle Ben, and later Gwen Stacy, and later instances of Peter trying and failing to save people he cared about (such as Jean DeWolff) triggered a violent No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from him. Marvel also tried to back away somewhat, noting that after killing off Gwen Stacy, Marvel realized that they could not do that to Peter's other Love Interest, since they felt it would make him too much of a failure that Spider-Man's fun quippy personality would not be possible to maintain.
    • 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.
    • For long term readers, One More Day more than The Night Gwen Stacy Died has made Peter this for all time. Noting that Peter's run after that is more or less of a guy stuck in a Lotus-Eater Machine as a result of a pact with Mephisto that he is not even aware of.
  • Festival Episode: In Untold Tales of Spider-Man #19, teenage Peter Parker is taking pictures of a festival for J. Jonah Jameson.
  • 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.
  • Friends with Benefits: Shortly after One More Day, Spidey tried having this with the Black Cat. It didn't last long.
  • Friendless Background; In Peter's original appearance he had no friends unless you count Liz who was nice to him on occasion, and Betty who was his girlfriend until he got to college. But he notably never really had a confidant to share his secret identity with, unlike Batman (who had Alfred and Robin) or Superman (who had Ma and Pa Kent). For a long time, it was only his villains (the Osborns, Miles Warren) who knew his secret, which increased Peter's sense of vulnerability, isolation, and made his social life tense and painful (since people around him inevitably saw him as aloof, distant, slightly asocial and undependable). In Alternate Continuity, such as Ultimate Spider-Man, this is dialed down with Peter having Ultimate MJ as his friend from childhood and confiding in her his secret early in his run, which carried over in The Amazing Spider-Man Series and Spider-Man: Homecoming where Peter's no longer entirely alone.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Spider: Invoked with Spider-Man, a superhero with a spider-theme, who also has the Red Baron of being "Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man", usually being nice to people and being the savior of New York countless times. Also, this is extended to various of his spider-allies as well as his Alternate Continuities alter-ego (as well as his allies like Spider-Gwen).
  • The Gimmick: Spidey possesses several: The Spider theme, the quick wit, and, out of universe, One of Us.
  • Girl Next Door: Gwen Stacy, originally. Mary Jane, in all versions but the original. Amusingly 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 while MJ came from the same working-class Queens background that Peter did.
  • 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.
  • Grand Theft Me: The premise of Dan Slott's Superior Spider-Man is Doc Ock pulling this on Spidey.
  • Hates My Secret Identity: It is a staple of any version of that franchise that Flash Thompson will bully Peter Parker while admiring Spider-Man.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Played With for the last several years. While JJJ continues to harbor an irrational (almost obsessive) hatred for Spider-Man, the average New Yorker is as likely to think of Spider-Man as a great, if not the greatest, hero as they are to think of him as a menace. Even JJJ has admitted, at times and usually under extreme duress, that Spider-Man is at least trying to do good.
  • How Much Did You Hear?: In Amazing Fantasy Vol. 2 #15, Spider-Man realizes that in the famous cover of Amazing Fantasy #15, he pretty much declared his real name in the presence of the guy in his armpit. Fortunately for him, the guy was screaming too loudly to hear it.
    Spider-Man: didn't hear that thing I just said, right? You know? About how the world may mock... yadda yadda yadda?
  • Hypocritical Humor: In one of the earlier issues, Spider-Man, of all people, tells Mysterio to quit it with the sarcasm.
  • I Approved This Message: An issue in which Deadpool claimed to have Blackest Night symbols on his toenails ("My feet are a rainbow of power!") had a footnote reading "I'm Geoff Johns and I approve this message — Geoff Johns, former Avengers writer".
  • 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 299 in 1988, over 25 years of publication later.
  • Idiot Ball: Spider-Man is tossed one of these nearly any time he is taken by surprise by an attack, considering that his comic named the trope for the ability to sense when something potentially dangerous is about to happen.
    • 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.
  • If I Had a Nickel: Spidey responding to a threat made by the Green Goblin during the "Goblins at the Gate" arc.
    Spider-Man: Goblin, if I had a nickel for every time I heard a threat like that... well, I'd be one very rich friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: The trope namer.
  • I Love Nuclear Power: Radioactive spider etc. See also Doctor Octopus.
    • Subverted in Reign. The consequences of Spidey's radioactive body fluids taken to its logical conclusion. It was also kind of handy when it came to taking out Morlun that time. Except Morlun returned in a case of Back from the Dead.
    • Both played straight and subverted in the Crossover with the Transformers. Straight with Megatron, who captures Spidey and uses his radioactive blood to form a special isotope that can supercharge transformers. Subverted with Spidey, who was the one Strapped to an Operating Table as the Decepticons stole his blood. Spidey still managed to crack a few jokes.
  • 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.
  • Interclass Friendship: During the early days of the series, Peter Parker, living with his widow aunt May Parker, was friends with Harry Osborn, son of evil business man Norman Osborn. Sadly, the friendship falls apart thanks to Harry learning his dad was the Green Goblin and Peter was Spider-Man and thinking he killed him. Indeed, in Peter's circle in college, the only one of his friends who shared his working-class background was Mary Jane Watson.
  • Irrational Hatred: Jameson for Spider-Man.
  • 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. A character in a later story claimed that the spider chose Peter as it was dying. It saw Peter's suffering as a benefit, as someone like that once given power would never allow themselves to be a victim again.
  • It's All About Me: Subverted in the first issue. When he got his powers, he became a wrestling star, and won't be bothered to help the police to stop a thief that was stealing at the arena. "Sorry, pal! That's your job! I'm through being pushed around - by anyone! From now on I just look out for number one. That means - me!". Then that thief got into the Parker's house, killed Uncle Ben and... oh, you already knew that story, right?

     Tropes J-O 

  • 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.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sometimes, J. Jonah Jameson.
  • 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.
  • Juxtaposed Halves Shot: During The Silver Age of Comic Books, when Peter Parker's Spidey Sense is triggered while he's in civvies, we often see his face half normal and half in his costume's mask.
  • Keep the Home Fires Burning: Mary Jane gets this plot a lot, notably in the Kraven's Last Hunt storyline.
  • 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.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Most new and old Marvel characters have fought Spidey at least once.
  • Life Drinker: Morlun belongs to a race, the Ancients, that maintain immortality by draining life energy from people, especially people who are an animalistic totem.
  • Lighter and Softer: See "Darker and Edgier". The first notable example was when John Romita replaced Steve Ditko and Peter Parker's existence became less of a Crapsack World as a result.
  • Lizard Folk: Well, The Lizard.
  • Logical Weakness: The Spider-Sense alerts him of danger, but it does not tell him why something is dangerous. Sometimes his foes have taken advantage of this by presenting an obvious danger so he does not notice a subtle one at the same time.
  • 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.
  • Lost in Imitation: On account of Spider-Man's adaptation into diverse movies, games, cartoons and even newspaper strips, which take a Compressed Adaptation and Composite Character approach, many elements get lost in the process. Not helping is when elements from these adaptations became Canon Immigrant. This tends to polarize Spider-Man's fanbase and it's partially to correct this, that recent stories like Spider-Verse were put into effect. The end result is that depending on where you start from, you end up having a different Spider-Man in your head.
    • For many people, before Sam Raimi's films, especially internationallynote , their main exposure to Spider-Man was Stan Lee's newspaper strip that was published and syndicated in many newspapers around the world. It was in this newspaper that Spider-Man first married Mary-Jane Watson. In this strip, which is Lighter and Softer than the regular continuity, Peter Parker is an Experienced Protagonist who is Happily Married and his dynamic with MJ is closer to Nick and Nora rather than the Wet Blanket Wife she was in the mainstream comics. Most of the action has Peter working for JJJ at the Daily Bugle as a photographer (when Peter had taken a variety of jobs in 616 continuity). Eventually the marriage went from the newspaper strip to the main comics continuity, and for a long time, Peter became known for being the most famous superhero who was a married man, which explains the backlash with One More Day.
    • Until very recently, most audiences who knew of Spider-Man tended to see Mary Jane as his Lois Lane and never even knew about Gwen Stacy (or Betty Brant, or Liz Allan), except through the internet. The Spider-Girl comics likewise established the most famous Legacy Character of Peter's at the time to be his daughter with MJ. The reason is that most of the cartoon adaptations and Sam Raimi's movies had established her as Peter's true love and the fact that Gwen Stacy had died was something that censorship would not allow kids cartoons to put across. Gwen Stacy's fame as a murder victim in regular continuity is further diluted with her appearance as a supporting character in The Spectacular Spider-Man and the success of Spider-Gwen and the upcoming animated series where she has spider-powers from the start.
    • Likewise, for most people who come to the character from the newspaper strip or follow the regular continuity, Spider-Man hasn't been a Kid Hero or high-school student since his early issues. He graduated from high school to college similar to Marvel Comics Early Installment Weirdness where they averted Comic-Book Time and had characters age and progress. However, cartoons and movies by focusing on his origins tends to paint him as that. Brian Michael Bendis' popular Ultimate Spider-Man wrote 200 issues with Peter still not graduating high school and the series ended without him graduating. The upcoming MCU Trilogy is also planned to focus and be set mostly in Spider-Man's teenage years, albeit Reimagining the Artifact slightly.
  • Magic Meteor: The Looter's whole shtick was stealing meteorites for their power-granting ability.
  • Magnetism Manipulation: The villain Electro once had this as his main power. Where he was able to negate his weakness to water by making them evaporate with electromagnetism before it touches him. he was also able to paralyze people by overcharging their synapses with it. Otherwise, his normal Shock and Awe powers had basic electromagnetic capabilities which he used for things like Wall Crawl and fast travel on metal objects.
  • Make Them Rot: Carrion, a minor enemy, has the ability to cause organic matter to rot with a touch.
  • Master of Disguise: Chameleon, impersonating Spidey in the first issue. He wears exquisitely made latex masks, is a skilled mimic, and his own mask is equipped with voice changer software.
  • Master of Illusion: Mysterio. It's his specialty, and he is even often referred to by this exact title. Though his illusions are all based from his previous employment in the special effects industry.
  • 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).
  • Mistaken for Cheating: When he first fought The Queen she easily defeated him before forcibly kissing him while he was unconscious. This public make out was captured on the News, but all of New York assumed that Spider-Man was the one who kissed Queen. Aunt May accidentally revealed the kiss to Mary Jane before she found out herself and Mary Jane gave Peter a hard time for awhile because of the kiss.
  • 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.
  • Monster Modesty: Spidey has had several monstrous villains over the years. While some employ Nonhumans Lack Attributes, we do get characters like The Lizard and Vermin, two monster characters who have varying degrees of intelligence and enjoy running around in torn up pants (and a lab coat in the Lizard's case).
  • Motive Decay: None of Spider-Man's villains ever started out with stable motives:
    • 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 original Evil 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.
    • Green Goblin's early motives was become New York's crime lord, humiliating Spider-Man, and then after being hit with Easy Amnesia, he goes dormant as reformed!Norman Osborn, resurfaces to murder Gwen Stacy, goes underground in Europe and plots The Clone Saga for, profit? and then since returning he has become even more erratic than usual.
    • Peter's own motives can also be questioned. After being bit by Spider-Man he tried to make money, create web fluid, learnt his aesop about power and responsibility, and alternates all his time caring for Aunt May, studying in college, and saving the world, without any long term plans to "fight crime", help his family or advance his social career, aside from just helping around with fighting crime. The attempt by writers to spin new material out of a guy who's more or less still static and stuck in the same place when he was still bitten by the spider is arguably one of the reasons for the more controversial storylines later on.
  • 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."
  • My God, What Have I Done?: When he recognizes the murderer of his uncle as the man he allowed to escape earlier.
  • Mythology Gag: The civilian name of Alpha, Spider-Man's sidekick/protege introduced in issue #692? Andrew Maguire.
  • 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 Notable Numeral: The Sinister Six.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Poor Peter Parker will probably never hit his 30s. In the regular 616 Continuity, Peter is in his mid-20s, and out of college while Ultimate Spider-Man, the cartoon adaptations and other continuity focused entirely on his high-school days. Early Marvel Universe comics averted Comic-Book Time and had the characters advance and age in the comics, this applied to the Fantastic Four, Dr. Strange and the X-Men. As such Peter remains a mid-20s guy in the mainstream comics largely for the sake of Grandfather Clause even if editors and writers have said that he's essentially an adolescent character and Kid Hero, and on account of Lost in Imitation stated above, the Spider-Man of the Pop-Cultural Osmosis is either a teen hero or a college kid. As such, while Peter has grown up from a teenager to a young adult, the writers generally try to enforce Status Quo Is God to keep Peter's lifestyle and personality young and relatable. For example: Peter was, at the time of his introduction, around the same age as the original X-Men, yet all of them are already in their early-mid thirties while Peter was only in his mid-twenties after Civil War, and as of 2017 his last stated age was 28. As a side effect, this means that all Spidey stories set in between the Seventies Note  to the 2000's took place over a period of at most five or six years In-Universe, which is really rather cramped.
  • 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.
  • Official Couple Ordeal Syndrome: Pretty much all of Spidey's love interests, but Mary Jane will be the stand out example, since she's not only the target of the villains, but also of Marvel editors.
  • The One Who Made It Out: Some of the stories (at least before the Dan Slott eranote ) and adaptations of Spider-Man deal with Peter's Angst about the fact that being Spider-Man is delaying or hurting his ambitions and plans for his career or attempts to live up to his potential. This is also part of the arc of his supporting characters.
    • It was in the background of the If This Be My Destiny— story which heightens the isolation and loneliness Peter faces with Aunt May dying, struggling to pay bills, coming of as aloof, while the final panel has the doctor noting how Spider-Man gets credit while The Real Heroes like Peter get little reward. This was part of the reason why Peter initially avoided being set up on a date by Aunt May for the as-yet unseen Mary-Jane because he was drawn to the wider social circle of Empire State University while he felt that Aunt May's match would be a little too typical for his sake (he was wrong of course).
    • Norman Osborn in his revival often taunted Peter for being an underachiever who more or less still lives in the same way he did as a young man, was still poor and came of as an underachiever. Doctor Octopus in the Superior Spider-Man initially expressed the same views.
    • Mary-Jane's story was also about wanting to escape her roots, namely her abusive upbringing and become an actress and model. During her marriage with Peter, there was Family Versus Career tensions in their relationship about her earning more than Peter, which made the latter miserable, while also feeling a little frustrated if being a "policeman's wife" was hampering her career.
  • One-Winged Angel: Sometimes, Spider-Man mutates into a spider-like monster.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Spidey will usually toss off a steady stream of jokes and one-liners during a fight... unless he's seriously ticked off, in which case whoever he's fighting is about to have a really bad day.
  • Ordinary High-School Student
  • 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.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in the "Learning to Crawl" sideseries published after Peter got his body back from Otto Octavius. Set in the days right after Peter first got bit, and focusing on his earliest trials of being Spider-Man and engaging with another budding superhero/villain named Clash, the series features art that's a deliberate throwback to the Lee/Ditko era, while simultaneously talking about posting Spider-Man's first fight with Crusher Hogan on MeTube, texting, going viral, etc.
  • Outside Ride: When he needs to get somewhere faster than he can web-swing, Spidey uses his enhanced athletic abilities to catch a ride and his clinging power to hang on.

     Tropes P-T 

  • 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".
  • Personal Horror: The origin story involves this, as Uncle Ben's death is indirectly caused by Peter's irresponsibility.
  • 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.
  • Plot-Driven Breakdown: "I'm out of Web Fluid!"
  • Popularity Power: How Spidey gets to beat the really tough villains and heroes. Somewhat justified by the fact that, as pointed out on this page, when he really goes all-out, he's a lot more capable and dangerous than he seems to be at first glance.
  • Portable Hole: The Spot's main gimmick (due to a Freak Lab Accident, of course).
  • 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.
  • Pro Wrestling Is Real / Pro Wrestling Episode: When Spider-Man first got his powers, he entered a wrestling tournament and beat a wrestler by the name of Crusher Hogan. Interestingly enough, Crusher came back years later, publicly stated that wrestling was fake, and that he purposefully threw the fight to Spidey.
  • Progressively Prettier:
  • 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 round trip, since subsequent writers would bring them all back at one point or another.
  • Read the Fine Print: In The Amazing Spider-Man #14, Spidey signs a contract to appear in a movie. When the producer gives up on the idea to start another movie, he reveals that, according to the fine print, Spidey doesn't "get any money until the picture is completed". Spidey will never be paid for his work in the film because it'll never be completed.
    Spider-Man: You're not related to J. Jonah Jameson by some chance, are you?
  • Reality Ensues:
    • The infamous death of Gwen Stacy. Spidey caught her by the leg with his web to keep her from falling, only for the inertia from the sudden stop to snap her neck and kill her.
    • The strain of trying to maintain his personal life and super heroing really starts to pile up on Peter. Between being unable to socialize, keep up with his studies, and enduring the constant scorn of the press via his own boss he eventually gives it up. Albeit temporarily.
    • In Amazing Spider-Man issue #4, Spider-Man spies some no-good crooks casing a jewelry store and swoops out of the sky to punch their lights out....only for them to run to the nearest police officer and complain. Peter mentally facepalms for picking a fight with them before they've actually broken any laws.
    • Peter's goals after he discovers his powers is finding a way to monetize it, which emphasizes the social-material dimension on superheroics in a way the likes of Superman and Batman never didnote . Even after Uncle Ben's death due to neglecting to stop a burglar, when Peter understands the importance of responsibility, he's poor enough that he is constantly trying to find a way to earn a living, such as working as a performer in The Amazing Spider-Man #1 and later trying to monetize his web-shooters.
  • Really Gets Around: Peter Parker possibly has had more girlfriends than any superhero. He has most famously been in relationships with Gwen Stacy, Mary Jane, and Black Cat, but has also had several relationships with several other side characters like Betty Brant and Liz Allen. Not to mention his relationships with several other female heroes and villains.
  • Reckless Pacifist: All very well when Spidey's dealing with supervillains, but sometimes he seems to forget how much ordinary people can take.
  • 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 knew that dating a hero could result in violent 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 dual identity. After Peter revealed who he was to her and proposed, she didnt think twice about accepting.
  • A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside an Enigma: In The Amazing Spider-Man #26, the narrator asks: Can Spider-Man solve this dark riddle, cloaked within a grim puzzle, hidden beneath the shadows of a deadly enigma??
  • Rogues Gallery: Just about every adaptation has presented the classic villains (the Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Electro, the Shocker, the Rhino, Mysterio, etc.). It's probably the second most famous rogues gallery in comics, with only Batman outdoing it.
  • 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.
    • Rhino also has had quite a few run-ins with The Incredible Hulk.
    • The Punisher even started as one of Spidey's enemies.
    • As of Dark Reign, Norman Osborn has become an archenemy of the entire Earth-based Marvel universe, second only to Doctor Doom.
  • 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.
  • Sanctuary of Solitude: Venom's origin story: Eddie Brock, down-on-his-luck reporter, is contemplating suicide in a church while Spider-Man is trying to escape from the Symbiote. After he successfully drives it off, it bonds with Eddie, and Venom is born.
  • Save the Villain
    • In Untold Tales of Spider-Man #15, Spidey saves his long-time antagonist J. Jonah Jameson from being framed by the mob. And was neither the first nor last time. Spidey has saved Jonah's behind so many times - with absolutely no gratitude from Jonah after all of it - you have to wonder why he bothers.
    • Shortly before the Gathering of Five arc in the Spider-Man comics, Spidey actually had to rescue Norman Osborn, and this Trope can be combined with What You Are in the Dark for that occasion. The Kingpin sent Nitro the Living Bomb to assassinate Osborn, which resulted in him, Spidey (in his civilian identity as Peter Parker) and Norman's little grandson Normie trapped in an elevator that was about to collapse, both of them pinned. Norman, being the Magnificent Bastard he is, actually took this time to gloat a little, telling Peter that he had no idea whether or not the security cameras were still working, and telling him that any displays of Super Strength by Peter could possibly give him away to anyone who was watching. Of course, Norman was just as strong, but claimed he was unwilling for that very reason. (Or maybe he was waiting until the last second, or was actually unable to free himself, just too proud to ask for help. We may never know.) Eventually, Peter had to take the chance to save Normie (and found out quickly that the security cameras had been quite broken by the explosion) and might have considered leaving his enemy to fall. But when Normie begged him to save his grandfather, he relented, and helped get Norman out. Even then, Norman couldn't help but goad him a little, telling him that if he had done nothing he would have been victorious in their feud. (And this would be a very large turning point in it; Norman would perform the Gathering of Five to gain more power to prevent things like this again, would be driven far more insane, his identity of the Goblin would be revealed, and his enmity with Spider-Man would become much deadlier than before.)
  • 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 Love: After the death of his original true love, Gwen Stacy, he eventually fell in love with Mary Jane, who is possibly his most well known love interest to this day.
  • 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.
  • Shapeshifting Seducer: The Chameleon.
  • 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  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'm Batman."
  • 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. In his early run, he did everything on his own, without relying on confidants like Alfred or Robin, making his own web-shooters and doing his own crime research, and enjoying the reputation of being a lone-wolf weirdo among the superhero community. Of course, Spider-Man tried to join a team, the Fantastic Four (The Avengers weren't invented yet) but he got turned down because Reed insisted that they were a family and not a team (years later, he did join the Future Foundation) and despite being offered a place in The Avengers'' later on, he turned it down because he felt it would come in the way of helping his Aunt May.
    • 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. In his team-up with Miles Morales, the latter played junior partner to him and is presently New York's street-level Spider-Man while Peter is running Parker Industries.
    • Spider-Man's non-sidekick status gets diluted a little in Alternate Continuity like Ultimate Marvel and Marvel Cinematic Universe where Peter is designated as officially in "apprentice status" to either Nick Fury and SHIELD or to Tony Stark, and in the case of the latter, has his suit and equipment handed to him by Tony Stark.
  • Skyscraper Messages: A 1970s story has the Shocker doing this with whole city blocks as part of an extortion scheme. Unsurprisingly, a later story has Electro doing the same thing.
  • Sky Surfing: The Hobgoblin and Green Goblin can do this with their respective Goblin Gliders.
  • Spider Limbs:
    • Firstly, there's arch enemy Doctor Octopus.
    • Then there's the Powered Armour Tony Stark gives Spider-Man in the Civil War.
    • There's also Midnight Sons rogue Spider-X, who has boney spider-limbs.
    • Pre-dating the Civil War Iron Spider armor, a possible future Spider-Man was shown to be a genius with Powered Armor using a similar system to Doc Ock's. Interestingly, the future Goblin serving as his nemesis had equivalent technology on her armor as well.
    • Spider-Man once had a teenage fanboy who built himself a set of mechanical spider legs and tried to become Spidey's sidekick. Since he was a clumsy, out-of-shape teenager with no combat experience, it was a good thing that Spider-Man was able to talk him out of it before he hurt himself. A few years later, he reemerged as the Steel Spider, having gotten into shape and learned some hand-to-hand fighting ability in the interim. After beating up some guys who'd attacked his girlfriend, he decided to hang up the costume but then reemerged during the Civil War on the anti-registration side. His super-hero career apparently ended when he fought the Thunderbolts and Venom bit off and ate one of his arms and he was imprisoned in the Negative Zone.
    • The Superior Spider-Man has added similar waldoes to his second costume. Makes sense, since he's actually Doctor Octopus after stealing Spidey's body and life. They are destroyed during the "Goblin Nation" arc.
    • The third and fourth Spider-Woman both possessed these at different points. Originally they were a power of Charlotte Witter (Spider-Woman IV), as a result of genetic manipulation by Doc Ock. After a lot of back-and-forth power-stealing, the limbs — along with the other powers of all three other "Spider-Women" — ended up with Mattie Franklin (Spider-Woman III).
    • This has happened to Spidey before, but he managed to cure his condition thanks to the help of Dr. Curt Connors (a.k.a. the Lizard).
  • Spider People: While Spidey himself generally doesn't qualify, being just a normal-looking human with spiderlike powers, there have been occasions where he mutated further into "Man-Spider", a far more monstrous form somewhere in between a bipedal human and a giant multi-armed spider.
  • 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.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Stunner, of course.
  • Status Quo Is God: Ever since Peter and Mary Jane wed, writers have been trying to backpedal and make Peter single again.
    • They succeeded after Civil War.
    • 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.
  • Superhero: Perhaps a bit self-explanatory, but Spidey arguably counts as the Trope Codifier for modern superhero stories, which explore the impact of their vigilante lives on their social life.
  • Super Reflexes: Closely coupled with his Spider-Sense.
  • Super Strength: Heavily Depending on the Writer. Spider-Man has occasionally struggled with much lighter weights, and on other occasions has achieved far greater feats. Spider-Man can go from struggling to match Daredevil or Captain America (who are a lot weaker, Daredevil in particular isn't even in the Superhuman range, though they are more skilled fighters and Peter holds back) or struggling to stop a limo with the help of Luke Cage to supporting a portion of the Daily Bugle. The Mighty Thor has confessed that Spider-Man boasts vast strength, for a mortal.
  • 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.
    • Dan Slott takes one at Brand New Day in Amazing Spider-Man #789. Peter, now crashing in Mockingbird's apartment and at one of the lowest ebbs of his life, is the recipient of a attempted moral-boosting speech by Bobbi:
    Mockingbird: C'mon. It's been weeks. I've found a new job. New digs. It's your turn. Time to get on with your life. Brand new day!
    • The same issue also mocks the infamous "Ask Me About My Feminist Agenda" T-shirt from Mockingbird's solo run. She ribs Peter about the clothes he's wearing (unseen heretofore to the audience) saying that it's not a good look. The POV switches over to a shot of Pete on the couch, wearing said shirt and retorting that it's Mockingbird's.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: And Spidey can keep it up all day.
  • Tears of Remorse: In the penultimate panel of his origin story.
  • Teen Genius
  • Teeth Flying: Venom's teeth often go flying when Spider-Man gives him a beating. Not that it matters much, since they grow back in seconds.
  • 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. Part of a Running Gag that Peter, being a native New Yorker and being able to webswing since he was 15, never learned to drive.
  • This Loser Is You: See Loser Protagonist.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: Andy, immediately after Spider-Man de-powers him.
  • Three-Point Landing: Spider Man likes this pose.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • Trash Talk: Spider-Man vs. any of his opponents, ever
  • True Love Is Boring: Outright stated by Word of God as the reason behind the Retconning of Peter and Mary Jane's divorce. And even before One More Day, writers and editors tried to break up, kill off, or otherwise end Peter and MJ's relationship time and time again. Also one of the reasons Gwen Stacy was killed. Nobody at Marvel was ready for a married Spider-Man yet.
  • Two-Person Love Triangle:
    • In the comics, Black Cat barely tolerated Peter Parker's presence, but was hot to trot for Spider-Man any time. The catch is that Black Cat knows that they are one and the same person.
    • Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane has the more traditional version, where Mary Jane has decided to somehow ask Spider-Man to take her to a school dance only to find herself falling for Peter Parker at the same time.
    • This goes back a long way with him; at the end of a very early adventure, Peter Parker calls Liz Allen on the phone to ask for a date only to have her tell him she's already told off his rival Flash Thompson and wants him off the line as well, since she's anticipating a call from Spider-man. As she slams down the receiver, he laments that "Only a guy with my nutty luck could end up being his own competition!"
    • Also, in her early mainstream appearances Mary Jane flirted both with Peter Parker and with Spider-Man (when he rescued her) and often expressed admiration or attraction to Spider-Man. Years later it was revealed that MJ knew that the two are one and the same all along... Making things interesting, MJ actually didn't want a serious relationship with Peter because she knew he was Spider-Man, and she knew the issues with dating a superhero.

     Tropes U-Z 

  • Unexpected Inheritance: Aunt May once inherited a nuclear power plant.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo:
    • At start of the story Peter has a crush for Liz Allan. However, she is Flash's girlfriend and initially considers Peter something of a loser, even taking part in the general ridicule that Peter endures on a daily basis. After, she hears an ailing Peter had donned a Spider-Man costume in order to save Betty Brant from Doctor Octopus and develops a crush on him. By this time, however, Peter's interest has waned considerably, as he notes that Liz never showed any real interest in him until he began dating Betty Brant and assumes that Liz's feelings are little more than a schoolgirl crush.
    • After OMD, Peter and MJ were on the outs. She moved on and developed a relationship with others while Peter wasn't ready to move on. Peter eventually decided to start a relationship with Carlie Cooper, while MJ started to reevaluate her feelings for Peter and eventually came to the realization that she still loved him during Spider-Island. The pair slowly tried getting back together, only for the events of Superior Spider-Man to drive them apart again. After Peter got his body back, MJ had already moved on and started a relationship with another man. Time will tell how the situation will resolve itself, but if they don't get back together, the fans may riot.
  • Upbringing Makes the Hero: Thanks to Uncle Ben and Aunt May.
    • To drive the point home: in Bullet Points, the very same upbringing sans Uncle Ben (and, therefore, without a fatherly figure) resulted in Peter being a total jerk instead.
  • Unsound Effect: A very recent battle with Mysterio gave us "Groing". For a groin shot. Also counts as a Crowning Moment Of Funny.
  • 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.
  • Very Special Episode: Spider-Man has been a very popular character for very special episodes. Select narm-filled issues show our hero:
  • 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".
      • However, it has to be noted that due to Venom's twisted sense of fair play, neither Mary Jane or May were ever in any danger. Venom never made any threatening moves towards either of them, and Eddie Brock even chatted with May in a very friendly manner and helped her with household chores. Brock even gave Peter his word that he would never harm Aunt May.
    • 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 B.S.O.D. because of it. Remember, Mary Jane was friends with Harry and even dated him at one point.
    • Aunt May almost got married to Doc Ock once.
  • Villain Takes an Interest: The Green Goblin, especially since he's disappointed in the offspring.
  • 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.
  • Walking Wasteland: Carrion and Styx.
  • Wall Crawl: Spidey may actually be the Trope Namer for this trope - "Wall-Crawler" has been one of his nicknames for decades.
  • Wham Line: Amazing Spider-Man 698:
    Doc Ock: "No... I'm Peter Parker."
    • 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.
  • Will-o'-the-Wisp: There's a villain named Will o'the Wisp, who most often fights Spider-Man. He can control his density and hypnotize targets.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Green Goblin's origin.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Perks: How Peter was before the fateful day where he learned With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility. Paralleled with Andy/Alpha who plays this trope straight, much to Peter's regret (and slight envy).
  • Wolverine Publicity: Spidey's just as bad as Wolverine himself when it comes to this.
    • 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.
    • Spidey's first solo comic was a case of Fantastic Four publicity, featuring the FF prominently on the cover, and the plotline being Spider-Man wanting to join them. The Fantastic Four was Marvel's flagship series at the time.
  • 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.
    • If there is a "standard formula" to a Spider-Man story, it's this: Spidey meets a new villain (or old villain with new and/or improved powers), gets his ass kicked, comes up with a scientific solution to neutralize the baddy's advantage, then delivers a Curb-Stomp Battle. Probably the best example of this, in prolonged format, is the Spider Island event. If Spidey isn't triumphing after total defeat through science and ingenuity, he's probably doing it through Heroic Resolve and being The Determinator.
  • Working-Class Hero: One of the many reasons why Peter Parker was such a fresh character from its beginnings. He very believably came across a poor scholarship boy whose daily pressures (education, being an orphan, having elderly guardians) was already a strain before his super-powers. It's also there in his identity as a "Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man" and a Small Steps Hero. This aspect tends to be toned down some adaptations (with the excepting of [The spectacular spider-man) and more recent stories.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: When he first met Princess Python, Spidey lamented that he couldn't hit her. It was the 1960's, after all. Later averted with female villains like Moonstone, Shriek, Nebula and Titania, who Spidey doesn't hold back against.
  • Wrestling Monster: Played straight with Masked Luchador El Muerte. Played with when wrestling god El Diablo shows up. He never appears in the ring of any promotions and fights with swords.
  • Wring Every Last Drop Out Of Her: Aunt May has been on the verge of death for four decades.
  • Yandere: The Venom Symbiote for Spider-Man.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: For all of his strength and speed, Peter beats himself up to the extreme whenever he fails to save someone, or even when people get hurt while he's fighting one or many supervillains, so he has to be reminded of this at times, usually by Mary Jane, but sometimes by people like Logan or Captain America.
  • You Can't Kill What's Already Dead: Subverted with Digger. He's both undead and takes extreme amounts of damage over the course of his debut without injury. However, this was actually due to the fact that he had a Healing Factor, as he was reanimated by gamma radiation from nuclear weapons tests near his grave site, and Spidey exploited this fact to kill him in his first appearance.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: Spider-Man's the undisputed master of this trope.

Alternative Title(s): Spiderman