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Franchise / Spider-Man

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Is he strong? Listen, bud!
He's got radioactive blood!
Can he swing from a thread?
Take a look overhead!
Hey there, there goes the Spider-Man!
— Excerpt from the 1967 Title Theme Tune to Spider-Man, and Bootstrapped Theme for the entire franchise.

The Wallcrawler, the Webhead and the Webslinger. The King of Taunts and Snark. The Everyman Hero. The (non-sidekick) Teen Superhero, The Heart of the Marvel Universe and Company.

He's Amazing! He's Sensational! He's Spectacular!

He's just 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. He is one of — if not the — premier company mascots of Marvel Comics and is as central to them as Mickey Mouse is to Walt Disney.

Peter Parker is a shy, bookish, and constantly picked-on high school student who lives with his Aunt May and Uncle Ben in Forest Hills, Queens due to the death of his parents. On a field trip to a science lab, he was bitten by a radioactive (and in some newer stories genetically-modified) spider, giving him amazing powers: the proportional strength of a spider, the ability to crawl on walls, a Spider-Sense to warn him of danger, as well as super-fast reflexes. A brilliant young man and budding inventor, Peter developed his own formula for an adhesive fluid that resembles and mimics a spider's web which he fires from wrist-mounted shooters, working as both a grappling tool and a projectile weapon.

Initially ebullient and overawed by his transformation from picked-on kid to superhuman, a Tragic Mistake that leads to the death of his beloved Uncle Ben permanently instills in Peter a sense of responsibility and duty to his fellow citizen. 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, even if as a superhero from a struggling background starting out with almost entirely independent resources, he has few ways to defend himself from the misunderstandings and weak communication caused by his actions in the public eye.

Becoming a superhero on the cusp of adulthood, forced to grow up fast while barely having time to enjoy his youth, Spider-Man is the underdog superhero — scrapping to earn every inch of his triumphs, big and small, while living with the consequences of his actions, good and bad, and the ways it affects him and his loved ones for every waking day that follows.

Debuting originally in Amazing Fantasy #15, Spider-Man was an immediate hit and quickly became Marvel's top-selling title and in a few short years, he became one of the most iconic heroes, and despite starting nearly twenty years after both Superman and Batman closed the gap between them to become just as notable and proverbial in the global consciousness. Just like them, Spider-Man has a supporting cast that is equally iconic and popular — his elderly Aunt May, his famous editor/boss J. Jonah Jameson, his school friends and rivals (Flash Thompson, Harry Osborn) and of course his Love Interest who alternately like either Peter but hate Spider-Man or vice-versa, or are otherwise too much for him or anyone to handle (Gwen Stacy, Felicia Hardy, Mary Jane Watson). His Rogues Gallery is also one of the most notable and famous in comics' history — the Green Goblin, Dr. Octopus, Venom, Rhino, Vulture, Scorpion, Mysterio, Kraven the Hunter, as well as a series of popular Legacy Character and sidekicks (Miles Morales, Spider-Girl among others below).

Like Superman and Batman, Spider-Man has proven adaptable to multiple mediums. The arachnid-powered Superhero was relatively new to the Marvel Universe when he made his TV animation debut in 1967. 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 Stories" 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 that featured Stan Lee working on it for a longer time than the regular continuity. 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 (1977) 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, which in turn created the Power Rangers.) Spider-Man also appeared in video games very early and in multiple console generations holding the record for most number of video games for any superhero character, according to Guinness World Records.

Spider-Man's fortunes leaped to new heights with the worldwide success of the Spider-Man Trilogy directed by Sam Raimi which made the character so popular that he remains in demand in movies despite reboots in limited intervals. If he was popular before, he's amazing, spectacular, ultimate, and sensational for all time at this point in as many mediums, analog or digital, as you can find. His character archetype itself is now so ubiquitous that it easily lends itself to parody, satire, or deconstruction.

Has a character sheet for both his regular comics continuity and the multiple iterations he has appeared in other titles.

General trope examples:

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Current Titles

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    Storylines in the Main 616 Continuity 

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Theatrically Released Films and Western Animation

    Films — Produced by Sony Pictures 

    Films — Marvel Cinematic Universe 
Produced by Disney, Spider-Man appears in the Marvel Cinematic Universe starring Tom Holland. The solo Spider-Man movies are distributed by Sony Pictures.

    Western Animation 

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    Spider-Man Main Titles 

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Live-Action TV


Tropes for the Franchise and common features to multiple adaptations go here. Tropes specific to comics stories from the main 616 Continuity, go here.

"Spider-Tropes, Spider-Tropes, friendly neighborhood Spider-Tropes":

  • 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.
  • Action Series: One of the most well-known bits of escapist fiction to date, and no doubt one of the most flagrant examples of the trope.
  • Adaptation Distillation:
    • In comics like Chapter One and Ultimate Spider-Man, the origins of Peter and his Rogues Gallery is merged or connected to an overarching plot or villain (Norman Osborn, S.H.I.E.L.D.).
    • In the Sam Raimi films, Spider-Man's webbing is organic, MJ is the central girlfriend from high school being merged with Liz Allan, with Peter having Single-Target Sexuality for her. Gwen Stacy shows up after he starts dating Mary Jane and is a composite with Ann Weying (Eddie Brock's ex-wife). Harry Osborn is Peter's high school friend rather than meeting him in college.
    • In The Amazing Spider-Man, Peter no longer creates his own web fluid, the Lizard's family is adapted out, Gwen becomes Peter's Single-Target Sexuality and becomes a mixture of herself and Mary Jane (namely knowing and accepting Peter and Spider-Man and serving as confidant and partner which Gwen never did), shows up in high school rather than college, the Daily Bugle and staff don't appear at all, and Harry Osborn becomes the Green Goblin rather than Norman.
    • In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Peter no longer creates his classic costume, but rather is given it by Tony Stark/Iron Man. He makes his own web fluid, however.
  • Alertness Blink: Most times the spider-sense activates. The thick, tapering wavy lines around his head are one of the most famous examples of this in the west.
  • 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. Ironically because of this, Spider-Man has traditionally been a huge supporter and ally of the X-Men.
  • 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.
  • Animal Motifs: Spidey and a good portion of his rogues gallery, to wit: the Vulture, the Chameleon, the Scorpion, the Rhino, the Beetle, the Jackal, Dr. Octopus. Likewise, Kraven the Hunter, while not having animal powers famously wears a jacket made out of lion fur. Sometimes lampshaded in stories such as The Amazing Spider-Man (J. Michael Straczynski), and other times 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 Fighting Style:
    • The hero's rogues gallery contains several enemies who follow this pattern to go with their animal motifs. In fact, for a time this was almost the only type of foe Spidey fought. Rhino, Vulture, Doctor Octopus, Kangaroo, Scorpion, Leap Frog, Puma, and Razorback are a very short list of villains who, through one method or another, tend to fight using the same kinds of attacks and tactics as the animals they're patterned after. How effective this is varies.
    • In Dan Slott's run, Spider-Man's Spider-Sense was temporarily disabled. To compensate for this, Peter underwent martial arts training from Shang Chi to develop a fighting style called "Way of the Spider" which focused on spider-like strength and reflexes.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: Peter is Spider-Man and can crawl on walls and adhere to any surface and any angle, he also has the proportional strength of a spider, a special spider-sense, and the agility and flexibility of a spider, or one enhanced genetically. Over time, it has been established that Peter didn't entirely win the Superpower Lottery, and that's why he only has some spider-based powers and not the much larger library he could have. This has also been used to help differentiate some of his Legacy Characters, giving them certain unique powers whilst still preserving the fundamental theme of being a Spider-Hero.
  • Animated Adaptation: This could take a while...
    • 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.
    • Spider-Man Unlimited was a sequel-but-not-really to the above series, which sees Spider-Man hopping aboard a spaceship to Counter-Earth, fighting alongside new allies and running into high-tech, futuristic versions of his classic rogues gallery. Notable for ending on a Cliffhanger.
    • Spider-Man: The New Animated Series blended CGI and cel-shading to create a unique form of animation. The series itself is set immediately after the events of the first Sam Raimi film, though its sequels would later render it Canon Discontinuity.
    • The Spectacular Spider-Man is the first animated Spider-Man series to focus his time as a teenager in high school, as it was originally in the comics. The show is also widely considered an Adaptation Distillation as it stays 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, storylines, and plot elements with a similar balance of action, drama and comedy as well as a high school setting) in addition to utilizing material from all eras of the comic's run and other sources such as the more recent the Ultimate Spider-Man comics and the Sam Raimi movies, making a Spider-Man cartoon that is very popular and 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.
    • Marvel's Spider-Man, Disney's newest foray into adapting the Spider-Man mythos for younger audiences.
    • Spideyandhis Amazing Friends Disney Junior's take on the web-slinger for the preschool crowd.
    • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Spidey's first animated feature-length film.
  • 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 (unless it's Venom, whom the Spider-Sense cannot detect).
  • 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 '70s and '80s/'90s, 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 the wall-crawler 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 a 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 a 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).
  • 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.
    • Ben and May Parker in the comics belonged to "the Greatest Generation" and Ben was several years older than Richard, his younger brother (who is Peter's father). This kind of background made sense in that time owing to the trials of the Depression, the war years (Ben was a serviceman) and the generation gap, but after adopting Comic-Book Time, both Ben and May became older as Peter grew younger, making it more of a stretch, leading to recent comics to try and write May into a younger person. Ultimate Ben and May were given a Setting Update from Greatest Generation to baby boomers (specifically ex-hippies) for this reason.
  • 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.
  • 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, and as the EIC, Lee had a similar job as Jonah at Marvel. Both he and Ditko were children during the Depression and grew up with memories of poverty and having a hard luck life, which fed into the portrayal of poor working-class Peter, and the portrayal of Aunt May and Uncle Ben as Greatest Generation parental figures based on their memories of their families.
    • 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. Like Peter, Ditko was a loner, an outsider, a little aloof though also described as friendly and affable in one-on-one meetings, which mirrored the early Peter Parker to a great degree.
  • Ax-Crazy: Carnage, Venom to an extent. And Green Goblin who should never be left out.
  • 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...
  • Bat People:
    • Batwing is a young boy who was exposed to toxic waste in Carlsbad Caverns, causing him to become bat-like. Despite his monstrous appearance, he's still just a child, and Spider-Man tries to protect him from those who hate and fear him.
    • Morbius is an Anti-Villain who became a genetically modified vampire, with bat genes and an Orlok-like appearance. However, in some appearance — like in an Exiles story arc and in animated series — he was transformed into a half-man half-bat monster, seeing more like an anthropomorphic bat with wings.
  • 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 Applesauce: While New York City is home for a lot of Marvel superheroes, this is his Neighborhood where he does his Friendly stuff. While he can battle the cosmic fights like Fantastic Four, the global fights like The Avengers, and the mystic fights like Doctor Strange, Spidey will always be seen webslinging across the Manhattan skyline.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Daredevil has been this to Spider-Man from time to time. Overlaps with Heterosexual Life-Partners. Likewise originally Johnny Storm.
  • 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 the Marvel Universe'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.
  • Bootstrapped Theme: The theme song for the 1967 cartoon is one for the franchise as a whole. Covers for it and variations appeared in Spider-Man Trilogy and a full orchestral symphonic opening for Spider-Man: Homecoming. It's also a popular standard covered by The Ramones and Aerosmith among others.
  • 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 (1984) 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.
  • Can Always Spot a Cop: Spidey goes hot and cold with this trope. He doesn't really encounter police officers except when they're trying to arrest him, or when he's swinging in to give them a hand. Peter is observant and intelligent enough to pick up subtle clues that someone is a cop, but not consistently. His Spider-Sense does sometimes warn him that someone is carrying a gun, but that's only when they have hostile intentions towards him. Therefore it normally doesn't ping on undercover cops that he's around either in his civilian identity or as Spider-Man, since they don't usually have any hostile intentions towards him in either guise.
  • 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.
  • Capitalism Is Bad: While not an aesop that Stan Leenote  and certainly not Steve Ditkonote  intended, the overall subtext of Spider-Man as a working-class aspiring scholarship boy does tend to highlight how important a role class plays in his life, and the stories by later writers also play this up:
    • In the Lee-Ditko era, wealthy characters are shown as being jerks of some kind or other (Harry Osborn, Gwen Stacy, J. Jonah Jameson, Norman Osborn) with the only exceptions being academics and professionals (such as the doctor who operates Aunt May in "if this be my destiny..." who makes it clear that he sees Peter as a real hero compared to Spider-Man). This got played down in the Lee-Romita era where Peter has friendly relations with the Osborns, romances Gwen and befriends her father George Stacy, but even then, and especially when Gerry Conway came on board, Peter is presented as a foil for Harry, the poor up-and-coming kid as opposed to the rich kid who is nothing without his father's name and inheritance, which leads him to turn to drugs to cope with his insecurity.
    • A number of Spider-Man's villains over the years tend to be wealthy types, such as the Kingpin, Norman Osborn, and Roderick Kingsley. In Marvel Knights Spider-Man, Norman Osborn mocks Peter with classist insults, for being a loser who works as a high-school teacher despite his great talent, which Spider-Man retorts by pointing out that Norman could well have cured cancer with all his wealth and connections if he actually cares about improving lives. Norman then replies that he only said it to hurt Peter by his values, because he on the other hand as he puts it, "I don't give a rat's ass".
    • Ultimate Spider-Man takes this further (on account of Bendis being a more liberal figure than either Lee or Ditko were). Uncle Ben and Aunt May are ex-hippies with May still proud of her arrest record over a protest. When Peter tells Aunt May that Norman Osborn is a bad guy, Aunt May quotes Ben about how every rich person he knew acquired it illegally. A number of Peter's enemies, such as the Shocker, are Starving Student whose work was hijacked by corporations, the Kingpin owns Spider-Man's intellectual property and can buy his way out of a video showing him killing a man, and likewise Peter's own father Richard Parker had his life's work (the Venom suit intended to cure cancer) defunded and complicated because corporations wanted to make it into weapons.
    • An interesting example of this trope is how writers tackle the idea of a successful Peter Parker. The earliest instances of Peter Parker as an industrialist was in an alternate timeline in Spider-Man: The Animated Series and Spider-Man: Edge of Time and in both instances the two wealthy Parkers were shown as jerks and bad guys, as is the Peter from House of M. Dan Slott had Otto Octavius hack Peter's body and develop Parker Industries as an Anti-Hero Substitute which the revived Peter Parker ended up running as a Honest Corporate Executive albeit one so honest that he ended up dismantling his company when a virus threatened the world. Nick Spencer who followed Slott, has Peter ruminate about the ethics of grappling a position of unearned wealth and the consequences of Peter accepting Ock's status-quo on a silver platter, cementing the idea that the richer Peter gets, the less pure he becomes.
  • Central Theme:
    • "With great power, there must also come —great responsibility". What it means to have power and to use it in a socially and morally responsible way.
    • Your actions and choices have consequences, including the ones you didn't intend or expect, and you have to live with them whether you like it or not, and whether it was your fault or not.
    • Everyone has some kind of secret, either a big one or a small one, and there's always more to people than you assume. Just as the world assumes little of Peter Parker and Spider-Man, Peter himself often underestimates or misjudges people around him.
    • You have to work for every thing in your life, whether it's your job, your superhero calling, your marriage, your relationships. People are complicated, messy and demanding, and you have to be there for them and make things work and never take people for granted.
  • 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:
    • Comics scholars generally see Amazing Fantasy #15 to Amazing Spider-Man #149 (the Lee-Ditko, Lee-Romita, and Conway-Romita era) as an extended coming of age saga where Peter Parker gets superpowers at age 15, briefly uses them for profit, then after failing to help stop a criminal who later kills his Uncle Ben, making him commit so becoming a Superhero and learn responsibility by becoming the caretaker and provider for his Aunt May, working for a living, and going to high school at the same time. The "Master Planner" arc was the period in which Peter ended his youth and became a college-going young adult, he would later form a serious relationship with Gwen Stacy before additional tragedy ends up leading to a loss of innocence, where his adult social circle is marked by tragedy and broken friendships (Gwen and Harry respectively). Most notably, Conway's final issue in his run, Issue 149, has Peter finally passing his rite of passage when it ends with what is strongly implied to be him and MJ having sex together, finally losing his virginity and becoming a man.
    • Adaptations tend to follow similar beats even when it is restricted to selected periods (his high school period and occassionally but rarely his college). Modern versions such as Ultimate Marvel and the MCU has Spider-Man trying to go from small steps hero to a bigger kind of hero working for the Ultimates or the Avengers.
  • The Commissioner Gordon: One of the things that set Spider-Man apart was the fact that he never really had a Friend on the Force unlike Batman did or the support of the press that Superman did, which made his superhero/civilian life balance literal murder many times over. That said there were figures who did play this role for Spider-Man but they never lasted long:
    • Captain George Stacy was the first character who really played this role for Spider-Man in the comics. He was friendly and tried to play down some of Peter's issues with authority. Then he dies and while George Stacy in his deathbed revealed he was Peter's Secret Secret-Keeper and approved of him, his death ended up making Spider-Man look bad within the police force and in the eyes of Gwen (who blamed him for her father's death).
    • Captain Jean DeWolff was the other major character who tried to be this for Spider-Man. But then her death left another vacuum in his eyes.
    • Most recently, there's Captain Yuri Watanabe, who dons the identity of Wraith and becomes a vigilante in her own right.
  • 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.
  • 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. In general whenever a new writing team takes over there's always some shakeup to the status-quo or other and then another that follows when the next one takes over and so on.
  • Critical Psychoanalysis Failure: Stan Lee and Marcos Martin's non-canon story "Identity Crisis" (not to be confused with the in-canon 616 story of the same name), has Spider-Man going to a psychologist Dr. Gray Madder (a pun on gray matter) and talking to him about his identity issues, which involve the constant changes and endless retcons to his supporting cast and rogues, such as his Aunt May being alive and dead, his marriage to MJ being retconned in and out, her being pregnant and not, Green Goblin dying and coming back, lampshading the bizarre changes to Spider-Man continuity that actually drives Dr. Gray Madder nuts and has him going to a shrink.
  • 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. His webs, jumping, and wall-crawling give him mobility only surpassed by flyers and teleporters, with his webbing also providing surprisingly versatile ranged combat options. 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 80's, Peter give Doctor Octopus a beating so brutal that Doc has developed a fear of spiders and Spider-Man, one that would last for a few years. In Secret Wars (1984), 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.
  • Da Editor: J. Jonah Jameson, who is probably the most famous example of this trope by far — even serving as its page image.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Our dashing hero normally makes You Fight Like a Cow remarks, which never fails to piss off his enemies — and he very well knows this.
    • Venom too, though he's much more of a Large Ham spewing out Black Comedy.
  • Death by Origin Story: Uncle Ben. His murder is what makes Spider-Man decide to become a crimefighter.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Peter's parents were agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and once saved Wolverine's life. Likewise, Uncle Ben was a World War II veteran and a great Dad.
  • 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.
  • 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 (1984), 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: All of Spider-Man's girlfriends and love interests at some point or another. Gwen Stacy is most famous for the fact that Spider-Man didn't save her. MJ, on the other hand, often fights like a wildcat when someone non-superpowered tries to grab her.
  • 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.
  • Doom Magnet: Nothing goes right for Peter. Whether he's wearing the mask or not, his life always ends up being a downward spiral of misery, something he dubs "Parker luck".
  • Dork in a Sweater: Peter Parker often wore sweaters before being bitten by the spider. He rarely does after until it gets cold (New York remember).
  • 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.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The first appearance of Spider-Man in movies or TV was the "Spidey Super Stories" segment on The Electric Company (1971). The villains Spidey encounters are... very different.
  • Egomaniac Hunter: Kraven the Hunter, able to hunt down and kill everything and anything up until he gets to Spider-Man; this sole failure is what ends up having him obsessively spend lifetimes hunting after Spidey as a result.
  • Electric Slide: Electro does this constantly as a Fast as Lightning means to get around. Sometimes he may end up being electricity in the wires he slides down.
  • 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.
  • Embarrassing First Name: In Ultimate Spider-Man, Spider-Man drops by and says to the Shocker, "I didn't know your name was Herman!". Shocker immediately sulks and angrily spouts "Oh no, it's you!", no doubt offended.
  • Entitled Bastard: J. Jonah Jameson manages to constantly paint Spider-Man in a negative light, create Scorpion, gets into fights and kidnappings with other villains — and Spidey still covers for him every time.
  • 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!
  • Fanservice Characters: Mary Jane Watson and Felicia Hardy/Black Cat both provide Fanservice in the majority of their appearances in the franchise. Given that MJ is an actress and model and Felicia's choice of clothing as well as being a sexy cat thief and a seductress, it's not surprising.
  • Fat and Skinny: Styx and Stone have it all but stated in their names — Styx is horribly lanky and tall, while Stone isn't necessarily fat, but monstrous and burly.
  • Fix Fic: One More Day and the follow up One More In Time was intended as this by the editorial thing though fans question if there was anything broken that needed fixing to begin with. Roger Stern's "Hobgoblin Lives" was likewise one which fixed out the tangled mess left when he couldn't complete the story he had planned.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • From a Single Cell: Sandman and Hydro-Man have this ability — so long as one grain of sand or one drip of water is left in their mass, they can reform like nothing; as long as there's more sand or water nearby.
  • From Zero to Hero: Spider-Man was just a scrawny teenager named Peter Parker until he was bitten by a radioactive spider. Gifted with a platter of spider-based powers, he eventually becomes one of the most recognized (if not always respected) superheroes in the world.
  • Fuzzball Spider: Depending on the Artist, Spidey's costume usually has a sharply-defined spider as the chest emblem, but the spider on the back is much less anatomically correct as the legs are shown attached to the abdomen instead of the cephalothorax.
  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: Modern versions of the story typically have the spider that bites Peter be genetically engineered rather than radioactive.
  • Genetic Memory: Every clone of Peter will invariably have his memories.
  • Genius Bruiser: Spider-Man is one of the highest skilled students in his schools, and with spider-DNA in his blood he can beat the piss out of foes. In fact, he's a rare case of the genius Lightning Bruiser but without the size.
  • Genre-Busting: Spider-Man as a whole is a superhero story that is also a classic Bildungsroman, a high school drama, romance story of all kinds (from teen romance all the way to epic melodramatic Star-Crossed Lovers stuff), kitchen sink working-class drama, a Screwball Comedy, science-fiction, and horror.
  • The Gimmick: Spidey possesses several: The Spider theme, the quick wit, and, out of universe, One of Us.
  • Hand Wave: A rather famous excuse for whenever people ask where Spider-Man could be swinging from with no building in sight is that his webline is attached to an off-panel/offscreen helicopter.
  • 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. Also the case for Gwen Stacy who liked Peter but hated Spider-Man.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Nearly every single adaptation shows Spidey as this, mostly thanks to J. Jonah Jameson's Malicious Slander.
  • I Approved This Message: In Amazing Spider-Man #611, Deadpool claims to have Blackest Night symbols on his toenails ("My feet are a rainbow of power!") with a footnote reading "I'm Geoff Johns and I approve this message — Geoff Johns, former Avengers writer".
  • 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.
  • Ironic Nickname: Something that is lost on account of Spider-Man's fame, but Spider-Man's nickname as "the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man" is a major one since before most people saw spiders as creepy house pests. Spiders aren't supposed to be part of a neighborhood and certainly not part of a friendly one, or be considered friendly themselves. Peter being your friendly neighborhood spider-man inverts that completely. Tom Taylor's first issue in Volume 2 of Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man Lampshades this when after Spidey saves a little girl and her father, the small child slaps his spider emblem on his chest out of her dislike for spiders:
    Spider-Man: It's all good to be fair, I don't exactly have the most kid-friendly costume. It literally has a spider on it.
  • Irrational Hatred: Jameson for Spider-Man, and in fact most villains for Spider-Man, such as Harry "Green Goblin II" Osborn who resented Peter for being his Always Someone Better.
  • I Reject Your Reality: Jameson refuses to accept the opinions of others, including his own son, that Spider-Man is a hero, trying make his confronters second guess themselves.
  • 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.
  • Jack of All Stats: Spidey isn't the strongest hero, or the fastest, or the smartest. However, he's usually stronger or faster or smarter than any given opponent, and clever enough to leverage whatever advantages he has to victory.
  • 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.
  • Keeping Secrets Sucks: Just ask him yourself. Contrary to what other superheroes make it look like, a dual identity is very hard to manage even if you keep it for years.
  • Keep the Home Fires Burning: Mary Jane gets this plot a lot, notably in the Kraven's Last Hunt storyline.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Most of Spidey's villains are silly and corny — even Venom can pull off a great few laughs. Carnage is 9 times out of 10 not that villain — resorting to Dead Baby Humor and just wanting to kill everyone in the entire planet for his own twisted excitement.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Some Noise: Clayton Cole, aka Clash, is a self-proclaimed "Superstar of Sound", allowing him to torture Spidey with painful sound waves without causing damage to their surroundings. But he can still demolish walls and even bring down buildings with his sonic pulse generators.
  • The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life: There is hardly a time where he is not faced with this dilemma. Even at an adult age.
  • 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.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Any of Spider-Man's girlfriends qualify as this with examples like Gwen Stacy, Carlie Cooper or Betty Brant but Mary Jane Watson and Black Cat pretty much rank #1 on the list.
  • 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.
  • Outside-Genre Foe: While Peter does live in the Fantasy Kitchen Sink that is the Marvel Universe, he largely sticks to traditional super villains. However he has encountered a few villains who fall into either more grounded or fantastical genres:
    • Shathra and Morlun are more on the magical side of things, the former being the avatar of spider wasps while the latter is a type of vampire that feeds on the life essense of people from across the multiverse who are connected to the web of life and destiny.
    • While they haven't lasted long, he has encountered ordinary people who for whatever reason have come into conflict with him as Peter Parker with many of them belonging to more dramatic and realistic genres. A notable example is Jonathan Caesar, a stalker who kidnapped Mary Jane and threatened to kill her if they didn't get married.
  • Outside Ride: Spidey often uses this technique, particularly when he needs a longer-ranged or faster mode of travel than his usual web-swinging. His powerset (superhuman reflexes and leaping ability to catch a ride and clinging ability to hang on) makes it fairly easy for him.
  • Parental Substitute: As an orphan who lost his parents, and then Uncle Ben, Peter constantly seeks some form of adult validation in both his civilian and superhero career:
    • Captain George Stacy, the father of his crush, served as this for Peter, and he became the first adult to approve of both Peter and Spider-Man, and was even okay with him dating his daughter. This didn't make Spider-Man's life easier since he died, making him guilty, and Gwen never knew this, and she blamed Spider-Man for this, and then she died anyway.
    • Peter's older superhero buddies also serve as this. The Fantastic Four were the team that Spider-Man auditioned to join, with Reed Richards being the scientist Peter most admired. Likewise, Captain America belongs to the same generation as both Ben and May and Peter often said that Steve Rogers reminds him of Uncle Ben (who also served in the army during World War II). Tony Stark also served as one during the New Avengers arc, although recently Peter has become more of a rival and has a "rebellious kid" dynamic after becoming CEO of Parker Industries. Given Tony's playboy reputation, he's also uncomfortable seeing MJ working with him. This carried over into the MCU.
  • Patience Plot: In an early story, a character called the Hitman had been given a contract to kill Spidey. The Vulture gets involved, and the Hitman tags both Spider-Man and the Vulture with a tracer so he can track them down. Later, looking at a tracking screen in his hideout:
    Hitman: Both Spidey and Vulture's blibs are stationary. Looks like they've both settled in for the night. Only thing to do now is wait. [sits at a table and starts cleaning his guns] Waiting. That's something I could never teach them back in the old days. Either they were naturals who knew it instinctively, or they never learned... and died because of it. So simple. You wait. And then, you strike.
  • 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. Also why Mary Jane Watson remains the most iconic of all of Peter's girlfriends no matter what writers and editors do; even Stan Lee couldn't manage to do anything about it.
  • 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.
  • Pronouncing My Name for You: Spider-Man goes out of his way to point out you gotta "pronounce" the hyphen so it's two words ("Spider-Man") and tends to get up in arms whenever someone pronounces it as one whole word ("Spiderman"). Apparently, it makes it seem like a Jewish last name or something to that effect.
  • Pro Wrestling Is Real: 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.
  • Psycho Electro: It's a guy named Electro. Of course he's an insane bastard.
  • 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 Transplant: A regular import-export trade exists in the rogues gallery between Spider-Man and other Marvel heroes:
    • One example that is practically the Trope Codifier for this effect: Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin of Crime. He began as a Spider-Man villain, and a generic villain mob-boss at that. Frank Miller revived and reinterpreted him as a major threat (modeled on The Octopus from Will Eisner's The Spirit) during his run on Daredevil, making him Matt Murdoch's archenemy and playing a relatively smaller role in Spider-Man stories after that (the biggest one in recent history was in the Back in Black arc and Ultimate Spider-Man). Miller's Fisk became an iconic and influential supervillain of The '80s inspiring the Post-Crisis take on Lex Luthor which in a case of Lost in Imitation later inspired the Post-Clone Saga Norman Osborn.
    • 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. A similar situation happened with the Rhino, who for a while clocked more time as a villain in The Incredible Hulk.
    • 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 among Dardevil's foes. He is still mostly a Spidey villain but when he shows up, there is a higher than normal chance that Daredevil will too. Likewise in Old Man Logan he became a villain for Wolverine.
    • Boomerang, a standard Spidey foe, was initially a villain to the Hulk. He was moved to Spidey when it became clear that a monster like the Hulk was a little out of the weight class of a Badass Normal with trick boomerangs.
    • Spider-Man has also tussled with a few of Fantastic Four's villains (since historically he has had the closest bond with them). Most notably Doctor Doom has appeared in some major stories, being the first Marvel Wide villain Spider-Man fought in the Lee-Ditko era, when he accidentally kidnapped Flash thinking he was Spider-Man (of course, Doom has fought pretty much every hero in the Marvel Universe at one point or another). Their paths also crossed a number of times, most notably in recent times being in the 50th issue of JMS' run where Spider-Man saves his life from a terrorist attack when Peter, MJ, Captain America and Doom were all stranded at the Denver Airport on account of a storm.
    • One of Spider-Man's all-time greatest battles with any villain was with the Juggernaut, an X-Men villain, in Amazing Spider-Man #229–230. This battle got a sequel during the Grim Hunt arc. Then later, Spider-Man fought Firelord, a former Herald of Galactus, who was a villain of The Avengers in ASM #269-270. Both villains were intended to establish Spider-Man as the ultimate underdog, battling enemies beyond his wheelhouse, and defeating them on his own when usually they gave both the X-Men and the Avengers problems and needed a super-team to take them down.
    • Shriek started off fighting Cloak and Dagger but more commonly fights Spidey since, due to their relative obscurity compared to Spidey. She's also well-known as Carnage's girlfriend.
    • As of Dark Reign, Norman Osborn has become an archenemy of the entire Earth-based Marvel universe, second only to Doctor Doom before being downgraded and returning to Spider-Man's titles in Dan Slott's run.
    • Beetle IV, or Lady Beetle, started out fighting Captain America before quickly being moved to Spidey's corner.
    • Shocker has been a consistent Spidey villain, outside of his stints with the Masters of Evil and the Thunderbolts. As of 2018, however, he's moved to New Jersey and started tangling with Kamala Khan.
    • Interestingly, Arcade debuted in Marvel Team-Up, a series about Spidey teaming up with different heroes, but quickly became an X-Men villain before antagonizing the Avengers Academy without ever crossing paths with Spider-Man, except for 1992's Spider-Man and the X-Men in Arcade's Revenge. In The Amazing Spider-Man (Nick Spencer), he's resurfaced as a Spidey foe once more.
  • Save the Jerk: Spider-Man has often found himself coming to J. Jonah Jameson's rescue due to the latter being a target of supervillains, some of which were created by Jameson himself. Despite this, Jameson rarely, if ever thanks the Wall-Crawler and is more likely to continue his crusade against the hero than admit he is wrong about Spider-Man.
    • Nick Spencer has also had Spidey dealing with the Thieves Guild, normally confined to the X-Men side of the Marvel Universe.
  • 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 his most well known love interest to this day and defined the concept.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • Sibling Fusion: Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1. Issue #208 introduces twin brothers Hubert and Pinky Fusser. Both worked at the same company but in different professions; Hubert was a scientist while Pinky was a janitor. An accident occurs during one of Hubert's experiments causing the two brothers to merge together into a being known as Fusion the Twin Terror.
  • Sick Episode: Quite a few over the years, invariably right before a major opponent shows up. Kraven the Hunter is a good example. The most famous is probably Spider-Man having a cold The Night Gwen Stacy Died.
  • 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 S.H.I.E.L.D. or to Tony Stark. And in the case of the latter, Spidey has his suit and equipment handed to him by Tony Stark.
    • In any superhero team-up, Spider-Man nearly always defers to a senior, whether it's Mister Fantastic, the Thing, Captain America, Wolverine, and especially Iron Man. The exceptions include Daredevil (where they are often equal partners, somewhat echoing the Superman and Batman World's Finest dynamic), but in either case, Spider-Man has never been a team leader.
  • 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 Green Goblin and Hobgoblin 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.
  • Spider-Sense: The one, the only, the Trope Namer. His ability to sense danger (combined with his enhanced reflexes) make him a difficult target.
  • 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, who's over seven feet tall and looks like a bodybuilder in skintight leotard. True to her name, she is described as breathtakingly beautiful, and in her first appearances, brags about how beautiful she is to some patrons at a bar, who judging by the smiles on their faces, didn't disagree. It's later revealed that the reason why she's so beautiful is because she's actually a virtual reality construct (tangible hologram) controlled by Angelina Brancale. Angelina is an obese woman who wanted to be thin and beautiful, so Doctor Octopus, another Spider-Man villain and her lover at the time, gave her a machine that allowed her to be Stunner.
  • Superhero: Alongside Batman and Superman, Spider-Man is the archetypical proverbial superhero. He's the Trope Maker and Trope Codifier for modern superhero stories, which explore the impact of their vigilante lives on their social life, and his stories inspired the later direction and characterization undergone by both Batman and Superman (namely failing to protect the ones he love, which became a Batman trope in The '80s, sharing his secret identity with his love interest and wife, which Superman did with Lois in Post-Crisis but never in the classic era). Likewise Spider-Man was swinging and grappling and parkouring across buildings long before Batman started doing so (having only gotten his Grappling Hook from the Tim Burton Batman film which seeped into his comics).
  • 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. Regardless, it is generally accepted that Spider-Man is stronger than the likes of Captain America and Wolverine. 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.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: Andy, immediately after Spider-Man de-powers him.
  • 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.
  • Unlucky Everydude: This is just putting it very lightly for Peter. He isn't just unlucky, but his poor luck almost seems to seep onto anyone he meets.
  • 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:
    • Saving a young boy from being molested by his female babysitter by telling the tale about how he was molested as a kid by an adult friend named "Skip", who had an uncanny resemblance to Uncle Ben. Marvel has stated, however, that the story is not canon.
    • Foiling a plot to inflict the youth of America with teen pregnancy by giving advice about sexuality.
    • Saving a stoner from jumping off a building. This mess was actually paid for with tax dollars, mind you.
    • Teamed up with Storm and Luke Cage to combat Smokescreen. Guess what this one is about
    • Teaming up with the Rangers and a paraplegic superheroine to teach the Calgary Stampede a lesson about road safety.
    • Spider-Man is also known for one of the better Very Special Episodes. Stan Lee was asked to write a very special episode about drugs by the government, and, instead of creating a Long-Lost Uncle Aesop to focus the story on, he chose to use an existing character, with bonus points for being a rich white male with known emotional issues. The Comics Code then refused to approve the comic, which was the beginning of the end for the CCA.
    • All these various issues would later be collected in a TPB "Spider-Man Vs. Substance Abuse".
    • J. Michael Straczynski's run had quite a few of those, through a lot of time the serious issues like bullying or school shooting were organic parts of the plot. Some of the straighter examples would be an issue in which Peter tries to help one of his students who has a junkie brother and turns out they're both homeless (and in a subversion to the way the trope is usually played this issue opens with a longer story arc and the girl is one of the central characters of it). The straightest example however would be an issue about 9/11 and it's still considered one of the better written comics about that tragedy.
  • Vile Vulture: Adrian "The Vulture" Toomes is a villain who stylizes himself as a vulture to rob banks and to kill Spider-Man.
  • 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.
  • Wolverine Publicity:
    • As Marvel's Breakout Character, Spider-Man became the company mascot and in the early issues often appeared in multiple titles, predating Wolverine by more than a decade having 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.
    • Interestingly in Spider-Man's early issues, the Fantastic Four made appearances to boost the newcoming Spider-Man's popularity. The Human Torch made campus speeches in Peter's school, and Dr. Doom became the first Marvel wide villain Spider-Man tussled with.
    • Recent comics have seen Spider-Man fall into Iron Man's orbit around the time he was getting his big push in the movies. He, Aunt May, and MJ moved in Stark Tower, Peter wore a suit designed by Tony Stark (Iron Spider), joined his side during the Civil War (before switching over to Team Cap midway) and in recent comics, Peter has even become Iron Man-lite in that he runs his own business and claims to be Spider-Man's employer and backer, while MJ actually transitioned from his supporting cast into Tony's for a while.
  • Womanliness as Pathos: Gwen Stacy is a constant source of angst and turmoil for Peter, resulting in the circumstances her death being retreaded several times throughout publication, as well as many stories that resulted directly from her death or the events immediately leading up to them. For example, The Clone Saga started when Stalker with a Crush Miles Warren cloned both her and Peter Parker as revenge for Peter letting the object of his affection die. The story Sins Past revealed more details about her past, including that she cheated on him with his archenemy Norman Osborn and bore two children.
  • 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.
  • Worf Had the Flu: It's quite common for Spidey to come down with some illness for an issue or two which allows a villain to gain the upper hand in a fight. This is usually used to show off his Heroic Willpower by fighting through the illness and he typically loses one fight and then wins the rematch and the illness goes away as soon as he gets back home.
  • 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 Fight Like a Cow: Spider-Man's the undisputed master of this trope.

Spider-Man, Spider-Man
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man!
Wealth and fame? He's ignored
Action is his reward!
To him...
Life is a great big bang-up
Wherever there's a hang-up
You'll find the Spider-MAAAAAN!


Stealth Suit No More

A cheeky take on one of the web head's more somber moments.

How well does it match the trope?

4.88 (16 votes)

Example of:

Main / MythologyGag

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