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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 Title Theme Tune to the 1967 Spider-Man animated series, and Bootstrapped Theme for the entire franchise.

One of Marvel Comics' most iconic superheroes, Spider-Man is a comic book character created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. He first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962), which contained his origin story. Geeky Ordinary High-School Student Peter Parker attends a scientific demonstration and is bitten by a spider made radioactive by the experimental device, passing on the proportionate strength, speed, agility, and senses of a spider. At first, he uses his power for self-gain. After his Uncle Ben is shot by a robber that he could have stopped, Peter learns that with great power must also come great responsibility, and becomes the Amazing Spider-Man!

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:

    open/close all folders 

    Supporting Characters and Villains 

Spider-Man comics, related comics and storylines

    Ongoing Series 

Current Titles

Former Titles








    Limited Series 

    Storylines in the Main 616 Continuity 

    Alternate Continuity 


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 

Video Games

    Spider-Man Main Titles 

    Marvel-Wide Titles 


    Unproduced Scripts 


    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":

  • Adaptation Personality Change: Future retellings, across several mediums, of Peter’s days just short of becoming Spider-Man have made him a more pure-hearted person from the get-go, while also makeing him far more willing to forgive and work with his former enemies after becoming Spider-Man. However, in the original Stan Lee and Steve Ditko run, it was quite evident that Peter was more of an irritable teenager, a good guy yes, but not an ideal pure hero, which gave weight to Peter’s immediate decision of trying to make money as soon as he got super powers instead of trying to be a hero right away; it was only after much hard-earned experiences that Peter grew to be up a fantastically heroic person.
  • The Adjectival Superhero: The Amazing/Spectacular/Sensational Spider-Man, although Spidey himself prefers to use "Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man" (which was eventually used as a book title itself). He may well have been the Trope Codifier for this, as his first appearance was in Amazing Fantasy, which was soon after canceled, and replaced on the newsstands with Amazing Spider-Man.
  • Animated Adaptation: This could take a while...
    • The 1967 adaptation, which introduced the famous "Does whatever a spider can" theme song.
    • Spider-Woman, 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 (2000) 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.
    • Spidey and His 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.
  • 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.
  • Briefer Than They Think: Adaptations tend to emphasize the high school element to the degree that it has arguably become Lost in Imitation. Brian Michael Bendis took this to the logical extreme in the Ultimate Spider-Man (2000) comics, where 200+ issues were written and completed over a span of a decade without Peter or his class graduating from high school. Meanwhile, the recent Marvel Cinematic Universe films feature the webhead being played by Tom Holland, the youngest actor yet to play Spider-Man, and he's still in high school as of his seventh movie appearance (three of those being solo films) and 6 years of real-time.
  • Capitalism Is Bad:
    • The earliest instances of Peter Parker as an industrialist were 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
    • Even aside from alternate universes, generally speaking Spider-Man comics have rarely portrayed big business in a positive light. A decent number of Spider-Man's biggest enemies are Corrupt Corporate Executive types (Norman Osborn, Wilson Fisk (alongside being a mobster), Roderick Kingsley, to name a few), or were themselves victims of greedy corporate types who screwed them over and caused their descent into villainy (prominent examples including Shocker, Vulture, and Doc Ock, though adaptations also sometimes portray Electro, Lizard, Rhino, and many others similarly the result of their superior's corruption) which is usually painted to cast them sympathetically with the corporate figure responsible (usually composited into Norman Osborn or Wilson Fisk in adaptations) presented as a much worse villain. Notably, in the MCU movies, even Tony Stark is presented this way (exclusively in the Spider-Man films, as the other MCU films generally portrayed him very uninvolved in the business side of his company and pretty put off by the notion of double-dealing), as his business actions are directly responsible for both Vulture and Mysterio's turn to villainy, with a decent helping of Jerkass Has a Point involved. Generally speaking, if a billionaire is in a piece of Spider-Man media, its very likely they're going to either be a villain or they're going to create one (or several).
    • Likewise, characters who come from wealth or acquire it are usually portrayed as their wealth effecting their morality. At his most sympathetic and heroic, Harry Osborn is usually presented as rejecting his familial wealth, choosing to live modestly and getting a job, or running a small business, while his more villainous eras tend to involve embracing the Osborn legacy, and with it the wealth and corporate holdings. Likewise, his wife Liz Allen has been a fairly sympathetic figure for most of her existence, but once she founded Alchemax, she became a much more shady figure willing to do some less-than-heroic acts, albeit not quite as villainous as other examples.
  • Coming of Age Story: Adaptations tend to follow similar beats even when it is restricted to selected periods (his high school period and occasionally but rarely his college). Modern versions such as Ultimate Marvel and the MCU have Spider-Man trying to go from small steps hero to a bigger kind of hero working for the Ultimates or the Avengers.
  • Fantasy Creep: For about forty years of Spider-Man's career, the franchise has been at most a Science Fiction one. With the Radiation-Induced Superpowers, the Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke and the Killer Robots. While magic does exist and some times showed up, it tend to be either a unique story to remind that the Marvel Universe is vast, or it was a crossover with a character that was more magic oriented. But then The Amazing Spider-Man (J. Michael Straczynski) and Spider-Verse changed all of it. Ezekiel Sims questioned Peter of the true nature of his powers, and the Spider-Verse reveals that regardless of how someone gets their Spider-Powers, there's a multidimensional Spider deity pulling the Threads of Fate that makes these Superhero Origins happen. And ever since all Spiders Heroes have been referred to as Spider-Totems, and all of them have been stated to have a connection to the Web of Life and Destiny through their Spider-Sense, even outside the comics.
    • Kraven the Hunter has been a bit of an oddball among Spider-Man's rogues gallery. While he was obviously more spiritual (or just insane) than the others, nothing outside of Calypso Ezili (a voodoo priestess) outright screamed magic. Then Grim Hunt happened where his wife decided to get revenge on Spider-Man and bring her husband back to life. The Kraven Family went all in being the Hunters to the animals while simultaneously being Lions among them. For a time Kraven was immortal, and could only die in something that's basically a ritualistic hunt with a Spider.
    • For years in Venom, The Symbiote race was simply explained as a Starfish Alien, or in some continuities a lab experiment made from either Peter's or his fathers blood. But then Venom (Donny Cates) completely changed everything. The Klyntar weren't just a race of aliens, but a race of Eldritch Abominations created by an ancient God of Darkness born in the Primordial Chaos to either devour or enslave gods. Their Hive Mind stretched across time and space, can act as an afterlife, and if strong enough, bring back the dead. And since their god, Knull, was there before the big bang, there's officially one in every timeline, meaning that this is the origin of all Symbiotes across the Marvel Multiverse.
  • Friendless Background: In Adaptations, such as Ultimate Spider-Man (2000), 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.
  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: Spider-Man's origins have moved from being bit by a radioactive spider in the original to being bit by a genetically enhanced "super spider" in The Spectacular Spider-Man, Ultimate Spider-Man (2000), and both the original movie and the reboot. The '90s Spider-Man cartoon actually goes half-way, being bit by a spider that was hit by "neogenic" radiation. The mainstream comics eventually decide to hint that his powers might actually be magic, which to be fair makes more sense than radiation.
    • Spider-Man 2099, however, goes fully this way — Miguel O'Hara is a geneticist who's working on ways to combine man with beast for helpful purposes, but he's drugged with the Fantastic Drug Rapture, which affects him on a genetic level. He attempts to cleanse himself of it with a previous version of his DNA, but a jealous co-worker sabotages it, turning him into who we know now.
  • 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.
    • In most adaptations which include Venom, Peter is shown going back to his classic red and blue outfit immediately after he gets rid of the Symbiote, however in the comics Peter actually continued to wear a cloth version of his black suit, given to him by Black Cat until he first encountered Venom in Amazing Spider-Man #300, two years (real time) after he got rid of the Symbiote.
    • 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 kid's 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 tend to paint him as that. Brian Michael Bendis' popular Ultimate Spider-Man (2000) wrote 200 issues with Peter still not graduating high school and the series ended without him graduating.
  • Progressively Prettier: Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley explicitly modeled Ultimate Peter on Romita's version, and their Peter is a fairly good-looking teenager. In the film versions, Andrew Garfield looks the most like the handsome Peter of the comics, while both Tobey Maguire's and Tom Holland's version of Peter, resembles the original version of Peter who could pass for nearly anyone on the street.
  • Sidekick: Spider-Man's non-sidekick status gets diluted a little in Adaptations 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.
  • Sneaking Out at Night: Many adaptations that use his younger iterations where he's still a teenager (e.g. Ultimate Spider-Man (2000), or cartoons like The Spectacular Spider-Man and Ultimate Spider-Man (2012)) sometimes use this trope, partially to get some drama out of it. One common example is Spidey thinking that he needs to wrap up a fight quickly so he can be home before May discovers he's gone.