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Comics Trivia

  • Accidentally Correct Writing: For years Captain Ersatz parodies of Spider-Man have mocked his wrist-mounted web shooters by placing organic spinnerets in an analogous space they would be on a spider like the base of the spine or even inside the butt. Turns out there are actually some species of spiders that spin silk from the ends of their limbs.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: The infamous "With great power comes great responsibility" quote from one of the early issues is usually attributed to Uncle Ben. While it wasn't long before it was retconned to be from him, the actual first appearance of the quote was in a narration box.
    • Not only that, the exact quote is "with great power, there must also come great responsibility". Like matata hakuna, this was likely changed so that it was more marketable as a motto.
    • It wasn't even a motto in the original comics until somewhere in the 1990's. It was just a phrase that appeared once, but, through the film, became so well-known that Peter has taken to quoting it.
      • The 1990's cartoon ended up DRILLING this into our heads. By contrast, in The Spectacular Spider-Man we went through practically a whole season before it showed up.
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  • Creator's Favorite: Stan Lee has said that he considered Spider-Man his favorite of his heroes. J. Jonah Jameson is also one of his favorite characters.
  • Defictionalization: The newspaper strip in a 1977 story featured Kingpin attaching an electronic bracelet on Spider-Man. This inspired New Mexico district judge Jack Love to develop the real-world ankle bracelet.
  • Executive Meddling:
    • The original decision to marry Peter and MJ came out of a desire to get in on a huge public event and craze in The '80s as a result of a spontaneous burst of enthusiasm when Stan Lee and Jim Shooter only half-seriously agreed they might be okay with Spider-Man getting married. They decided to get in on and cash in on what many fans, few of whom had kept pace with the regular Spider-Man continuity on which Lee had little direct involvement for more than a decade, saw as Spider-Man's long overdue status-quo change. This decision polarized and split a number of former Spider-Man writers (Roger Stern, Gerry Conway) but was actually welcomed by editor Jim Salicrup, and staff writers such as J. M. DeMatteis and Peter David. At the time, Peter was in a relationship with the Black Cat and he and MJ were friends, after she had returned to the continuity after being Put on a Bus for 40 issues (her longest absence), and appearing semi-regularly at the timenote . This upset long term plans for some writers, but which, according to DeMatteis also provided Kraven's Last Hunt an emotional depth and meaning that it would not have otherwise had.
    • The 1990's Clone Saga, and the One More Day retcon. Also, the infamous title reboot of 1999. Because sales had not recovered after the Clone Saga, Marvel decided to reboot the numbering of Amazing and Peter Parker, while cancelling Spectacular and Sensational. Howard Mackie was to continue writing Peter Parker, but he also got to take over Amazing from Tom DeFalco. Each of the four titles were still working through a year's worth of stories (including Norman Osborn's takeover of The Daily Bugle and the mysteries of the fifth Green Goblin and new Mad Jack), but that was all abruptly changed, halted, or outright dropped in favor of the "Gather of the Five" and "Final Chapter" storylines to close out the old numbering. Aunt May's return during the latter story and her not knowing Peter's secret were also deliberately mandated by editorial.
    • According to Dan Slott, Spider-Man's status as Marvel's corporate icon and mascot ensures that even the EIC doesn't have full control over Spider-Man's story and direction. He notes that the decision to keep Spider-Man single was based on a consensus among Marvel's top executives after the hoopla over Spider-Man's Wedding (which was indeed an event which brought new public focus to the titles) died out, and a number of editors before Joe Quesada was tasked with getting it done. He also points out that Spider-Man's mascot status makes it all but impossible for Peter Parker to really grow past being young and single in the 616 Continuity for the future.
  • Milestone Celebration:
    • "The Wedding!" Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21 (September 1987), was published near-exactly 25 years after the character's first appearance and origin in Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962).
    • Sam Raimi's Spider-Man debuted in America in May 2002, in the 40th Anniversary year of Spider-Man, and three months shy of the exact date in August 1962.
    • Brian Michael Bendis' crossover event Spider-Men where Peter Parker of 616 (i.e. Prime), met Miles Morales for the first time was planned as an event to celebrate Spider-Man's 50th year anniversary in 2012. In that same year, the first Andrew Garfield film, The Amazing Spider-Man was released.
  • Reality Subtext:
    • Carlie Cooper is named for Joe Quesada's daughter.
    • David Michelinie, who created Venom, stated in interviews that Venom was meant to be a woman, who lost her husband and baby during a Spider-Man related incident, but editor Jim Salicrup didn't think readers would see a woman as a physical threat to Spidey. The original She-Venom costume was recycled for Earth X's storylines, with May Parker's variation of Venom resembling a Black Widow spider.
  • Science Marches On: Now that we know more about the dangers of radiation, modern versions of the story typically have the spider be genetically engineered rather than radioactive. The radiation, still the source of his powers in the main continuity (well, that or magic), has caused some complications as well. For example, it caused some complications for Mary Jane when she became pregnant with his kid. At one point, Aunt May needed a blood transfusion, and Peter donated his blood... only for his aunt to become incredibly ill from it soon after, because he hadn't taken into account the fact that his blood is radioactive.
  • Take a Third Option: In his beloved late 1970s/early 1980s run, Roger Stern wanted to expand Spider-Man's Rogues Gallery with some new villains. However, fans continued to clamor for the villains created by Lee, Ditko and Romita. Eventually, Stern decided to meet them halfway by creating the Hobgoblin as a Legacy Character to the Green Goblin. This worked particularly well since the Green Goblin identity was largely defunct at the time (Norman Osborn had not yet been retconned as Not Quite Dead, Bart Hamilton was also dead, and Harry Osborn had abandoned the Goblin identity).
  • Trolling Creator: As CBR has put it, Marvel Needs To Undo One More Day – Or Stop Trolling Spider-Man Fans
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The Green Goblin was originally imagined by Stan Lee as a supernatural villain, a demon trapped inside a Egyptian-like sarcophagus and accidentally freed by a movie crew. Steve Ditko, however, decided to make him a human villain instead. Rumors after Ditko's departure, claimed that he reportedly wanted the Green Goblin to be a Stranger Behind the Mask, but this has been debunked by Ditko and by other researchers who note the Foreshadowing in the comics about Norman Osborn being a villainous figure, and that the Marvel Method as per Lee's own comments, indicated that Ditko entirely handled the plotting and setup by that time. Ditko points out that he had planted Norman Osborn in Jameson's business club, planted his son (who had the same hairstyle) in Peter's college crowd, and points that out there was never real ambiguity about who Green Goblin was intended to be.
    • Stan Lee has gone on record as saying that initially he and Romita thought Gwen should be Peter's main girlfriend albeit he also accepted that MJ was a more popular and interesting character than Gwen. Lee has also been open to seeing Spider-Man being married (as he pointed out that it was realistic for a serious committed guy like Peter, as opposed to some ladies' men like Johnny Storm and Iron Man, to want to settle down)note . It's been hinted by Lee and Romita that had Gwen Stacy hadn't been killed off, she might've ended up married to Peter. Some stories, like House Of M, have toyed with this idea. But in either case, Lee who was always open to fan reaction and feedback (and generally quite a hands-off and open-minded editor hence his nonchalant original reaction to Gerry Conway's pitch about killing Gwen) quickly made MJ Peter's love interest and in the newspaper strip made them the only couple, and later had Peter married in his newspaper strip, which entirely unintentionally on his part, led to the marriage in regular continuity anyway.
    • Former EIC Jim Shooter claimed in a 2000 interview for CBR that Bill Mantlo, when he was writer on The Spectacular Spider-Man in The '80s tried to pitch an idea to his editor and then Shooter himself about Felicia Hardy becoming pregnant with Peter's illegitimate child. Shooter told him on the spot that it's not happening because the idea of a moral icon like Peter having a child out of wedlock would bring down the wrath of the bible belt down on them, while also scaring away all of Marvel's sponsors who were using Spider-Man as a license. What Mantlo might have planned with that story and his intentions for it are unfortunately unknown since an accident that he suffered left him injured and suffering from permanent brain damage. A similar plot was actually featured in the DLC for the Spider-Man (PS4) game where it turns out to be a con played by Felicia on clueless Pete.
    • David Michelinie said in interviews that his initial idea for Venom was that she would be a woman who lost her child as a result of collateral damage in a Spider-Man battle. He foreshadowed and built up Venom's appearance in Web of Spider-Man with this in mind and initially he saw Venom as a minor character. However, when he had gotten the post as head-writer on ASM, the flagship title and when planning out the milestone issue of #300 he pitched Venom's debut and he very quickly changed the character to Eddie Brock. Michelinie also said that towards the end of his run he had a plan for a year long arc where Peter Parker revealed his identity to the public. This would have been temporary and reversed. It would have involved villains, and other bad guys targeting him and his family, and then Peter would turn to the government for help, and basically be drafted as a mercenary doing shady things to protect his family and that eventually Peter would turn to the help of the Purple Man to erase the memories of his secret identity via world healing mind-wipe (similar to Michelinie's Emperor Doom graphic novel where Dr. Doom attached Purple Man to a power amplifier that made the rest of the world accept Dr. Doom as the new lord and master). The idea was rejected by editors as straining credibility that Peter's identity could simply be reset like that but in broad-strokes Civil War could have happened before.
    • Originally J. Michael Stracyzinski's retcon for Brand New Day would have dialed the clock to the Romita-Lee-Conway era but before Gwen's death. Joe Quesada was okay with bringing Gwen back from the dead in Brand New Day, but it was decided against because on account of Marvel's Shared Universe it would have altered the continuity of multiple titles for decades. Likewise, many other writers felt that Gwen should stay dead to respect what they saw as a classic story.
    • Young Allies offered Anya Corazon a potential chance to shine. It had a cast with the potential to create a very interesting character dynamics, and which Anya shone through as the most down to Earth, and easiest to relate to character. But it was killed by poorly written out enemies, an uninteresting and almost generic story arc, and a refusal by Sean McKeever to give the team any sort of cohesion in spite of their common purpose and motivations. It really seemed the team was finally coming together by the 5th issue or so, but by then the series was canceled. The Young Allies have been popping up here and there however, most recently in Spider-Island.
    • Marvel's decision to cancel the Spider-Man newspaper strip in early 2019 meant the planned storyline chronicling Peter and MJ's adventures in Australia never happened. The plans were for Peter to battle The Kangeroo.
  • The Wiki Rule: The Spider-Man Wiki.
  • Word of Gay: Mysterio, in some of the spin-off novels.
  • Writer Revolt:
    • In 2000, Howard Mackie and John Byrne were ordered to kill off Mary Jane in order to make Peter single again, but they didn't support this decision. Byrne had previously stated he disliked Peter being married on the grounds it aged him, but he pointed out that making him a widower wouldn't make it credible to portray him as the young single guy Marvel so badly wanted him to be and likewise after failing to save Gwen Stacy, failing his other love interest made him too much of a Failure Hero. So, when Mary Jane was to be killed off in a mid-air plane explosion, Byrne included an out (a shot of the plane's emergency exit door coming off). As for Mackie, Peter spent the immediate aftermath of this story doubting Mary Jane was dead (on the grounds that Death Is Cheap was so prominent in his life, especially with Norman Osborn and Aunt May then-recent returns). Unsurprisingly, Mary Jane was eventually brought back, which was part of Mackie's final story.
    • Matt Fraction admitted that "To Have and to Hold" his Annual for Sensational Spider-Man that was essentially a celebration of Peter's marriage was "dirty pool" because he knew One More Day was coming. Fraction claimed that he wasn't entirely sure that if Spider-Man should or shouldn't be married but he wrote that story in the hope of trying to write Spider-Man as a married hero, to prove that it could work and still be a great story.
  • Writing by the Seat of Your Pants:
    • When Roger Stern started writing the Hobgoblin arc, he did so without a clear idea on who was his alter ego. He wanted a replacement for the Green Goblin, one who could stick around and to that end he created a mystery in imitation of the original reveal. It was only a little while later after tossing in some Red Herring that he decided on Roderick Kingsley but he kept the mystery going on and decided to leave Spider-Man without completing it. He told editors Tom Defalco his plans but also said that he and other writers could change it if they wished. The result was that everyone decided that what made the Hobgoblin was his mystery and so they kept spinning wheels and tossing new wrinkles until readers got tired and ten years later, Stern returned to provide his version of it.
    • Spider-Man's marriage to MJ was a result of this. According to Jim Shooter, the entire wedding was a spur-on-the-moment improvisation when during a joint convention where Stan Lee and then EIC Shooter attended together (Shooter was invited by Lee because the latter wasn't up on happenings in Marvel continuity at the same time and he didn't want to answer questions about current Spider-Man titles that he didn't know), some random fan asked Stan Lee if he planned to have Spider-Man get married in the newspaper strip. Lee said that he was okay with the idea, and he then turned to Shooter, and being put on the spot, Shooter shrugged and said he would too, and on account of the huge cheers in the crowd, both Lee and Shooter immediately hashed a plan for the event which had been picked by the press. This despite the fact that, as Shooter knew well, MJ had only recently returned to the current continuity after being Put on a Bus for a significant time and that she and Peter were best friends but not dating at the time. Shooter immediately went ahead and got Spider-Man editors and writers to make it coincide with the event, and even when Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz came up with a Plan B where MJ stands Peter up, Shooter insisted they go ahead with it, since the die had been cast and the press had made a big deal of it, and he didn't want the publicity and effort gone into promotion (including getting a real-life fashion designer to create MJ's wedding dress) to just yank along with public expectations.
    • During Danny Fingeroth's time as editor, he came up with an ongoing plotline of Spider-Man's parents being alive all along (which began in ASM #365 and ended in ASM #388). However, he gave the story to writer David Michelinie, and couldn't or wouldn't tell him where the plotline was going. Fingeroth didn't even know if the parents were real or fake in some way. While the other titles' writers had to step around all this very carefully, the burden was on Michelinie most of all to treat the situation ambiguously until it was finally decided that they were robot spies all along.
    • Post-Clone Saga, J.M. DeMatteis introduced a new Jack O'Lantern (dubbed Mad Jack) and teased the mystery of his identity. DeMatteis admitted he didn't have an identity in mind when he created and began writing the character. His time on the Spectacular title abruptly ended before any explanation could be given, though later stories confirmed him to be Danny Berkhart (a minor villain who briefly assumed the role of Mysterio in the '70s).
  • The franchise holds a Guinness World Record for having Spider-Man appear in more video games than any other comic book character.

PS1 Game Trivia


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