Who is Spider-Man?
When Spider-Man first appeared in the 1962 issue of Amazing Fantasy #15, Marvel would find themselves with one of the most popular superheroes of all time. He has proven his success in comics, film, television, video games, toys and even Broadway. Most people know Spider-Man’s secret identity as Peter Parker. However, long time readers and fans of the comics know that Peter has not been the only person to don the mask of the famous wall crawler.
Peter Parker is Spider-Man. One of the things that has made Spider-Man such a popular character is that his secret identity of Peter Parker is relatable to readers. Fans have not only been following the superhero but also the man behind the mask. Readers have watched a dorky teenager try to fit in during high school, a college student turn into an adult and a young man attempting to balance his life. There are not many superheroes who have had an ongoing series with their name in the title. Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man ran for 133 issues, before Marvel simply shortened it to The Spectacular Spider-Man.
In the 1987 Kraven’s Last Hunt storyline, the role of Spider-Man was briefly taken on by Kraven The Hunter. Kravinoff was coming to the realization that he was no longer in the prime of his life and would soon be deteriorating as a hunter. Spider-Man had been the one prey he had the need to conquer before moving on. He successfully defeated Spider-Man, by using a tranquilizer gun and burying Peter Parker. Kraven still needing to prove himself superior to his adversary, so he dressed up as Spider-Man and became the new web head. Kraven was more violent in his crime fighting tactics and had killed some of his opponents. When Peter Parker finally dug himself out of the grave two weeks later, he tracked down Kraven and pummeled him. The one true Spider-Man was back, but Kraven had felt he proved himself the superior creature. Kraven would commit suicide, to end at the pinnacle of his existence.
In the 1975 issue of Amazing Spider-Man #149, the Jackal had cloned Peter Parker. Spider-Man fought his clone to the death and swung away victorious. However, years later we discovered that the clone had survived and was living under the name Ben Reilly. Marvel reintroduced Spider-Man’s clone in 1993 and began the Clone Saga. At first, Ben was fighting crime as the Scarlet Spider. When it was revealed that Ben was the real Peter Parker, he took up the mantle of Spider-Man once again and the Peter everybody thought was the original went off to live a normal life with his wife Mary Jane. Of course this is the comic book world, so Ben turned out to be the clone and the real Peter Parker was back in his suit after a long hiatus.
Peter Parker retired from his crime fighting identity, but the city was not without a Spider-”Man” for very long. Mattie Franklin had been a huge fan of Spider-Man. When she took her father’s place in the Gathering of Five ritual, she was granted the gift of power. Mattie now had the ability to fly and possessed super strength. Using her powers for good, she took it upon herself to fill in for Spider-Man. Peter Parker eventually came out of retirement and Mattie changed her name to Spider-Woman.
Okay, Technically not everyone in New York City took on the role of Spider-Man. However, the Jackal did manage to infect most of New York City with a virus that caused them to mutate and gain Spider-Man’s powers. The problem is that they continued to mutate until they turned into huge spider like monsters.
Doctor Octopus had managed to switch minds with Peter Parker. Octavius was now in Spider-Man’s body and Peter was trapped in Doc Ocks dying body. Before dying, Peter was able to imbue his sense of morality into Octavius. This caused Octavius to understand the motto “With great power, come great responsibility.” Otto Octavius was now Spider-Man and Peter Parker. This new Peter Parker was much more arrogant and was known as Superior Spider-Man. A few years later, Peter Parker was able to regain consciousness of his body and take his rightful place as the one and only Spider-Man.
Comic books love to create alternate realities and timelines. It allows them to come up with stories that are not bound by continuity. It gives writers the opportunity to imagine a different circumstance and envision what would happen.
their universe. The Marvel 2099 line of comics had updated characters like Doom and Punisher, as well as brand new characters like Ravage. The line suffered from poor sales and was ultimately canceled. However, Spider-Man 2099 still enjoys a lot of success in the Marvel Universe.
It is the year 2099 and Miguel O’Hara is a geneticist living in New York City. He is experimenting on ways to endow people with the original Spider-Man’s powers. An accident causes half of his DNA to be altered with a spider’s genetic code. Miguel became the new Spider-Man and the first Latino to take on the role.
Earth 1610 is one of the infinite alternate universes within Marvel Comics. It is more commonly referred to as Ultimate Marvel. This was Marvel’s way of re-imagining and updating some of their most popular character. They hoped to bring these classic characters more in line with modern times. Ultimate Spider-Man put Peter back in high school and got back to his awkward teenager roots. After a very long run, Marvel made the decision to kill Peter Parker in a heroic battle against the Green Goblin. Miles Morales had seen Spider-Man die and was filled with shame. Miles had also been bitten by a genetically-altered spider, but rather than using his powers to fight for justice, he attempted to live a normal life. Miles had his lesson in “with great power, comes great responsibility.” He could not help but think that Peter would still be alive, if he had embraced his powers as well. Marvel wanted to diversify their characters and had Miles be a 13 year old boy of mixed African and Hispanic descent.