Spider-Man

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Spidey's first appearance, August 1962.

"With great power... Comes Great Responsibility."

The arachnid-powered Superhero was relatively new to Marvel Comics when he made his TV animation debut in 1967. Peter Parker, a high school student and freelance news photographer, acquired his powers from a radioactive spider bite. As the web-slinging, wall-crawling Spider-Man, Peter fights crime while trying to keep his identity secret from his widowed Aunt May and from the public at large. The show's main contribution is the Theme Song ("Spider-Man, Spider-Man/Does whatever a spider can...") which has become a popular standard.

In the 1970s, a silent costumed actor played Spider-Man on The Electric Company, who only spoke in word balloons viewers were expected to read. 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.

Spider-Man was also featured in a short-lived 1970's live-action series (which was pulled when the network noticed that they were running an awful lot of superhero shows at the same time -- Spider-Man was a contemporary of Wonder Woman, The Incredible Hulk and The Six Million Dollar Man).

A live-action Spider-Man was also produced as a Toku series in Japan, which borrowed the costume but little else, and teamed the arachnid hero with a Humongous Mecha. (This series inspired the development of the Super Sentai franchise.)

In 2002, Sony Pictures released the first in a series of Spider-Man feature films starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst and directed by Sam "Evil Dead" Raimi. The success of this film helped spark the Marvel superhero movie boom of the 2000's.

A Broadway Musical based on the characters started production in 2010, called Spider Man Turn Off the Dark. It was originally directed by Julie Taymor and features music written by Bono and the Edge. The production has been plagued with injuries stemming from the stage machinery used to make its titular character swing through the air. After a disastrous series of previews in which critics savaged the show and Julie Taymor's departure from the show, the book was completely rewritten before it's much-delayed official debut in June 2011. Despite the fact that reviews were only marginally better, the show continued to sell well in spite of (or possibly because of) the reputation it gained on Broadway.

See also Spider-Man for the comics character, Ultimate Spider-Man for the retooled comic, Spider-Man: The Animated Series for the 1990's show, and The Spectacular Spider-Man for the 2000s series.

Has a character sheet under construction. A full index of works can be found on Spider-Man Index.

Comics (Marvel Universe)[edit | hide | hide all]

  • The Amazing Spider-Man - The main Spider-Man book, and whilst not the longest running Marvel book, it was Marvel's first series to reach 600 issues and is the highest numbered series.
  • Amazing Spider-Man Family - A bi-monthly series containing brand new stories featuring Spider-Man and his supporting cast, reprints of classic Spider-Man tales, and an American translation of the original Japanese manga, Spider-Man J.
  • The Avenging Spider-Man - A forthcoming title, more focused on Spider-Man's role as an Avenger.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man - A side series published from The Other to the events of One More Day. Written by Peter David, the series focused on Peter's life as a school teacher.
  • Marvel Knights Spider-Man - A more mature book than the other Spider-Man titles. Was renamed to The Sensational Spider-Man during The Other and canceled following One More Day.
  • Marvel Team-Up - Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Whilst not the title character, Spider-Man featured in all but nine issues of the initial 150 issues and seven of the eleven issues published within the 1990's. He also frequently appeared in the third volume, published from 2005.
  • Peter Parker: Spider-Man
  • The Sensational Spider-Man - Replaced Amazing Spider-Man as the main title when Ben Reily took over as Spider-Man during the Clone Saga.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man - The second/third (If you consider Marvel Team-Up a Spider-Man title) Spider-Man series launched by Marvel.
  • Spider-Man's Tangled Web - An anthology series, where various creative teams not usually associated with Spider-Man (usually creators who had previously worked for alternative or Vertigo comics) could display their take on the character.
  • Untold Tales of Spider Man - A series that did Exactly What It Says on the Tin and provided untold stories from Peter Parker's early superhero career.
  • Web of Spider-Man - The third series to feature Spidey as the title character. Notable for the first appearance of Venom, who wouldn't officially debut until a few years later.
  • The Avengers - Spidey has been an Avenger since the Avengers Disassembled event.
  • FF - When the Fantastic Four reinvented themselves as the Future Foundation, Spider-Man was asked to fill the spot left by the fallen Human Torch.

Storylines[edit | hide]

  • Who is The Green Goblin: The new super-villain, Green Goblin, is rounding up all of the various mob families in New York City into one massive criminal army. After battling with him, Spider-Man learns the Green Goblin is Norman Osborn, head of Oscorp and his best friend's father. Although Norman claims amnesia after the fight, he would reclaim the mantle Green Goblin again and again, creating one of Spider-Man's greatest archfoes.
  • The Master Planner - Spider-Man does constant battle with "The Master Planner" a villain who commits thefts across the city, stealing weapons of atomic power. As Spider-Man must find this master criminal, things get worse as Peter Parker learns Aunt May is fatally ill. He offers a blood transfusion to help heal her, but his radioactive blood just makes things worse. He must now find the Master Planner who has stolen the only thing that can help cure Aunt May. It was eventually revealed that The Master Planner was Doctor Octopus all along, leaving Spider-Man in one of his greatest death-traps. Spider-Man uses his willpower to boost his super-strength and escape in one of the most famous moments in his history.
  • The Night Gwen Stacy Died - One of the biggest Wham Episodes in the character's history.
  • The Symbiote Arc: When fighting alongside the other Marvel heroes during the Secret War, Spider-Man gained a new, black alien suit to replace his own. The suit enhances his own powers, but he also finds that it fed off of his adrenaline, which caused him to constantly blackout and oversleep. He eventually learned that the suit is an alien being, trying to permanently merge with him, and managed to remove it. This would lead to the creation of archenemy/anti-hero Venom and pure evil villain Carnage, two of the most popular Spider-Man villains.
  • Maximum Carnage
  • Clone Saga
  • JMS Spider-Man
  • One More Day: Perhaps one of the most controversial Spiderman stories after The Clone Saga, for reasons that it broke up the Fan-Preferred Couple (who also were at the time an Official Couple). All you need to do is look at the WMG's on this page to get a sample of how great disdain for One More Day was, what with all the guesses which try to do away with it.
  • Brand New Day
  • One Moment in Time
  • Spider Island
  • Spider-Men: A Crossover event with the Ultimate universe, where the original Peter Parker meets his successor, Miles Morales. This will also mark the first time (in the comics) where the 616 and Ultimate universes will cross over with each other.

Alternate Continuity[edit | hide]

Film[edit | hide]

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

Theatre[edit | hide]

  • Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark - A Broadway Musical that started production in 2010 and features music written by Bono and the Edge. The production has been plagued with injuries stemming from the stage machinery used to make its titular character swing through the air. It has also been constantly delayed with the most recent delay pushing it to June 2011.

Video Games[edit | hide]

Western Animation[edit | hide]



Spider-Man is the Trope Namer for:

Tropes used in Spider-Man include:
  • Action Series
  • Adaptation Distillation: In the Sam Raimi films, Spider-Man's webbing is organic, Gwen Stacy showed up after he started dating Mary Jane (both of whom have personalities that are closer to each other's comic book interpretations) and there have been a few costume changes (most obviously is the Green Goblin who went from torn purple robes and a rubber mask to a full body green battle suit). However, fans love the movies (1 and 2, anyway; 3 definitely flies into Love It or Hate It territory) despite the changes.
  • Alertness Blink: Most times the spider-sense activates.
  • Alliterative Name: Stan Lee, Spidey's creator, was the Trope Codifier for the trend, because he found names easier to keep track of if he used alliteration as a mnemonic. Examples include: Betty Brant, Curt Connors, Spencer Smythe, Glory Grant, J. Jonah Jameson, John Jameson, Kenny "King" Kong, Otto Octavius, Peter Parker, Randy Robertson. Randy's father Joe might also count, since his nickname is "Robbie".
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Peter got bullied in high school because he was a nerd, meanwhile Spider-Man gets treated like a criminal by the same media that worships all of the other super-heroes and in the case of J. Jonah Jameson, him treating mutants (the feared and hated minority of the Marvel Universe) better than he does Spider-Man.
  • All Webbed Up
  • Alpha Bitch: Liz Allan started as one of these, before she was Put on a Bus. Like her ex-boyfriend Flash (see above and below), she had become much more mature when Peter runs into her several years later.
  • Always Save the Girl: Subverted with Gwen Stacy in "The Night Gwen Stacy Died".
  • Animal Motifs: Spidey and a fair portion of his Rogues Gallery. Sometimes lampshaded.
    • Deliberately invoke in-universe with Scorpion, who received his powers and codename so he could hunt Spider-Man: in real life, scorpions prey on spiders.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: See above.
  • Animated Adaptation
  • Anti-Hero: Subverted, in that whenever Peter DOES start behaving like an anti-hero, it means that he's on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
  • Arachnid Appearance and Attire
  • Arch Enemy: Several over the years: Doctor Octopus, Green Goblin (most famously, for horrible, horrible reasons), Hobgoblin, Venom, Carnage, Kingpin.
    • The four that really stand out are Doc Ock (his original archenemy, who reclaims the title occasionally based on what the status of the other three are), the Kingpin (who ceased to be archenemy material when he started to focus on Daredevil more), the Green Goblin (killing the love interest does that) and Venom (as his appearance and powers make him a bigger, badder Evil Counterpart to Spidey). Since coming Back From the Dead, however, its the Goblin who can more or less be considered the Arch Enemy, as he Took a Level In Badass while the others suffered varying degrees of Villain Decay.
  • Art Evolution: Spidey is almost never depicted as the original "boy in a Lucha costume" after Todd McFarlane's run.
  • Artistic License Physics: During the first Sinister Six fight, Spidey grounds himself to make himself immune to Electro's electricity blasts. This actually would make him much more vulnerable to them.
  • Ascended Extra: Flash Thompson is the current host of Venom, since S.H.I.E.L.D. decided that just the Venom symbiote EXISTING made him the greatest threat on Earth.
  • 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.
  • Ax Crazy: Carnage, Venom to an extent.
  • Back From the Dead: Between Carnage and The Green Goblin it would seem that death is more of an inconvenience than anything. Though the Goblin is notable for lasting twenty-odd years, which seeing as he is an Arch Enemy is probably a record.
  • Backstab Backfire: After the Green Goblin killed Gwen Stacy, Spidey tracked him down and beat him nearly to death. Spidey was so angry that he wanted to kill the Goblin, but at the last minute stopped himself. He thought that Osborn was no longer a threat and Osborn, who was still able to remotely control his goblin glider, positioned it behind Spider-Man and hit the gas hoping to impale him. Spidey dodged the glider and it hit Osborn instead, killing him. At least, that's how the story originally went.
  • Badass Bookworm: Spider-Man is a superhumanly skilled acrobat with danger-based precognition and superhuman strength and resiliency (including an ability to block out pain better than humans). He's also got a high I.Q. and a natural affinity for science.
  • Badass Damsel: Go ahead and try to kidnap Mary Jane...call us when you stop hurting from the smackdown she'll give you.
  • Badbutt: Venom and Carnage in the '90s cartoon, so so much... (... but they still manage to be Nightmare Fuel.)
  • 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.
    • Not to mention 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.
  • 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.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Daredevil has been this to Spider-Man from time to time. Overlaps with Heterosexual Life Partners.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Spider-Man has been on both sides of this trope, either showing up at the last minute to pull off an amazing rescue (Amazing Spider-Man #261 is just one of many examples), or being bailed out by his superhero buddies, such as when the Sinister Twelve was about to kill him.
  • Blow Gun: A group of one-time villains (four criminals who learned to copy Vulture's wings) use those. The curare is fatal for humans—Spider Man is too tough to die, but gets stiffer with every dart and actually comes close to succumbing. The next issue, he has to save their lives when the real Vulture came to town.
  • Body Horror: At one point Spidey created a formula to rid himself of his spider-powers which instead caused him to sprout four extra arms. On no less than three separate occasions he has been forcibly turned into a man-spider hybrid. As if the poor guy didn't have enough to deal with...
  • Bragging Theme Tune
  • Brilliant but Lazy: Subverted. Peter is often believed to be this by his teachers (particularly in his college days), but he is, in fact, simply otherwise obligated.
  • Broken Bad: Several, most notably Lizard and most strongly Hobgoblin 2112.
  • Building Swing: Spider-Man, natch.
  • Butt Monkey: Spider-Man, J. Jonah Jameson, the Shocker, the Jason Macendale Hobgoblin, and others have all shared this role at different times over the years.
  • Call It Karma: J. Jonah Jameson's attempts to capture and destroy Spider-Man have given him no end of grief over the years.
  • Camera Sniper: Common, but most of the time it's Peter Parker's own camera on auto-shutter taking the pictures of Spidey in action. But not always.
  • Canon Discontinuity: A one-off special on child abuse revealing that Peter had been sexually abused.
  • Can't Stop the Signal: The What If issue "What If Gwen Stacy Had Lived?" concludes with a reversal of this trope, in that it's the villain who sends information to the press rather than the hero. The Green Goblin posts evidence of Spider-Man's Secret Identity to the hero's "second-greatest enemy": J. Jonah Jameson.
  • Catgirl: Western costumed variant in the Black Cat.
  • 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.
  • 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: Dear lord, where do we start...
  • 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. Spider-Man's black costume (and subsequently, Venom and the other symbiotes).
    • Actually, only the symbiote costume changed his powers; he also has a regular black costume that looks identical to the symbiote, but is made out of the same material as his regular one.
    • 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. I mean, I know 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.
  • Cool Loser: Peter Parker after high school.
  • Cover Identity Anomaly: In the early 1990's arc where Peter Parker's parents return from the dead, May realizes they're imposters when they refer to the wrong date for their anniversary, indicating that they somehow don't know about their secret wedding several months prior.
  • Crapsack World: This has been a hallmark of Peter Parker's life for a very long time, although it's perhaps a little more realistic than most depictions when Peter occasionally catches a break every now and again. Character Development would later show that life was no picnic for many of Peter's supporting cast members and even some of his villains.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: While Spider-Man's actually on the low end of superhuman physical power in the Marvel universe (he can lift about ten tons, while a lot of other 'strong guys' are in the 50-100 ton range), he rarely uses his full strength, due to most of his Rogues Gallery not being in the same ballpark as him, powers-wise. In particular, the Kingpin was able to hold his own with Peter on multiple occasions due to his mastery of fighting skills and Peter's being unwilling to cut loose. But 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.
  • 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.
    • Well, Goblin did try to use his powers to take over New York's criminal underworld before becoming single-mindedly focused on Spider-Man. Plus, he's batshit crazy.
    • Not to mention he's already filthy rich, being the CEO/owner of Oscorp (and many other things lately) and all.
    • Osborn is still 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 Trope by the fact that Osborn is, well, crazy.
  • Da Editor: J. Jonah Jameson.
  • Darker and Edgier: The tone of the Spider-comics has varied widely over the years, ranging from dark, depressing Mind Screw stories to humorous comedic romps.
  • Dating Catwoman: Literally, with the Black Cat becoming Spider-Man's girlfriend for a couple of years before he married Mary Jane.
    • It was only a few years in real time, as Mary Jane was only out of Peter's life for a few months in Marvel continuity.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Different characters related to Spider-Man, such as supporting cast members, villains and second-tier heroes who first appeared in spider-books have all been developed over the years via subplots and main story-lines or even spin-off mini-series.
    • Gerry Conway's late 1980's, early 1990's Spectacular Spider-Man run was built upon the concept of "A Day In the Limelight", as far as his run centering around the Joe Robertson, a longtime supporting cast member of Spider-Man. Similarly, the only Spider-Man stories by loathed writer Howard Mackie that are liked by fans are the ones that had Howard focusing on the supporting cast members.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Our dashing hero.
  • Death by Origin Story: Uncle Ben.
  • Deconstruction: The series has always had elements of this, long before Alan Moore wrote Watchmen. Notably, the series frequently showed how being a superhero would create problems, and how not using your superpowers would create even more.
    • Also a front runner in the idea that if someone decided to be an ideal hero/citizen/human being, it would have serious ramifications on their social, romantic, family, and professional life.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Peter's parents were agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and once saved Wolverine's life.
  • Determinator: Nothing Can Stop The Juggernaut There's a reason that Scott McCloud, Brian Michael Bendis, and David Michelinie claim this as one of the best stories in the History of Comics, it was also one of the first comics admitted to The Library of Congress, and some of the original art panels sit in The Smithsonian.
  • Did Mom Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Aunt May and Mary Jane have a tendency of being visited by Spidey's foes in civilian garb.
    • Venom visited them both, although Mary Jane knew who and what he was and spent a long time terrified of him. He visited Aunt May as "a friend of Pete's".
    • Norman Osborn did this a lot, obviously since he was one of the first villains to learn of Peter's secret identity.
      • Though, a few of these times, even he wasn't aware he was the Goblin.
    • Norman's son Harry did the same. Once again, Mary Jane was aware of what Harry had become and almost had a Heroic BSOD because of it. Remember, Mary Jane was friends with Harry and even dated him at one point.
    • Aunt May almost got married to Doc Ock once.
  • Distaff Counterpart: At last count, Spider-Man has had no less than five of them, including his own daughter. Unlike most versions, none of them had any major connections to Peter and stood on their own. In fact, in an odd inversion, when the second Spider-Woman was introduced in Secret Wars, the Marvel EIC at the time wanted him to have a black costume similar to hers. Thus, the black costume was made, leading to the creation of Venom years later.
    • Some of the villains would get this too, including Sandman and the Scorpion.
      • This doesn't always work for the villains, especially the recently debuted, and quickly mocked, Lady Stilt-Man. Yes, you heard us. To be fair, Spidey starts laughing hysterically, proving that this woman was not meant to be taken seriously. At least we got a CrowningMomentOfFunny out of it.
  • Damsel in Distress: Subverted by Mary Jane, who typically escapes the sticky situations she finds herself in on her own, and has rescued her husband more than once from his enemies.
  • Don't Tell Mama: The original Green Goblin uses his last words to beg Parker not to tell his son about who he was. Sandman keeps his mother in the dark about his criminal activities, and Spider-Man goes to some lengths to keep Aunt May ignorant of his identity as well.
  • Doom Magnet
  • 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.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: From her more recent depictions, you'd never guess that Gwen Stacy started out as this kind of character.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Eddie Brock is dying of cancer. Alone, and forgotten except as a remorseless monster to the public at large, and the remnants of his old "pal" are floating around in his head telling him that he still has one chance at revenge by killing a comatose May Parker or just disappearing off the world with nothing to show for it. Or he can just sit in his bed waiting to die with Venom tormenting him until the end of his wasted life. Instead, he cuts himself trying to remove the remnants of Venom from his blood and it works.
    • Not quite. After Spider-Man saves him, he tells the remnants of the symbiote to shut up. After being exonerated for the crimes he committed as Venom, he met Mr. Li, who offered him a job. Eddie accepted, and when Mr. Li touched him, the remnants of The Symbiote were fused to his immune system, turning him into Anti-Venom.
  • Egomaniac Hunter: Kraven the Hunter.
  • Electric Slide: Electro does this constantly.
  • Elemental Shapeshifter: Sandman and Hydro-Man.
  • Embarrassing First Name: To the Shocker, "I didn't know your name was Herman!"
  • Entitled Bastard: J. Jonah Jameson.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Back in the original 1960's comics, J. Jonah Jameson would often support all kinds of reactionary politics -- except racism.
    • Doesn't quite count; from the beginning, Jameson was never portrayed as evil, just an asshole. In fact, he was a relatively nice guy when he wasn't angry, often giving Peter bonuses and helping him out of trouble, and is seen to be fair-minded in terms of everything except Spider-Man. He is also seen to support homosexuality and all sorts of minority groups, including mutants.
      • Except of course in the hands of lazy writers, as far as some ignoring this key element of the character for cheap jokes about J.J.J. being racist (and evoking his friendship with Joe Robertson to refute the claim when he's caught saying it).
  • 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.
  • Failure Hero: This is a slowly growing sentiment, particularly amongst long-time readers who can't fail to notice that any good things that happen to Spidey invariably set him up for a painful fall. He can't even escape it in other Marvel Comics; take one appearance in She Hulk, where he managed to take Jameson to court for libel, but had to call the whole proceeding off because if Jameson went down, Peter Parker would have to go next, as he had supplied Jameson with the pictures the Daily Bugle had used for their slanderous stories.
  • Fat and Skinny: Styx and Stone.
  • Festival Episode: In Untold Tales of Spider Man #19, teenage Peter Parker is taking pictures of a festival for J. Jonah Jameson.
  • First Girl Wins: Averted. Spider-Man's earliest love interest Betty Brant DIDN'T become his long term love and the two characters have basically settled into being "best friends". Some try to use this fact in the "MJ vs. Gwen" debates to argue that Gwen was Peter's first "true" love or his "one" true love, but the books weren't as simple as that.
  • Fix Fic: After One More Day showed up, there were plenty of these out there. In-universe this has happened several times to help Retcon certain parts of the comic's less than well-received issues.
  • Follow the Leader / Older Than They Think / Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The plots of the first three Spider-Man films follow closely those of the first three Superman films. Superman and Spider-Man were origin stories combined with introducing an archenemy. Superman II and Spider-Man 2 had the heroes try to give up their identities and/or powers. Superman III and Spider-Man 3 introduced evil versions of the characters.
  • Freudian Excuse: Several villains were revealed to have these in their backstories. The trope is applied literally in the cases of Doctor Octopus and Electro, who had coddling and stifling mothers, respectively.
  • Friends with Benefits: Shortly after One More Day, Spidey tried having this with the Black Cat. It didn't last long.
  • From a Single Cell: Several.
  • 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. In fact, he's a rare case of the genius Lightning Bruiser but without the size.
  • Genre Savvy
  • The Gimmick: Spidey possesses several: The Spider theme, the quick wit, and, out of universe, One of Us.
  • Girl Next Door: Gwen Stacy, originally. Mary Jane, in all versions but the original.
    • Actually Mary Jane was literally a girl next door in the original, as the niece of Aunt May's next-door neighbor. Gwen came from a totally different social background: her father was a respected elder citizen of New York who belonged to the same gentlemen's club as millionaires J. Jonah Jameson and Norman Osborn. Her boyfriend before Peter was Harry Osborn, prospective heir of the latter.
  • Heel Face Turn: The Sandman eventually decided to try and go straight. It worked for a while, until John Byrne decided to have him declare he was faking reformation (which pissed off fans so much, that Marvel had to rush out a back-up story declaring that Wizard had brainwashed Sandman back to being evil/claiming he faked redemption.
    • Eddie Brock did this, first as Venom and later as Anti-Venom.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Pete's love interests have varied quite a bit in hair color over the years, but the woman he eventually married and his most prominent love interest to date, was the redheaded Mary Jane. Until One More Day that is...
  • Hurting Hero: Just exactly HOW many ribs has he had cracked? (70% or better caused by Venom—to the point it becomes a Brick Joke.
    • And if Spidey has a cold or flu you know he will battle a villain with relatively weak superpowers before page 24.
  • 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.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: The trope namer.
  • I Love Nuclear Power: Radioactive spider etc. See also Doctor Octopus.
    • Oh so brutally subverted in Reign. The consequences of Spidey's radioactive body fluids taken to its logical conclusion.
    • It was also kind of handy when it came to taking out Morlun that time.
    • Both played straight and subverted in the Crossover with the Transformers. Straight with Megatron, who captures Spidey and uses his radioactive blood to form a special isotope that can supercharge transformers. Subverted with Spidey, who was the one Strapped to An Operating Table as the Decepticons stole his blood. Spidey still manages to crack a few jokes.
  • Informed Ability: Some Marvel Databooks states that Spidey can lift and support the weight of around 10 tons, and yet many writers had Spidey struggle with situations that his Super Strength could easily do the work; common examples are when he is saving people from some catastrophe that wrecked the city, so there are civilians stuck in cars (inside or under them) and debris, much of the time he is struggling to lift some car or piece of concrete that can't weight over than a ton and half. It seems Peter can only do justice to his informed strength when he is in Determinator mode, he has supported the weight of collapsing buildings more than once, which in itself is much more than he could possibily endure.
  • Irrational Hatred: Jameson for Spider-Man.
  • It Got Worse: Always. The one thing which you can count on from a Spider-Man story is that things can—and usually will—get a lot worse at any point.
  • Jack of All Stats: Various other heroes outrank Spidey in combat skill, intelligence, speed, reach or strength, but he's got enough skill in all these areas to handle most situations and bad guys.
  • Jerk Jock: Flash Thompson. Later subverted in that he smartened up and returned from his overseas military service a much better man. Then Green Goblin put him in a coma and he developed amnesia and lost all memories from the point that he entered the service. Luckily, he reverted back when he rejoined up and lost his legs.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sometimes, J. Jonah Jameson.
  • Kayfabe: The comics treated the fight between Peter and the wrestler as real; Grandfather Clause meant that the first movie followed this as well, though it was explained in issue #14 of Spider-Man's Tangled Web that Crusher Hogan was actually a "shoot" wrestler—in which the outcome of the match is not scripted.
  • Keeping Secrets Sucks
  • Keep the Home Fires Burning: Mary Jane gets this plot a lot, notably in the Kraven's Last Hunt storyline.
  • Knockout Gas: Enemies of Spider-Man have used it from time to time. Mysterio, Kraven, the Chameleon, the Hobgoblins, and Green Goblins are all culprits.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: J. Jonah Jameson's poor treatment of Peter Parker and his financing attempts to capture/kill Spider-Man have repeatedly come back to haunt him.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Most new and old Marvel characters have fought Spidey at least once.
  • Life Drinker: Morlun belongs to a race, the Ancients, that maintain immortality by draining life energy from people, especially people who are an animalistic totem.
  • Lighter and Softer: See "Darker and Edgier". The first notable example was when John Romita replaced Steve Ditko and Peter Parker's existence became less of a Crapsack World as a result.
  • Lizard Folk: Well, The Lizard.
  • 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 millionare 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.
  • Magic Meteor: The Looter's whole shtick was stealing meteorites for their power-granting ability.
  • Malicious Slander
  • The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life
  • Master of Disguise: Chameleon, impersonating Spidey in the first issue.
  • Master of Illusion: Mysterio. He is even often referred to by this title.
  • Money, Dear Boy: This is what Peter Parker first thought of using his spider-powers for, before it resulted in Uncle Ben's death. Even then, the first issue of his regular series features him attempting to join the Fantastic Four because he thinks the members get paid.
  • Monster Modesty: Spidey has had several monstrous villains over the years. While some employ Nonhumans Lack Attributes, we do get characters like The Lizard and Vermin, two monster characters who have varying degrees of intelligence and enjoy running around in torn up pants (and a lab coat in the Lizard's case).
  • My God, What Have I Done?: When he recognizes the murderer of his uncle as the man he allowed to escape earlier.
  • 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.
  • No Dialogue Episode: Back in February 2002, Marvel did "'Nuff Said Month". Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #39 sees Peter, Mary Jane and Aunt May trying to live their normal lives, but still struggling with the recent changes to them. Peter Parker: Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #38, meanwhile, saw a gang of criminal mimes going after Spider-Man.
  • No Ontological Inertia: The Lizard always regrows his right arm when in monster mode, and it just dissolves when he reverts to human.
  • The Notable Numeral: The Sinister Six.
  • Not Me This Time: Subverted in that even though Norman Osborn will often deny involvement in a scheme hurting Spider-Man, lazy writing will often retcon him as being the mastermind.
  • Ordinary High School Student
  • Outdated Outfit: Mary Jane for one, but the early Steve Ditko-drawn issues are especially bad for this. Seeing almost all the adult men wearing fedoras, teenage boys wearing bow ties, and girls wearing long skirts is especially jarring by today's standards.
  • Painted-On Pants: Mary Jane usually wears these. So does the Black Cat, both in and out of costume.
  • Pair the Spares: It's fairly common for supporting cast members to get bounced around like this. Harry Osborne used to date Mary Jane, but ended up marrying Peter's high school love interest Liz Allen after she hooked up with Peter. Similarly, Flash Thompson has dated Mary Jane, Gwen Stacy, Black Cat, Liz Allen, and Betty Brant, though only Betty and the Black Cat were exes at the time..
  • Perpetual Tourist: In one story, Mysterio's ultimate goal when he takes over the Maggia is to grab as much money as he can, and "buy an island in the tropics where I can sit under palm trees and drink things out of coconuts".
  • 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.
  • Post-Mortem Comeback: The entire robot-disguised-as-parents plan was set in motion by Harry Osborn (Green Goblin II) some time before his death. It gets even better because while Harry eventually forgave Spider-Man and moved on, the last time he was seen (prior to One More Day) was here, on a videotape he'd made, gloating over an enraged Spider-Man.
  • Pro Wrestling Is Real / Pro Wrestling Episode: When Spider-Man first got his powers, he entered a wrestling tournament and beat a wrestler by the name of Crusher Hogan. Interestingly enough, Crusher came back years later, publicly stated that wrestling was fake, and that he purposefully threw the fight to Spidey.
  • Psycho Electro: Trope Namer?
  • Psycho for Hire: Carnage (only in the '90s cartoon, take out the "For Hire" part and you've got it.)
  • Put on a Bus: This happened to several characters over the years, ranging from Liz Allan to Flash Thompson to Debra Whitman to Harry Osborn to even Mary Jane herself. It turned out to be a round trip, since subsequent writers would bring them all back at one point or another.
  • The Ramones: Covered his Theme Song. And it was awesome.
  • Reality Subtext: Carlie Cooper is named for Joe Quesada's daughter.
    • During Marvel's 70th anniversary, it's revealed that Ann Weying (not Eddie Brock) was supposed to be Venom, but Jim Shooter didn't think a woman was "dangerous enough" to go toe-to-toe with Spider-Man. The original She-Venom costume was recycled for Earth X's storylines, with May Parker's variation of Venom resembling a Black Widow spider.
    • Actually, David Michelinie, who created Venom, simply stated in interviews that Venom was meant to be a woman, who lost her husband and baby during a Spider-Man related incident. There was no mention of Venom being Ann Weying (Eddie's ex-wife).
  • Reckless Pacifist: All very well when Spidey's dealing with supervillains, but sometimes he seems to forget how much ordinary people can take.
  • The Reveal Prompts Romance: With Mary Jane. It helps that they already had a sort of Rescue Romance going.
  • Ride the Lightning
  • Rogues Gallery: Just about every adaptation has presented the classic villains (the Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Electro, the Shocker, the Rhino, Mysterio, etc.).
  • Rogues Gallery Showcase: The original "Sinister Six" story was this more than anything, as the story featured Spider-Man fighting each of his enemies one on one rather in a group.
    • Played more straight with issue #100, which, if you haven't read it, features Spidey briefly battling various enemies, who call him out on his various insecurities, usually one that they share, finally culminating in his speaking with the recently deceased Captain George Stacy.
  • Rogues Gallery Transplant: Several B-list villains who started out fighting other heroes would go on to become recurring spider-foes.
    • And vice versa in at least one case: Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin of Crime, began as a Spider-Man villain, but is now much better known as Daredevil's archenemy. Mysterio did this once on purpose because the real Spidey wasn't available, and made enough of an impression (notably, he indirectly caused the death of Karen Page) that he arguably still has a place there. He is still mostly a Spidey villain but when he shows up, there is a higher than normal chance that Daredevil will too.
      • It almost happened with The Sandman. After the first two battles he had with Spidey, he became an almost exclusive Fantastic Four villain for the next 10 years. And later on he had a Heel Face Turn and temporarily joined The Avengers.
    • Rhino also has had quite a few run-ins with The Incredible Hulk.
    • The Punisher even started as one of Spidey's enemies.
  • Run the Gauntlet: Spidey's first battle with the Sinister Six was one of these, where he was forced to battle the Vulture, Electro, Kraven, Sandman, Mysterio and Doctor Octopus one after another to save Aunt May and Betty Brant.
  • Samaritan Syndrome: Big time. After Uncle Ben, Pete has taken much more responsibility for the safety of New York than a hero of his modest power set should have. Other heroes respect the hell out of him for it, but consider it unhealthy.
  • Sanctuary of Solitude: Venom's origin story: Eddie Brock, down-on-his-luck reporter, is contemplating suicide in a church while Spider-Man is trying to escape from the Symbiote. After he successfully drives it off, it bonds with Eddie, and Venom is born.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 publically 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.
  • Shapeshifting Seducer: The Chameleon.
  • Shout-Out: Probably the most of any Marvel character outside of Deadpool, as Spider-Man's quippy nature and slight geekiness makes these easy. It goes far enough that at one point when he shows up in Runaways, and the characters begin to say "Look! It's--" he interrupts with "That's right... I'm Batman."
  • Sick Episode: Quite a few over the years, invariably right before a major opponent shows up. Kraven the Hunter is a good example.
  • Sky Surfing: The Hobgoblin and Green Goblin can do this with their respective Goblin Gliders.
  • Slave Mooks: In Web of Shadows, the symbiotes.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: If it weren't for the fact that Mr. Ted Baxter (the former Trope Namer) came first, the trope might as well have been called "The Jonah Jameson".
  • Spider Limbs
  • Statuesque Stunner: Stunner, of course.
  • Status Quo Is God: Ever since Peter and Mary Jane wed, writers have been trying to backpedal and make Peter single again.
    • They succeeded after Civil War.
    • The whole One More Day storyline supposedly had everyone forget Spidey's secret identity—yet, strangely, in the first issue of the new FF, every member of the Fantastic Four seems to know Peter Parker is Spider-Man.
      • Because he told the Fantastic Four his identity in issue #591, after the Human Torch figured out that they used to know it, but now didn't. At the end of the issue, Peter unmasks and they regain their memories from before the mindwipe that occured in One Moment in Time.
      • Played straight in the Spider Island arc, which restores Spider-Man's Spider Sense, removes the psychic blind-spot that prevents people from knowing who he is, has him hook up with Mary Jane again, and has Eddie Brock lose the Anti-Venom symbiote.
  • Stock Footage
  • Strange Girl: The White Rabbit, 'nuff said.
  • Stripperific: Depictions of Mary Jane can get especially bad for this, particularly during Todd McFarlane's run as Spider-Man's main artist.
  • Superhero
  • Super Reflexes: Closely coupled with his Spider Sense.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: And Spidey can keep it up all day.
  • Tears of Remorse: In the penultimate panel of his origin story.
  • Teen Genius
  • Teeth Flying: Venom's teeth often go flying when Spider-Man gives him a beating. Not that it matters much, since they grow back in seconds.
  • Thememobile: Deconstructed Trope with the Spider-Mobile, a vehicle that Spider-Man reluctantly endorsed in the early 1970s.
  • Three-Point Landing: Spider Man likes this pose.
  • Those Two Guys: Journalist Ben Urich and editor Robbie Robertson normally serve this role.
  • Took a Level In Badass: "Kraven's Last Hunt" made Kraven a badass after several decades of being a loser villain. Similarly, Electro was given a major power increase in Amazing Spider-Man #425 to allow him Magneto-esque control over electromagnetic energies, Harry Osborn when he's Ax Crazy, Roderick Kingsley when he became Hobgoblin.
    • Since he came back, you could say that Harry is an example of this WITHOUT being Ax Crazy.
    • The entire point of "The Gauntlet" story arc was this, giving each of Spidey's classic villains a revisit and making them more dangerous then they had been before.
    • "The Origin of the Species" arc gives one to Spidey after he almost loses it when he's tricked by the Chameleon to think Lily Hollister's baby was killed while he was trying to protect the baby from villains trying to sell it to Octopus. He then starts to hunt all villains in town to avenge the baby and find the responsible.
  • Token Motivational Nemesis: The nameless thief who took Uncle Ben's life isn't mentioned for over a decade, until he returns and dies in the 200th issue of Amazing Spider-Man.
  • Trash Talk
  • True Love Is Boring: Outright stated by Word of God as the reason behind the Retconning of Peter and Mary Jane's divorce.
  • Tsundere: Gwen Stacy, in her earliest appearances.
  • Unexpected Inheritance: Aunt May once inherited a nuclear power plant.
  • 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: Peter Parker.
  • 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.
  • Villain Takes an Interest: The Green Goblin, especially since he's disappointed in the offspring.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World
  • Walking Wasteland: Carrion and Styx.
  • Wall Crawl
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Green Goblin's origin.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Spidey's just as bad as Wolverine himself when it comes to this.
    • Ironic in the fact that Spidey actually predated Wolverine with this type of exposure.
    • At this point Spidey may have passed even Wolverine and Deadpool in over-saturation as he is now either a member or guest-starring with the three big teams in the Marvel Universe—including the X-Men, the Avengers (both teams), and the new Fantastic Four (known as the FF); plus his own book is released twice a month.
  • 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.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: When he first met Princess Python, Spidey lamented that he couldn't hit her. In his defense, it was the 1960's, after all. Later averted with female villains like Moonstone and Titania, who Spidey doesn't hold back against.
  • 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 Fight Like a Cow: Spider-Man's an undisputed master of this trope.

Notes

  1. The Mary Tyler Moore Show premiered in 1970; J. Jonah Jameson first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #1 in 1963.