Spider-Man is the most popular comic book character on earth. He’s more popular than DC characters Batman and Superman, and as Marvel’s flagship character he is the mascot of the company. Spider-Man merchandise sells more than any other superhero property and makes billions of dollars for Disney. Why is Spidey so popular? It definitely has something to do with the uniqueness of the Spider-Man mythos as well as his character traits.
Spidey is a comedian, he was the first teenage superhero, he constantly has money problems, he is often awkward, and has really bad luck with women. This has made him extremely relatable to many comic book readers. His origin is one of the most compelling in all of comics. The phrase “with great power comes great responsibility” is so profound that it sounds like something Winston Churchill said, but in fact it was Stan Lee who came up with this iconic mantra. Uncle Ben’s speech to Peter is what makes him commit to doing good and being a hero.
Peter Parker is Spider-Man, but did you know there are many different Peter Parkers in alternate universes? Not all of them became Spider-Man. In some alternate universes other characters became Spider-Man, or a hero similar to Spider-Man. Here’s a look at the 15 coolest alternate universe Spider-Men. Which one of these heroes is your favorite? Do you think any of them are better than the original Spider-Man?
The death of Gwen Stacy is one of the most tragic and heartbreaking stories in all of comics history, but in an alternate universe Peter Parker’s true love Gwen Stacy, didn’t die after being hurled off the Brooklyn Bridge at the hands of The Green Goblin. Not only did she not die, but it was Gwen who was bitten by the radioactive spider instead of Peter. She became Spider-Woman, or as she is affectionately known to Marvel fans – Spider-Gwen. She patrols NYC on Earth-65, which is very different from the earth in the regular Marvel 616 universe. Earth-65 even has its very own Peter Parker, but he isn’t Spider-Man. The Peter Parker of Earth 65 is the lizard, or at least he was until he was accidentally killed by his love Spider-Gwen, during a fight. Peter wanted to be special like Spider-Gwen, so he turned himself into the lizard. He wasn’t trying to be evil, and he tragically had no idea what would happen. Peter’s death leads everyone to think Spider-Gwen is a cold-blooded killer, and she is labeled a menace and pariah just like the Spider-Man in the regular Marvel Universe.
14 Mile Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man
The Ultimate Universe was created in the early 2000s as a way for Marvel to gain new readers and increase sales, and it really worked. The Ultimate Universe was at one time more popular than the 616 Universe. This universe featured a Hulk that would tear people apart and eat them and a Giant-Man who got his butt kicked by Captain America for beating his wife. The most popular character to come out of The Ultimate Universe was Peter Parker, the Ultimate Spider-Man. So, it was quite a shock when comic writer Brian Michael Bendis, killed off this version of Spider-Man. He was killed by The Green Goblin and never came back to life like many comic book characters had in the past. Instead, a new Spider-Man came onto the scene. Mile Morales is a biracial 13 year old who has powers almost identical to the original Spider-Man due to the fact that he was bitten by a radioactive Spider that was genetically engineered by Norman Osborn. Miles can also camouflage himself, and has a new power called venom sting, which is sort of like an electric shock. After the events of Secret Wars, The Ultimate Universe and the 616 Universe were merged, which means that Mile Morales regularly fights alongside the Peter Parker version of Spider-Man. Mile Morales has become so popular that Sony’s upcoming animated Spider-Man movie will feature him as the main character.
13 Peter Porker: The Spectacular Spider-Ham
He may have been created as a joke by writers who were very likely doing way too many drugs, but Peter Porker The Spectacular Spider-Ham is so unique and quirky that he has become more than just a joke character. Spider-Ham comes from Larvel Earth, which is an earth in an alternate universe where everyone is an anthropomorphic animal. In the parody comic book he fought villains like the Green Gobbler (who is actually a turkey), the King Pig and Eeelectro. Seriously, what were they smoking when they came up with these absurd characters? Spider-Ham has had a resurgence lately. He has appeared in Spider-Man video games like Shattered Dimensions and recently teamed up with Howard the Duck and Rocket Raccoon in the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon.
12 Miguel O’Hara: Spider-Man 2099
The 2099 line of Marvel comics launched in 1992, and portrayed future versions of popular characters like Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, The Hulk, The Punisher, and even an anti-heroic version of Dr. Doom. These characters live on Earth-928, which is an Earth with a dystopian cyberpunk setting. People are ruled by mega corporations like Alchemex. Spider-Man 2099’s alter ego Miguel O’Hara, works for Alchemex as a geneticist. Spider-Man 2099 has many of the same powers as his heroic age Spider-Man counterpart, but he also has a few additional tricks up his sleeve that he can use to take down baddies like the Goblin King. He has talons and even a set of fangs! This future version of Spider-Man is truly a force to be reckoned with. He also has one of the coolest costumes in all of comics – it might even be cooler than the classic Spidey outfit. The giant spikes on his wrists and stylized red pattern on the blue suit make Spider-Man 2099 look futuristic and menacing.
11 Spider-Man Noir
Batman’s not the only hero who uses his detective skills to fight crime in a dark and gritty noir-esque environment. There is an alternate version of Spider-Man who can be just as menacing and intimidating in the shadows. Spider-Man Noir is a comic book mini-series that follows the adventures of Peter Parker during the great depression. The Earth-90214 version of Peter Parker gained his spider powers after being bitten by a spider that was released from an ancient spider statue in an antique shop. The spider gave Spider-Man Noir powers similar to the Earth-616 Spider-Man, and he even has organic web shooters like the Spider-Man from the 2002 movie. Unlike the modern day Spider-Man, this Spider-Man uses a gun, dresses all in black and wears a trench coat. He also doesn’t swing high on rooftops due to the fact that he patrols the rooftops mostly at night and the fact that there weren’t nearly as many skyscrapers in the 1930s.
In the MC2 universe Peter Parker retired from being Spider-Man after losing his leg in a battle with The Green Goblin. He settled down with Mary Jane and focused on family life. Peter and Mary Jane had a daughter named May, who goes by the nickname Mayday. Peter and MJ named May after Peter’s Aunt May. The pair had hoped that May would lead a normal life, but when she was a teenager she began to develop superpowers similar to Peter’s spider powers. She found out about her father’s past as a superhero and became Spider-Girl. Spider-Girl battled many villains, including Normie Osborn, who took up the mantle of The Green Goblin from his father and grandfather. May really hit the genetic jackpot. Not only does she have her father’s superpowers, but she also has his wit and brains. She was also gifted with her mother’s good looks and charm. Spider-Girl even traveled back in time and fought alongside her father while he was still in his prime.
9 Zombie Spider-Man
Magneto is one of the most feared villains in the Marvel universe, but in an alternate universe overrun by a zombie infection, nearly every superhero has turned into a brain craving flesh starved zombie. The only hero or villain who didn’t succumb to the zombie virus was Magneto, which made him a hero who would fight off Zombie Spider-Man and stop the web-crawler from eating the few remaining humans on planet Earth. Zombie Spider-Man traveled the entire universe eating everyone and everything after devouring Galactus, but through all of this Spider-Man still maintained some of his humanity. Despite destroying the entire universe alongside the other Marvel zombies who gained the power of Galactus after eating the giant purple planet devourer, Zombie Spider-Man still felt extreme guilt for eating his loved ones Mary Jane and Aunt May, when he was first infected with the zombie virus.
8 Spider-Man 1602, Aka The Spider
The 1602 Marvel mini-series was extremely popular thanks to the writing of legendary author and comic book scribe Neil Gaiman. In this mini-series the major Marvel heroes exist in the time of Shakespeare rather than the present. In 1602, Peter Parquah took up the mantle of the Spider and became the assistant of Sir Nicolas Fury at the behest of his aunt and uncle. His powers, which he received when bitten by a spider that had come in contact with a time portal, led him to be labeled a witch breed, which is the 1602 equivalent of a mutant. Just like mutants were persecuted in the 616 Marvel Universe, so were the witch breed in the 1602 universe. Unfortunately, this version of Spider-Man met his end when Morlun confronted him at the Globe Theater and declared that all Spiders must die.
7 Spider-Man in India
On Earth-50101 it wasn’t Peter Parker who became Spider-Man. The Spider-Man in this universe is Pavitr Prabhakar. He receives his powers from a wise yogi who teaches him the way of the Spider. What Spider-Man would be complete without a lesson on power and responsibility? While discovering his powers, Pavitr refused to help a woman being attacked by a group of men. His uncle Bhim stepped in to help the woman and was stabbed. When Pavitr discovered this he realized that with great power comes great responsibility. Spider-Man of India battles a demon possessed version of Norman Osborn know as Nalin Oberi. Oberi is a crime lord who wants to let demons take over Mumbai and the world by releasing them from their dimension using a magic amulet.
6 Mangaverse Spider-Man
What do you get when you mix anime with Marvel comics? You get one of the coolest and most interesting alternate universe versions of Spider-Man you could possibly imagine. This Peter Parker is a member of an ancient group of ninja warriors called the Spider Clan. This Peter’s uncle was killed by an evil Ninja called Venom, who can use a mystic amulet to transform himself into a hideous fanged beast. The MJ of this universe teams up with Spider-Man and become a hero herself. Mary Jane becomes the Mangaverse Spider-Woman. Mangaverse was not the first Japanese style take on Spider-Man. The Tokusatsu TV series from the 70s was extremely popular, and before that there was a Japanese manga based on Spider-Man that was published in 1970.
Spider-Monkey is exactly what it sounds like. In an alternate universe where all the Marvel heroes are apes and simians, Spider-Monkey was an actual Spider monkey from Earth-8101 who became a hero called Spider-Monkey. He fought villains like an orangutan version of called Doctor Ooktavius, and he fought alongside the Ape-vengers. Shang-Chimp, Ms. Marvape, Gro-Rilla, Iron Mandrill, and numerous other Marvel superheroes have funny monkey pun names. The entire Marvel Apes universe was created after a fan jokingly suggested it during a Marvel Q&A at Comic-con.
4 Spider Punk
A punk rock version of Spider-Man? How cool is that? This alternate universe Spider-Man from Earth-138 isn’t Peter Parker. Instead, he’s Hobie Brown, who you might know as Spider-Man’s partner and sidekick The Prowler, from the regular Earth-616 universe. Spider Punk upends the system by fighting the United States government which is controlled by President Norman “Ozzy” Osborn. However, President Osborn is not The Green Goblin in this universe. Rather, he is connected to an alternate Venom symbiote known as V.E.N.O.M that is used to subvert and control the population of the U.S.A. Spider-Punk used his the sound waves from his guitar and amp to take out V.E.N.O.M and President Osborn’s army.
Spider-Man is a quintessentially American hero. Think of New York City and he’s probably the first superhero that comes to mind. However, on Earth-833 there is a British version of Spider-Man known as Spider-Man U.K. or simply Spider-UK. Spider-UK is not Peter Parker. This Spider-Man is actually William Braddock, who is Captain Britain in the Earth-616 universe. He joined the Spider-Army during Marvel’s popular Spider-Verse event, and in the Earth-833 he would eventually become Captain Britain like his Earth-616 counterpart. He has many of the same abilities as good ol’ classic Spidey, but he doesn’t have a spider-sense ability.
Do you remember the short-lived Amalgam line of comic books from the 90s? In a rare act of cooperation between Marvel Comics and DC Comics, following the extremely popular Marvel vs. DC event numerous comic titles were published featuring mash-characters of popular superheroes. It’s one of the strangest events ever to happen in comic book history. Batman and Wolverine were merged to create Dark Claw, Howard the Duck and Lobo were merged to create Lobo the Duck, the X-Men and Doom Patrol merged to create the X-Patrol, Superman and Captain America merged to create Super Soldier, Storm and Wonder Woman were merged to create Princess Ororo, Dr. Strange and Dr. Fate joined to create Dr. Strangefate and Spider-Man and Superboy merged to create Spiderboy. Spiderboy is a Peter Parker Clone created by Project Cadmus. He can alter the gravity around him to walk on walls and fights his enemies using a pistol that shoots webs.
1 Superior Spider-Man
The Superior Spider-Man isn’t actually a Spider-Man from an alternate universe. In fact, he is simply an alternate Spider-Man who is in the main Marvel 616 Universe. This Spider-Man is Peter Parker – at least on the outside. On the inside he is actually Doctor Otto Octavius. Writer Dan Slott proved he was one of the most original voices in modern Spider-Man comics when he came up with the crazy idea to have Otto Octavius and Peter Parker switch minds and bodies. Otto Octavius’ body died when Peter Parker’s mind was trapped inside. This lead to Doc Ock’s mind being stuck in Peter Parker’s body. Doc Ock was the new and improved Superior Spider-man. He was now a hero, but he was much more brutal to Spider-man’s enemies and used his technological prowess to create an army of droid spiders that would patrol New York City. Peter Parker’s conscious still remained deep inside the Superior Spider-Man, and eventually Peter Parker would become Spider-Man once again. As innovative an idea as the Superior Spider-Man comic was, it simply couldn’t last forever, the classic 616 Peter Parker is the one true Spider-Man and that’s who fans love the most.
Sources: Marvel.Wikia, Wikipedia