Much like the creature he gets his name from, there’s a lot of Spider-Man and he is everywhere. There are enough alternate versions of Spider-Man out there to make up an entire army, as Marvel’s recent Spiderverse event proved. The different versions of Spider-Man are plentiful and overwhelming and some of them are just downright bizarre.
So let’s take a look at the weirdest of those who have realized with great power comes great responsibility:
There are a couple incarnations of mangaverse Spider-Man. One is from a real manga, as in one made in Japan, and the other is an imitation manga, as in Marvel did a “mangaverse” event to draw in the weeaboo crowd... and it was mostly kind of cringe-worthy. The Japanese manga was made in the 1970’s. It was pretty much just like Peter Parker’s story except the kid was named Yu Komori now and obviously was Japanese. Where it got a little strange was the later stories, where things got significantly darker than the American Spider-Man comics of the time and strayed more from the source material. Yu Komori was far more troubled than even Peter Parker, continually disgusted by himself and his powers and plagued by dark fantasies. At one point he considers letting his entire city die, since it’s filled with people who hate him. Another time he’s stuck in a traffic jam and we get an extended sequence where he imagines himself using his powers to flip over all the cars only to be horrified by what he’d done. The content got pretty sexual at times too and the main character was even shown to masturbate.
Marvel’s imitation manga Spider-Man was far less risqué and a bit more reliant on cultural stereotypes. He was made into a ninja with a murdered “sensei”. The art style also made him look like a bobblehead.
Zombie Spider-Man (Earth-2439)
Zombiefied Peter Parker was one of the most tragic parts of the Marvel Zombies event. Peter and most of the rest of the world’s superheroes got infected by the zombie virus. Seeing the carnage unfolding around him, Peter decided he’d get his family to safety. Instead, he was unable to suppress his zombie transformation and ended up devouring his beloved family. And he didn’t turn completely mindless either. He was burdened by guilt from that moment on because not even death can stop Peter Parker from suffering.
Spider-Man 2211 (Earth-9500)
Spider-Man 2211 is, you guessed it, Spider-Man in the future of 2211. His name is Max Borne and his life sucks even worse that Peter’s. He’s a doctor who fights crime with the aid of his robotic arms but one thing he couldn’t cure…was a broken family. In a tragic plot twist his most fearsome villain turns out to be his own daughter. She’s also killed pretty soon after this revelation. Then Max himself is shot by the Chameleon pretending to be Uncle Ben. That’s how I’d want to got out.
Peni Parker is a nine-year-old Japanese girl who was adopted by Aunt May and Uncle Ben after her father died while piloting a mechanized spider-suit straight out of Neon Genesis Evangelion. She decided to continue her father’s legacy and got bitten by a radioactive spider on purpose to do so. The spider was part of the mech’s CPU or something. From that point on, Peni fought crime with her mechanized Spidey-suit.
Superior Spider-Man (Earth 616)
Superior Spider-Man is a pretty strange Spider-Man, but by far the strangest thing about him is he’s a part of the main universe. No alternate worlds or timelines here. Doctor Octupus found himself dying and deicded on the natural solution- transferring his consciousness to the body of his greatest enemy. Doc Oc took over Peter’s body and found himself with access to all his memories and skills. Even after shunting Peter out of his own body, Doc Oc still felt competitive with him, so he decided to prove himself the “superior” Spider-Man and fought crime with brutal efficiency. However, Peter’s consciousness eventually reasserted itself and showed Doc Oc that being more of a jerkass didn’t really make him superior. Doc conceded defeat and gave our boy his body back.
Old Spider-Man (Earth 70237)
Spider-Man: Reign depicted an old man version of Spider-Man who was forced out of retirement. It was a dark moody story, but it’s best remembered by comics fandom for the panel that implied this version of Peter killed his wife Mary Jane with Spectacular Spider-Splooge. You didn’t read that wrong. Spider-Man apparently gave MJ cancer with his irradiated…fluids. For some reason it killed her instead of also giving her spider powers. Old Spider-Man died just as ridiculously angsty as he lived. In the Spider-Verse event he got his head smashed open on Mary Jane’s gravestone. That’s what you get for accidentally jizzing your wife to death.
Golden Spongecakes Spider-Man (Earth-51914)
Golden Spongecakes Spider-Man is just Spider-Man from those old Hostess Ads. You know, the ones where the superheroes can defeat any villain by offering them a Hostess Twinkie. This alternate version of Peter became an official thing in the Spider-verse event and the Twinkies were called "golden spongecakes" instead to avoid copyright infringement. Sadly, during this event, he was finally faced with a problem not even Twinkies could solve. He was murdered by a villain while on a date with Mary-Jane.
Spider-Man, Emissarry of Hell (Earth 51778)
Takuya Yamashiro is the Spider-Man of Japan and he’s a darn interesting one. The Japanese version of Spider-Man was created after Toei (the Japanese studio behind Power Rangers), made a deal with Marvel to get their hands on the character. What resulted was a pretty wacky 1970s transforming robot show.
Takuya honestly doesn’t have much in common with Peter Parker besides the costume and name. He’s a studly motorcycle racer rather than nerd and he got his powers from a dying alien from Planet Spider. He also has a transforming robot, because of course he does. He fought the evil Professor Monster and Iron Cross army and would sometimes introduce himself as “Spider-Man, emissary from hell”. This catchphrase was milked for all it was worth during the Spider-verse event.
Webslinger was a part of Marvel’s Aavatars: Covenant of the Sheild which depicted Marvel’s heroes on a sword-and-sorcery style alternate Earth called “Eurth”. This version of Spider-Man was given his powers by the mystical “Widow of the Web” but had to promise he would never use his powers for personal gain. Apparently “personal gain” included “saving your loved ones from dying horribly” because Peter broke that vow by saving his Uncle Ben. As punishment for this terrible act, he was transformed into a grotesque spider-creature and cursed to live as an outcast.
The Spectacular Spider-Ma'am (Earth 3213)
This may be my favorite alternate Spider-Man of them all. In this Earth, Aunt May was bitten by the spider instead of her nephew. All because Peter left his lunch behind and she had to rush to that science event to give it to him. She therefore becomes the amazingly-named Spectacular Spider-Ma’am. Like Peter, she decided to do wrestling events to earn money for her family. Unlike Peter, she never let a criminal get away to kill Uncle Ben. Instead she just altruistically decided to become a superheroine when she saw the supervillain Leapfrog up to no good. She used “special dough” and “pastry gun” as a weapon to take the dude down.
She even saved Peter from him when he came out to get involved, though then he was so scared of this terrifying old person in spandex that he fainted. Alternate Peter is kind of a wimp, apparently. Did he need that spider-bite to give him a spine? I guess so.
Man-Spider, also known as mutant X, is Spider-Man with six arms. Believe it or not, this is actually something that happened to Spider-Man in the main universe, but he was cured. “What if Spider-Man Kept His Six Arms?” explores what would have happened if he hadn’t been. One thing is that he would call himself Man-Spider. Nobody knows why he chose to reverse his name, but presumably he just thought it would be cool.
Apparently six arms is a real help when juggling supervillains and Spider-Man even uses his new appearance to advocate for those with physical challenges. Main Universe Peter shouldn’t have looked a gift arm in the mouth it seems. Sadly, Man-Spider’s six arms couldn’t solve everything. He was killed in the Spider-verse event
One day Marvel just went ape and decided to do a four-issue miniseries that reinterpreted the heroes of the Marvel Universe as…simeon. Spider-Man became…Spider-Monkey. Bet you can’t guess what breed of monkey he is. Spider-Monkey was a bonafide member of the Ape-vengers and everything.
Being a monkey made Peter kinda self-centered and also more willing to kill his enemies. He even helps beat Doc Oc to death. Still, it was tragic when he was killed in in the Spider-verse event. Hopefully he’s monkeying around happily in the afterlife.
Spider-Punk (Earth 138)
Spider-Punk is the Spider-Man for Earth 128. He’s an anarchist punk rocker down to his core. He accents his costume with a studded leather vest and like…spikes coming out of his head. Kind of a fashion disaster there. He does have a pretty good reason to be an anarchist though. His Earth had Norman Osborn as a corrupt president. He managed to defeat the dude by disabling his tech with an army of amps and 50,000 volts of punk rock. Then he smashed a guitar over his head. Truly, the hero we need.
Peter Porker, The Spectacular Spider-Ham (Earth-8311)
Spider-Pig isn’t just a joke from The Simpsons, it’s a real thing. Peter Porker resides on Earth 8311. His origin is kind of the opposite of Spider-Man classic- instead of being bitten by a radioactive spider, he’s a spider who got bitten by something radioactive. That something was a wacky inventor and anthromorphic pig named May Porker. Peter was just your everyday spider chilling in her basement while May was experimenting with radiation. She got herself irradiated and bit the poor spider, who then transformed into a pig like her. But he still has all the abilities of a spider. From that day forth, Peter became the Spectacular Spider-Ham, and fought various animal versions of Spider-Man villains, like Raven the Hunter. Which version do you think is the weirdest? Do you have any to add? Let us know in the comment section below!