Spider-Man is one of the world’s most beloved superheroes. So beloved, in fact, that far more people than just Peter Parker or even Peter’s clones have taken on the Spider-Mantle. In celebration of Spider-Man: Homecoming‘s release, here are the many Spider-Men of the multiverse, judged and ranked for your pleasure.
Note: We’re ranking Spider-Men rather than Spider-People, so you won’t find the array of kickass lady Spiders that also populate the Marvelverse, from Anya Corazon to Spider-Gwen here. They deserve a ranking of their own — and they will get one next Friday, July 14, so stay tuned! Also, these are characters that, whether they’re good or evil, or located in Marvel’s original 616 universe or not, have taken on (or attempted to take on) the Spider-Mantle specifically — so don’t expect Venom or Carnage to show up here.
With those caveats, here are 40 of the most prominent Spider-Men of the many wild and wonderful Marvel comics universes, ranked in order of Amazingness, Spectacularity, and Friendly Neighbourhood-itude.
What if Spider-Man was a super ’90s edgelord who had all the powers of your average webslinger, but could also hulk out into an overtly muscular pastiche of the human form that could also grow blades out of his arms because it was the ’90s and that shit’s raaaaaaad? You’d have Spidercide, who is extremely not rad.
A robotic replica made to deceive the Avengers by the villain Kang, this version of Spider-Man — who is literally just Spider-Man, but a robot — is only made notable by the fact he was offered Avengers membership decades before the actual Spider-Man ever was. Job well done, Spider-Bot.
38) Peter Parker of Earth-751263
Part of the terrible animated spinoff Spider-Man Unlimited in the ’90s before getting his own brief time as a comic book character, this Spidey was mainly made lame by the fact he hailed from an Earth that was basically Marvel’s own poor attempt at a grim, Batman Beyond-like future.
37) Web Man
Spider-Man has a long, controversial history of clones. But before the Kaines and the Bens we all know, the first Spider-Man clone was Web Man, created by Dr. Doom to be the Anti-Spiderman in the hilariously retro Spidey Super Stories educational comic.
36) Ghost Spider
From a world — Earth-11638, specifically — where Uncle Ben never died and actually helped Peter train, he later becomes a billionaire villain who attempts to lure Spider-Men of other realities to his own to absorb their powers. After dying fighting our Spider-Man, he was resurrected as the Ghost Spider, a Ghost Rider Spider-Man combo!
What are the odds Avengers: Infinity War adapts this gem from the legendary comic of the same name? Probably very low, because an evil Spider-Man who has six arms is dumb, no matter the reason.
The Spider-Man of Marvel’s medieval re-imagining Avataars: Covenant of the Shield, this Peter learned the great power/great responsibility mantra the hard way, after the Widow of the Web, who gave him the powers under the premise he never use them for his own gain, turned him into a horrifying Spider-Man when he used them to save his uncle.
33) Bruce Banner of Earth-70105
This Spider-Man was from a world where Peter Parker became the Hulk in a similar manner to our own Hulk — while the grief-stricken Bruce Banner was bitten by a spider also caught in the blast that made Peter hulk out, going on a gamma-induced rampage of his own before calming down and deciding to become the Spider-Man of his Earth.
32) Mac Gargan
One of the only people to be both Venom and Spider-Man, Mac was offered the chance to gain a new symbiote to bond with and become the Spider-Man of Norman Osborn’s first Dark Avengers team — perverting everything Peter stood for as he and his sinister Avengers committed horrifying crimes in Osborn’s name.
31) Max Borne
A Spidey of the 23rd century, poor Max is probably best known for having a truly miserable life. First, his daughter was revealed as his longtime nemesis the Hobgoblin. Then, Max accidentally killed her with one of the Hobgoblin’s retcon bombs, wiping her out of the timestream permanently. If that wasn’t enough, at the end of the story, the Chameleon, disguised as Uncle Ben, shoots Max dead. Poor guy.
30) Ai Apaec
Norman Osborn clearly has no original ideas, because when he made a second team of Dark Avengers, he decided to make another evil Spider-Man. This one was differentiated by the fact Ai Apaec was an actual Spider-God, who decided he was cool with hanging around as a six-armed evil Spider-Man for a bit.
29) Blood Spider
Look, an evil Spider-Man who doesn’t have multiple arms! They do exist! Sadly, even being trained by Taskmaster could not stop Blood Spider, a.k.a. Michael Bingham, from getting his arse handed to him easily by Spider-Man.
28) Peter Parker of Earth-15
Somehow one of the most ’90s ideas not created during the ’90s, this Spider-Man starred in 2002’s Exiles. In the comic, “The Spider” joined a group of Marvel heroes from a variety of dimensions, and was basically a Spider-Man/Deadpool mashup, a jokey psychopath who enjoyed torturing people.
A cat owned by a bunch of young students who randomly gets granted Spider-Powers, this humble feline had a brief crime fighting spree (even dreaming of facing a villainous pigeon named Venom) before being ruthlessly murdered by the Inheritors in Marvel’s “Every Spidey ever” event Spider-Verse.
Yes, another Spider-animal, but better than Spider-Cat pretty much because Spider-Monkey — one of the stars of Marvel Apes, a comic book in which Marvel heroes are literally apes — actually got to do things in his own comic and survive the events of Spider-Verse. Monkeys are better than cats, confirmed!
25) Spider-Man J
Marvel’s most recent attempt to cater to a Japanese audience with Spider-Man comics, Sho Amano is a young kid who used his powers to become the legendary hero Spider-Man J, fighting the evil lord Gokibu. While gaining a fanbase over in Japan, its English adaptation — which turned Sho back into Peter — had a much more mixed reception.
Multi-armed alternate Spider-Men are one of Marvel’s favourite conceits, but for once this heroic take on the concept from the Mutant X universe was a bit of a wimp, only notable for being killed, resurrected as a clone, and then killed again. And no, no one really knew why he called himself Man-Spider instead of Spider-Man.
23) Prince of Arachne
Sir Peter Parker was a chivalrous knight who also just happened to have spider-powers in the oddity that was Spider-Man Fairy Tales. Running around in a hilariously clunky-looking plate armour version of the classic Spidey suit, Sir Pete’s origin story saw him witness the tragic death of his betrothed, Princess Gwendolyn, accidentally killed by Ye Olde Norman Osborn.
22) The Anarchic Spider-Man
Poor Hobie Brown doesn’t get much time to shine, introduced pretty much to be a background character in Spider-Verse. But man, he gets a really cool design, re-imagined as a punk rock star called the Anarchic Spider-Man. At least he got a bit more time in the spotlight as a member of the interdimensional spider-team Web Warriors, but they could never live up to the premise of his own world being an anarchic America under the grip of the tyrannical President Osborn.
21) Peter Parker of Earth-2301
Perhaps Marvel’s most famous attempt at a manga Spider-Man, this Peter Parker was a ninja of the Spider-Clan, looking for vengeance in the wake of the death of his Sensei, Ben. Yes, it’s really weird to see these extremely Japanese-styled characters still be named Peter Parker and Ben in practice, too!
20) Peter Parquagh of 1602
Created by Neil Gaiman for Marvel’s 1602 comic series, the original Parquagh of Gaiman’s run was essentially an ongoing joke. An assistant to Spymaster Sir Nicholas Fury, Parquagh repeatedly came close to being bitten by a spider multiple times, but sadly he got a bit less interesting when he actually got bit by a spider in one of the 1602 followup stories, becoming the colonial superhero the Spider.
19) Peter Parker of Earth-30847
This is actually the Spider-Man of Capcom’s iconic fighting game series, Marvel vs. Capcom, so you know he’s good at repeatedly shouting attack names like “Maximum Spider!” and “Web ball!” But he actually became comic book canon when his reality was invaded in Spider-Verse, with sinister Spider-hero-eater Morlun beating the poor video game Spidey in a single blow.
18) Zombie Spider-Man
Marvel’s Zombieverse offered a bit of a twist on turning its heroes into shambling zombie hordes: they still had awareness and personalities of their own, as well as the hunger for human flesh. Sadly, because the life of Peter Parker is endless suffering, zombie or otherwise, Zombie Spidey was constantly plagued with grief and guilt about what the zombie heroes had done in their endless rampage, and his own horror at eating Mary Jane and Aunt May during the initial outbreak.
17) Gerry Drew
Marvel’s attempt at a glimpse into the future of its most famous heroes gave us MC2, but in Spider-Man’s case, there were actually multiple people under the mask. Peter Parker’s young daughter Mayday became the primary Spider-hero of her universe, but even after her dad retired (more on him later), the Spider-Man mantle carried on in the hands of Gerry Drew, the son of Spider-Woman Jessica Drew. Sadly, Gerry’s spider-powers came from a fatal blood disease that was quickly killing him, so he wasn’t a hero for long. Thankfully, he was cured rather than actually being killed by his disease.
16) Yu Komori
The star of the very first Spider-Man manga, Yu was the product of creator Kōsei Ono’s decision to wholly transpose the idea of Spider-Man over to Japan, rather than simply adapting Peter Parker’s origins whole hog. Although many things crossed over, it’s still a surprisingly interesting take on Spider-Man as a character, championing just how universal the concepts behind the hero can be.
15) Peter Parker of Earth-70237
Marvel’s attempt to do an Dark Knight Returns sort of story in Spider-Man: Reign is also the most perfect example of just how miserable Peter Parker’s life is in most interpretations. Widowed following Mary Jane Parker’s death (due to radiation poisoning from Peter’s spider-blood and Spider-semen!), this older Peter was brought back to heroism to fight an elderly version of the Sinister Six. Although he confronted the tragedies of his past and defeated them, his sad-sack life was ended in Spider-Verse, when big bad Morlun smashed his head in with Mary Jane’s tombstone. Jesus.
14) Pavitr Prabhakar
Made for Indian audiences before being brought over to English language comics, Pavitr shares much in common with the general Spider-Man legacy, but he’s probably the best example of a foreign Spider-Man Marvel’s ever attempted. He even gets the existential crisis freakout every Spider-Man should have had in Spider-Verse, openly wondering why there are so many imitations of this one webslinging hero across Marvel’s multiverse, before being reminded each Spidey is special in their own way.
13) Peter Porker, Spider-Ham
Look, I shouldn’t have to explain why an anthropomorphic pig — actually a spider bitten by a radioactive pig — who goes by Spider-Ham is this high on this list. His name is goddamn Spider-Ham. He’s more than just a one-off joke, too; Porker’s 17-issue Spider-Ham series under Marvel’s imprint Star Comics balanced a loving pastiche of Spider-Man legends with some really wacky fun.
Created for Spider-Verse and later the star of Web Warriors, Billy Braddock is the alternate-dimension Spider-Man of the United Kingdom, who is basically a part of a wider multiversal academy of British superheroes lead by Captain Britain. He’s basically Spider-Man with an accent, but it’s a good accent; plus, he’s the Spider-hero who was willing to stay behind and lead a ragtag group of them to safeguard the entire multiverse of Spider-based heroes, so he’s good stuff too.
11) Peter Parker of Earth-982
The Peter Parker of the MC2-verse, this Spidey is actually better known as his daughter Mayday’s occasional sidekick after she became Spider-Girl, having retired from superheroics in the wake of a climactic battle with Norman Osborn, that cost him one of his legs. Sadly, he got killed off for good in Spider-Verse, dooming Mayday to the tragic backstory that haunts 99 per cent of all Spider-people.
10) Spider-Man Noir
Best alternate Spidey costume? Best alternate Spidey costume. Spider-Man Noir is one of the most effortlessly cool and refreshingly different takes on the Spider-formula, re-imagining Peter as a plucky investigative journalist inspired by his dead uncle’s social activism to go out on the streets of Earth-90214’s 1930s New York, fighting injustice in style.
9) Takuya Yamashiro
Takuya might have spent most of his Spider-career on TV as the star of Toei’s Spider-Man TV show in Japan, but his crowning moment of awesome as the emissary of hell itself came in his comic book debut during Spider-Verse, in which he brings in his giant robot Leopardon to aid his Spider-allies. He is an all time Spider-Man great. Also, he’s basically responsible for the Megazord in Power Rangers. How cool is that!?
Pete Ross — the DC/Marvel hybrid of Spider-Man and Superboy in the Amalgam universe — may have an atrociously ’90s design, but his comics in the legendarily bizarre crossover event actually were actually really fun pastiches of superhero comic nonsense like reboots, time-travel, and even the very sort of crossover event it was part of.
7) Otto Octavius, the Superior Spider-Man
How is one of Peter’s most infamous villains on this list? Because he actually spent a while being the Superior Spider-Man. Although the backlash to the story that saw Peter and Otto’s consciousness’ swapped (and Peter’s seemingly lost forever) was great, the series that came out of it, that cast Otto/Peter as a darker, ruthlessly logical hero of science and technology, was actually pretty damn good.
6) Peter Parker of Earth-18119
The Peter of Renew Your Vows — pretty much the only way to get a married Pete in the comics for the foreseeable future — has one thing practically every other Spider-Man doesn’t: he’s actually got a stable, happy private life outside of being a webslinger (which itself has become a family activity with his wife MJ and daughter Annie). As you can see from the entries above and below, that’s a pretty damn rare thing.
5) Spider-Man 2099
If Spider-Man Unlimited was the Spidey take on Batman Beyond done horribly wrong, Spider-Man 2099 is it done oh so right. Not only does the future Miguel O’Hara come from an interesting and lovingly-explored world that’s more than just an aesthetic to hang over familiar Spidey stories, Miguel himself is a great take on the timeless core of Spider-Man, playing with the legacy and destiny of Peter Parker instead of simply being an alternate version of him.
4) Ben Reilly
Sure, the story that gave us Ben Reilly — the infamous Clone Saga — is often held up as one of the worst excesses of comic book “event” nonsense, but the masked clone’s stint in Peter’s stead as Spider-Man was at the least a reinvigorating reminder of some of the more optimistic and witty sides to Spidey that had been left at the wayside as Peter went through more and more grim experiences in the ’80s and ’90s. At a time when writers struggled to make Peter Parker sparkle again, Ben provided a refreshing alternative, albeit a temporary one.
3) Ultimate Spider-Man
The hero that helped kick off Marvel’s ultimate universe, and for many, still one of the greatest versions of Spider-Man in the comics, even if he’s been killed off, replaced, resurrected, and then erased from existence again since his heyday (it’s a long story). A modernised take on the classic Spider-Man values, Ultimate Peter was pretty much the core of what people have loved about Spider-Man as a character for decades, distilled and refocused into a tighter level of continuity.
2) Peter Parker
The original, and for many — still the only. He’s been through an awful lot over the years, from demonic pacts to erase his marriage to his current role as a Tony Stark-esque billionaire business leader, he’s lost and gained loved ones, allies, and enemies aplenty, but even through all the madness Peter Parker’s gone through, he’s still the wise-cracking, idealistic hero that endured people to him decades and decades ago, still the everyman balancing great power and great responsibility.
1) Miles Morales
We’re well aware this is going to be a controversial choice. Peter Parker is an adult now, with responsibilities and experiences and ties that have propelled him far beyond his origin as a relatable, good-hearted teen who was trying to use his great powers to do what’s right; he already knows the lesson at the heart of the Spider-Man identity.
Miles Morales — Peter’s replacement in Ultimate Spider-Man and now occasional ally in the main Marvel Universe — is still learning to be Spider-Man, in a world far more complex than the one his predecessor faced, and thus embodies the original concept of Spider-Man more than Peter himself (as evidenced by the fact virtually all Spidey TV show and movie adaptations take Peter back to youthful, innocent origin that Miles exemplifies).
Miles isn’t just a fantastic character still full of promise, he’s a character that can tackle the legacy of what it means to be Spider-Man while also being a modern reflection of the world he lives in. Peter Parker may represent Spider-Man’s legacy, but Miles Morales is the future of one of the greatest superheroes of all time.