Spider-Man has been a mainstay of Marvel since his incarnation in Amazing Fantasy #15 all the way back in 1962, and he is easily one of the most recognizable and beloved characters to ever grace the pages of a comic book. What you may not be aware of, though, is the endless number of characters other than Peter Parker who gained the famed arachnid’s abilities and took up crime fighting.
In Marvel’s never-ending multiverse, the mantle of Spider-Man has been possessed by powerful women, 1930s vigilantes, clones and even a pig named Peter Porker (yes, you read that correctly). No matter what kind of person (or pig) dawns the red and blue tights, one thing rings true for all of these web-heads: with great power comes great responsibility.
Gwen Stacy has been a big part of the Spider-Man mythos since her tragic death at the hands of the Green Goblin in Amazing Spider-Man #121. Since that time, Gwen Stacy took a backseat as Peter’s love interest to Mary Jane Watson, and she’s been sparsely mentioned in continuity ever since. That is until the release of Spider-Verse, a major comic book crossover event that brought an abundance of never before seen web-heads together for the first time. One of these new characters happened to be Gwen Stacy, but this wasn’t the Gwen Stacy readers thought they knew. This Gwen Stacy went by the name of Spider-Gwen, and in her universe, she was the one to gain the powers of Spider-Man, as well as all the responsibility that comes with it. Spider-Gwen quickly became a fan favorite, and the character went on to have her own wildly popular monthly comic book.
14 Spider-Man 2099
In the year 2099, Peter Parker no longer exists, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a Spider-Man crawling around New York. The man behind Spider-Man 2099’s mask is Miguel O’Hara, an engineer at a company called Alchemex who was purposely drugged by his boss Tyler Stone. In the process of attempting to cure himself, Miguel’s DNA was spliced with—you guessed it—a spider's! Spider-Man 2099 has a vastly different costume than the classic Spider-Man: He possesses a cape, claws and many other abilities that differentiate him from Peter Parker. While Miguel O’Hara might sound, look and feel different than Peter Parker, he has cemented his role as one of the most prominent figures to carry the Spider-Man mantel in the Marvel Universe.
13 Superior Spider-Man
Spider-Man, more often than not, comes out on the winning end of his battles with the Sinister Six. However, there have been a handful of occasions where Spidey wasn’t able to defeat his foes. One of the more prominent occurrences came when a dying Doctor Octopus managed to switch bodies with Peter Parker. When Otto switched bodies, he didn’t just take over the life of Peter Parker, he took over Spider-Man’s life, as well. Otto swore to become a better Spider-Man than Peter could ever be, dubbing himself the “Superior Spider-Man.” Otto’s methods of crime fighting differed greatly from Peter’s. He used patrolling Spider-Bots, metal spider arms as well as an overall rougher attitude towards criminals and his faithful allies.
The moniker of Spider-Woman has been by held many women in the Marvel Universe, but none have garnered the same popularity as Jessica Drew. Spider-Woman first debuted in 1977 in Marvel Spotlight #32, and would go on to star in many stand-alone comic series, as well as her very own short lived animated TV series. Obviously, like nearly all of the Spider-Men/Women on this list, Jessica Drew’s power derived from exposure to her eight-legged namesake, though her origin is slightly unique from the other members of the spider family. In 1931, Jessica sustained uranium poisoning, and in an attempt to cure her, Jessica’s father injected an untested spider serum into her (seems like smart move, right?). As a result, Jessica gained all the powers you’d expect a spider-woman to have, and even a few more skills that are only possessed by the web-slinging heroin.
11 Spider-Man 1602
If you happen to be someone with a penchant for English history and an affinity for character dramas set in the 1600s, you're in luck—we have just the oddly specific Spider-Man for you. Peter Parquagh is an orphan who grew up in Scotland who was raised by his Aunt May and Uncle Benjamin (sound familiar?). Like most Spider-Men, Parquagh shares the same super strength and wall crawling abilities that you’ve come to expect from your more familiar wall crawlers—though to a much lesser extent than his contemporaries. While this version of Spider-Man has only appeared in Marvel continuity on a handful of occasions, his distinctly goofy appearance and old world twist on classic Spidey characters has developed a substantial cult following.
10 Captain Universe Spider-Man
Captain Universe is a being who has possessed a number of individuals across the vast Marvel Universe, and is driven by something called the “Uni-Power." The Uni-Power has bonded with the likes of the Silver Surfer, Ray Coffin and even a dog, but none of these stints match up to its time with Spider-Man. During a lab accident, the Uni-Power found Peter in an attempt to save his life. Once Peter Parker became one with the Uni-Power, he inherited the Captain Universe costume, the telekinetic abilities, and even the vast memories of the cosmic being. Once the tragedies that brought the cosmic power to its keeper is rectified, the Uni-Power abandons its host to seek the next Captain Universe.
May “Mayday” Parker (named after May Parker) is the teenage daughter of Mary Jane Watson and Peter Parker who first appeared in 1998 as part of a Marvel “what if” one-shot. At the age of 15, May Parker began to show signs that she possessed the same spider-like abilities that her father once did. As a result, May—like anyone with super strength and the ability to crawl walls—would eventually decide to follow in her father’s footsteps and fight crime—much to her parents' chagrin. The superheroine would then go on to battle the likes of Normie Osborne (the grandson of the Green Goblin), as well as the Hobgoblin. To this day, Spider-Girl is the longest running female-led series in the Marvel Universe.
8 Ultimate Spider-Man
Out of the seemingly never-ending versions of Spider-Men and Women, Ultimate Spider-Man is easily the most popular. The Ultimate Spider-Man resides in a universe outside of normal Marvel continuity, and in this universe Spider-Man was killed after a brutal battle with the Green Goblin. Enter Miles Morales, a teenage boy from Brooklyn who gained his wall-crawling abilities after he was bitten by a radioactive spider that was stolen by his uncle Aaron. At first, Miles shunned his spider-like abilities, but after Peter’s death, he felt it was his responsibility to honor the mantle of Spider-Man. Miles continues to fight crime in New York as Spider-Man in his solo comic book, and has become a version of the wall-crawler that many fans prefer.
7 Spider-Man UK
Spider-Man UK is a fairly new addition to the Spider-Man universe, as he was only created By Jason Latour and Robbie Rodriguez for the Edge of Spiderverse crossover event in 2014. Spider-Man UK, or Billy Braddock, was a member of the Captain Britain Corps who became aware of a threat that was seeking out and killing Spider-Men across the multiverse. Once he became aware of this problem, Billy would go on to travel across the universe to gather a cavalcade of different Spider-Men to help in the battle. Despite being a new character, the newcomer Spider-Man UK has become a fan favorite amongst comic book lovers, and has even been immortalized in action figure form in Marvel’s Legends line.
6 Manga Spider-Man
This version of Spider-Man couldn’t be any more different from the rest of the web-heads on this list. While he is stilled named Peter Parker, he gained his Spider-Man abilities not by a radioactive insect or serum, but by training with a group of ninjas called the Spider-Clan. In this manga section of the Marvel universe, Peter was driven to fight crime after a King Pin-controlled Venom killed his Uncle Ben. To defeat Venom, Peter trained vigorously, hell bent on attaining revenge for his murdered uncle.
While all the major players that fans have come to know are present in this version of Spider-Man, this unique take on the mythos sets it apart from many of the other Spideys on this list.
5 Kaine Parker
Kaine Parker, the first attempt to clone Peter Parker, possesses one of the more tragic backstories behind any of the Spider-Man characters to appear on this list. The Jackal, one of Spiderman’s more prominent villains, created Kaine as a test subject to help perfect his cloning technology. Though he was just a test subject, the Jackal allowed Kaine to live in an attempt to study his degeneration, but would eventually replace him with Ben Reilly, another Parker clone. Once the final clone of Peter was made, Kaine felt a deep sense of rejection from his creator who he largely viewed as a father figure, and eventually turned on him. Since then, Kaine has developed a cult following and maintains a prominent status in the Spidey corner of the Marvel Universe.
4 Spider-Man India
We’ve seen Spider-Men who existed during the Great Depression, the 1600s and even distant universes, but one of the richest versions of the web-slinger comes to us from India. Pavitr Prabhakar grew up in a poor family that consisted of his Uncle Bhim and Aunt Maya, and first appeared in Spider-Man: India #1 in 2005. His path to becoming Spider-Man began with a local crime lord named Nalin Oberoi, who found an ancient amulet that resulted in him being possessed by a demon. Once possessed, the demon used the crime lord as a means to open up spiritual gates for other demons to enter Earth’s realm. As the demons began pouring into the world, Pavitr came across a yogi who chose to give him the power of a spider to help him banish the demons. Once endowed with the powers, Pavitr realizes that with great power comes great responsibility—and the rest is spider-history.
3 Spider-Man Noir
Spider-Man Noir is far from the Peter Parker fans of the web slinger have come to know, and this is largely due to the fact that this version of Spider-Man exists during the height of the Great Depression. While this 1933 version of the hero possesses all the abilities you’ve come to expect in your favorite web-heads, he also employs darker tactics like the use of a gun—something that the original version of Spider-Man would never do under any circumstance. The most prominent members of Spider-Man’s rogue’s gallery also appear in this universe. Characters like the Goblin, Chameleon and Vulture all make appearances, though they are more grounded variations than their classic iterations. This version of Spider-Man might not be for everyone, but it is without a doubt one of the most imaginative variations in the Spider-Man mythos.
2 Scarlet Spider
The Scarlet Spider has been one of the most controversial and convoluted versions of Spider-Man to ever exist. This is largely due to the fact that the man behind the mask, Ben Reilly, was a clone of Peter Parker. The Jackal created Ben Reilly for the purpose of defeating Spider-Man, but when the clones came to blows, the distinction between which man was the true Peter Parker became incredibly blurred. To make matters more difficult, Ben Reilly shared all of the same memories that Peter had, making the struggles of being the clone that much more difficult for the web-slinger. Upon being killed by Norman Osborne, Ben Reilly dissolved, collectively quelling angry Spider-Man fans, and proving conclusively that the Scarlet Spider was actually the clone all along.
Out of the vast collection of wild and out there takes on Spider-Man, Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham, is easily the most bizarre incarnation. Spider-Ham resides in a world filled with anthropomorphic creatures, and he gained his abilities a bit differently than most Spider-Men on this list. Before Peter Porker was Spider-Ham, he was simply a spider in the lab of scientist (and anthropomorphic pig), May Porker. When May lost her mind after an experiment gone wrong, she bit Peter, effectively transforming him into a pig. While Peter’s appearance had changed, he managed to retain and strengthen his abilities as a spider. Going forward, Peter Porker dawned the red and blue tights and fought crime with his newfound abilities as the Spectacular Spider-Ham!