BY MATT TUCK, THE BLOGGER SUPREME
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is coming, and it brings the possibility of more oddballs from across the Multiverse. Which obscure characters will appear in the new movie? Here are the prime suspects.
The next addition of the Spider-Verse is coming. At the moment, the hysteria is laser-focused on Spider-Man 2099, who is the breakout star of the teaser. We also see that Spider-Gwen is returning alongside Miles Morales. While those three characters’ key issues are inflating by the minute thanks to the trailer, it’s the unknown that is truly tantalizing.
Much of the success of 2018’s Into the Spider-Verse came from the quirky lesser-known faces that even the most dedicated of comic fans had to Google. There was Spider-Ham, Spider-Man Noir, and the anime-inspired Penni Parker, aka Sp//dr. Thanks to the movie, their first appearances skyrocketed overnight.
The appeal of more obscure Spider-Man variants arriving in the Sony-verse will have collectors playing the guessing game. Lucky for you, I’ve got ten for your auction-site scavenger hunt.
FIRST APPEARANCE: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #700
Next to Spider-Man 2099, this could be the most popular version of Spider-Man for Across the Spider-Verse. This famous Spider-variant is a composite of Doctor Octopus and Peter Parker. More specifically, it’s Doc Ock’s mind in Peter Parker’s body. At the time, Otto Octavius was dying, so he swapped bodies with Peter to save himself. However, Peter’s dying wish, which happened to be the name of the storyline, was for Doc to be a better Spider-Man. Wouldn’t you know, that’s what happened. Doctor Octopus is inspired by Peter, and he becomes an edgy version of Spider-Man.
FIRST APPEARANCE: SPIDER-MAN 2099 MEETS SPIDER-MAN #1
With Spider-Man 2099 set to make his grand entrance in Across the Spider-Verse, it makes for the perfect opening for Spider-Man 2211. Instead of Miguel O’Hara, the Spider-Man of the year 2211 is Dr. Max Born. Fitting in with the events of Loki, Born is a member of a group of time travelers who protect the timestream from disruptions. He is not like other Spider-Men, and he wears four extra appendages, a la Iron Spider. Between his backstory as a time traveler and being from the future, the odds are favorable that we will meet Max Born in Across the Spider-Verse.
FIRST APPEARANCE: SPIDER-MAN: INDIA #1
For three years, there have been rumors that India’s very own Spider-Man will appear in the Into the Spider-Verse sequel. The story basically takes the classic Spider-Man origin but with an Indian spin. Instead of Peter Parker, we have Pavitr Prabhakar, who lives with his aunt Maya and uncle Bhim. Rather than being bitten by a radioactive spider, Pavitr is given spider powers by a yogi who needs Spider-Man to combat evil spirits summoned by a crime lord. His story only lasted four issues, but he could be on the cusp of a newfound popularity if he appears in Across the Spider-Verse.
FIRST APPEARANCE: COSMIC GHOST RIDER DESTROYS MARVEL HISTORY #6
Here is a Spider-Man who would fit the Spider-Verse brand of comedy. He is a tongue-in-cheek character along the lines of Spider-Ham. Of course, that’s the entire reason behind this creation. He was part of another joke story in itself, Cosmic Ghost Rider Destroys Marvel History, and issue six saw the rise of a Spider-Man from Canada, complete with all the Canadian stereotypes. He even has a maple leaf under the spider logo as well as matching hiking boots. I can’t imagine him being an integral part of the plot, but he would be good for a few sight gags.
FIRST APPEARANCE: SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #158
By far, Cosmic Spider-Man is the most powerful Spider-Variant ever put on paper. During Spectacular Spider-Man #158, Peter Parker is caught in an accidental mishap when he was helping a scientist experiment with a mechanism that taps into interdimensional energy, which is never good for anyone. The machine breaks, and Spider-Man is flooded with the Power Cosmic. For a short time, Spider-Man more or less gains the powers of Captain Universe. As we know in the Marvel Universe, the Power Cosmic is the most powerful…whatever it is…in comics, thus Spider-Man became the most powerful character in Marvel for a brief time.
The collecting appeal goes deeper than Across the Spider-Verse. In 1995, What If…? #31 explored the possibility of Spider-Man keeping his cosmic powers. Marvel Studios has been delving into the What If…? brand with its animated series of the same name, and this could be where Cosmic Spider-Man makes his MCU premiere.
FIRST APPEARANCE: SPIDER-MAN #24
Maybe it’s just me, but I would be so excited to see the Doppelganger Spider-Man appear in some fashion. He debuted alongside one of my favorite Spider-Man villains, the Demogoblin, who is every bit as cool as he sounds - a demon-infused Hobgoblin. This is a version of the Man-Spider in many ways, acting more like a monster spider than Spider-Man. He is big, he’s scary, and he would be great onscreen, either in live-action or animated form. The odds are against seeing the Doppelganger in the Sony-verse or the MCU, but a man can dream.
FIRST APPEARANCE: BESSATSU SHONEN MAGAZINE MONTHLY #1/MARVEL MANGAVERSE: SPIDER-MAN #1
We already saw the Anime Sp//dr armor operated by Penni Parker in Into the Spider-Verse, so it would be fitting to add the Manga Spider-Man to the mix. In the Mangaverse, Peter Parker is part of a ninja group called the Spider Clan. Trained by his uncle Ben, who was killed by Venom, a rival ninja from the Shadow Clan, Peter vowed revenge.
Technically, he first appeared in 1970’s Bessatsu Shonen Magazine Monthly #1, but getting your hands on a Japanese magazine with a small print run is easier said than done. The more accessible first appearance is his debut in the United States in Marvel Mangaverse: Spider-Man #1.
The odds are high that we will see the Manga Spider-Man in Across the Spider-Verse. Reportedly, the 1970s Spider-Man from the live-action Japanese adaptation will be part of the upcoming sequel. It wouldn’t be too far of a stretch for the screenwriters to merge Manga Spider-Man with the Japanese television Spider-Man into one character.
SPIDER-MAN: LIFE STORY #6
To be honest, I don’t know what this version of Spider-Miles’ technical name is, but he is basically the Superior Spider-Man but with Otto Octavius planting his consciousness into Miles rather than Peter’s brain. This was part of Life Story, a comic series that told Spider-Man’s story in real time with the characters aging. While Miles was sidekicking it in space with Peter, Otto made his move, but Peter was ready. After using memories of dear ol’ Aunt May to cleanse Miles of Otto’s mind (which leaves a lot to the imagination if you picture the MCU Aunt May rather than comics Aunt May), Peter sacrificed himself as the space station self-destructed. When Miles returned to Earth, Mary Jane gave him the Spider-Man suit, and Miles officially took up the mantle.
THE MILES CLONES
FIRST APPEARANCE: MILES MORALES: SPIDER-MAN #25
These Spider-Variants aren’t from an alternate reality, but their ties to Miles make them prime candidates for Across the Spider-Verse. Following in his predecessor’s footsteps, Miles Morales had his very own Clone Saga earlier this year. The story produced three clones, each of whom has a unique power set. First, there’s Selim, the leader, who looks more human than his “brothers.” Next is Mindspinner with red eyes and psionic abilities. Shift is a shapeshifter whose base form looks like Miles, and he can form symbiote-like tendrils. The only problem is that he can barely speak. In the end, Shift turned against his siblings to side with Miles, who made him part of the Morales family, and that is a story worthy of an on screen adaptation of some sort.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and the Blogger Supreme. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog, or on Instagram at matt.tuck.writer.