Frontlist | 10 Ways Spider-Man Is Different In The Comics
Spider-Man is one of Marvel’s most popular characters who has been adapted outside of the comics a number of times, further increasing his mainstream appeal. However, this has also changed what has become commonly known about the character, as each adaptation brings something new to the character that separates it from the comics.
With three live-action film franchises, a TV series in the ’70s, and numerous animated adaptations exploring the character in various ways over the years, there are a few things about the character that have been unexplored or changed. These adaptations have created differences that comic fans are quick to notice.
His Origins As A TV Star
The character’s cinematic origins all follow the same theme as the comics, as Peter Parker’s sense of power and responsibility is brought into painful focus after his transformation into Spider-Man, and then the neglect of his new responsibility, that led to the death of his Uncle Ben.
What the movies haven’t touched upon was the character’s short-lived time as a TV star following his debut in the wrestling ring when he was first testing his abilities. It was even at the TV studio where the burglar first escaped him in the comics before shooting his Uncle Ben, and it may have been a promising career if it wasn’t for J.J. Jameson’s smear campaign in the Daily Bugle.
Has Worn Multiple Costumes
Each cinematic franchise has introduced its own version of Spider-Man’s classic red-and-blue costume, though Raimi’s franchise also introduced a Black Suit version of the classic costume, and the MCU version hilariously adopted the stealth “Night Monkey” suit and the upgraded Iron Spider armor.
However, the comic version of Spider-Man has worn a number of different costumes over the years aside from the fan-favorite symbiote suit and original Iron Spider suit. He has been forced to create new costumes to deal with various supervillains, including his bulletproof armor, advanced stealth suit, and the “End of the Earth” armor designed to defeat the Sinister Six.
His Webbing Keeps Changing In The Movies
Peter Parker originally created his own webbing and web-shooters as a teenage science whiz in the comics, though the first cinematic adaptation of the character introduced organic web-shooters in his transformation into Spider-Man, which was then briefly adopted in the comics.
The Amazing Spider-Man franchise saw Parker invent his own web-shooters. The MCU Spidey finally has created his own webbing and web-shooters, though it was Stark who ultimately upgraded the tech and webbing.
He Is Much Smarter In The Comics
The comics also generally feature a much smarter version of Peter Parker/Spider-Man, whose technical skill is matched by his quick problem-solving abilities that have impressed other brilliant minds of the Marvel Universe like Reed Richards and Tony Stark.
Both Raimi’s trilogy and TASM franchise highlighted his advanced intelligence though never showed his true capabilities, which the MCU has begun to explore. Given the character’s growth and development in the comics as a research scientist and CEO of his own tech company, the movies haven’t quite reached his potential.
His Sense Of Humor Is Stronger In The Comics
One of the biggest traits of the comic book Spider-Man that has failed to translate in the cinematic adaptations is his unique sense of humor, which is usually displayed by his rapid-fire quips that keep his enemies agitated and off-guard, though it also sometimes works on his teammates in the Avengers.
The MCU version of the character has come the closest to capturing his unique sense of humor (especially the reaction from his teammates), though his quips in the comics consistently outshine anything fans have seen in the movies yet.
Flash Thompson Is His Best Friend
Each cinematic adaptation has included a version of Flash Thompson as the films consistently explore his origins in various ways, which often results in only the bully versions of the character being shown on the big screen. Comic fans of Spider-Man know that Flash Thompson actually becomes one of Peter Parker’s closest friends as they grow and mature after high school.
Flash ultimately became the heroic Agent Venom before his sacrificial death working alongside his hero and best friend, Spider-Man. The character’s frequent inclusion in adaptations highlights his importance, though it was only The Amazing Spider-Man franchise that gave a tease of their eventual friendship that was ultimately left unexplored.
He Has Explored Many Professions
While most adaptations of Peter Parker have focused on his time in high school or immediately after, Sam Raimi’s trilogy followed Spider-Man in his adult life as he struggled to make ends meet as a freelance photographer for the Daily Bugle and part-time pizza delivery man.
However, in the comics, Peter Parker has worked a variety of jobs outside of his Daily Bugle work that included science teacher, hired bodyguard, research scientist, CEO, and of course, the (sometimes) lucrative job of saving the world as an Avenger.
He Has Been Married (With Children)
Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy teased a married future between Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson though it was never seen on-screen and later adaptations followed younger versions of the character, but the comic version first took his vows way back in 1987 and remained happily married until the controversial “One More Day” storyline.
Alternate reality versions of the characters have also had children, with May “Mayday” Parker becoming Spider-Girl in the MC2 future while Annie May Parker became Spiderling in the Renew Your Vows reality.
His Villains Usually Survive In The Comics
Fans have seen a number of Spider-Man’s most popular villains appear on the big screen over the various franchises from Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios, though a common trait shared by most of his cinematic villains (and superhero movie villains in general) is that they die during the final climactic battle.
Spider-Man has a fairly strict policy that no one dies while he’s around, hero or villain, that has defined the character for years. His villains usually stick around to torment him for years, which might not work out better for him in the long run.
He Keeps His Mask On In The Comics… Usually
Spider-Man has always been very careful about his secret identity, even though the fact that he chooses to wear a mask has made him a target in the public due to untrusting people like J. Jonah Jameson, though the movies frequently showcase the hero without his mask.
Whether it’s been damaged during a battle or he willingly takes it off to calm frightened children, Spider-Man’s mask spends more time off than on during the movies, which generally goes against his usually very strict rules regarding his secret identity (not counting his Civil War unmasking, of course).