Right out of the gate, we know that a large number of fans of superhero movies such as the "Spider-Man" and "The Amazing Spider-Man" films don't necessarily keep up with the comic books they are derived from. Not only do we get it, but we aren't going to sit here and try to persuade you that comics are the greatest thing since foxy boxing (take a hike, sliced bread). In fact, we know they're not, and we have ten perfectly good examples why. So we'll try to make this as amusing as possible for you, while keeping nerdy details and inside jokes to a minimum. 'Nuff said? (OK, that was first of few, I swear). Click ahead for the list.
No. 10 - Organic Web Shooters
Issues: "The Spectacular Spider-Man" (2nd Series) #17-20 (2004)
Don't get us wrong, it was pretty cool how in the 2000-era "Spider-Man" films, Peter Parker generated his webs from his own body instead of pressurized web-shooters he designed himself and wore. In the comics, however, it had always been the mechanical web-shooters, and for the most part, no one really had a problem with it. So for no real reason, Marvel decided to greenlight the story "Changes," in which a new villain by the name of The Queen kisses Spider-Man and makes him slowly transform into a giant spider. (Get it? Spider Man!) Once he fully transforms and The Queen prepares to breed with him (seriously), he dies, but then gives birth to a Peter Parker. This time, however, Peter can make webs organically. Cue the music. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pl3vxEudif8)
No. 9 - Peter Parker Dies (Ultimate Spider-Man)
Issues: "Ultimate Spider-Man" (2nd Series) #155-160 (2011)
For those unfamiliar with comics, there are basically two types in the Marvel Universe: the traditional ones that date back to the beginning (more or less) and the Ultimates. Ultimate comics are essentially a rebooted version of the traditional in a more modern setting. Therefore, they can switch things up however they see fit for a newer generation of readers. However, new to the comic books scene or not, most know Spider-Man to be Peter Parker. When the Ultimate version of Peter Parker was killed in battle with the Green Goblin, regardless of the story being good or not, it got under a lot of people's skin that he was replaced by 13-year-old Miles Morales for the foreseeable future. Now, since it was just the Ultimate version, not that big of a deal, right? But ...
No. 8 - Ben Reilly
Issues: "Web of Spider-Man" (1st Series) #117-129, "The Sensational Spider-Man" (1st Series) #0–11, "The Amazing Spider-Man" (1st Series) #394–418, "Spider-Man" #51–75, "The Spectacular Spider-Man" (1st Series) #217–240, "Spider-Man Unlimited" (1st Series) #7–14 (1994-1996)
... try this story on for size. The man on the right in this picture is Peter Parker. The man on the left is Ben Reilly. Both of these men are indeed Spider-Men. But imagine we told you that Peter was, in fact, a clone of Ben, and that Ben was the true Spider-Man. Now, imagine you'd been reading Spider-Man comics since the '60s and we sprung this on you out of nowhere. Now, imagine we didn't tell you this, but Marvel comics did, and they expected you to welcome this "Clone Saga" with open arms. Obviously, such audacity didn't go over quite so well, and, long story short, Ben was killed off and everything was put back to normal. For a more detailed description, swing on over here.
No. 7 - Cyborg Parents
Issues: "The Amazing Spider-Man" (1st Series) #386-388 (1994)
Back in issue 365 of this same series, Peter Parker's parents, who happened to be undercover secret agents his whole life, came back into the series after a long absence and seemed to be there to stay. Then, when Marvel decided they wanted to get rid of them, they decided, "Eh, let's just make them robots sent by the Chameleon to try and figure out Spider-Man's secret identity." Or at least, we imagine that's how much thought went into this story. It's essentially Spider-Man as told by M. Night Shyamalan. You gotta really hang in there until the end to be disappointed.
No. 6 - Fast Cars and Loose Women
Issues: "The Amazing Spider-Man" (1st Series) #130 & 131
Sounds pretty awesome, doesn't it? We'll admit, we just put that as a title to hook you, and because "Aunt May Marries Doctor Octopus While Spider-Man Drives Around in a Wall-Crawling Bug-Mobile" sounds corny. But alas, this is what fans were dealt. So many things about both of these storylines are mind boggling that we're glad they were short-lived. For instance, how would a giant "Spider-Mobile" (as it was called) that can somehow drive up walls and shoot webs benefit the agile Spider-Man in traffic-heavy New York City? Why would sweet old Aunt May fall for a certifiably insane Doctor Octopus (who doesn't even know she's Spider-Man's aunt) who is clearly trying to marry her for a uranium mine she randomly just inherited? Why are we still trying to justify to you why these ideas are terrible?!
No. 5 - Radioactive Semen
Issues: "Spider-Man: Reign" #1-4 (2006)
You know that scene in the movie "Mallrats" where Brodie meets Stan Lee and starts asking him a bunch of inappropriate questions regarding superhero sex organs? This is kind of like that: an answer to a question that no one is actually really thinking and would more than likely be embarrassed to ask if they were. This mini-series is set in a gritty, distant future where an old Peter Parker is thrown back into action in his sixties, and is all the while distraught by the death of his lady love, Mary Jane, to cancer. But what caused the cancer, and what makes the entire terrible story even more ludicrous, is the fact that Peter himself caused the cancer from years of pumping MJ full of his radioactive, um, fluids. Luckily, the story isn't canonical, and thank God. Changes to a character like the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man that are this dark and twisted should be left in the creepy heads of whoever the hell thinks of them.
No. 4 - Gwen Stacey + Green Goblin = Ewwwww
Issues: "The Amazing Spider-Man" (2nd Series) #509-514 (2004 & 2005)
After promising ourselves we'd never, ever start a sentence this way ...
Speaking of semen, the "Sins Past" storyline counted on it heavily in order to not only make a story, but simultaneously tarnish the good name of Gwen Stacey, one of the most beloved Spider-Man characters of all time, in the worst possible way. As it turns out, before being killed by the Green Goblin all those years ago, she was secretly getting doinked and impregnated with fraternal twins by him. Long gone are the days of the Comics Code Authority indeed (only our second nerd reference). Anyway, the twins were then genetically altered to accelerate in age quicker so that they could be adults and go after Spider-Man for killing their mother. Seriously, it makes no sense to continue, because the story ultimately went nowhere and was just another unfortunate misstep of many in the Spider-Man mythos.
No. 3 - Spider-Man Reveals His Secret Identity
Issues: "Civil War" #2 (2006)
Yeah, this sounds like a really smart idea, considering the fact that he's refrained from doing this for the last, let's say, his entire career in order to protect the ones closest to him. And wouldn't you know it, soon after this brilliant plan (more details in the next slide), his dear sweet Aunt May is shot and nearly killed, all setting up the event that rocked the history of Spider-Man as we knew him.
No. 2 - Reset Button
Issues: "The Amazing Spider-Man" (2nd Series) #544 & 545, "Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man" #24, and "The Sensational Spider-Man" #41 (2007 & 2008)
The story was called "One More Day." It is regarded by many as one of the worst things to happen to Spider-Man in the history of Spider-Man. In a nutshell, the villain known as the Kingpin sends a sniper to pick off Peter Parker after he has revealed his secret identity to the world. The sniper hits Aunt May instead. Rather than letting the feeble old woman die like she probably should have years ago, Peter and Mary Jane decide to make a deal with Mephisto (the Marvel Universe's Devil, more or less) to erase their marriage in exchange for Aunt May's life. This was done basically because Marvel's editor-in-chief, Joe Quesada, never liked Peter Parker being married. So basically, one man's greed erased years of storytelling. That's worth ruining things for millions, right? Again, more details can be found here.
Next: The Worst Tattoos in Sports
No. 1 - The Superior Doctor Octopus
Issues: "The Amazing Spider-Man" (2nd Series) #698-700, "The Superior Spider-Man" #1-present, "Avenging Spider-Man" #16-present (2013)
You know what, why not just shake up the status quo one more time? It's not like it exists anymore in the Spider-Man comics, anyway. After 700 issues, Marvel decided that the best way to honor the hero was to not only have a dying Doctor Octopus switch brains with him, but to then kill the Doctor Octopus with Peter Parker's brain inside. Therefore, from this point forward, Doctor Octopus, Spider-Man's arch-nemesis, is Peter Parker/Spider-Man, and Peter is just a ghost inside his head acting as a conscience of sorts. That is, until recently when Peter was abolished completely. Everybody loves a very long, drawn out, often flawed tale where the good guy loses in the end, right? Oh wait, that can't be.