A wish for all to blossom and to change There's a mystical, ancient, and forgotten way Ia cho ku, I'm not as sweet as I've led you Ia cho ku, with spiders beside her I hear you speak of ancient cherry blossom And I ask you to take me there A wish for all Tradition meets with ocean eyes, And sea monsters are in the tide A spider beside her The sunrise is slowly calling you Eight arms and legs to hold onto Her ways, combining old and new
Mary Jane Watson, often shortened to MJ, is a fictional supporting character appearing originally in Marvel comic books and later in multiple spin-offs and dramatizations of the Spider-Man titles as the best friend, love interest, and one-time wife (as Mary Jane Watson-Parker) of Peter Parker, the alter ego of Spider-Man. This was after the tragic death of Gwen Stacy, and initially upon her introduction, she had a friendly rivalry with Gwen for Peter's affections. She was ranked 43rd in Comics Buyer's Guide's "Sexiest Women in Comics" list.
In the 2002–2007 film trilogySpider-Man, Mary Jane was played by actress Kirsten Dunst as Spider-Man's main love interest. Shailene Woodley was scheduled to play the role of Mary Jane in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but her part was cut from the film.
Created by Stan Lee, John Romita, Sr., and Steve Ditko, after a few partial appearances and references by co-plotter and artist Steve Ditko and co-plotter Stan Lee in The Amazing Spider-Man #25 (June 1965), her first full appearance was in The Amazing Spider-Man #42 (November 1966) by writer Stan Lee and artist John Romita, Sr.
Mary Jane is depicted as an extremely beautiful, green-eyed redhead, and has been the primary romantic interest of Peter Parker for the last twenty years, although initially competing with others for his affection, most prominently with Gwen Stacy and the Black Cat. Mary Jane's relatively unknown early life was eventually explored in The Amazing Spider-Man #259.
Early issues of The Amazing Spider-Man featured a running joke about Peter dodging his Aunt May's attempts to set him up with "that nice Watson girl next door", whom Peter had not yet met and assumed would not be his type, since his aunt liked her (in the Parallel Lives graphic novel an identical scenario is shown between Mary Jane and her Aunt Anna). Mary Jane made her first actual appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #25 (June 1965); however, in that issue, her face was obscured. It is not until The Amazing Spider-Man #42 (November 1966) that her face is actually seen. In that issue, on the last page, Peter finally meets her, and he is stunned by her beauty even as she speaks the now-famous line: "Face it, Tiger... you just hit the jackpot!"
Peter begins to date her, much to the annoyance of Gwen Stacy.][ However, her apparent superficiality proves to be an irritation to Peter that her rival did not share and Peter subsequently chooses to date Gwen. Mary Jane, who becomes Harry Osborn's love interest and girlfriend, remains a close friend to Peter and Gwen.
Despite her enjoyment of life, her friendships, and dating, Mary Jane refuses to be tied down for too long. When her relationship with Harry Osborn comes to an end,][ it has significant impact on Harry, driving him to a drug overdose.][ This in turn creates a boomerang effect, driving his father Norman Osborn to the brink of insanity, temporarily restoring his memories as the Green Goblin.][ Mary Jane only realizes the true consequences of her lifestyle when she learns of Harry's predicament.][
Later, when the Green Goblin murders Gwen,][ MJ stays with Peter during his mourning;][ though he initially tells her to leave him alone,][ he becomes interested in her as he recovers.][ Their relationship has a few initial hurdles, such as MJ's hot temper and Peter's always dashing off to be Spider-Man.
However, despite loving Peter, MJ does not wish to be tied down, and when she allows the relationship to progress too far, she is left with a difficult decision when Peter proposes to her. After taking a short time to consider, she turns him down. Following a series of traumatic experiences involving Peter's absences and his costumed alter ego endangering his Aunt May, a spiritually exhausted MJ leaves New York for several months. Peter meanwhile dates other women, most notably Felicia Hardy.][
MJ eventually returns, her behavior showing a marked change with her abandonment of her false front. Following an attack on Peter by Puma, she breaks down and admits her knowledge of Peter's secret identity in The Amazing Spider-Man #257. After learning of her own family history in The Amazing Spider-Man #259, Peter finds a new respect for her and begins to truly understand her. MJ however, makes it clear to Peter that knowing his identity changes nothing about her feelings, and that she only loves him as a friend.][
Despite the one-shot graphic novel "Parallel Lives" and Untold Tales of Spider-Man #16 revealing that Mary Jane discovered Peter's secret when she noticed Spider-Man climbing out of Peter's bedroom window, many comics published before this revelation claimed that she had simply "figured it out", with the details of how and when left ambiguous to the reader.][
After yet another period of reconsidering his priorities in life, Peter contemplates letting go of the Spider-Man mantle, with Mary Jane backing the decision, but his relationship with Felicia Hardy soon resumes. Feeling lost and guilty, Peter visits Mary Jane and apologizes with an awkward kiss before heading to Berlin with Ned Leeds.][
Following Ned Leeds' murder at the hands of the Foreigner, a changed and bitter Peter returns to New York, where his lack of direction in life is not helped when Ned is framed as the Hobgoblin, and Felicia elects to leave Peter behind as she is tied to the Foreigner. Mary Jane returns to Peter, presumably to patch things up, but Peter surprises her with a second proposal of marriage, which MJ again turns down. She returns to her family to settle old debts with her father, with Peter following her. After aiding her sister in having her crooked father arrested, and aiding Peter against a Spider-Slayer, Mary Jane has an epiphany on marriage, and agrees to become Peter's wife.][
In spite of Peter and Mary Jane's mutual worry that they were marrying too early, Peter's concern for her safety, and her unwillingness to give up her "party girl" lifestyle, they married. She attached Peter's surname to her own, making her Mary Jane Watson-Parker. Spider-Man wore his black costume around this time, but after Mary Jane was frightened by a stalking Venom, she convinced him to change back to his old costume.
Mary Jane continued to model after her marriage, but was stalked by her wealthy landlord, Jonathan Caesar. When she rejected his advances, he kidnapped her and held her prisoner, but she managed to escape. While Caesar was briefly incarcerated, he used his powerful business connections within the city and had her blacklisted as a model. She got a role on the soap opera "Secret Hospital", but was unhappy with her character's air-headed and mean personality. On top of that, Caesar, who had been released from prison and was still obsessed with Mary Jane, plotted to kidnap her again—this time intending to whisk her away to a private island he owned in the Caribbean. After luring Mary Jane to an abandoned studio and threatening to kill her, Caesar was confronted by Officer Goldman, a policeman assigned to Mary Jane's original case against him. Goldman then shot Caesar dead, saving Mary Jane's life. Although she successfully petitioned her boss to adjust her character's personality, a deranged fan tried to kill Mary Jane out of hatred for the actions of her soap opera character. Mary Jane quit her job out of fear for her own safety and returned to modeling. This, alongside with Peter's role as Spider-Man, triggered a growing divide and she briefly flirted with an actor called Jason Jermome, which almost tempted her into a secret affair after he kissed her twice; but she eventually rejected his advances.][
Due to this stress, the recent death of Harry Osborn, and the seeming return of her husband's parents, Mary Jane began smoking (a habit she had quit in high school), only increasing the tension between her and Peter. Peter ultimately convinced her to stop smoking when he tricked her into visiting Nick Katzenberg suffering heavily from lung cancer (he presumably died; Peter encountered his ghost in an out-of-body experience). When his parents were discovered to be fakes, Peter was unable to cope with the knowledge and disappeared for a time. Mary Jane visited her sister Gayle and her father for the first time in years, and finally reconciled with them. Meanwhile, Peter overcame his problems on his own. When she and Peter reunited, both were happier than they had been in a long time.][
During the 1994–96 "Clone Saga" storyline, shortly afterward, Peter's clone, Ben Reilly, appeared. Mary Jane discovered that she was pregnant. While she experienced some complications in her pregnancy, Reilly's scientist friend Seward Trainer helped her. Peter and Ben were told by Trainer that Ben was the real Peter Parker, and Peter was the clone (which later proved to be a lie). After conducting the tests themselves (tests which Seward rigged) they confirmed Seward's story. A disbelieving Peter, while arguing with Ben, accidentally struck Mary Jane. After this, he decided to quit as Spider-Man, because the stress of his double life was endangering his wife and unborn child. Peter, acting on hypnotic suggestion by the Jackal, attempted to kill Mary Jane, but was prevented by Ben Reilly (as the Scarlet Spider), his teammates the New Warriors, and Kaine. Later, Peter and Mary Jane left New York and moved to Portland, Oregon. While there, he lost his powers in a lab accident. They lived there peacefully for several months, adapting happily to normal life. However, they missed New York City and their friends, and moved back. Peter became unexpectedly ill and nearly died, but instead regained his powers. During the Onslaught crisis, Mary Jane was scanned by a Sentinel robot, who detected genetic abnormalities in her fetus.][
Soon afterward, when Mary Jane's baby was already past due, she was poisoned by Alison Mongrain, an agent of the Green Goblin. Mary Jane's baby was stillborn. The baby has not been seen since in the normal 616 continuity, but appears in stories set in the alternate-timeline MC2 universe. In this timeline, Mary Jane and Peter Parker are reunited with their child, a daughter they name May (though she is often referred to as "Mayday"). Peter would later lose a leg in a fateful final battle with Norman Osborn, and thus retire as Spider-Man. The couple would go on to have another child, a son called Benjamin Richard Parker, many years later in this continuity, whilst Mayday became the superhero Spider-Girl.][
In the 616 timeline, the couple managed to survive the more tragic turn of events and Mary Jane managed to return to college to major in psychology, but the stress of the ongoing manipulations of Norman Osborn took their toll. After the Gathering of Five incident and the return of Aunt May, Mary Jane begged Peter to quit being Spider-Man.][
He was happy to do so for several months, but soon felt the tug of his great power and great responsibility to be a hero. Meanwhile, Mary Jane was offered a new modeling contract and reached new heights of success. Peter became Spider-Man again behind Mary Jane's back, which put strain on their marriage yet again. At the same time, she began receiving lewd and threatening phone calls from an anonymous stalker. Mary Jane was flying across America when her airplane exploded in midair. Peter was shocked and went into deep denial over her death. Although he was set up with several other women, and his friends encouraged him to move on, he believed she was still alive. He was proven right when her mysterious stalker, an unnamed, telepathic mutant, made himself known. This stalker had telepathically connected to Peter in some way, and wanted to take over his life. He kidnapped Mary Jane as part of his plan and held her hostage for several months. The stalker, however, killed himself after finally gleaning enough of Peter's personality and morality to discover that he had done terrible things. Peter and Mary Jane were reunited.][
However, the stress of her captivity drove Mary Jane away. She moved to Los Angeles and immersed herself in acting — starring as the doomed love interest in the film Lobster-Man. Although missing Peter after he failed to meet her on a visit back to New York, she refused to talk to him; it took Aunt May to get Peter to visit her in Los Angeles, however the two remained separated.][ Peter's encounter with the supernatural Spider-Wasp Shathra eventually lead to the two of them flying to New York and Los Angeles to see each other and reconcile, and despite missing each other at their respective homes, by a fortunate stroke of events they met in an airport in Denver, Colorado where they reconciled after a brief encounter with Doctor Doom and Latverian terrorists.][
During the events of the 2006 – 2007 "Civil War" storyline, when Peter and Mary Jane's apartment and Aunt May's house are burned down by Charlie Weiderman, and Spider-Man joins the New Avengers, Mary Jane and Aunt May accompany him to live in Stark Tower. Mary Jane immediately feels at home with the New Avengers and is happy to finally be a part of Spider-Man's world.][
With a bit of strain at first, a jealous Peter swore to himself that he would find a new home for his family, but when his initial jealousy subsided, the Civil War events forced him to stage a secret transfer of Mary Jane out of Stark Mansion, feeling that with the loss of his secret identity and his doubts about Tony Stark's ideas, Mary Jane had become a hostage in a luxurious house. Now residing in a cheap motel, her whole life had been affected, from her increasing difficulties in finding a new job as an actress to her being an easy target and prey, along with Aunt May, for the superpowered foes of Spider-Man. Nevertheless, MJ remained supportive of her husband during the whole ordeal.][
As the superhuman civil war reached its conclusion, Peter, Mary Jane, and Aunt May were targeted by an assassin working for Spider-Man's old foe, the Kingpin. The assassin's primary target was Peter, with MJ and May designated as secondary objectives. When Peter returned to the Parker family's motel hideout and stood in front of a window, the assassin took aim at Peter and fired, but missed—shooting Aunt May.][
In the 2007 "Back in Black" storyline, Peter and MJ scramble to save Aunt May's life, rushing her from hospital to hospital while trying to maintain their fragile cover of anonymity. In trying to keep May alive and hidden from Spider-Man's enemies, they truly became fugitives on the run.][
She was later arrested by a former acquaintance, now an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., and refused to surrender Peter to the authorities. (Sensational Spider-Man Annual #1). Fortunately, she was immediately rescued by her spouse, after she signaled him using the Spider Tracer she always carried with her.][
During the 2007 "One More Day" storyline, Peter is forced to decide whether he will accept Mephisto's offer to save Aunt May in return for wiping the knowledge and memory of Peter and MJ's life together as husband and wife from the face of reality, which would leave only a single, subconscious piece of their souls to remember, allowing Mephisto to feast on the pain exhibited by those vestiges for eternity.][
MJ accepts Mephisto's offer, but only with the caveat that Mephisto promises to restore Spider-Man's secret identity which he agreed to do without question. She also asks to put his life back as it was and have a chance at happiness. Mephisto accepts these terms, and in the revised timeline, which began at the end of The Amazing Spider-Man #545, and was further explained in the following issues, MJ and Peter were never married (although they nearly did), but instead "dated seriously for years".][
According to interviews conducted with then-Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada, every story prior to this story remains canon (this would later be contradicted as the events of later stories imply MJ never fell pregnant). Quesada also stated that a gap of undefined duration occurred between pages in "One More Day", during which the couple separated. By the end of that period, MJ has moved to California to become an actress, but continues to visit New York from time to time. In the epilogue to "One More Day", she attends a "coming home" party held by Harry Osborn during one such visit, with Peter catching a small glimpse of her before she left.][
At the end of The Amazing Spider-Man #560, as part of the "Brand New Day" storyline, Mary Jane makes her return as the girlfriend of actor Bobby Carr, having earlier in the issue been referred to as Carr's "mystery girl." In The Amazing Spider-Man #561, Mary Jane is seen getting into bed with Carr, and is later attacked by Paperdoll. Concealing herself in the panic room, Mary Jane observes a battle between Spider-Man and Paperdoll, and communicates with Spider-Man over the intercom. Mary Jane says that she and Spider-Man made a great team "in another life" and longingly touches a monitor screen showing his face, hinting that she still had strong feelings and misses him.
Peter does not learn that Mary Jane is the girlfriend of Carr nor that she was the voice on the intercom. Mary Jane is seen at the conclusion of the issue contemplating a phone call to Peter, but is hesitant to do so. She is asked for an autograph by Sara Ehret, an associate of Jackpot. Mary Jane tells her she does not know when she will return to New York. She left a message on Peter's machine but it was cut off before she could say anything.
Mary Jane had been living on the West Coast pursuing her acting career and still seeing Bobby Carr. MJ returned to New York after Carr was found to be taking Mutant Growth Hormone for a movie role, supplied by the White Rabbit. Carr complained that now she would tell them all about his drug use. His shallowness made MJ walk away from him and take a TV job, which took her back to New York.][
Mary Jane appears on the last page of issue #600 at May Reilly Parker's and John Jonah Jameson's wedding. May tosses the flowers to the sea of screaming female wedding guests when MJ, arriving late to the wedding, catches them and asks what she missed, which implies that she will be soon married "again". The following issue begins a story titled "Red-Headed Stranger."
In the following issue it is revealed that both Mary Jane and Peter agreed to meet with each other the following day. However a drunk Peter does not remember when or where and is further delayed due to his activities as Spider-Man. M.J. as it turns out was also drunk (while waiting for Peter to muster his courage in order to talk to her) and while she recalls their meeting she has sadly overslept it. As she turns on the TV, wondering how Peter spent his night, she sees Spider-Man rescuing people and she comments: "Guess you did nice work, Tiger" hinting that she is aware of Peter's dual identity which is confirmed later; issue 605 flashbacks to Mary Jane recalling a fight with Peter while he was dressed as Spider-Man, where she was so angry that she stated that she did not care where he was and that he had a responsibility to their relationship. Peter begins to explain about his Uncle Ben, but Mary Jane interrupts him to say that he cannot let a single moment define his life.][
In the 2010 "One Moment in Time" storyline, it is revealed that Mary Jane whispered to Mephisto that Peter would not agree to the deal unless Mary Jane tells him to make it, and that Mephisto will leave Peter alone forever once the deal is done. Mephisto replies "Agreed, as far as I'm concerned—this never happened." In present time MJ shows up at Peter's door. They talk about how they have been acting towards each other lately and both agree they want to be friends with each other. Then they start to reminisce about what happened on what was supposed to be their wedding day. On the wedding morning, MJ shows up but Peter does not as he is lying unconscious in an alleyway due to his activities as Spider-Man.
After Peter misses his own wedding, he tries to explain what happened to MJ, but she had already intuited that it was due to his superheroics, and demands that he retire from crimefighting. He refuses, and enraged, she leaves him. After being urged to reconsider by her Aunt Anna, MJ goes to see Peter, and during the course of their conversation, tells him of the daughter she always envisioned having with him, who she hoped would take after both of them. She says that bearing children to someone constantly in danger as Spider-Man it would not be fair to them, and that they must remain unmarried. They are still together when Aunt May gets shot during the events stemming from "Civil War". Refusing to accept her death, Peter performs CPR, saving her life.
Wilson Fisk, informed of May's survival by a disguised Mephisto, decides to send a masked hitman after Anna Watson. Mary Jane goes to check on Anna, just in time to stop the hitman, who goes after her. Spider-Man saves Mary Jane and dispatches the hitman. Spider-Man brings the wounded Mary Jane to Doctor Strange, who performs a healing spell on her. Peter insists that Doctor Strange should make people forget he is Spider-Man. Doctor Strange contacts Tony Stark and Reed Richards for advice on the matter, as they were partially responsible for Peter's decision to publicly unmask.
They decide that no one, including themselves, will remember anything. Peter enters a protective shell to shield himself from the changes. At the last moment, he leaps out of the shield and pulls Mary Jane in with him so she will not forget either. They wake up in the motel and Peter explains what has happened. Back in the present, Mary Jane explains that, although she still loves him, she is not strong enough to be at his side, she tells him he has to move on and find somebody who can be with him
After being evicted from his apartment, Peter turned to many of his friends for help, including MJ, but when confronted with the idea of living together again, the two found themselves laughing off the situation and declining the opportunity.][
Peter soon began a new relationship with Carlie Cooper. Though initially jealous of how happy Carlie was making Peter, MJ decided to support Peter's decision and encouraged him to reveal his secret identity to her, an idea Peter was hesitant to try, as he desired to be loved for simply being "Peter Parker". Whilst MJ argued that Spider-Man represented the "real Peter Parker", Peter argued that MJ had the benefit of hindsight since the beginning, and that Carlie did not share that luxury.][
When much of New York City became infected with a virus that gave its inhabitants Peter's Spider-like abilities, MJ found herself caught in a frenzied series of riots across the city. Saved by the intervening Future Foundation, MJ later located Peter and Carlie, the latter having also been granted spider-powers. MJ encouraged Peter to use his civilian guise when displaying his powers and rally the city against the chaos. She would later attain spider-powers herself and would come to the aid of defenseless citizens, her prolonged contact with Peter during their relationship granting her a degree of immunity that protected her from the mutative side-effects of the transformation. As Peter is successfully able to cure all of New York, Mary Jane quietly tells him she loves him, though Peter does not hear her. The two later look over the city atop the Empire State Building, happy in each other's arms, relieved that the crisis is over after Peter cured Mary Jane of her powers.
Shortly after, Carlie Cooper breaks up with Peter, having deduced his secret identity. Conflicted over her lingering feelings for Peter, Carlie decides to confide in Mary Jane, and the two begin to bond over their experiences with Peter][
While Peter races around the world to stop Doctor Octopus's latest scheme, Mary Jane has begun to make arrangements for a party once the crisis is over, apparently confident that Peter will defeat his foe. It is later revealed that she had bought herself a nightclub.
Mary Jane remained in the role of best friend and confidant to Peter until Parker begins to take an interest in her romantically again. MJ, still in love with Peter, agrees to start dating him again. Unknown to MJ however, is that Peter has had his mind corrupted/possessed by Doctor Octopus. The real Peter Parker, trapped in his rival's dying body, breaks out of prison and attempts to switch back, only for his body to eventually give out on him before he can complete the procedure. As a last resort, Peter downloads all of his memories and experiences into Octopus' mind, convincing his foe to develop some sense of responsibility, and convinces him to do good as Spider-Man so long as he has control of his body. Octopus, as Peter, continues to date Mary Jane after this, but MJ begins noticing distinctly different character traits displayed by Octopus, such as a heavy intake of alcohol and his rude behavior towards his loved ones, including herself, most notably when he observed that she was no longer anything more than "the plucky best friend with the one motivational speech". It is later revealed that Peter's mind is still active and tucked away somewhere in Octopus' psyche, and he vows to get his body back before his rival can go too far with either an opponent or even with Mary Jane.
Mary Jane still dates Otto after he developed his spider-version of his Octo-bots, Spider-Bots, to patrol the city. Otto, in Peter's body, intends to get more intimate with MJ and makes several advances, only to be blown off each time. Finally, in desperation and frustration, Otto relives Peter's memories with MJ, which infuriates Peter. After one of Otto's Spider-Bots detect Mary Jane in trouble and saves her from the Vulture gang, Mary Jane herself prepares to kiss him until Otto stops her as he begins developing genuine feelings for her. This surprises Mary Jane and Peter as Otto tells her he's ending their relationship and tells her to move on, but promises Mary Jane he will continue protecting her. Mary Jane tells Carlie about Peter calling off the relationship and agrees with him, still unaware that Otto is in Peter's body.
According to co-creator Stan Lee, Mary Jane was originally intended to be simply a rival for Gwen Stacy for the affections of Peter Parker. Lee had always intended for Gwen Stacy to be Spider-Man's one true love. The pairing of Mary Jane and Peter Parker became one of the most prominent couples in the superhero genre. The names "Mary Jane" and "MJ" being common slang terms for marijuana, Lee's comment on this was "It was the 60's, man".
Mary Jane Watson made her first full appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #42 (Nov. 1966), although she first appeared in #25 (June 1965) with her face obscured and had been mentioned since #15 (Aug. 1964). Peter David wrote in 2010 that John Romita, Sr. "made the definitive statement of his arrival by pulling Mary Jane out from behind the oversized potted plant [that blocked the readers' view of her face in issue #25] and placing her on panel in what would instantly become an iconic moment." Romita has stated that in designing Mary Jane, he "used Ann-Margret from the movie Bye Bye Birdie as a guide, using her coloring, the shape of her face, her red hair and her form-fitting short skirts."
Marvel Editor-In-Chief Joe Quesada said that he feels the marriage ages the characters, making them less appealing to young readers, and lessens the dramatic, "soap opera" possibilities, but also stated that "divorcing or widowing, or annulling the marriage...would only be worse." He has also pointed out that the marriage itself was editorially mandated; Stan Lee decided to marry the characters in his daily newspaper strip and, even though the two were not even dating at the time in the comic book series, it was decided to marry them in the regular Marvel Universe as well. In 2007, Quesada presided over the controversial "One More Day" storyline, which he also drew, in which Peter and Mary Jane's marriage is erased from history and everyone's memories by the demon Mephisto. Quesada states he is an avid fan of the Peter and MJ relationship, and in several interviews has claimed that the alternate MC2 universe, in which Peter and Mary Jane are happily married, is a "natural progression" of the characters.
Mary Jane has no special powers, but due to her relationship with Spider-Man and her job as an actress and model, she has found herself in danger many times. Having learned of the risk at the expense of her friend Gwen Stacy's life, she is unwilling to be dependent on others for her safety. Her intelligence and tenacity make up for her lack of superhuman abilities.
Mary Jane actually has training in self-defense, with teachers including Captain America. She has been able to fend off attackers of normal strength and skill, including the Chameleon, one obsessive stalker, and another stalker using a cue stick. Besides her training in martial arts, she is also strategically smart when fighting her enemies. On one occasion, she knocked out a kidnapper with a lamp and also electrified his bodyguards with it; and she was able to defeat Hydro-Man when she lured him away from water sources, and into hot dry areas, forcing him to evaporate (the latter only happened in the 1990s Spider-Man cartoon).
Furthermore, there were several occasions in which she saved her husband's life from his superpowered enemies when they had the upper hand: she beat Alistair Smythe with a baseball bat, and distracted his Spider-Slayer; she set the Hobgoblin's cape on fire; and she fended off Styx and Stone as they were about to kill Spider-Man. More recently, she thwarted the White Rabbit's attempts to rob a high-class party she attended, when no superhero was available to do the job. Most notably, she managed to defeat Swarm, a supervillain even her husband had trouble defeating.
Mary Jane also carries a gun (although Peter dislikes the idea) which she uses against the Green Goblin in Marvel Knights Spider-Man #12, and in the video game Spider-Man: Web of Shadows. After Peter developed organic webshooters, he modified his original webshooters into bracelets that she could wear discreetly, giving her an additional defensive weapon. She also carries a modified spider-tracer with an amplified signal that can be traced over long distances.
Mary Jane has used her fashion design and sewing skills on many occasions to make and repair Spider-Man's costumes. She also designed the Hornet, Prodigy, and Ricochet costumes. She is usually the person who provides first aid when Peter is injured.
On two occasions, she was possessed by the spirit of Red Sonja and battled Kulan Gath side-by-side with Spider-Man. During the earlier issues of "The Other" story arc, she borrowed Iron Man's old armor temporarily.
During Spider-Island she developed versions of Spider-Man's powers, including enhanced strength and agility, the ability to stick to walls and the ability to produce organic webbing. She lost these powers when given the antidote so she would not turn into a giant spider.
In addition to her mainstream incarnation, Mary Jane Watson has been depicted in other fictional universes. In one reality visited by the Exiles, where she was Spider-Woman, she had a relationship with Exiles member Sunfire (Mariko Yashida), who was a known lesbian.
In the original Spider-Man cartoon, Mary Jane appears in the episode The Big Brainwasher (based on The Amazing Spider-Man #59–61). Unlike her comic book counterpart, she is the niece of George Stacy.
In Tokusatsu Spider-Man, Mary Jane Watson was called Hitomi Sakuma (played by Rika Miura). She is a photographer of a newspaper.
In Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Mary Jane Watson (voiced by Sara Ballantine) first meets a 19-year-old Peter Parker in "The Return of the Spider-Slayers" (Season #1 Ep #4), where May Parker set Peter up on a date with her without Peter even knowing who she was (making it as Peter put it, "a blind date"). At the time, Peter's main love interest was Felicia Hardy and he did not look forward to meeting Mary Jane, commenting "A blind date is like the lottery, you have a one a in million chance of hitting the jackpot." Left completely speechless when seeing her for the first time, Mary Jane tells him "Face it tiger, you just hit the jackpot." Over the course of the series, Mary Jane slowly supplants Felicia as Peter's primary love interest. She is last seen in the season three finale "Turning Point," in which the Green Goblin discovers Spider-Man's true identity. In a nod to "The Night Gwen Stacy Died", he takes her to the George Washington Bridge. Spider-Man tries to save her, but she falls into a dimensional portal created by his stolen time dilation accelerator (due to censorship, no one in the show could die – she is forced into limbo and Spider-Man does not know what happened to her). Prior to her fall, Mary Jane awakes thinking she had heard Peter's voice, not Spider-Man's; this is a subtle nod to her knowing Peter's secret. As with the "Gwen Stacy" storyline, Norman Osborn is vanquished when he is impaled by his own glider and sent into limbo himself, but would soon resurface to influence his son Harry into becoming the second Green Goblin.
In season four, a clone of Mary Jane, created by Miles Warren, appears, and after the death of Mysterio at the end of the ninth episode of season four, Spider-Man reveals his secret identity to her; they subsequently marry in the first episode of season five. This marriage is portrayed as significantly different from that in the comics, which had no intervention from supervillains. In this episode, the wedding is attacked by the Green Goblin (Harry), the Scorpion, and Alistair Smythe's Spider-Slayers. Later, this Mary Jane's true nature is revealed as a clone created by Miles Warren, who had also created a clone of Hydro-Man. A side effect of the process was that Mary Jane possessed the same water-based powers as him, and aided in fighting her fellow clone off as Spider-Man went after Dr. Warren. By the end of the two-part episode, both Mary Jane and Hydro-Man destabilize into nothing, though she tells Spider-Man that she enjoyed the time she spent with him.
In the series finale, after Spider-Man saves all reality from Spider-Carnage, Spider-Man's mystic advisor, Madame Web, promises they would find the real Mary Jane (as she promised when she took Spider-Man from Earth after the Mary Jane clone died before the Secret War, which was a test to see if Spider-Man could stop Spider-Carnage). The "true" Mary Jane is never seen again in this series, but is shown to have been reunited with and married to Peter in the sequel, Spider-Man Unlimited. Jennifer Hale provided her voice. John Semper, producer of the previous show, revealed if he had continued the show, Mary Jane would have been found in Colonial England.
Mary Jane makes a brief appearance in the first episode of Spider-Man Unlimited, voiced by Jennifer Hale.
Mary Jane appears in Spider-Man: The New Animated Series (where she was voiced by Lisa Loeb). She appears as an on and off girlfriend of Peter Parker. In Mind Games: Part 1, Mary Jane discovers that Spider-Man is Peter Parker, but it was revealed to be a dream sequence. Her hair is shorter here than in any other version. She was going to have long hair but there were difficulties rendering it with animation so it was cut down.
Mary Jane, voiced by Vanessa Marshall, appears in The Spectacular Spider-Man. She is first mentioned in the fourth episode, "Market Forces", by Aunt May, in her attempt to have her and Peter meet. Peter of course declines after May's insistence that MJ has a "wonderful personality". Later, Peter goes to visit Harry and receives an e-mail inviting him to the school's Fall Formal. Peter jokingly suggests he could bring Mary Jane Watson, as he is dateless. A running gag occurred when Peter (and on one occasion, Harry as well) shuddered every time "wonderful personality" was used in reference to Mary Jane due to the fact it is usually believed that someone who is described with a "wonderful personality" means they are hideous in appearance.
MJ finally appears for the first time just before the Fall Formal, when Peter, sulking because Betty Brant turned him down, is told by Aunt May that Anna Watson's niece will be arriving any second. Peter is shocked to discover that May planned to have Peter attend the formal with Mary Jane all along. When he answers the door he is stunned to find her gorgeous (to the point she was elected Prom Queen even though she did not go to the school, with the ballot stating "the red haired girl that came with Peter Parker"), not at all what he was expecting. She looks at him with a sly smile and says her famous line, "Face it Tiger, you just hit the jackpot..." This version of Mary Jane can be seen somewhat as a mixture of both the original and Ultimate version of the character—retaining the honest and genuine version of the Ultimate counterpart, while still maintaining the flirtatious personality of the 616 version.
Peter and Mary Jane attend the dance where she shocks the crowd by showing up with Pete and playfully flirts with the boys. When Gwen sees her, she becomes upset, believing Peter lied about not going to the formal because he had rather go with Mary Jane than her. Peter receives a call from the Daily Bugle demanding he go across town to photograph an event hosted by Tombstone where the new villain, Green Goblin, has just attacked. Mary Jane is very understanding of Peter ditching her, hinting that, like in the comics, she may be aware of his dual identity. When Peter foils the Goblin's plans and returns to the gymnasium, he finds the students emptying out and Mary Jane dancing with Hobie Brown. He sighs, believing he blew his chances with the beautiful redhead by leaving, but Mary Jane tells him she saved the last dance just for him, and the two share a slow dance in the empty gym.
In the episode "Reaction", she is seen cheering on Midtown High at a football game, sitting next to new friend Glory Grant. Peter squeezes between them and nervously tries to talk to her about the state of his and her relationship. Mary Jane assures him that they are just friends, and that the dance was simply for fun. Peter is shown to be slightly disappointed at her interest in Flash. Later, when Doctor Octopus attacks Peter and his friends at the Coney Island Carnival, Gwen trips and falls in the chaos, and Mary Jane goes back and helps her up. Spider-Man rescues both girls from Octopus' clutches. That night Flash and Liz break up, and Peter, ready to comfort Liz is held back by Mary Jane who says "Not now Tiger."
On the night of the Halloween Fair in the streets of Manhattan, Mary Jane, dressed as a vampire, searches for Peter in hopes of telling him she now attends Midtown High thanks to her acceptance by its theater magnet. Later that night, when Flash makes a move on her, she tells him she likes him, but that "this redhead's a free agent". When Peter appears at the Fair dressed in his Spider-Man garb, MJ smiles and tells him he fills out the costume nicely. The next day, Peter makes his way to school when he hears Mary Jane call him over from the water fountain in the school's courtyard. She informs him of her enrollment at the school and that she meant to tell him last night but he had disappeared once again. Gwen then arrives and tells the two that Harry has taken a leave of absence with his father (which Peter secretly knows is because of Harry's addiction to the Globulin Green Formula and his subsequent stint as the Green Goblin).
Later when the Sinister Six attacks Spider-Man (who recently bonded with the Venom Symbiote), Aunt May has a heart attack with Anna Watson nearby. Mary Jane is then the one to notify Peter of his aunt's condition, and she later informs his friends as well. Later, when Peter arrives at school and his friends attempt to console him, Peter (under the symbiote's influence) verbally dejects everyone, including Mary Jane. He apologizes in the next episode though, and Mary Jane warns him about Eddie's growing hatred towards him, as he tried to hurt Peter by using her.
She is seen at the Thanksgiving Day parade with Flash. As before, she continually dodges his advances. Nonetheless, Spidey is understandably annoyed. It is Mary Jane who initiates the assistance in helping Gwen from dangling from a float after being endangered by Venom. When Venom makes mention of his plans to go after the one Peter truly loves, he dashes to the parade and seeks out Mary Jane, believing it was her who Venom spoke of. Once he sees she is not in any danger, he notices Gwen is speaking to Eddie Brock.
Unlike the other versions of Spider-Man, Mary Jane does not appear to be a focus point of one of Pete's girls. Instead, it is focused more on Gwen Stacy and Liz Allan. After a date with Flash, she mentioned she was not interested in a serious relationship. However, she did start seriously dating Liz's brother Mark Allan, shown to be depressed when she believed he was gambling again.
Mary Jane appears in Ultimate Spider-Man. She is voiced by Tara Strong. Like her "Ultimate Comics" incarnation she is a childhood friend/best friend of Peter Parker aka Spider-Man, and like later appearances of this version she shows an interest in journalism (though one of her main targets for this job is to reform Daily Bugle Communications from the inside and rehabilitate Spider-Man's reputation, which is attacked by J. Jonah Jameson on a daily basis). Peter and Mary Jane in fact tried to be a couple in their early teens, but they chose to return to just be friends. In this incarnation, Mary Jane is evidently unaware of Peter's identity as Spider-Man. She is also revealed to be a fitness and health food nut.
After the Frightful Four attack the school, Mary Jane displays an interest in interviewing Spider-Man after it is rumored he attends their school, but Peter does not think he can do this due to fear about MJ realizing who he is. She has an important role in the episode "Exclusive", where she interviews Spider-Man and records the battle between the Hulk, Spider-Man, and Zzzax. She also applies to Jameson for an internship at the Daily Bugle; the first attempt is foiled by the Beetle.
In the first three films, Mary Jane Watson was portrayed by Kirsten Dunst.
Mary Jane is Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire)'s childhood and high school crush and only sweetheart. At the time, she is dating the high school bully, Flash Thompson (Joe Manganiello), but breaks up with him at their high school graduation ceremony. Desperate to escape her abusive, alcoholic father, Mary Jane begins to pursue a career in acting, but she secretly waitresses at a diner after being rejected at an audition. Peter's friend Harry Osborn (James Franco) is her first boyfriend after leaving high school, but when she is rescued by Spider-Man when attacked by the Green Goblin, she is attracted to him. After he later saves her from several men in an alley, the two share an iconic kiss. She grows distant from Harry, and closer to Peter, when she realizes how much he cares for her. After Harry sees Peter and Mary Jane holding hands, he gets angry and breaks up with her.
Harry's father Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe) knows of Spider-Man's secret identity and finds out about his feelings for Mary Jane from his son. As his criminal alter ego, the Green Goblin, he kidnaps her and holds her over the Queensboro Bridge, telling Spider-Man that he must choose between her and a group of children caught in the Roosevelt Island tram car. However, Spider-Man defies all odds and saves both Mary Jane and the children. At the end of the film, Mary Jane tells Peter that she loves him and they kiss. Peter, who decides that for her protection they cannot be together, gently rejects her. She is heartbroken, but as he leaves she realizes that her kiss with Peter reminded her of the one she shared with Spider-Man, and suspects that he is the superhero.
Mary Jane wants to start a relationship with Peter, who still resists because he fears for her safety. In her frustration Mary Jane goes on to have a relationship with John Jameson (Daniel Gillies), the astronaut son of Daily Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons). Prior to this, Harry said that she was waiting for him. Much to Peter's delight, he sees her billboard picturing her modeling for a perfume near the pizza place he works at.
Later, Peter decides that being Spider-Man is not what he wants and he attempts to start a relationship with her. Mary Jane pushes him away this time because she is getting married to John Jameson, but secretly does want a relationship with Peter, although she tries to convince herself otherwise. She is also angry at Peter because he fails to see her star in The Importance of Being Earnest, which John, Harry, and Aunt May have seen (even her father went backstage, albeit to ask for money), yet Peter's absences also verifies her suspicion that he is Spider-Man but waiting for a chance of him admitting it or seeing him unmasked herself. When Peter does arrive to see it the first time, a snooty usher (Bruce Campbell) stops him for being late. The second attempt to see it, which is successful, is when he tries to reconnect with her. After Mary Jane kisses John, in a manner that is reminiscent of the upside-down kiss between her and Spider-Man from the first film, she realizes she does not truly love John, and may want a relationship with Peter.
She meets Peter in a coffee shop where she asks for a kiss to confirm her belief that he is Spider-Man. She even asks him if he loves her, to which he falsely replies, "I don't", for the sake of his superhero responsibilities and her safety. Just before Peter can kiss her, Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina) kidnaps her in order to bait a trap for Spider-Man. Doctor Octopus takes her to an abandoned pier where Spider-Man confronts him. Spider-Man pulls his mask off in hopes of getting Doctor Octopus to come back to his senses, and Mary Jane sees that Spider-Man and Peter Parker are one and the same. After Doctor Octopus reforms and sacrifices himself to save New York, Spider-Man and Mary Jane share a moment together, where Spider-Man finally admits that he does love Mary Jane, but cares more for her safety.
At the film's end, Mary Jane prepares to marry John Jameson, but she leaves him at the altar, goes to Peter's apartment, and reveals that she loves Peter and is prepared to face whatever risks their relationship may bring.
Both Mary Jane and Harry now know that Peter is Spider-Man. In the film, Peter is intending to ask Mary Jane to marry him. When he reports the good news to his Aunt May (Rosemary Harris), she is delighted and asks Peter to give her engagement ring as a gift to Mary Jane. However, Peter becomes slightly overconfident due to Spider-Man's success. Meanwhile, Mary Jane's Broadway debut takes a turn for the worse when her performance gets bad reviews. Unaware of this incident, Peter accidentally pushes Mary Jane away, thinking he understands her situation. She also begins a rivalry with Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard) for Peter's affections. Having been replaced on Broadway by her understudy and then having to work at a jazz club, Mary Jane and Peter's relationship worsens when Spider-Man is unexpectedly kissed by Gwen Stacy in front of a whole crowd of people the same way Mary Jane kissed Spider-Man in the first film. When Peter attempts to propose to Mary Jane that same night, Gwen appears at the same restaurant and talks with him; Mary Jane leaves, furious.
Mary Jane, feeling alone and despondent, calls Harry, who recently lost his memory and hatred of Spider-Man after being defeated in an aerial battle as the New Goblin. They renew their bond, and in a moment of joy, Mary Jane kisses Harry. Realizing what she is doing, Mary Jane quickly leaves; the emotional turmoil restores Harry's memories and his mission to destroy Spider-Man as the New Goblin. He confronts MJ in her apartment, and threatens to kill Peter if she does not break up with him. Following Harry's orders, she breaks up with Peter. Peter, heartbroken and upset, refuses to tolerate these tragedies, and turns to the symbiote suit, which enhances his aggression.
One night, Peter decides to go to Mary Jane's jazz club with Gwen. He shows her up on stage by playing the piano, and makes a big show of dancing with Gwen. Gwen, realizing that she is being used as a prop to make Mary Jane jealous, apologizes and leaves. Mary Jane is still visibly shaken when Peter confronts her at the bar, and he is assaulted by two of the club's bouncers. A fight ensues, and Mary Jane tries to stop Peter. Thinking she is another bouncer, Peter strikes her. Peter, realizing what the evil symbiote is trying to do, leaves the club.
Peter tears the symbiote off his body at a church bell-tower. During the struggle, it falls on Eddie Brock (Topher Grace) standing below and creates Venom. At his apartment, Peter fears that even though the symbiote was responsible for current events, he may not be able to put Mary Jane first, and gives his wedding ring back to Aunt May, who convinces him that if he tries his best, he can put things right. Meanwhile Venom kidnaps Mary Jane, holding her hostage at a construction site, where a climatic battle takes place between the team of Venom and the Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) against Spider-Man and Harry Osborn, a.k.a. the New Goblin. Mary Jane assists in the battle by dropping a cinder block on Venom's head from above. During the fight, Harry defeats Sandman, but is impaled by Venom with his own glider after jumping in the way of Venom attempting to impale Peter. After Peter defeats Venom, he goes over to the mortally wounded Harry, along with Mary Jane. Harry dies in Mary Jane's arms after mending his friendship with Peter.
After attending their friend's funeral, Peter and Mary Jane reconcile and at the end are seen dancing after Mary Jane sings at a club.
On October 11, 2012 it was reported that Shailene Woodley was in talks to portray the role in the The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the second in the Spider-Man reboot series and follow up to the The Amazing Spider-Man. On November 13, director Marc Webb confirmed Woodley's involvement in the film on Twitter.
On June 19, 2013 it was announced that Mary Jane was cut from The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Webb told The Hollywood Reporter, that the cut was "a creative decision to streamline the story and focus on Peter [Parker] and Gwen [Stacy] and their relationship" and that everyone loved working with Woodley. The Hollywood Reporter also reported that it is likely Woodley will not be returning for the third film and the part will be recast.
Actress Evan Rachel Wood was scheduled to play Mary Jane in the new Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. However, she had to drop out of production due to a scheduling conflict, and was replaced by Jennifer Damiano. Jennifer Damiano left the production and the part of Mary Jane Watson is now played by Rebecca Faulkenberry.][
Romance novelist Judith O'Brien wrote two novels featuring a teenage Mary Jane in 2003 and 2004. They featured illustrations by Mike Mayhew.
The first novel is a basic retelling of the origin story from Mary Jane's point of view. She is depicted as a shy, insecure girl who knew Peter Parker from elementary school. She deals with such problems as anorexia and peer pressure.
At a field trip to Osborn Industries, Peter is bitten by a spider, which grants him powers. It is later revealed that Norman Osborn had injected a super drug known as OZ into the spider, which he later uses as a sports drink which he sells to Mary Jane's classmates. The use of OZ is the only real connection to Ultimate, but even that is drastically different from the way it's portrayed in the original comics, being much closer to Bill Jemas' original concept. As Peter suits up to become Spider-Man (his origin with Uncle Ben is only hinted at), Mary Jane sets out to expose Norman with Peter's help.
The novel was successful with teenage girls who were not familiar with the comics, but was met with criticism from the core fans due to its characterization of some of the characters (most notably Harry Osborn, who is portrayed as manipulating Peter into doing his homework while treating him horribly) and changing continuity.
The second novel, Mary Jane 2, deals with the continuing relationship of Peter and Mary Jane, and the emergence of Gwen Stacy. In this continuity, Gwen is an 'ugly duckling' who Mary Jane gives a 'makeover'. However, Gwen soon has feelings for Peter. Harry Osborn reappears and is made more sympathetic than he was in the previous novel; with his father in jail, he is now poor and has to live without a life of luxury.
Mary Jane appears in almost every Spider-Man video game, but almost exclusively as a damsel in distress.
"Face it, Tiger... you just hit the jackpot!", Mary Jane's first words to Peter, is one of the most famous quotations in superhero comic book history. The quotation is duplicated in nearly every continuity in which Mary Jane appears and repeated in nearly every flashback to their first encounter. It is also often referenced or parodied in other contexts. Appearances of the quotations in Marvel comic books and other Marvel products include:
In Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #12, Chameleon uses the term to his partner when he discovers Peter Parker is Spider-Man.
This line was not used in any Spider-Man films, although "Tiger" has been used by Mary Jane as a term of endearment and she says "Go get 'em, Tiger."
Outside of Marvel, the line has also been used in:
See table of families
Spiders (order Araneae) are air-breathing arthropods that have eight legs and chelicerae with fangs that inject venom. They are the largest order of arachnids and rank seventh in total species diversity among all other groups of organisms. Spiders are found worldwide on every continent except for Antarctica, and have become established in nearly every habitat with the exception of air and sea colonization. As of 2008, at least 43,678 spider species, and 109 families have been recorded by taxonomists; however, there has been confusion within the scientific community as to how all these families should be classified, as evidenced by the over 20 different classifications that have been proposed since 1900.
Anatomically, spiders differ from other arthropods in that the usual body segments are fused into two tagmata, the cephalothorax and abdomen, and joined by a small, cylindrical pedicel. Unlike insects, spiders do not have antennae. In all except the most primitive group, the Mesothelae, spiders have the most centralized nervous systems of all arthropods, as all their ganglia are fused into one mass in the cephalothorax. Unlike most arthropods, spiders have no extensor muscles in their limbs and instead extend them by hydraulic pressure.
Their abdomens bear appendages that have been modified into spinnerets that extrude silk from up to six types of silk glands within their abdomen. Spider webs vary widely in size, shape and the amount of sticky thread used. It now appears that the spiral orb web may be one of the earliest forms, and spiders that produce tangled cobwebs are more abundant and diverse than orb-web spiders. Spider-like arachnids with silk-producing spigots appeared in the Devonian period about , but these animals apparently lacked spinnerets. True spiders have been found in Carboniferous rocks from , and are very similar to the most primitive surviving order, the Mesothelae. The main groups of modern spiders, Mygalomorphae and Araneomorphae, first appeared in the Triassic period, before .
A herbivorous species, Bagheera kiplingi, was described in 2008, but all other known species are predators, mostly preying on insects and on other spiders, although a few large species also take birds and lizards. Spiders use a wide range of strategies to capture prey: trapping it in sticky webs, lassoing it with sticky bolas, mimicking the prey to avoid detection, or running it down. Most detect prey mainly by sensing vibrations, but the active hunters have acute vision, and hunters of the genus Portia show signs of intelligence in their choice of tactics and ability to develop new ones. Spiders' guts are too narrow to take solids, and they liquidize their food by flooding it with digestive enzymes and grinding it with the bases of their pedipalps, as they do not have true jaws.
Male spiders identify themselves by a variety of complex courtship rituals to avoid being eaten by the females. Males of most species survive a few matings, limited mainly by their short life spans. Females weave silk egg-cases, each of which may contain hundreds of eggs. Females of many species care for their young, for example by carrying them around or by sharing food with them. A minority of species are social, building communal webs that may house anywhere from a few to 50,000 individuals. Social behavior ranges from precarious toleration, as in the widow spiders, to co-operative hunting and food-sharing. Although most spiders live for at most two years, tarantulas and other mygalomorph spiders can live up to 25 years in captivity.
While the venom of a few species is dangerous to humans, scientists are now researching the use of spider venom in medicine and as non-polluting pesticides. Spider silk provides a combination of lightness, strength and elasticity that is superior to that of synthetic materials, and spider silk genes have been inserted into mammals and plants to see if these can be used as silk factories. As a result of their wide range of behaviors, spiders have become common symbols in art and mythology symbolizing various combinations of patience, cruelty and creative powers.
Spiders are chelicerates and therefore arthropods. As arthropods they have: segmented bodies with jointed limbs, all covered in a cuticle made of chitin and proteins; heads that are composed of several segments that fuse during the development of the embryo. Being chelicerates, their bodies consist of two tagmata, sets of segments that serve similar functions: the foremost one, called the cephalothorax or prosoma, is a complete fusion of the segments that in an insect would form two separate tagmata, the head and thorax; the rear tagma is called the abdomen or opisthosoma. In spiders the cephalothorax and abdomen are connected by a small cylindrical section, the pedicel. The pattern of segment fusion that forms chelicerates' heads is unique among arthropods, and what would normally be the first head segment disappears at an early stage of development, so that chelicerates lack the antennae typical of most arthropods. In fact chelicerates' only appendages ahead of the mouth are a pair of chelicerae, and they lack anything that would function directly as "jaws". The first appendages behind the mouth are called pedipalps, and serve different functions within different groups of chelicerates.
Spiders and scorpions are members of one chelicerate group, the arachnids. Scorpions' chelicerae have three sections and are used in feeding. Spiders' chelicerae have two sections and terminate in fangs that are generally venomous, and fold away behind the upper sections while not in use. The upper sections generally have thick "beards" that filter solid lumps out of their food, as spiders can take only liquid food. Scorpions' pedipalps generally form large claws for capturing prey, while those of spiders are fairly small appendages whose bases also act as an extension of the mouth; in addition those of male spiders have enlarged last sections used for sperm transfer.
In spiders the cephalothorax and abdomen are joined by a small, cylindrical pedicel, which enables the abdomen to move independently when producing silk. The upper surface of the cephalothorax is covered by a single, convex carapace while the underside is covered by two rather flat plates. The abdomen is soft and egg-shaped. It shows no sign of segmentation, except that the primitive Mesothelae, whose living members are the Liphistiidae, have segmented plates on the upper surface.
Like other arthropods, spiders are coelomates in which the coelom is reduced to small areas round the reproductive and excretory systems. Its place is largely taken by a hemocoel, a cavity that runs most of the length of the body and through which blood flows. The heart is a tube in the upper part of the body, with a few ostia that act as non-return valves allowing blood to enter the heart from the hemocoel but prevent it from leaving before it reaches the front end. However, in spiders it occupies only the upper part of the abdomen, and blood is discharged into the hemocoel by one artery that opens at the rear end of the abdomen and by branching arteries that pass through the pedicle and open into several parts of the cephalothorax. Hence spiders have open circulatory systems. The blood of many spiders that have book lungs contains the respiratory pigment hemocyanin to make oxygen transport more efficient.
Spiders have developed several different respiratory anatomies, based on book lungs, a tracheal system, or both. Mygalomorph and Mesothelae spiders have two pairs of book lungs filled with haemolymph, where openings on the ventral surface of the abdomen allow air to enter and diffuse oxygen. This is also the case for some basal araneomorph spiders like the family Hypochilidae, but the remaining members of this group have just the anterior pair of book lungs intact while the posterior pair of breathing organs are partly or fully modified into tracheae, through which oxygen is diffused into the haemolymph or directly to the tissue and organs. The trachea system has most likely evolved in small ancestors to help resist desiccation. The trachea were originally connected to the surroundings through a pair of openings called spiracles, but in the majority of spiders this pair of spiracles has fused into a single one in the middle, and moved backwards close to the spinnerets. Spiders that have tracheae generally have higher metabolic rates and better water conservation.
Uniquely among chelicerates, the final sections of spiders' chelicerae are fangs, and the great majority of spiders can use them to inject venom into prey from venom glands in the roots of the chelicerae. The family Uloboridae has lost its venom glands, and kills its prey with silk instead. Like most arachnids including scorpions, spiders have a narrow gut that can only cope with liquid food and spiders have two sets of filters to keep solids out. They use one of two different systems of external digestion. Some pump digestive enzymes from the midgut into the prey and then suck the liquified tissues of the prey into the gut, eventually leaving behind the empty husk of the prey. Others grind the prey to pulp using the chelicerae and the bases of the pedipalps, while flooding it with enzymes; in these species the chelicerae and the bases of the pedipalps form a preoral cavity that holds the food they are processing.
The stomach in the cephalothorax acts as a pump that sends the food deeper into the digestive system. The mid gut bears many digestive ceca, compartments with no other exit, that extract nutrients from the food; most are in the abdomen, which is dominated by the digestive system, but a few are found in the cephalothorax.
Most spiders convert nitrogenous waste products into uric acid, which can be excreted as a dry material. Malphigian tubules ("little tubes") extract these wastes from the blood in the hemocoel and dump them into the cloacal chamber, from which they are expelled through the anus. Production of uric acid and its removal via Malphigian tubules are a water-conserving feature that has evolved independently in several arthropod lineages that can live far away from water, for example the tubules of insects and arachnids develop from completely different parts of the embryo. However a few primitive spiders, the sub-order Mesothelae and infra-order Mygalomorphae, retain the ancestral arthropod nephridia ("little kidneys"), which use large amounts of water to excrete nitrogenous waste products as ammonia.
The basic arthropod central nervous system consists of a pair of nerve cords running below the gut, with paired ganglia as local control centers in all segments; a brain formed by fusion of the ganglia for the head segments ahead of and behind the mouth, so that the esophagus is encircled by this conglomeration of ganglia. Except for the primitive Mesothelae, of which the Liphistiidae are the sole surviving family, spiders have the much more centralized nervous system that is typical of arachnids: all the ganglia of all segments behind the esophagus are fused, so that the cephalothorax is largely filled with nervous tissue and there are no ganglia in the abdomen; in the Mesothelae, the ganglia of the abdomen and the rear part of the cephalothorax remain unfused.
Most spiders have four pairs of eyes on the top-front area of the cephalothorax, arranged in patterns that vary from one family to another. The pair at the front are of the type called pigment-cup ocelli ("little eyes"), which in most arthropods are only capable of detecting the direction from which light is coming, using the shadow cast by the walls of the cup. However the main eyes at the front of spiders' heads are pigment-cup ocelli that are capable of forming images. The other eyes are thought to be derived from the compound eyes of the ancestral chelicerates, but no longer have the separate facets typical of compound eyes. Unlike the main eyes, in many spiders these secondary eyes detect light reflected from a reflective tapetum lucidum, and wolf spiders can be spotted by torch light reflected from the tapeta. On the other hand jumping spiders' secondary eyes have no tapeta. Some jumping spiders' visual acuity exceeds by a factor of ten that of dragonflies, which have by far the best vision among insects; in fact the human eye is only about five times sharper than a jumping spider's. They achieve this by a telephoto-like series of lenses, a four-layer retina and the ability to swivel their eyes and integrate images from different stages in the scan. The downside is that the scanning and integrating processes are relatively slow.
As with other arthropods, spiders' cuticles would block out information about the outside world, except that they are penetrated by many sensors or connections from sensors to the nervous system. In fact spiders and other arthropods have modified their cuticles into elaborate arrays of sensors. Various touch sensors, mostly bristles called setae, respond to different levels of force, from strong contact to very weak air currents. Chemical sensors provide equivalents of taste and smell, often by means of setae. Spiders also have in the joints of their limbs slit sensillae that detect forces and vibrations. In web-building spiders all these mechanical and chemical sensors are more important than the eyes, while the eyes are most important to spiders that hunt actively.
Like most arthropods, spiders lack balance and acceleration sensors and rely on their eyes to tell them which way is up. Arthropods' proprioceptors, sensors that report the force exerted by muscles and the degree of bending in the body and joints, are well understood. On the other hand little is known about what other internal sensors spiders or other arthropods may have.
Each of the eight legs of a spider consists of seven distinct parts. The part closest to and attaching the leg to the cephalothorax is the coxa; the next segment is the short trochanter that works as a hinge for the following long segment, the femur; next is the spider's knee, the patella, which acts as the hinge for the tibia; the metatarsus is next, and it connects the tibia to the tarsus (which may be thought of as a foot of sorts); the tarsus ends in a claw made up of either two or three points, depending on the family to which the spider belongs. Although all arthropods use muscles attached to the inside of the exoskeleton to flex their limbs, spiders and a few other groups still use hydraulic pressure to extend them, a system inherited from their pre-arthropod ancestors. The only extensor muscles in spider legs are located in the three hip joints (bordering the coxa and the trochanter). As a result a spider with a punctured cephalothorax cannot extend its legs, and the legs of dead spiders curl up. Spiders can generate pressures up to eight times their resting level to extend their legs, and jumping spiders can jump up to 50 times their own length by suddenly increasing the blood pressure in the third or fourth pair of legs. Unlike smaller jumping spiders, though larger spiders use hydraulics to straighten their legs, they depend on their flexor muscles to generate the propulsive force for their jumps.
Most spiders that hunt actively, rather than relying on webs, have dense tufts of fine hairs between the paired claws at the tips of their legs. These tufts, known as scopulae, consist of bristles whose ends are split into as many as 1,000 branches, and enable spiders with scopulae to walk up vertical glass and upside down on ceilings. It appears that scopulae get their grip from contact with extremely thin layers of water on surfaces. Spiders, like most other arachnids, keep at least four legs on the surface while walking or running.
The abdomen has no appendages except those that have been modified to form one to four (usually three) pairs of short, movable spinnerets, which emit silk. Each spinneret has many spigots, each of which is connected to one silk gland. There are at least six types of silk gland, each producing a different type of silk.
Silk is mainly composed of a protein very similar to that used in insect silk. It is initially a liquid, and hardens not by exposure to air but as a result of being drawn out, which changes the internal structure of the protein. It is similar in tensile strength to nylon and biological materials such as chitin, collagen and cellulose, but is much more elastic, in other words it can stretch much further before breaking or losing shape.
Some spiders have a cribellum, a modified spinneret with up to 40,000 spigots, each of which produces a single very fine fiber. The fibers are pulled out by the calamistrum, a comb-like set of bristles on the jointed tip of the cribellum, and combined into a composite woolly thread that is very effective in snagging the bristles of insects. The earliest spiders had cribella, which produced the first silk capable of capturing insects, before spiders developed silk coated with sticky droplets. However most modern groups of spiders have lost the cribellum.
Tarantulas also have silk glands in their feet.
Even species that do not build webs to catch prey use silk in several ways: as wrappers for sperm and for fertilized eggs; as a "safety rope"; for nest-building; and as "parachutes" by the young of some species.
Spiders reproduce sexually and fertilization is internal but indirect, in other words the sperm is not inserted into the female's body by the male's genitals but by an intermediate stage. Unlike many land-living arthropods, male spiders do not produce ready-made spermatophores (packages of sperm) but spin small sperm webs on to which they ejaculate and then transfer the sperm to syringe-like structures on the tips of their pedipalps. When a male detects signs of a female nearby he checks whether she is of the same species and whether she is ready to mate; for example in species that produce webs or "safety ropes", the male can identify the species and sex of these objects by "smell".
Spiders generally use elaborate courtship rituals to prevent the large females from eating the small males before fertilization, except where the male is so much smaller that he is not worth eating. In web-weaving species precise patterns of vibrations in the web are a major part of the rituals, while patterns of touches on the female's body are important in many spiders that hunt actively, and may "hypnotize" the female. Gestures and dances by the male are important for jumping spiders, which have excellent eyesight. If courtship is successful, the male injects his sperm from the pedipalps into the female's genital opening, known as the epigyne, on the underside of her abdomen. Female's reproductive tracts vary from simple tubes to systems that include seminal receptacles in which females store sperm and release it when they are ready.
Males of the genus Tidarren amputate one of their palps before maturation and enter adult life with one palp only. The palps are 20% of male's body mass in this species, and detaching one of the two improves mobility. In the Yemeni species Tidarren argo, the remaining palp is then torn off by the female. The separated palp remains attached to the female's epigynum for about four hours and apparently continues to function independently. In the meantime the female feeds on the palpless male. In over 60% of cases the female of the Australian redback spider kills and eats the male after it inserts its second palp into the female's genital opening; in fact the males co-operate by trying to impale themselves on the females' fangs. Observation shows that most male redbacks never get an opportunity to mate, and the "lucky" ones increase the likely number of offspring by ensuring that the females are well-fed. However males of most species survive a few matings, limited mainly by their short life spans. Some even live for a while in their mates' webs.
Females lay up to 3,000 eggs in one or more silk egg sacs, which maintain a fairly constant humidity level. In some species the females die afterwards, but females of other species protect the sacs by attaching them to their webs, hiding them in nests, carrying them in the chelicerae or attaching them to the spinnerets and dragging them along.
Baby spiders pass all their larval stages inside the egg and hatch as spiderlings, very small and sexually immature but similar in shape to adults. Some spiders care for their young, for example a wolf spider's brood cling to rough bristles on the mother's back, and females of some species respond to the "begging" behaviour of their young by giving them their prey, provided it is no longer struggling, or even regurgitate food.
Like other arthropods, spiders have to molt to grow as their cuticle ("skin") cannot stretch. In some species males mate with newly molted females, which are too weak to be dangerous to the males. Most spiders live for only one to two years, although some tarantulas can live in captivity for over 20 years.
Spiders occur in a large range of sizes. The smallest, Patu digua from Colombia, are less than 0.37 mm (0.015 in) in body length. The largest and heaviest spiders occur among tarantulas, which can have body lengths up to 90 mm (3.5 in) and leg spans up to 250 mm (9.8 in).
Only three classes of pigment (ommochromes, bilins and guanine) have been identified in spiders, although other pigments have been detected but not yet characterized. Melanins, carotenoids and pterins, very common in other animals, are apparently absent. In some species the exocuticle of the legs and prosoma is modified by a tanning process, resulting in brown coloration. Bilins are found, for example, in Micrommata virescens, resulting in its green color. Guanine is responsible for the white markings of the European garden spider Araneus diadematus. It is in many species accumulated in specialized cells called guanocytes. In genera such as Tetragnatha, Leucauge, Argyrodes or Theridiosoma, guanine creates their silvery appearance. While guanine is originally an end-product of protein metabolism, its excretion can be blocked in spiders, leading to an increase in its storage. Structural colors occur in some species, which are the result of the diffraction, scattering or interference of light, for example by modified setae or scales. The white prosoma of Argiope results from hairs reflecting the light, Lycosa and Josa both have areas of modified cuticle that act as light reflectors.
Although spiders are generally regarded as predatory, the jumping spider Bagheera kiplingi gets over 90% of its food from fairly solid plant material produced by acacias as part of a mutually beneficial relationship with a species of ant.
Juveniles of some spiders in the families Anyphaenidae, Corinnidae, Clubionidae, Thomisidae and Salticidae feed on plant nectar. Laboratory studies show that they do so deliberately and over extended periods, and periodically clean themselves while feeding. These spiders also prefer sugar solutions to plain water, which indicates that they are seeking nutrients. Since many spiders are nocturnal, the extent of nectar consumption by spiders may have been underestimated. Nectar contains amino acids, lipids, vitamins and minerals in addition to sugars, and studies have shown that other spider species live longer when nectar is available. Feeding on nectar avoids the risks of struggles with prey, and the costs of producing venom and digestive enzymes.
Various species are known to feed on dead arthropods (scavenging), web silk, and their own shed exoskeletons. Pollen caught in webs may also be eaten, and studies have shown that young spiders have a better chance of survival if they have the opportunity to eat pollen. In captivity, several spider species are also known to feed on bananas, marmalade, milk, egg yolk and sausages.
The best-known method of prey capture is by means of sticky webs. Varying placement of webs allows different species of spider to trap different insects in the same area, for example flat horizontal webs trap insects that fly up from vegetation underneath while flat vertical webs trap insects in horizontal flight. Web-building spiders have poor vision, but are extremely sensitive to vibrations.
Females of the water spider Argyroneta aquatica build underwater "diving bell" webs which they fill with air and use for digesting prey, molting, mating and raising offspring. They live almost entirely within the bells, darting out to catch prey animals that touch the bell or the threads that anchor it. A few spiders use the surfaces of lakes and ponds as "webs", detecting trapped insects by the vibrations that these cause while struggling.
Net-casting spiders weave only small webs but then manipulate them to trap prey. Those of the genus Hyptiotes and the family Theridiosomatidae stretch their webs and then release them when prey strike them, but do not actively move their webs. Those of the family Deinopidae weave even smaller webs, hold them outstretched between their first two pairs of legs, and lunge and push the webs as much as twice their own body length to trap prey, and this move may increase the webs' area by a factor of up to ten. Experiments have shown that Deinopis spinosus has two different techniques for trapping prey: backwards strikes to catch flying insects, whose vibrations it detects; and forward strikes to catch ground-walking prey that it sees. These two techniques have also been observed in other deinopids. Walking insects form most of the prey of most deinopids, but one population of Deinopis subrufa appears to live mainly on tipulid flies that they catch with the backwards strike.
Mature female bolas spiders of the genus Mastophora build "webs" that consist of only a single "trapeze line", which they patrol. They also construct a bolas made of a single thread, tipped with a large ball of very wet sticky silk. They emit chemicals that resemble the pheromones of moths, and then swing the bolas at the moths. Although they miss on about 50% of strikes, they catch about the same weight of insects per night as web-weaving spiders of similar size. The spiders eat the bolas if they have not made a kill in about 30 minutes, rest for a while, and then make new bolas. Juveniles and adult males are much smaller and do not make bolas. Instead they release different pheromones that attract moth flies, and catch them with their front pairs of legs.
The primitive Liphistiidae, the "trapdoor spiders" (family Ctenizidae) and many tarantulas are ambush predators that lurk in burrows, often closed by trapdoors and often surrounded by networks of silk threads that alert these spiders to the presence of prey. Other ambush predators do without such aids, including many crab spiders, and a few species that prey on bees, which see ultraviolet, can adjust their ultraviolet reflectance to match the flowers in which they are lurking. Wolf spiders, jumping spiders, fishing spiders and some crab spiders capture prey by chasing it, and rely mainly on vision to locate prey.
Some jumping spiders of the genus Portia hunt other spiders in ways that seem intelligent, outflanking their victims or luring them from their webs. Laboratory studies show that Portia's instinctive tactics are only starting points for a trial-and-error approach from which these spiders learn very quickly how to overcome new prey species. However they seem to be relatively slow "thinkers", which is not surprising, as their brains are vastly smaller than those of mammalian predators.
Ant-mimicking spiders face several challenges: they generally develop slimmer abdomens and false "waists" in the cephalothorax to mimic the three distinct regions (tagmata) of an ant's body; they wave the first pair of legs in form to their heads to mimic antennae, which spiders lack, and to conceal the fact that they have eight legs rather than six; they develop large color patches round one pair of eyes to disguise the fact that they generally have eight simple eyes, while ants have two compound eyes; they cover their bodies with reflective hairs to resemble the shiny bodies of ants. In some spider species, males and females mimic different ant species, as female spiders are usually much larger than males. Ant-mimicking spiders also modify their behavior to resemble that of the target species of ant; for example, many adopt a zig-zag pattern of movement, ant-mimicking jumping spiders avoid jumping, and spiders of the genus Synemosyna walk on the outer edges of leaves in the same way as Pseudomyrmex. Ant-mimicry in many spiders and other arthropods may be for protection from predators that hunt by sight, including birds, lizards and spiders. However, several ant-mimicking spiders prey either on ants or on the ants' "livestock", such as aphids. When at rest, the ant-mimicking crab spider Amyciaea does not closely resemble Oecophylla, but while hunting it imitates the behavior of a dying ant to attract worker ants. After a kill, some ant-mimicking spiders hold their victims between themselves and large groups of ants to avoid being attacked.
There is strong evidence that spiders' coloration is camouflage that helps them to evade their major predators, birds and parasitic wasps, both of which have good color vision. Many spider species are colored so as to merge with their most common backgrounds, and some have disruptive coloration, stripes and blotches that break up their outlines. In a few species, such as the Hawaiian happy-face spider, Theridion grallator, several coloration schemes are present in a ratio that appears to remain constant, and this may make it more difficult for predators to recognize the species. Most spiders are insufficiently dangerous or unpleasant-tasting for warning coloration to offer much benefit. However a few species with powerful venoms, large jaws or irritant hairs have patches of warning colors, and some actively display these colors when threatened.
Many of the family Theraphosidae, which includes tarantulas and baboon spiders, have urticating hairs on their abdomens and use their legs to flick them at attackers. These hairs are fine setae (bristles) with fragile bases and a row of barbs on the tip. The barbs cause intense irritation but there is no evidence that they carry any kind of venom. A few defend themselves against wasps by including networks of very robust threads in their webs, giving the spider time to flee while the wasps are struggling with the obstacles. The golden wheeling spider, Carparachne aureoflava, of the Namibian desert escapes parasitic wasps by flipping onto its side and cartwheeling down sand dunes.
A few species of spiders that build webs live together in large colonies and show social behavior, although not as complex as in social insects. Anelosimus eximius (in the family Theridiidae) can form colonies of up to 50,000 individuals. The genus Anelosimus has a strong tendency towards sociality: all known American species are social, and species in Madagascar are at least somewhat social. Members of other species in the same family but several different genera have independently developed social behavior. For example, although Theridion nigroannulatum belongs to a genus with no other social species, T. nigroannulatum build colonies that may contain several thousand individuals that co-operate in prey capture and share food. Other communal spiders include several Philoponella species (family Uloboridae), Agelena consociata (family Agelenidae) and Mallos gregalis (family Dictynidae). Social predatory spiders need to defend their prey against kleptoparasites ("thieves"), and larger colonies are more successful in this. The herbivorous spider Bagheera kiplingi lives in small colonies which help to protect eggs and spiderlings. Even widow spiders (genus Latrodectus), which are notoriously cannibalistic, have formed small colonies in captivity, sharing webs and feeding together.
There is no consistent relationship between the classification of spiders and the types of web they build: species in the same genera may build very similar or significantly different webs. Nor is there much correspondence between spiders' classification and the chemical composition of their silks. Convergent evolution in web construction, in other words use of similar techniques by remotely related species, is rampant. Non-orb web designs and the spinning behaviors that produce them have received very little attention from arachnologists, despite the fact that the majority of spiders build non-orb webs. The basic radial-then-spiral sequence visible in orb webs and the sense of direction required to build them may have been inherited from the common ancestors of most spider groups. It used to be thought that the sticky orb web was an evolutionary innovation resulting in the diversification of the Orbiculariae. Now, however, it appears that non-orb spiders are a sub-group that evolved from orb-web spiders, and non-orb spiders have over 40% more species and are four times as abundant as orb-web spiders. Their greater success may be because sphecid wasps, which are often the dominant predators on spiders, much prefer to attack spiders that have flat webs.
About half the potential prey that hit orb webs escape. A web has to perform three functions: intercepting the prey (intersection); absorbing its momentum without breaking (stopping); and trapping the prey by entangling it or sticking to it (retention). No single design is best for all prey. For example: wider spacing of lines will increase the web's area and hence its ability to intercept prey, but reduce its stopping power and retention; closer spacing, larger sticky droplets and thicker lines would improve retention, but would make it easier for potential prey to see and avoid the web, at least during the day. However there are no consistent differences between orb webs built for use during the day and those built for use at night. In fact there is no simple relationship between orb web design features and the prey they capture, as each orb-weaving species takes a wide range of prey.
The hubs of orb webs, where the spiders lurk, are usually above the center as the spiders can move downwards faster than upwards. If there is an obvious direction in which the spider can retreat to avoid its own predators, the hub is usually offset towards that direction.
Horizontal orb webs are fairly common, despite being less effective at intercepting and retaining prey and more vulnerable to damage by rain and falling debris. Various researchers have suggested that horizontal webs offer compensating advantages, such as: reduced vulnerability to wind damage; reduced visibility to prey flying upwards, because of the back-lighting from the sky; enabling oscillations to catch insects in slow horizontal flight. However there is no single explanation for the common use of horizontal orb webs.
Spiders often attach highly visible silk bands called decorations or stabilimenta to their webs. Field research suggests that webs with more decorative bands captured more prey per hour. However a laboratory study showed that spiders reduce the building of these decorations if they sense the presence of predators.
There are several unusual variants of orb web, many of them convergently evolved, including: attachment of lines to the surface of water, possibly to trap insects in or on the surface; webs with twigs through their centers, possibly to hide the spiders from predators; "ladder-like" webs that appear most effective in catching moths. However the significance of many variations is unclear.
In 1973, Skylab 3 took two orb-web spiders into space to test their web-spinning capabilities in zero gravity. At first both produced rather sloppy webs, but they adapted quickly.
Members of the family Theridiidae weave irregular, tangled, three-dimensional webs, popularly known as cobwebs. There seems to be an evolutionary trend towards a reduction in the amount of sticky silk used, leading to its total absence in some species. The construction of cobwebs is less stereotyped than that of orb-webs, and may take several days.
The Linyphiidae generally make horizontal but uneven sheets, with tangles of stopping threads above. Insects that hit the stopping threads fall onto the sheet or are shaken onto it by the spider, and are held by sticky threads on the sheet until the spider can attack from below.
Although the fossil record of spiders is considered poor, almost 1000 species have been described from fossils. Because spiders' bodies are quite soft, the vast majority of fossil spiders have been found preserved in amber. The oldest known amber that contains fossil arthropods dates from in the Early Cretaceous period. In addition to preserving spiders' anatomy in very fine detail, pieces of amber show spiders mating, killing prey, producing silk and possibly caring for their young. In a few cases amber has preserved spiders' egg sacs and webs, occasionally with prey attached; the oldest fossil web found so far is 100 million years old. Earlier spider fossils come from a few lagerstätten, places where conditions were exceptionally suited to preserving fairly soft tissues.
The oldest known arachnid is the trigonotarbid Palaeotarbus jerami, from about in the Silurian period, and had a triangular cephalothorax and segmented abdomen, as well as eight legs and a pair of pedipalps. Attercopus fimbriunguis, from in the Devonian period, bears the earliest known silk-producing spigots, and was therefore hailed as a spider. However these spigots may have been mounted on the underside of the abdomen rather than on spinnerets, which are modified appendages and whose mobility is important in the building of webs. Hence Attercopus and the similar Permian arachnid Permarachne may not have been true spiders, and probably used silk for lining nests or producing egg-cases rather than for building webs. The largest known fossil spider as of 2011 is the araneid Nephila jurassica, from about , recorded from Daohuogo, Inner Mongolia in China. Its body length is almost 25 mm, (i.e., almost one inch).
Several Carboniferous spiders were members of the Mesothelae, a primitive group now represented only by the Liphistiidae. The mesothelid Paleothele montceauensis, from the Late Carboniferous over , had five spinnerets. Although the Permian period saw rapid diversification of flying insects, there are very few fossil spiders from this period.
The main groups of modern spiders, Mygalomorphae and Araneomorphae, first appear in the Triassic well before . Some Triassic mygalomorphs appear to be members of the family Hexathelidae, whose modern members include the notorious Sydney funnel-web spider, and their spinnerets appear adapted for building funnel-shaped webs to catch jumping insects. Araneomorphae account for the great majority of modern spiders, including those that weave the familiar orb-shaped webs. The Jurassic and Cretaceous periods provide a large number of fossil spiders, including representatives of many modern families.
Xiphosura (horseshoe crabs)
Solifugae (sun spiders)
Palpigradi (microwhip scorpions)
Amblypygi (whip spiders)
Thelyphonida (whip scorpions)
Ricinulei (hooded tickspiders)
It is now agreed that spiders (Araneae) are monophyletic (i.e., members of a group of organisms which form a clade, consisting of a last common ancestor and all of its descendants). There has been debate about what their closest evolutionary relatives are, and how all of these evolved from the ancestral chelicerates, which were marine animals. The cladogram on the right is based on J. W. Shultz' analysis (2007). Other views include proposals that: scorpions are more closely related to the extinct marine scorpion-like eurypterids than to spiders; spiders and Amblypygi are a monophyletic group. The appearance of several multi-way branchings in the tree on the right shows that there are still uncertainties about relationships between the groups involved.
Arachnids lack some features of other chelicerates, including backward-pointing mouths and gnathobases ("jaw bases") at the bases of their legs; both of these features are part of the ancestral arthropod feeding system. Instead they have mouths that point forwards and downwards, and all have some means of breathing air. Spiders (Araneae) are distinguished from other arachnid groups by several characteristics, including spinnerets and, in males, pedipalps that are specially adapted for sperm transfer.
Spiders are divided into two sub-orders, Mesothelae and Opisthothelae, of which the latter contains two infra-orders, Mygalomorphae and Araneomorphae. Over 40,000 living species of spiders (order Araneae) have been identified and are currently grouped into about 110 families and about 3,700 genera by arachnologists.
The only living members of the primitive Mesothelae are the family Liphistiidae, found only in Southeast Asia, China, and Japan. Most of the Liphistiidae construct silk-lined burrows with thin trapdoors, although some species of the genus Liphistius build camouflaged silk tubes with a second trapdoor as an emergency exit. Members of the genus Liphistius run silk "tripwires" outwards from their tunnels to help them detect approaching prey, while those of genus Heptathela do not and instead rely on their built-in vibration sensors. Spiders of the genus Heptathela have no venom glands although they do have venom gland outlets on the fang tip.
The extinct families Arthrolycosidae, found in Carboniferous and Permian rocks, and Arthromygalidae, so far found only in Carboniferous rocks, have been classified as members of the Mesothelae.
The Mygalomorphae, which first appeared in the Triassic period, are generally heavily built and hairy, with large, robust chelicerae and fangs. Well-known examples include tarantulas, trapdoor spiders and the Australasian funnel-web spiders. Most spend the majority of their time in burrows, and some run silk tripwires out from these, but a few build webs to capture prey. However mygalomorphs cannot produce the pirifom silk that the Araneomorphae use as instant adhesive to glue silk to surfaces or to other strands of silk, and this makes web construction more difficult for mygalomorphs. Since mygalomorphs rarely "balloon" by using air currents for transport, their populations often form clumps. In addition to arthropods, mygalomorphs prey on frogs and lizards, and snails.
In addition to accounting for over 90% of spider species, the Araneomorphae, also known as the "true spiders", include orb-web spiders, the cursorial wolf spiders, and jumping spiders, as well as the only known herbivorous spider, Bagheera kiplingi. They are distinguished by having fangs that oppose each other and cross in a pinching action, in contrast to the Mygalomorphae, which have fangs that are nearly parallel in alignment.
Most spiders will only bite humans in self-defense, and few produce worse effects than a mosquito bite or bee-sting. Most of those with medically serious bites, such as recluse spiders and widow spiders, are shy and bite only when they feel threatened, although this can easily arise by accident. Funnel web spiders' defensive tactics are aggressive and their venom, although they rarely inject much, has resulted in 13 known human deaths. On the other hand, the Brazilian wandering spider requires very little provocation.
There were about 100 reliably reported deaths from spider bites in the 20th century, but about 1,500 from jellyfish stings. Many alleged cases of spider bites may represent incorrect diagnoses, which would make it more difficult to check the effectiveness of treatments for genuine bites.
Cooked tarantula spiders are considered a delicacy in Cambodia, and by the Piaroa Indians of southern Venezuela – provided the highly irritant hairs, the spiders' main defense system, are removed first.
Spider venoms may be a less polluting alternative to conventional pesticides as they are deadly to insects but the great majority are harmless to vertebrates. Australian funnel web spiders are a promising source as most of the world's insect pests have had no opportunity to develop any immunity to their venom, and funnel web spiders thrive in captivity and are easy to "milk". It may be possible to target specific pests by engineering genes for the production of spider toxins into viruses that infect species such as cotton bollworms.
Possible medical uses for spider venoms are being investigated, for the treatment of cardiac arrhythmia, Alzheimer's disease, strokes, and erectile dysfunction.
Because spider silk is both light and very strong, attempts are being made to produce it in goats' milk and in the leaves of plants, by means of genetic engineering.
Arachnophobia is a specific phobia—it is the abnormal fear of spiders or anything reminiscent of spiders, such as webs or spider-like shapes. It is one of the most common specific phobias, and some statistics show that 50% of women and 10% of men show symptoms. It may be an exaggerated form of an instinctive response that helped early humans to survive, or a cultural phenomenon that is most common in predominantly European societies.
Spiders have been the focus of stories and mythologies of various cultures for centuries. They have symbolized patience due to their hunting technique of setting webs and waiting for prey, as well as mischief and malice due to their venomous (and sometimes deadly) bites.
Web-spinning also caused the association of the spider with creation myths as they seem to have the ability to produce their own worlds. The Moche people of ancient Peru worshipped nature. They placed emphasis on animals and often depicted spiders in their art.
Spider-Man 3 is a 2007 American superhero drama film produced by Marvel Entertainment and Laura Ziskin Productions, and distributed by Columbia Pictures based on the fictional Marvel Comics character Spider-Man. It was directed by Sam Raimi and scripted by Sam and Ivan Raimi and Alvin Sargent. It is the final film in the trilogySpider-ManSam Raimi . The film stars Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Thomas Haden Church, Topher Grace, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rosemary Harris, J. K. Simmons, James Cromwell and Cliff Robertson in his final film appearance.
Set months after the events of Spider-Man 2, Peter Parker has become a cultural phenomenon as Spider-Man, while Mary Jane Watson continues her Broadway career. Harry Osborn still seeks vengeance for his father's death, and an escaped Flint Marko, falls into a particle accelerator and is transformed into a shape-shifting sand manipulator. An extraterrestrial symbiote crashes to Earth and bonds with Peter, influencing his behavior for the worse. When Peter abandons the symbiote, it finds refuge in Eddie Brock, a rival photographer, causing Peter to face his greatest challenge.
Development of Spider-Man 3 began immediately after the release of Spider-Man 2 for a 2007 release. During pre-production, Raimi originally wanted another villain to be included along with Sandman, but at the request of producer Avi Arad, the director added Venom and the producers also requested the addition of Gwen Stacy. Principal photography for the film began in January 2006, and took place in Los Angeles and Cleveland, before moving to New York City from May until July 2006. Additional pick-up shots were made after August and the film wrapped in October 2006. During post-production, Sony Pictures Imageworks created 900 visual effects shots.
Spider-Man 3 premiered on April 16, 2007 in Tokyo, and released in the United States in both conventional and IMAX theaters on May 4, 2007. Although the film received mixed to positive reviews from critics, in contrast to the highly positive reviews of its predecessors, it stands as the most financially successful film in the series worldwide, Marvel's third most financially successful film after The Avengers and Iron Man 3, and Sony Pictures Entertainment's second highest-grossing film behind Skyfall. After the success of Spider-Man 3, Raimi was scheduled to direct the unproduced Spider-Man 4. However, disagreements between Sony and Raimi forced the director to leave the project, and Sony cancelled the film as a result. A reboot of the trilogy had been released five years later.
Peter Parker plans to propose to Mary Jane Watson, who has just made her Broadway musical debut. A meteorite crashes near the two in Central Park, and an extraterrestrial symbiote attaches itself to Peter's moped. While fleeing police, escaped prisoner Flint Marko falls into a particle accelerator that fuses his body with surrounding sand and allows him to shapeshift at will as the Sandman. Peter's best friend, Harry Osborn, who knows Peter is Spider-Man and holds him responsible for his father's death, attacks Peter using weapons based on his father's Green Goblin technology. Harry injures his head and suffers from partial amnesia, making him forget his revenge and that Peter is Spider-Man. During a festival honoring Spider-Man, Marko robs an armored car. NYPD Captain George Stacy tells Peter and Aunt May that Marko was Uncle Ben's killer, and the deceased Dennis Carradine only an accomplice. While a vengeance-obsessed Peter sleeps, the symbiote bonds with him. Peter wakes up hanging from a skyscraper and discovers his costume has changed and his powers have been enhanced, but the symbiote brings out Peter's dark side. Wearing the new black suit, Spider-Man locates Marko and fights him in a subway tunnel, ultimately reducing him to mud using water.
Peter's changed personality alienates Mary Jane, whose career is floundering, and she finds solace with Harry. Urged on by a hallucination of his father, Harry recovers from his amnesia and compels Mary Jane to break up with Peter. After Mary Jane tells Peter she is in love with another man, Harry meets with Peter and claims to be "the other guy". Later, Peter, wearing the black suit, confronts Harry and fights him. Harry throws a pumpkin bomb at Peter, who deflects it back, disfiguring Harry's face.
Under the symbiote's influence, Peter exposes Eddie Brock, a rival photographer at the Daily Bugle, by submitting doctored photographs showing Spider-Man as a criminal. Furious at having to print a retraction, J. Jonah Jameson fires Eddie. Meanwhile, the Sandman recovers from his injuries.
To make Mary Jane jealous, Peter brings Gwen Stacy, Brock's girlfriend, to the nightclub where Mary Jane works; Brock secretly sees them and assumes they are dating. Gwen catches on and storms out. Peter brawls with the bouncers and, after accidentally hitting Mary Jane, realizes the symbiote is changing him. He retreats to a church bell tower. While trying to remove the symbiote costume he hits the church's bell, weakening the alien and making it easier to remove. Peter tears the symbiote off and it falls to the lower tower, landing on Brock, who is praying for Peter's death. The symbiote bonds with Brock, transforming him into Venom. Venom finds the Sandman and offers to join forces.
Mary Jane then hails a taxicab but Brock hijacks it, and hangs it from a web hundreds of feet above a sand-filled construction site girder. Peter seeks Harry's help, but is rejected. A whole crowd of people are watching the fight, and as Peter clashes with Brock, Harry learns the truth about his father's death from his butler and goes to help Peter. Harry temporarily subdues a gigantic incarnation of the Sandman, breaking him apart. Brock webs Harry's glider, causing it to bump into some pipes, making sonic vibrations that weaken the symbiote. Peter recalls how the church bells weakened it previously. Brock then tries impaling Peter with Harry's glider, but Harry jumps in the way. Peter grabs pipes and forms a ring around Venom, creating a wall of sonic vibrations. The alien releases Brock, and Peter pulls Brock away from the creature. Peter throws a pumpkin bomb from Harry's glider at the symbiote, but Brock jumps in to re-bond with it, and both are destroyed by the blast.
Marko tells Peter he never intended to kill Ben, but only wanted his car and shot him by accident when Dennis grabbed his arm. He claims Ben's death has haunted him since. Peter forgives Marko, who dissipates and floats away. Peter and Harry forgive each other, and Harry dies with Mary Jane and Peter at his side. Days later, Peter visits the jazz bar where Mary Jane is singing, and they dance.
Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee has a cameo in Spider-Man 3, as he does in many Marvel-based films. He plays a man who, after reading a news bulletin along with Peter, tells him, "You know, I guess one person can make a difference," followed by his catch phrase "Nuff said." Actor Bruce Campbell, who had cameo roles as a wrestling ring announcer in Spider-Man and as a rude usher in Spider-Man 2, returns in Spider-Man 3 with a new cameo as a French maître d'. His character helps Peter try to propose to Mary Jane. Composer Christopher Young appears in the film as a pianist at Mary Jane's theater when she is fired, while producer Grant Curtis has a cameo as the driver of an armored car that the Sandman attacks. Comedian Dean Edwards played one of the newspaper readers who badmouth Spider-Man. The 75-year-old newscaster Hal Fishman appears as himself in a news report.
"The most important thing Peter right now has to learn is that this whole concept of him as the avenger or him as the hero, he wears this red and blue outfit, with each criminal he brings to justice he's trying to pay down this debt of guilt he feels about the death of Uncle Ben. He considers himself a hero and a sinless person versus these villains that he nabs. We felt it would be a great thing for him to learn a little less black and white view of life and that he's not above these people."
In March 2004, with Spider-Man 2 being released the coming June, Marvel Studios had begun developing Spider-Man 3 for a release in 2007. By the release of Spider-Man 2, a release date for Spider-Man 3 had been set for May 2, 2007 before production on the sequel had begun. The date was later changed to May 4, 2007. In January 2005, Sony Pictures Entertainment completed a seven-figure deal with screenwriter Alvin Sargent, who had penned Spider-Man 2, to work on Spider-Man 3 with an option to write a fourth film.
Immediately after Spider-Man 2's release, Ivan Raimi wrote a treatment over two months, with Sam Raimi deciding to use the film to explore Peter learning that he is not a sinless vigilante, and that there also can be humanity in those he considers criminals. Harry Osborn was brought back as Raimi wanted to conclude his storyline. Raimi felt that Harry would not follow his father's legacy, but be instead "somewhere between." Sandman was introduced as an antagonist, as Raimi found him a visually fascinating character. While Sandman is a petty criminal in the comics, the screenwriters created a background of the character being Uncle Ben's killer to increase Peter's guilt over his death and challenge his simplistic perception of the event. Overall, Raimi described the film as being about Peter, Mary Jane, Harry, and the Sandman, with Peter's journey being one of forgiveness.
Raimi wanted another villain, and Ben Kingsley was involved in negotiations to play the Vulture before the character was cut. Producer Avi Arad convinced Raimi to include Venom, a character whose perceived "lack of humanity" had initially been criticized by Sam Raimi. Venom's alter-ego, Eddie Brock, already had a minor role in the script. Arad told the director that Venom had a strong fan base, so Raimi included the character to please them, and even began to appreciate the character himself. The film's version of the character is an amalgamation of Venom stories. Eddie Brock, Jr., the human part of Venom, serves as a mirror to Peter Parker, with both characters having similar jobs and romantic interests. Brock's actions as a journalist in Spider-Man 3 also represent contemporary themes of paparazzi and tabloid journalism. The producers also suggested adding rival love interest Gwen Stacy, filling in an "other girl" type that Raimi already created. With so many additions, Sargent soon found his script so complex that he considered splitting it into two films, but abandoned the idea when he could not create a successful intermediate climax.
Camera crews spent ten days from November 5, 2005 to November 18, 2005, to film sequences that would involve intense visual effects so Sony Pictures Imageworks could begin work on the shots early in the project. The same steps had been taken for Spider-Man 2 to begin producing visual effects early for sequences involving the villain Doctor Octopus.
Principal photography for Spider-Man 3 began on January 16, 2006 and wrapped in July 2006 after over a hundred days of filming. The team filmed in Los Angeles until May 19, 2006. In spring 2006, film location manager Peter Martorano brought camera crews to Cleveland, due to the Greater Cleveland Film Commission offering production space at the city's convention center at no cost. In Cleveland, they shot the battle between Spider-Man and Sandman in the armored car. Afterwards, the team moved to Manhattan, where filming took place at various locations, including One Chase Manhattan Plaza, from May 26, 2006 until July 1, 2006. Shooting placed a strain on Raimi, who often had to move between several units to complete the picture. Shooting was also difficult for cinematographer Bill Pope, as the symbiote Spider-Man, Venom, and the New Goblin were costumed in black during fight scenes taking place at night.
After August, pick-ups were conducted as Raimi sought to film more action scenes. The film then wrapped in October, although in the following month, additional special effects shots were taken to finalize the production. At the start of 2007, there were further pick-up shots regarding the resolution of Sandman's story, amounting to four different versions.
John Dykstra, who won the Academy Award for Visual Effects for his work on Spider-Man 2, declined to work on the third film as visual effects supervisor. Dykstra's colleague, Scott Stokdyk, took his place as supervisor, leading two hundred programmers at Sony Pictures Imageworks. This group designed specific computer programs that did not exist when Spider-Man 3 began production, creating nine hundred visual effects shots.
In addition to the innovative visual effects for the film, Stokdyk created a miniature of a skyscraper section at 1:16 scale with New Deal Studios' Ian Hunter and David Sanger. Stokdyk chose to design the miniature instead of using computer-generated imagery so damage done to the building could be portrayed realistically and timely without guesswork involving computer models. In addition, to Sony Imageworks, Cafe FX provided visual effects for the crane disaster scene when Spider-Man rescues Gwen Stacy, as well as shots in the climactic battle. To understand the effects of sand for the Sandman, experiments were done with twelve types of sand, such as splashing, launching it at stuntmen, and pouring it over ledges. The results were mimicked on the computer to create the visual effects for Sandman. For scenes involving visual effects, Thomas Haden Church was super-imposed onto the screen, where computer-generated imagery was then applied. With sand as a possible hazard in scenes that buried actors, ground-up corncobs were used as a substitute instead. Because of its resemblance to the substance, sand from Arizona was used as the model for the CG sand. In a fight where Spider-Man punches through Sandman's chest, amputee martial arts expert Baxter Humby took Tobey Maguire's place in filming the scene. Humby, whose right hand was amputated at birth, helped deliver the intended effect of punching through Sandman's chest.
Whereas the symbiote suit worn in the comics by Spider-Man was a plain black affair with a large white spider on the front and back, the design was changed for the film to become a black version of Spider-Man's traditional costume, complete with webbing motif. As a consequence of this, the suit Topher Grace wore as Venom also bore the webbing motif; as producer Grant Curtis noted, "it’s the Spider-Man suit, but twisted and mangled in its own right." Additionally, the motif gave a sense of life to the symbiote, giving it the appearance of gripping onto the character's body. When animating the symbiote, Raimi did not want it to resemble a spider or an octopus, and to give it a sense of character. The CG model is made of many separate strands. When animating Venom himself, animators observed footage of big cats such as lions and cheetahs for the character's agile movements.
Originally, Danny Elfman, the composer for the previous installments, did not plan to return for the third installment of Spider-Man because of difficulties with director Sam Raimi. Elfman said that he had a "miserable experience" working with Raimi on Spider-Man 2 and could not comfortably adapt his music. Christopher Young was then announced to score Spider-Man 3 in Elfman's absence. In December 2006, however, producer Grant Curtis announced that Elfman had begun collaborating with Christopher Young on the music for Spider-Man 3.
Sandman's theme uses "two contrabass saxophones, two contrabass clarinets, two contrabass bassoons and eight very low French horns" to sound "low, aggressive and heavy". Young described Venom's theme as "Vicious, my instructions on that one were that he’s the devil personified. His theme is much more demonic sounding." Venom's theme uses eight French horns. Raimi approved the new themes during their first performance, but rejected the initial music to the birth of Sandman, finding it too monstrous and not tragic enough. Young had to recompose much of his score at a later stage, as the producers felt there were not enough themes from the previous films. Ultimately, new themes for the love story, Aunt May, and Mary Jane were dropped.
Spider-Man 3 had its world premiere in Tokyo on April 16, 2007, The film held its UK premiere on April 23, 2007 at the Odeon Leicester Square, and the U.S. premiere took place at the Tribeca Film Festival in Queens on April 30, 2007.
Spider-Man 3 was commercially released in sixteen territories on May 1, 2007. The film was released in Japan on May 1, 2007, three days prior to the American commercial release, to coincide with Japan's Golden Week. Spider-Man 3 was also released in China on May 3, 2007 to circumvent market growth of pirated copies of the film. The studio's release of a film in China before its domestic release was a first for Sony Pictures Releasing International. By May 6, 2007, Spider-Man 3 opened in 107 countries around the world.
The film was commercially released in the United States on May 4, 2007 in a North American record total of 4,253 theaters, including fifty-three IMAX theaters. The record number of theaters was later beaten by Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, which was released in 4,362 theaters in the United States—109 more than Spider-Man 3. Tracking data a month before the U.S. release reflected over 90% awareness and over 20% first choice among moviegoers, statistics that estimated an opening weekend of over $100 million for Spider-Man 3. Online tickets for Spider-Man 3 were reported on April 23, 2007 to have been purchased at a faster rate—three times at Movietickets.com and four times at Fandango—than online ticket sales for Spider-Man 2. On May 2, 2007, Fandango reported the sales rate as six times greater than the rate for Spider-Man 2. The strong ticket sales caused theaters to add 3:00 AM showings following the May 4, 2007 midnight showing to accommodate the demand.
The FX channel signed a five-year deal for the television rights to Spider-Man 3, which they began airing in 2009. The price was based on the film's box office performance, with an option for three opportunities for Sony to sell the rights to one or more other broadcast networks.
In New York City, the hometown of Spider-Man's fictional universe, tourist attractions arranged events and exhibits on April 30, 2007 to lead up to the release of Spider-Man 3. The unique campaign include a spider exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History, workshops on baby spider plants at the New York Botanical Garden, Green Goblin mask-making workshop at the Children's Museum of Manhattan, and a scavenger hunt and a bug show at Central Park Zoo.
Hasbro, which holds the license for Marvel characters, released several toys to tie-in with the film. They include a deluxe spinning web blaster, along with several lines of action figures aimed at both children and collectors. Toys of the Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus from the first two films have been re-released to match the smaller scale of the new figures, as have been toys of the Lizard, the Scorpion, Kraven the Hunter, and Rhino in a style reminiscent of the films. Techno Source created interactive toys, including a "hand-held Battle Tronics device that straps to the inside of a player's wrist and mimics Spidey's web-slinging motions". Japanese Medicom Toy Corporation produced collectibles, which Sideshow Collectibles distributed in the U.S.
The film received mixed to positive reviews from critics, in contrast to the previous two films' highly positive reviews. On the movie review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, Spider-Man 3 has a 63% approval rating based on 244 reviews. On Metacritic, Spider-Man 3 has received a score of 59/100 based on 40 reviews. On Yahoo! Movies, Spider-Man 3 is graded a B- among 14 film critics.
Manohla Dargis of The New York Times deplored the film's pacing as "mostly just plods" and a lack of humor. Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film only 2 out of 4 stars, feeling, "for every slam-bang action sequence, there are far too many sluggish scenes." David Edelstein of New York magazine misses the "centrifugal threat" of Alfred Molina's character, adding that "the three villains here don’t add up to one Doc Ock" (referring to Alfred Molina's portrayal of the character in Spider-Man 2). James Berardinelli felt director Sam Raimi "overreached his grasp" by allowing so many villains, specifically saying, "Venom is one bad guy too many." Roger Ebert gave the film 2 out of four stars and thought Church never expressed how Sandman felt about his new powers, something Molina, as Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2, did "with a vengeance"; he said the film was "a mess," with too many villains, subplots, romantic misunderstandings, conversations and "street crowds looking high into the air and shouting 'oooh!' this way, then swiveling and shouting 'aaah!' that way." The New Yorker's Anthony Lane gave the film a mildly positive review, summarizing it as "shambles" which "makes the rules up as it goes along."
However, Roger Friedman of Fox News called the film a "4 star opera", noting that while long, there was plenty of humor and action. Andy Khouri of Comic Book Resources praised the film as "easily the most complex and deftly orchestrated superhero epic ever filmed [...] despite the enormous amount of characters, action and sci-fi superhero plot going on in this film, Spider-Man 3 never feels weighted down, tedious or boring." Jonathan Ross, a big fan of the comic books, felt the film was the best of the trilogy. Richard Corliss of Time commended the filmmakers for their ability to "dramatize feelings of angst and personal betrayal worthy of an Ingmar Bergman film, and then to dress them up in gaudy comic-book colors". Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe, who gave the film 4 out of 5 stars, wrote that it was a well-made, fresh film, but would leave the viewer "overfulfilled". Jonathan Dean of Total Film felt the film's complex plot helped the film's pacing, in that, "it rarely feels disjointed or loose [...] Spider-Man cements its shelf-life." Entertainment Weekly named the Sandman as the eighth best computer-generated film character.
John Hartl of MSNBC gave Spider-Man 3 a good review, but stated that it has some flaws such as having "too many storylines". His opinion is echoed by Houston Chronicle's Amy Biancolli who complained that "the script is busy with so many supporting characters and plot detours that the series' charming idiosyncrasy is sometimes lost in the noise." Jack Matthews of Daily News thought the film was too devoted to the "quiet conversations" of Peter and Mary Jane, but that fans would not be disappointed by the action. Finally, Sean Burns of Philadelphia Weekly felt that the director "substituted scope and scale for the warmth and wit that made those two previous pictures so memorable."
Spider-Man 3 earned $336,530,303 in North America and $554,341,323 in other countries for a worldwide total of $890,871,626. Worldwide, it is the 28th highest-grossing film, the third highest-grossing 2007 film, the highest-grossing film of trilogySpider-ManSam Raimi's and was the highest-grossing film distributed by Sony/Columbia until 2012's Skyfall. The film set a worldwide single-day record ($104 million) on its first Friday and broke its own record again on Saturday ($117.6 million). It also set a worldwide opening-weekend record, with $381.7 million, which now ranks as the fifth largest (first surpassed by Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince). The film's IMAX screenings reached $20 million in 30 days, faster than any other 2D film remastered in the format.
In North America, Spider-Man 3 is the twenty-seventh highest grossing film, the third highest-grossing film of the Spider-Man series, the third highest-grossing film distributed by Sony/Columbia and the highest-grossing 2007 film. It was released in 4,252 theaters (about 10,300 screens) on Friday, May 4, 2007. It set an opening- and single-day record with $59,841,919 (both were first surpassed by The Dark Knight). This included $10 million from midnight showings. Spider-Man 3 then set an opening-weekend record with $151,116,516 (first surpassed by The Dark Knight), a record for the weekend per-theater average with $35,540 per theater (first surpassed by Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert), and an IMAX opening-weekend record with $4.8 million (first surpassed by The Dark Knight). The film set record Friday and Sunday grosses and achieved the largest cumulative gross through its second, third and fourth day of release (all were first surpassed by The Dark Knight). It also set a record Saturday gross (surpassed by Marvel's The Avengers).
Outside North America, it is the twenty-third highest-grossing film, the highest-grossing film of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy and the second highest-grossing film distributed by Sony/Columbia. On its opening day (Tuesday, May 1, 2007), Spider-Man 3 grossed $29.2 million from 16 territories, an 86% increase from the intake of Spider-Man 2 on its first day of release. In 10 of the 16 territories, Spider-Man 3 set new opening-day records. These territories are Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, the Philippines, France and Italy. In Germany, the film surpassed the opening day gross of Spider-Man 2. During its six-day opening weekend (through its first Sunday), the film earned $230.5 million from 107 markets, finishing #1 in all of them. Spider-Man 3 set opening-weekend records in 29 markets including Italy, China, South Korea (the latter was first surpassed by Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End), India, Singapore, Philippines, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan, Indonesia, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Peru. However, many of these records were achieved thanks to its six-day opening, while previous record-holders in some countries opened over the traditional three-day weekend (traditional two-day, four-day or five-day weekend in other countries). Spider-Man 3 was in first place at the box office outside North America for three consecutive weekends.
Spider-Man 3 was released on Region 4 DVD (anamorphic widescreen) in Australia on September 18, 2007. For Region 2 in the United Kingdom, the film was released on October 15, 2007. Spider-Man 3 was released on DVD in Region 1 territories on October 30, 2007. The film is available in one-disc and two-disc editions, on both standard and Blu-ray formats, as well as packages with the previous films and a PSP release. Sam Raimi, Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Thomas Haden Church, Topher Grace, Bryce Dallas Howard, Laura Ziskin, Avi Arad, and Grant Curtis are among those who contributed to the audio commentaries.
Sony announced plans to create "one of the largest" marketing campaigns in Hollywood for the October 30, 2007 release of the DVD. Beginning with a partnership with Papa Johns, Sony printed close to 8.5 billion impressions for pizza boxes, television, radio, and online ads. Sony also worked with Pringles Potato Crisp, Blu-Tack, Jolly Time Pop Corn, and Nutella. Sony's Vice President of marketing, Jennifer Anderson, stated the studio spend approximately 15% to 25% of its marketing budget on digital ad campaigns; from this, Papa Johns sent text messages to mobile phones with ads. Anderson stated that there would be three sweepstakes held for consumers, where they would be able to win prizes from Sony and its promotional partners.
In the United States, the film grossed more than $124 million on DVD sales. It also grossed more than $43.76 million on DVD/Home Video Rentals in 11 weeks. However, the DVD sales results of this film did not meet industry expectations.
In 2007, Spider-Man 4 entered development, with Raimi attached to direct and Maguire, Dunst and other cast members set to reprise their roles. Both a fourth and a fifth movie were planned and at one time the idea of shooting the two sequels concurrently was under consideration. However, Raimi stated in March 2009 that only the fourth film was in development at that time and that if there were fifth and sixth films, those two films would actually be a continuation of each other. James Vanderbilt was hired in October 2007 to pen the screenplay after initial reports in early 2007 that Sony Pictures was in contact with David Koepp, who wrote the first Spider-Man film. The script was subsequently rewritten by Pulitzer-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire and rewritten again by Gary Ross in October 2009. Sony also engaged Vanderbilt to write scripts for Spider-Man 5 and Spider-Man 6.
In 2007, Raimi expressed interest in portraying the transformation of Dr. Curt Connors into his villainous alter-ego, the Lizard; the character's actor Dylan Baker and producer Grant Curtis were also enthusiastic about the idea. It was reported in December 2009 that John Malkovich was in negotiations to play Vulture and that Anne Hathaway would play Felicia Hardy, though she would not have transformed into the Black Cat as in the comics. Instead, Raimi's Felicia was expected to become a brand-new superpowered figure called the Vulturess.
Sony Pictures announced in January 2010 that plans for Spider-Man 4 had been cancelled due to Raimi's withdrawal from the project. Raimi reportedly ended his participation due to his doubt that he could meet the planned May 6, 2011 release date while at the same time upholding the film creatively. Raimi purportedly went through four iterations of the script with different screenwriters and still "hated it".
The next film in the franchise, a reboot of the series, called The Amazing Spider-Man was released on July 3, 2012, with Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker.
Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends is an American animated television series produced by Marvel Productions starring established Marvel Comics characters Spider-Man and Iceman and an original character, Firestar. As a trio called the Spider-Friends, they fought against various villains.
Originally broadcast on NBC as a Saturday morning cartoon, the series ran first-run original episodes for three seasons, from 1981 to 1983, then aired repeats for an additional two years (from 1984 to 1986). Alongside animated seriesSpider-Manthe 1981 , Amazing Friends was later re-aired in the late 1980s as part of the 90 minute Marvel Action Universe (not to be confused with 1977's The Marvel Action Universe), a syndicated series that was used as a platform for old and new Marvel-produced animated fare (the newer programming featured RoboCop: The Animated Series, Dino-Riders and on occasion “X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men”, which was intended to serve as a pilot for a potential X-Men animated series).
In the second season, the show was aired along with a newly produced Hulk animated series as The Incredible Hulk and the Amazing Spider-Man. The two shows shared one intro which showcased the new title. Stan Lee began narrating the episodes in the second season. Narrations by Stan Lee were added to the first season episodes at this time so that the series seemed cohesive. These narrations (for the first and second season) are not on the current masters. They have not aired since the NBC airings. (As seen on the Stan Lee narration list at Spider-Friends.com)
For the third season, there was another title change. This time the characters' names would be reversed and the show was called, The Amazing Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk. It remained that way for most of the remaining years. NBC did air the show individually in mid-season (post 1986) after it was not initially announced for their fall schedule. Only some of the Stan Lee narrations for the third season are on the current masters. The missing narrations have not aired since the NBC airings.
Peter Parker (Spider-Man), Bobby Drake (Iceman), and Angelica Jones (Firestar) are all college students at Empire State University. After working together to defeat the Beetle and recovering the "Power Booster" he stole from Tony Stark (a.k.a. Iron Man) the trio decide to team-up permanently as the "Spider-Friends". They live together in Peter's Aunt May's home with her and a pet dog, Ms. Lion, (adopted from Firestar) a Lhasa Apso. Together, the superheroes battle various supervillains.
Some stories featured team-ups with other characters from the Marvel Universe, including Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Sunfire, and the mid-1970s X-Men.
A number of characters in the series were original characters that did not appear in the comics prior to the premiere of the series:
One of the series' main characters, Firestar was created specifically for this series when the Human Torch was unavailable (due to licensing issues). The original plan was for Spider-Man to have fire and ice based teammates, so Angelica Jones/Firestar was created. Her pre-production names included Heatwave, Starblaze, and Firefly.
Firestar makes her debut in Marvel's mainstream comic book universe in Uncanny X-Men #193 (May 1985). She appears as a member of the Hellions, a group of teenage mutants who functioned as rivals to the New Mutants (a similar group under the tutelage of Charles Xavier).
A college professor at the Spider-Friends' university, Hiawatha Smith is the son of the heroic chief of the Native American nations that fought against the Axis during World War II. His father passed down to his son the mystic knowledge of their people and a map leading to a vast Nazi treasure of wealth and advanced technology sought by the Red Skull. Hiawatha Smith's home is adorned with decorations from various cultures including Hindu and native African tribes and he often employs a boomerang in battle. Producer and story editor Dennis Marks created the character and admits to basing him on Indiana Jones.
Lightwave's real name is Aurora Dante. Like her half-brother Bobby Drake (a.k.a. the superhero Iceman), Lightwave is a mutant. She can manipulate and control light. Her other light-based powers include laser blasts, photonic force fields and solid light pressor beams. She can also transform herself into light; in such a form, she is able to exist in the vacuum of outer space.
Lightwave's only appearance was in "Save the GuardStar", the final episode of the 1980s cartoon. She is voiced by Marlene Aragon. Bobby Drake explains his heretofore unknown sister as merely a half-sister; they share the same mother.
An agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., Lightwave is considered a traitor, due to mind control by rogue S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Buzz Mason. Mason induces Lightwave to steal assorted devices to create a "quantum enhancer" which would increase her powers 1,000 times. With such power, Lightwave would be able to control the GuardStar satellite which orbits the Earth and controls all defense systems and communications systems for the United States. Mason expects world conquest since he controls Lightwave.
Iceman, Firestar, and Spider-Man attempt to stop Lightwave. However, she is powerful enough to defeat them. Aboard a space vessel, Buzz Mason forces Iceman into outer space, dooming Iceman if he remains there for long. Spider-Man convinces Lightwave to realize that the half-brother she loves is in mortal danger. Her reaction breaks Mason's control over her, and she saves Iceman and disables Mason long enough for Spider-Man to subdue him.
Presumably, with Mason's role realized, S.H.I.E.L.D. restores Lightwave's good standing. As this is Lightwave's only appearance, her fate is unknown.
Videoman is an intangible being that is mostly composed of electronic data gleaned from a video arcade. Videoman makes three appearances in the series, the first two times as a supervillain and the third time as a superhero.
In Season 1, Videoman first appeared as a creature created by Electro. Its abilities include moving through and manipulating electronic circuits and projecting pulses of energy. Videoman is used by Electro to suck in and entrap Spider-Man, Flash Thompson, Firestar and Iceman into a video game display where Electro attempts to destroy the four. However, Flash is able to save himself and the others by escaping through the monitor and into Electro's electronic components to save the others. This first villainous version of Videoman makes one other appearance in Season 2's "Origin of Ice-Man", with the additional abilities of bringing video game characters to life and draining the unique bio-energy of mutants, temporarily suppressing Iceman's powers and weakening Firestar, as well as being able to emulate their powers for its own use. This time, Videoman is defeated when the Spider-friends trick it and its video game minions into attacking one another.
In the Season 3 episode "The Education Of A Superhero", Francis Byte is an avid videogame player who is especially engrossed into gaining the high score on "Zellman Command" at the local arcade. However, when the Gamesman sends a hypnotic signal that entrances over 300,000 people in the city (with the exception of Francis' girlfriend Louise, Spider-Man and Firestar), the signal does not affect Francis' mind, which is distracted from entrancement by Louise and the game; after Louise walks away after having her pleas being shrugged off by Francis, he (unbeknownst to any others) plays the arcade machine so hard that it and other arcade machines (most of which are emitting the hypnotic waves) explode. The explosion causes Francis to be turned into Videoman. Finding out that he can turn into his new alter-ego at will, Videoman, however, is completely inexperienced with his handling of such powerful abilities; he tries to help the trio (which has awakened Iceman from his trance) against a hypnotized mob, but they repel his offers due to his inexperience. He then tries to save Louise from the Gamesman, but is then easily bribed into manipulating a military communications satellite system in return for Louise's freedom, an offer that is then reneged upon by the Gamesman. Enraged at the trickery, Videoman helps Spider-Man and the others to free Louise and also reverses his stoppage of the military computer. After the Gamesman is defeated, Francis accepts an invitation to join the X-Men, while Louise accepts him and his abilities. This is the last appearance of Videoman in the series.
Scenes from Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends and The Incredible Hulk were re-cut, edited, and re-dubbed into comical shorts as part of Disney XD's Marvel Mash-Up shorts for their "Marvel Universe on Disney XD" block of programming that includes Ultimate Spider-Man and The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
The Complete Seasons 1-3 box set has been released in the UK. This release did not include any of the Stan Lee narrations from the first or second season. Only some of the Stan Lee narrations were in the third season. The first lot of releases by Liberation Entertainment have gone out of print, due to Liberation Films going into bankruptcy, however Clear Vision re-released all 3 seasons on DVD in 2010. The disks are in Region 2, PAL format.
No Region 1 release is planned at this time.
The series became available for instant streaming via Netflix during the Summer of 2011.
In January 2009, IGN named Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends as the 59th best in the Top 100 Animated Series.
The first comic book that directly referenced the Amazing Friends show was Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends #1 (December 1981), a one-shot that adapted the pilot episode, "The Triumph of the Green Goblin". Though the comic version altered the story to bring it in line with established Marvel Universe continuity (such as making the Green Goblin identity a costume as in the comics, rather than a physical transformation as in the episode), it was not considered part of said continuity. It is notable as the first appearance of Firestar in a Marvel Comics story, though the version of Firestar that exists within Marvel continuity would not appear until Uncanny X-Men #193 (May 1985).
The story was reprinted in England in late 1983 in the weekly Marvel UK title Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. It was reprinted in the U.S. as Marvel Action Universe #1 (January 1989), released to coincide with the airing of Amazing Friends reruns on the television series of the same name.
After her aforementioned initial appearance, the Marvel Comics version of Firestar debuted in the pages of Uncanny X-Men #193 as part of Emma Frost's Hellions team. Firestar was given an origin story in a self-titled mini-series (March – June 1986). The character went on to be a founding member of the New Warriors, and later a member of the Avengers.
To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the show, Marvel released Spider-Man Family: Amazing Friends #1 on August 9, 2006. The comic starts with an all-new story, "Opposites Attack", which is officially set before Web of Spider-Man #75. After that is a Mini Marvel tale titled Spider-Man And His Amazing
Friends Co-Workers (note that the strikethrough of "Friends" was a deliberate inclusion in the title). Both stories were written by Sean McKeever.
The remainder of the one-shot is composed of reprints of Untold Tales of Spider-Man #2 and Spider-Man 2099 #2.
While this story is not in continuity with the cartoon, it is filled with various in-jokes to aspects of the show, such as Firestar believing Wolverine to be Australian, a reference to an out-of-character voice choice for Wolverine in the episode "A Firestar Is Born". It is the first-ever appearance of the show's most recurring villain, Videoman, in a Marvel comic.
In the story, Iceman has recently returned to the X-Men (after he and the other members of the original X-Factor had disbanded to rejoin their original team), but he is taking a break from both the team and his current girlfriend. After he and Spider-Man team up to save a video arcade from Videoman, they take a lunch break on the side of a building (Spider-Man hanging from his web and Iceman sitting in an ice chair) and are joined by Firestar. Iceman is dismissive of Firestar as a "newbie", as the story takes place in the same year as Firestar's public debut as a member of the New Warriors, while Iceman and Spider-Man have had significant careers as heroes at that point. Though Spider-Man, having met the Warriors, warns Iceman that Firestar is "no slouch", Firestar takes offense and melts Iceman's chair. As Iceman uses his powers to break his fall, Firestar kisses Spider-Man on the cheek as a thank-you for standing up for her. This ends up costing Spidey, as his wife Mary Jane makes him sleep on the couch, angry after seeing the kiss on the evening news.
That night, while out on patrol (and trying to work out the kinks in his body caused by the couch), Spider-Man again encounters both Firestar and Iceman. The two mutants briefly quarrel again until the web-slinger spots the Beetle carrying the loot from a robbery, prompting the three heroes to "go for it" and face the criminal. The unseen battle ends with the heroes lamenting the Beetle's escape, which devolves into another argument between Iceman and Firestar (apparently, their powers counteracting each other's contributed to their failure).
Mistaking the pair's quarreling for an act of romantic affection, Spider-Man is determined to play matchmaker (despite Mary Jane's misgivings when he tells her his plan). He initially succeeds (despite another brief argument during their arranged "first date"), and a three-week whirlwind romance ensues. However, after another encounter with Videoman, Spider-Man's suggestion of a permanent team-up leads to trouble when Iceman's egotism sparks a fight between the amorous couple. When Spider-Man tries to interfere, Iceman and Firestar turn their attention towards him, seeming to recall his role in bringing them together. As a result, Peter Parker ends up with a cold (and back on the couch), and Mary Jane heckles his matchmaking skills while caring for her sick husband.
It seems that Mini Spidey has been "slacking", as boss J. Jonah Jameson puts it, on the job as delivery boy for the Daily Bugle, due to his obsession with a portable video game starring the Incredible Hulk. Despite Spidey's protests, Jameson assigns him a pair of new partners to get him "back on track" — Bobby (Iceman) and Angel (Firestar). Bobby and Angel pointlessly go through their transformation sequences (as per the TV show), despite both already being in costume, much to Spidey's annoyance.
Due to the pair's idealistic dedication to their new job (as opposed to Spidey's near-apathy), Bobby and Angel deliver the papers in record time. So Spidey decides to slack off again, by claiming he has a "really important battle to fight" (later claiming that his opponent is Doc Ock on three separate occasions). While the other "Spider-Friends" perform so well that Jameson triples their route, Spidey finally beats the level boss that had been blocking his progress in the video game — that boss being a giant, pistol-wielding Ms. Lion.
Just as Spidey defeats the dreaded Ms. Lion, Bobby and Angel return and explain that Spidey's claims of fighting super-villains had sparked a desire to do so themselves. Thus, they quit their delivery job to follow their new partner in crimefighting— as "Hawkeye and His Amazing Friends"! Spidey is left with a huge amount of papers to deliver and his prospects for new partners looking grim, as he doubtfully interviews Ghost Rider for the position.
An arc in Ultimate Spider-Man is titled "Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends" and issue #118's cover, showing Spider-Man, Iceman and Firestar, is a homage to the series title screen. Johnny Storm and Kitty Pryde are also said to be members of the team. However, instead of Angelica Jones, Firestar is Liz Allan. Since then, in Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man, Spidey, Iceman, and the Human Torch have begun living together at Aunt May's house and have been working as a team as another homage to the series (because Liz, as Firestar, was a member of the X-Men in this continuity; this team roster also reflects the original intent of Amazing Friends to use the Human Torch before licensing issues forced the creation of Firestar).
In 2007's Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe—Spider-Man: Back in Black one-shot, the villain Videoman is given a brief biography from his "retcon" appearance in the Spider-Man Family one-shot. There is also an annotation describing an "Earth 8107", where an alternate reality Videoman was created by Electro to battle that world's Spider-Man. Later, in the same reality, Francis Byte is mutated by an exploding arcade console to become a new Videoman, and later "possibly" join the X-Men. Essentially, this places the events of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends — or at the very least, the episodes "Videoman" and "The Education of a Superhero" — in an alternate-Earth continuity of the Marvel Comics Multiverse.
The Green Goblin is the alias of several fictional characters that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The first and most high-profile of which is Norman Osborn. Norman Osborn as the Green Goblin first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #14, and was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. In 2009 Norman Osborn was also ranked as IGN's 13th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time. Comics journalist and historian Mike Conroy writes of the character: "Of all the costumed villains who've plagued Spider-Man over the years, the most flat-out unhinged and terrifying of them all is the Green Goblin."
According to Steve Ditko, the Green Goblin, as we know him, was entirely his creation. He claims:
The Green Goblin debuted in The Amazing Spider-Man #14. At this time his identity was unknown, but he proved popular and reappeared in later issues, which made a point of his secret identity. Apparently, Lee and Ditko disagreed on who he should be. According to one theory, Lee always wanted him to be someone Peter Parker knew, while Ditko wanted him to be a stranger, feeling this was closer to real life. Ditko has refuted this rumor, however, claiming:
Ditko left the series with issue #38, before he could reveal the Goblin's identity, and Lee subsequently unmasked him in the next issue as Norman Osborn, a character who had been introduced two issues earlier as the father of Harry Osborn. John Romita, Sr., who replaced Ditko as the title's artist, recalls:
After the Green Goblin killed Peter Parker's girlfriend Gwen Stacy, writer Gerry Conway decided that the Goblin had to pay a heavy price. Osborn accidentally caused his own death in the course of a fight against Spider-Man. Others, such as Harry Osborn, later adopted the Green Goblin identity, and writer Roger Stern later introduced the Hobgoblin to replace the Green Goblin as Spider-Man's archenemy.
Norman Osborn is the main character connected with the alias, who developed the equipment used by the other Goblins.
Harry, Norman's son, becomes the second Green Goblin. After being defeated and placed under the care of Dr. Bart Hamilton, Harry while under hypnosis reveals many Goblin secrets and Hamilton decides to become the third Green Goblin. Harry recovers, and fights Hamilton, until an explosion renders Harry amnesiac of his time as the Goblin and kills Hamilton. Years later Harry's memories return and he uses a new stronger Goblin serum to augment his power, but dies from it. Harry would later return thanks to the machinations of Mephisto in "One More Day".
Dr. Barton "Bart" Hamilton was a psychologist, born in Scarsdale, New York. Before his death, Harry is put under the medical care of Dr. Hamilton, who manages to make Harry bury his vendetta and identity as the Goblin in his subconscious via hypnosis. Unfortunately, Dr. Hamilton wants to use Harry's secrets to become the third Green Goblin. However, his power was no match for his enthusiasm — he never even bothered to use the strength-enhancing formulas on himself, seemingly believing that just being the Green Goblin would enable him to defeat Spider-Man-, and, despite an elaborate plot to kill Silvermane, the underpowered amateur is confronted by Harry Osborn who has resumed the Goblin identity to stop him. They battle and Hamilton is accidentally killed by a bomb with which he meant to kill Spider-Man, and Harry becomes amnesiac. Years later there was speculation that Hamilton was the Hobgoblin but this is disproved.
A Green Goblin that was presumably Hamilton appeared as a member of the second incarnation of the Legion of the Unliving, created by the Grandmaster. After being pitted against the Avengers, the group and their master were vanquished by Death.
Harry's insanity relapses and he becomes the Green Goblin again on numerous occasions, until he dies from the side effects of a modified Goblin serum. His equipment and the identity of the Green Goblin are then briefly used by Philip Benjamin "Phil" Urich (nephew of Ben Urich of the Daily Bugle), who tries to gain a reputation as a superhero, although he is sometimes seen as being as maniacal as his villainous predecessors. When his equipment is damaged during a battle against a Sentinel in the Onslaught crossover, Phil is unable to repair or replace it and the fourth Green Goblin thereafter retires. He later forms the team Excelsior. Currently Phil has become the new Hobgoblin. In the MC2 alternate future, he resumes his career as the Green Goblin.
The Green Goblin is armed with a variety of bizarre devices. He travels on his bat-shaped "Goblin Glider", an incredibly fast and maneuverable rocket glider equipped with various armaments. Other weapons the Goblin uses include incendiary Pumpkin Bombs, smoke- and gas-emitting grenades resembling ghosts and jack-'o'-lanterns, razor-edged boomerang-like throwing weapons, resembling bats, and gloves woven with micro-circuited filaments which channel pulsed discharges of electricity at nearly 10,000 volts. He wears a green costume underneath bulletproof chainmail with an overlapping purple tunic. His mask has a built-in gas filter to keep him safe from his own gasses.
The Goblin Glider's controls and microprocessor are located behind the head of the glider. The pilot is attached to the glider via electromagnetic clasps on the wings of the glider. It has great maneuverability and is steered mostly by leaning, but manual controls are available behind the head of the glider. The Green Goblin later added radio-linked voice controls to his mask. Its top speed is 90 miles per hour (140 km/h), and it can support about 400 lb (180 kg), though it could lift far more for brief periods. Flying at top speed with a full load and a full fuel tank would deplete its fuel supply in about an hour.
The glider possesses a wide array of armaments, including heat-seeking and smart missiles, machine guns, extending blades, a flamethrower and a pumpkin bomb dispenser/launcher.
A grenade used by the Green Goblin, the Pumpkin Bomb resembles a miniature Jack-o'-lantern and, when thrown ignites almost soundlessly and produces enough heat to melt through a 3-inch (76 mm) thick sheet of steel. The Goblin carries these and a variety of other weapons in a shoulder bag he calls his "Bag Of Tricks". The Green Goblin has a range of other "Pumpkin Bombs" at his disposal, including smoke-and gas-emitting bombs. Some release hallucinogenic gases, while others emit a specially created mixture that neutralizes Spider-Man's spider-sense for a limited period of time. All of these are covered in a light plastic mantle that flutters like a ghost when thrown.
It was revealed that soon after Norman had Stromm arrested for embezzlement, he had found only a portion of the notes detailing his partner's serum. Norman tests the incomplete version of the serum on an Oscorp employee named Nels Van Adder, driving Van Adder slowly insane and beginning his transformation into a red, demon-like being known as the "Proto-Goblin". Killing several people and blaming Norman for what has happened to him, Adder proceeds to harass and later attempts to kill him before being knocked out a window in Oscorp by Arthur and George Stacy and fleeing into the wild. In order to escape conviction for what he had done to Van Adder, Norman convinces the police that Van Adder had been experimenting on himself, and that he had secretly been trying to help him. Van Adder's current fate remains unrevealed.
As well as endowing Adder with super strength and agility, the Goblin Serum also gave him large claws, talons, fangs, glowing green eyes, and near impenetrable red skin (capable of withstanding several close range bullet shots).
The Proto-Goblin appears as a boss in Spider-Man: Battle for New York.
Another Oscorp employee, Doctor David Patrick Lowell worked in the Osborn Chemical Company division, where his main project was a type of "super fertilizer" that could increase the solar absorption and growth rate of flora. After being passed over for a promotion, an irritated Lowell showed Osborn his work, and Osborn, noticing Lowell's chemical was uncannily similar to the Goblin Formula, immediately fired him and ordered all his work terminated. As his life's work was being destroyed by Oscorp employees, an enraged Lowell tried to fight them off, only to become drenched in his formula and be knocked into a wall of solar lamps. The combination of the Goblin Serum-esque chemical and the electricity caused Lowell to mutate into a light-based being dubbed "Sundown". After going on a rampage through New York, Sundown was ultimately defeated and imprisoned by Spider-Man and several other heroes.
After being incarcerated for ten years, Sundown was released from prison, but was blackmailed back into supervillainy shortly afterward by mob boss Lucky Lobo. Eventually turning against Lobo, Sundown, with Spider-Man's help, was able to expose his crimes. Afterward, Sundown declined Spider-Man's offer of becoming a superhero, in favor of a normal life.
Gabriel, the son of Norman and Gwen Stacy, became the sixth Green Goblin known as the Grey Goblin. Born after Osborn's enhancements, Gabriel already had improved physical abilities and aged rapidly. After taking a dose of Goblin serum, Gabriel becomes a physical powerhouse, but goes completely insane, thus becoming the Grey Goblin. After crash landing in a battle with Spider-Man and his twin sister, Gabriel suffers severe amnesia. His sister, Sarah, takes Gabriel to Paris, but he soon escapes.
Menace is Harry Osborn's ex-girlfriend Lilly Hollister. She has used the Goblin technology since being exposed to a new version of the Goblin serum that grants the ability to physically transform at will. Menace is in a relationship with Norman Osborn and is believed to be pregnant with his child. However, it is later reveals through an analysis, that though the child still has a biological relation to Norman, however the father is Harry, whom he named Stanley. Menace remains unaware of her child's true paternity.
An offshoot of the Scriers cult founded by Norman, consisting of only his most loyal followers.
Following Norman Osborn's rise and fall from power, a number of Goblin Gangs sprang up across America. Composed mostly of white supremacists who agreed with his plans to remove the Asgardians from the country, they wear purple clothes, green face makeup and have goblin-based tattoos. Vin Gonzales was revealed to have received one of these tattoos while in prison when he passed a message from Norman to Harry about Stanley, Harry's newborn son.
As a fictional character, the Green Goblin has appeared in a number of media, from comic books to films and television series. Each version of the character is typically established within its own continuity within parallel universes, to the point where distinct differences in the portrayal of the character can be identified. Various versions of the Goblin are depicted in works such as Marvel's Ultimate line and Earth X.
The Green Goblin has appeared in many Spider-Man related media.
Supervising Producer Bob Richardson
Spider-Man, also known as Spider-Man: The Animated Series, was an American animated television series based on the Marvel Comics superhero, Spider-Man. The show ran on Fox Kids from November 19, 1994, to January 31, 1998. The producer/story editor was John Semper, Jr. and the production company was Marvel Films Animation. The instrumental theme song for the series (including the lyrics) was performed by Joe Perry of Aerosmith. Reruns can currently be seen for free at Marvel.com.
The series focuses on Spider-Man and his alter ego Peter Parker during his college years at Empire State University. As the story begins, Peter has already gained his superpowers and is a part-time freelance photographer for the Daily Bugle. The show features most of Spider-Man's classic villains, including the Kingpin, the Green Goblin, the Lizard, the Scorpion, Doctor Octopus, Mysterio, Shocker, the Rhino, the Vulture, the Chameleon, and Venom. Over the course of the series the single Peter contends with the romantic love interests of Mary Jane Watson, Felicia Hardy and her alter ego, the Black Cat. The show also features appearances from various other Marvel superheroes including the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Daredevil, Blade, Doctor Strange, the Punisher, and Captain America.
While Marvel's X-Men animated series was being produced by Saban, Spider-Man was produced by the newly formed Marvel Films Animation; it was the only series that in-house studio produced, but was animated by Tokyo Movie Shinsha with Korean studios. The series is the second longest-running Marvel show created, after X-Men, as well as the longest-running series based on Spider-Man. The series was also known for its high level of censorship, with Spider-Man almost never throwing a punch and laser guns instead of real ones. It is currently owned and distributed by The Walt Disney Company, which acquired all Fox Kids-related properties from News Corporation and Saban International in 2001.
To reproduce New York City's style, background illustrators undertook a large amount of visual research by using photo archives from above New York, particularly rooftops. Maps were consulted for references and buildings were faithfully reproduced.
It has been reported that the animation cels depicting Manhattan's Pan Am Building were scrapped after being complete because the California-based art staff learned the Midtown landmark had been given a new sign more than a year earlier.
The animation staff were directed to populate the city with cars and crowds on the street level. Semper believed that was one of the limitations of earlier Spider-Man animated projects.
Originally, Marvel Films planned to make the backgrounds completely CGI while Spider-Man 'webslinged' around New York, yet due to budget constraints were forced to use traditional cel based animation while occasionally using CGI backgrounds. As well, reuse of animation became more common as the series progressed, which also included reuse of animation involving a character speaking (these scenes were sometimes slowed down in order to better match the actor's voice to the animation).
Spider-Man was one of the most popular TV series on Fox Kids, ranking with the programming block's other hit shows such as X-Men, Power Rangers and Batman: The Animated Series. Its ultimate cancellation after 65 episodes was not due to ratings trouble, but due to disagreements between executive producer Avi Arad and network head Margaret Loesch.
Even after the series ended, it still had an impact on the entertainment industry, boosting sales of myriad Spider-Man merchandise and popularity. The show was named the 84th best animated series by IGN.
Three comics based on the series were produced:
A number of video games based on the series were also produced:
Electronic versions of classic Spider-Man comics were released by Marvel that included narration by Christopher Daniel Barnes and featured animation and theme music from this series. Spider-Man novels inspired by selected episodes were also released. A wide variety of themed merchandise (lunch boxes, cereals, clothing, etc.) was produced. McDonald's produced a themed line of Happy Meal toys for the show. However, this paled in comparison to the extensive official toy line that ran over eight series, and included a staggering amount of play sets and vehicles and actually lasted longer than the television series itself.
Despite the fact that the show ended in 1998, the success of the live-action filmsSpider-Man have sparked more interest in new fans, allowing the series to air in reruns due to its new owners: Disney.
As of February 2012, Marvel.com has uploaded every episode for streaming purposes, and they have been up since 2009.
The entire series was available for instant streaming on Netflix until June 30, 2013. It is currently available as part of Amazon Prime Instant Video.
During the series' run, some episodes were released on VHS. These were from Fox Home Entertainment.
In the late 1990s, another selection of VHS compilations were released by Marvel Films/New World Entertainment (these tapes were distributed in Canada by Telegenic Entertainment). These releases featured episodes edited into 70-80 minute movies based on the particular story arc.
To date, the only DVD releases of the series in the U.S. have been several volume sets from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment that feature 4-5 episodes each.
In the UK, Sweden, and Germany, Clear Vision Ltd. has released all five seasons on DVD as of October 19, 2009.
Bootleg DVDs of the show have become popular among fans due to a lack of official DVD releases. The bootlegs feature all of the episodes but some of them have low video quality and watermarks. This is likely to change as the entire series becomes available in the UK. The series is currently the 16th most wanted unreleased DVD at TVShowsOnDVD.com. And Cookie Jar Entertainment.
Writer / Producer John Semper Jr. won an Annie Award in 1995 for Best Individual Achievement for Writing in the Field of Animation for the episode "Day of the Chameleon". Spider-Man was also nominated for one 1996 Image Award for Outstanding Animated/Live-Action/Dramatic Youth or Children's Series/Special.
Spider-Man is a fictional character, a comic book superhero who appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. In the comics Spider-Man is often referred to as "Spidey", "web-slinger", "wall-crawler", or "web-head". Created by writer-editor Stan Lee and writer-artist Steve Ditko, he first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962). Lee and Ditko conceived the character as an orphan being raised by his Aunt May and Uncle Ben, and as a teenager, having to deal with the normal struggles of adolescence in addition to those of a costumed crimefighter. Spider-Man's creators gave him super strength and agility, the ability to cling to most surfaces, shoot spider-webs using wrist-mounted devices of his own invention which he called "web-shooters", and react to danger quickly with his "spider-sense", enabling him to combat his foes.
When Spider-Man first appeared in the early 1960s, teenagers in superhero comic books were usually relegated to the role of sidekick to the protagonist. The Spider-Man series broke ground by featuring Peter Parker, a teenage high school student and person behind Spider-Man's secret identity to whose "self-obsessions with rejection, inadequacy, and loneliness" young readers could relate. Unlike previous teen heroes such as Bucky and Robin, Spider-Man did not benefit from being the protégé of any adult superhero mentors like Captain America and Batman, and thus had to learn for himself that "with great power there must also come great responsibility"—a line included in a text box in the final panel of the first Spider-Man story, but later retroactively attributed to his guardian, the late Uncle Ben.
Marvel has featured Spider-Man in several comic book series, the first and longest-lasting of which is titled The Amazing Spider-Man. Over the years, the Peter Parker character has developed from shy, nerdy high school student to troubled but outgoing college student, to married high school teacher to, in the late 2000s, a single freelance photographer, his most typical adult role. In the 2010s he joins the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, Marvel's flagship superhero teams. In December 2012 Peter Parker died while his mind was in the body of his enemy Doctor Octopus while Doctor Octopus lived on inside of Peter Parker's body as The Superior Spider-Man.
Spider-Man is one of the most popular and commercially successful superheroes. As Marvel's flagship character and company mascot, he has appeared in many forms of media, including several animated and live-action television shows, syndicated newspaper comic strips, and a series of films starring Tobey Maguire as the "friendly neighborhood" hero in the first three movies. Andrew Garfield has taken over the role of Spider-Man in a reboot of the films. Reeve Carney stars as Spider-Man in the 2010 Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. Spider-Man placed 3rd on IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time in 2011.
In 1962, with the success of the Fantastic Four, Marvel Comics editor and head writer Stan Lee was casting about for a new superhero idea. He said the idea for Spider-Man arose from a surge in teenage demand for comic books, and the desire to create a character with whom teens could identify.:1 In his autobiography, Lee cites the non-superhuman pulp magazine crime fighter the Spider (see also The Spider's Web and The Spider Returns) as a great influence,:130 and in a multitude of print and video interviews, Lee stated he was further inspired by seeing a spider climb up a wall—adding in his autobiography that he has told that story so often he has become unsure of whether or not this is true. Looking back on the creation of Spider-Man, 1990s Marvel editor-in-chief Tom DeFalco stated he did not believe that Spider-Man would have been given a chance in today's comics world, where new characters are vetted with test audiences and marketers.:9 At that time, however, Lee had to get only the consent of Marvel publisher Martin Goodman for the character's approval.:9 In a 1986 interview, Lee described in detail his arguments to overcome Goodman's objections. Goodman eventually agreed to let Lee try out Spider-Man in the upcoming final issue of the canceled science-fiction and supernatural anthology series Amazing Adult Fantasy, which was renamed Amazing Fantasy for that single issue, #15 (Aug. 1962).:95
Comics historian Greg Theakston says that Lee, after receiving Goodman's approval for the name Spider-Man and the "ordinary teen" concept, approached artist Jack Kirby. Kirby told Lee about an unpublished character on which he collaborated with Joe Simon in the 1950s, in which an orphaned boy living with an old couple finds a magic ring that granted him superhuman powers. Lee and Kirby "immediately sat down for a story conference" and Lee afterward directed Kirby to flesh out the character and draw some pages. Steve Ditko would be the inker. When Kirby showed Lee the first six pages, Lee recalled, "I hated the way he was doing it! Not that he did it badly—it just wasn't the character I wanted; it was too heroic".:12 Lee turned to Ditko, who developed a visual style Lee found satisfactory. Ditko recalled:
Although the interior artwork was by Ditko alone, Lee rejected Ditko's cover art and commissioned Kirby to pencil a cover that Ditko inked. As Lee explained in 2010, "I think I had Jack sketch out a cover for it because I always had a lot of confidence in Jack's covers."
In an early recollection of the character's creation, Ditko described his and Lee's contributions in a mail interview with Gary Martin published in Comic Fan #2 (Summer 1965): "Stan Lee thought the name up. I did costume, web gimmick on wrist & spider signal." At the time, Ditko shared a Manhattan studio with noted fetish artist Eric Stanton, an art-school classmate who, in a 1988 interview with Theakston, recalled that although his contribution to Spider-Man was "almost nil", he and Ditko had "worked on storyboards together and I added a few ideas. But the whole thing was created by Steve on his own... I think I added the business about the webs coming out of his hands".:14
Kirby disputed Lee's version of the story, and claimed Lee had minimal involvement in the character's creation. According to Kirby, the idea for Spider-Man had originated with Kirby and Joe Simon, who in the 1950s had developed a character called the Silver Spider for the Crestwood Publications comic Black Magic, who was subsequently not used. Simon, in his 1990 autobiography, disputed Kirby's account, asserting that Black Magic was not a factor, and that he (Simon) devised the name "Spider-Man" (later changed to "The Silver Spider"), while Kirby outlined the character's story and powers. Simon later elaborated that his and Kirby's character conception became the basis for Simon's Archie Comics superhero the Fly. Artist Steve Ditko stated that Lee liked the name Hawkman from DC Comics, and that "Spider-Man" was an outgrowth of that interest.
Simon concurred that Kirby had shown the original Spider-Man version to Lee, who liked the idea and assigned Kirby to draw sample pages of the new character but disliked the results—in Simon's description, "Captain America with cobwebs". Writer Mark Evanier notes that Lee's reasoning that Kirby's character was too heroic seems unlikely—Kirby still drew the covers for Amazing Fantasy #15 and the first issue of The Amazing Spider-Man. Evanier also disputes Kirby's given reason that he was "too busy" to also draw Spider-Man in addition to his other duties since Kirby was, said Evanier, "always busy".:127 Neither Lee's nor Kirby's explanation explains why key story elements like the magic ring were dropped; Evanier states that the most plausible explanation for the sudden change was that Goodman, or one of his assistants, decided that Spider-Man as drawn and envisioned by Kirby was too similar to the Fly.:127
Author and Ditko scholar Blake Bell writes that it was Ditko who noted the similarities to the Fly. Ditko recalled that, "Stan called Jack about the Fly", adding that "[d]ays later, Stan told me I would be penciling the story panel breakdowns from Stan's synopsis". It was at this point that the nature of the strip changed. "Out went the magic ring, adult Spider-Man and whatever legend ideas that Spider-Man story would have contained". Lee gave Ditko the premise of a teenager bitten by a spider and developing powers, a premise Ditko would expand upon to the point he became what Bell describes as "the first work for hire artist of his generation to create and control the narrative arc of his series". On the issue of the initial creation, Ditko states, "I still don't know whose idea was Spider-Man". Kirby noted in a 1971 interview that it was Ditko who "got Spider-Man to roll, and the thing caught on because of what he did". Lee, while claiming credit for the initial idea, has acknowledged Ditko's role, stating, "If Steve wants to be called co-creator, I think he deserves [it]". Writer Al Nickerson believes "that Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created the Spider-Man that we are familiar with today [but that] ultimately, Spider-Man came into existence, and prospered, through the efforts of not just one or two, but many, comic book creators".
In 2008, an anonymous donor bequeathed the Library of Congress the original 24 pages of Ditko art of Amazing Fantasy #15, including Spider-Man's debut and the stories "The Bell-Ringer", "Man in the Mummy Case", and "There Are Martians Among Us".
The character first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15 which was published in June 1962 (though with a cover date of August). A few months after Spider-Man's introduction in Amazing Fantasy #15 (Aug. 1962), publisher Martin Goodman reviewed the sales figures for that issue and was shocked to find it to have been one of the nascent Marvel's highest-selling comics.:97 A solo ongoing series followed, beginning with The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (March 1963). The title eventually became Marvel's top-selling series:211 with the character swiftly becoming a cultural icon; a 1965 Esquire poll of college campuses found that college students ranked Spider-Man and fellow Marvel hero the Hulk alongside Bob Dylan and Che Guevara as their favorite revolutionary icons. One interviewee selected Spider-Man because he was "beset by woes, money problems, and the question of existence. In short, he is one of us.":223 Following Ditko's departure after issue #38 (July 1966), John Romita, Sr. replaced him as penciler and would draw the series for the next several years. In 1968, Romita would also draw the character's extra-length stories in the comics magazine The Spectacular Spider-Man, a proto-graphic novel designed to appeal to older readers. It only lasted for two issues, but it represented the first Spider-Man spin-off publication, aside from the original series' summer annuals that began in 1964.
An early 1970s Spider-Man story led to the revision of the Comics Code. Previously, the Code forbade the depiction of the use of illegal drugs, even negatively. However, in 1970, the Nixon administration's Department of Health, Education, and Welfare asked Stan Lee to publish an anti-drug message in one of Marvel's top-selling titles.:239 Lee chose the top-selling issues #96–98The Amazing Spider-Man; (May–July 1971) feature a story arc depicting the negative effects of drug use. In the story, Peter Parker's friend Harry Osborn becomes addicted to pills. When Spider-Man fights the Green Goblin (Norman Osborn, Harry's father), Spider-Man defeats the Green Goblin, by revealing Harry's drug addiction. While the story had a clear anti-drug message, the Comics Code Authority refused to issue its seal of approval. Marvel nevertheless published the three issues without the Comics Code Authority's approval or seal. The issues sold so well that the industry's self-censorship was undercut and the Code was subsequently revised.:239
In 1972, a second monthly ongoing series starring Spider-Man began: Marvel Team-Up, in which Spider-Man was paired with other superheroes and villains. From that point on there have generally been at least two ongoing Spider-Man series at any time. In 1976, his second solo series, Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man began running parallel to the main series. A third series featuring Spider-Man, Web of Spider-Man, launched in 1985 to replace Marvel Team-Up. The launch of a fourth monthly title in 1990, the "adjectiveless" Spider-Man (with the storyline "Torment"), written and drawn by popular artist Todd McFarlane, debuted with several different covers, all with the same interior content. The various versions combined sold over 3 million copies, an industry record at the time. Several limited series, one-shots, and loosely related comics have also been published, and Spider-Man makes frequent cameos and guest appearances in other comic series.:279 In 1996 The Sensational Spider-Man was created to replace Web of Spider-Man.
In 1998 writer-artist John Byrne revamped the origin of Spider-Man in the 13-issue limited series Spider-Man: Chapter One (Dec. 1998 - Oct. 1999), similar to Byrne's adding details and some revisions to Superman's origin in DC Comics' The Man of Steel. At the same time the original The Amazing Spider-Man was ended with issue #441 (Nov. 1998), and The Amazing Spider-Man was restarted with vol. 2, #1 (Jan. 1999). In 2003 Marvel reintroduced the original numbering for The Amazing Spider-Man and what would have been vol. 2, #59 became issue #500 (Dec. 2003).
When primary series The Amazing Spider-Man reached issue #545 (Dec. 2007), Marvel dropped its spin-off ongoing series and instead began publishing The Amazing Spider-Man three times monthly, beginning with #546-549 (all January 2008). The three times monthly scheduling of The Amazing Spider-Man lasted until November 2010 when the comic book was increased from 22 pages to 30 pages each issue and published only twice a month, beginning with #648-649 (all November 2010). The following year (November 2011) Marvel started publishing Avenging Spider-Man as the first spin-off ongoing series in addition to the still twice monthly The Amazing Spider-Man since the previous ones were cancelled at the end of 2007. The Amazing series ends with issue #700, with the villain Doctor Octopus, having taken over Spider-Man's body, to be featured in a new series titled The Superior Spider-Man.
In Forest Hills, Queens, New York City, high school student Peter Parker is a science-whiz orphan living with his Uncle Ben and Aunt May. As depicted in Amazing Fantasy #15 (Aug. 1962), he is bitten by a radioactive spider (erroneously classified as an insect in the panel) at a science exhibit and "acquires the agility and proportionate strength of an arachnid." Along with super strength, he gains the ability to adhere to walls and ceilings. Through his native knack for science, he develops a gadget that lets him fire adhesive webbing of his own design through small, wrist-mounted barrels. Initially seeking to capitalize on his new abilities, he dons a costume and, as "Spider-Man", becomes a novelty television star. However, "He blithely ignores the chance to stop a fleeing thief, [and] his indifference ironically catches up with him when the same criminal later robs and kills his Uncle Ben." Spider-Man tracks and subdues the killer and learns, in the story's next-to-last caption, "With great power there must also come—great responsibility!"
Despite his superpowers, Parker struggles to help his widowed aunt pay rent, is taunted by his peers—particularly football star Flash Thompson—and, as Spider-Man, engenders the editorial wrath of newspaper publisher J. Jonah Jameson. As he battles his enemies for the first time, Parker finds juggling his personal life and costumed adventures difficult. In time, Peter graduates from high school, and enrolls at Empire State University (a fictional institution evoking the real-life Columbia University and New York University), where he meets roommate and best friend Harry Osborn, and girlfriend Gwen Stacy, and Aunt May introduces him to Mary Jane Watson. As Peter deals with Harry's drug problems, and Harry's father is revealed to be Spider-Man's nemesis the Green Goblin, Peter even attempts to give up his costumed identity for a while. Gwen Stacy's father, New York City Police detective captain George Stacy is accidentally killed during a battle between Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus (#90, Nov. 1970). In the course of his adventures Spider-Man has made a wide variety of friends and contacts within the superhero community, who often come to his aid when he faces problems that he cannot solve on his own.
In issue #121 (June 1973), the Green Goblin throws Gwen Stacy from a tower of either the Brooklyn Bridge (as depicted in the art) or the George Washington Bridge (as given in the text). She dies during Spider-Man's rescue attempt; a note on the letters page of issue #125 states: "It saddens us to say that the whiplash effect she underwent when Spidey's webbing stopped her so suddenly was, in fact, what killed her." The following issue, the Goblin appears to accidentally kill himself in the ensuing battle with Spider-Man.
Working through his grief, Parker eventually develops tentative feelings toward Watson, and the two "become confidants rather than lovers". Parker graduates from college in issue #185, and becomes involved with the shy Debra Whitman and the extroverted, flirtatious costumed thief Felicia Hardy, the Black Cat, whom he meets in issue #194 (July 1979).
From 1984 to 1988, Spider-Man wore a black costume with a white spider design on his chest. The new costume originated in the Secret Wars limited series, on an alien planet where Spider-Man participates in a battle between Earth's major superheroes and villains. He continues wearing the costume when he returns from the Secret Wars, starting in The Amazing Spider-Man #252. Not unexpectedly, the change to a longstanding character's iconic design met with controversy, "with many hardcore comics fans decrying it as tantamount to sacrilege. Spider-Man's traditional red and blue costume was iconic, they argued, on par with those of his D.C. rivals Superman and Batman." The creators then revealed the costume was an alien symbiote which Spider-Man is able to reject after a difficult struggle, though the symbiote returns several times as Venom for revenge.
Parker proposes to Watson in The Amazing Spider-Man #290 (July 1987), and she accepts two issues later, with the wedding taking place in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21 (1987)—promoted with a real-life mock wedding using actors (with model Tara Shannon as Watson) at Shea Stadium, with Stan Lee officiating, on June 5, 1987. However, David Michelinie, who scripted based on a plot by editor-in-chief Jim Shooter, said in 2007, "I didn't think they actually should [have gotten] married. ... I had actually planned another version, one that wasn't used." In a controversial storyline, Peter becomes convinced that Ben Reilly, the Scarlet Spider (a clone of Peter created by his college professor Miles Warren) is the real Peter Parker, and that he, Peter, is the clone. Peter gives up the Spider-Man identity to Reilly for a time, until Reilly is killed by the returning Green Goblin and revealed to be the clone after all. In stories published in 2005 and 2006 (such as "The Other"), he develops additional spider-like abilities including biological web-shooters, toxic stingers that extend from his forearms, the ability to stick individuals to his back, enhanced Spider-sense and night vision, and increased strength and speed. Peter later becomes a member of the New Avengers, and reveals his civilian identity to the world, furthering his already numerous problems. His marriage to Mary Jane and public unmasking are later erased in the controversial storyline "One More Day", in a Faustian bargain with the demon Mephisto, resulting in several adjustments to the timeline, such as the resurrection of Harry Osborn, the erasure of Parker's marriage, and the return of his traditional tools and powers.
That storyline came at the behest of editor-in-chief Joe Quesada, who said, "Peter being single is an intrinsic part of the very foundation of the world of Spider-Man". It caused unusual public friction between Quesada and writer J. Michael Straczynski, who "told Joe that I was going to take my name off the last two issues of the [story] arc" but was talked out of doing so. At issue with Straczynski's climax to the arc, Quesada said, was
...that we didn't receive the story and methodology to the resolution that we were all expecting. What made that very problematic is that we had four writers and artists well underway on [the sequel arc] "Brand New Day" that were expecting and needed "One More Day" to end in the way that we had all agreed it would. ... The fact that we had to ask for the story to move back to its original intent understandably made Joe upset and caused some major delays and page increases in the series. Also, the science that Joe was going to apply to the retcon of the marriage would have made over 30 years of Spider-Man books worthless, because they never would have had happened. ...[I]t would have reset way too many things outside of the Spider-Man titles. We just couldn't go there....
Following the "reboot", Parker's identity was no longer known to the general public; however, he revealed it to his teammates in the New Avengers and his friends in the Fantastic Four, and others have deduced it. Parker's Aunt May married J. Jonah Jameson's father, Jay Jameson. Jonah himself has been elected Mayor of New York City, and Parker became an employee of the think-tank Horizon Labs.
In issue #700, after the dying supervillain Doctor Octopus has swapped bodies with him, Parker dies. However, the ending of The Superior Spider-Man #1 shows that Parker still exists within Doctor Octopus's mind and vows to find a way to return to his body, but Doctor Octopus learns of his presence in his mind and removes his presence to be completely free to control Parker's former body.
"People often say glibly that Marvel succeeded by blending super hero adventure stories with soap opera. What Lee and Ditko actually did in The Amazing Spider-Man was to make the series an ongoing novelistic chronicle of the lead character's life. Most super heroes had problems no more complex or relevant to their readers' lives than thwarting this month's bad guys.... Parker had far more serious concern in his life: coming to terms with the death of a loved one, falling in love for the first time, struggling to make a living, and undergoing crises of conscience."
As one contemporaneous journalist observed, "Spider-Man has a terrible identity problem, a marked inferiority complex, and a fear of women. He is anti-social, [sic] castration-ridden, racked with Oedipal guilt, and accident-prone ... [a] functioning neurotic". Agonizing over his choices, always attempting to do right, he is nonetheless viewed with suspicion by the authorities, who seem unsure as to whether he is a helpful vigilante or a clever criminal.
Notes cultural historian Bradford W. Wright,
The mid-1960s stories reflected the political tensions of the time, as early 1960s Marvel stories had often dealt with the Cold War and Communism.:220-223 As Wright observes,
Due to Spider-Man's popularity in the mainstream Marvel Universe, publishers have been able to introduce different variations of Spider-Man outside of mainstream comics as well as reimagined stories in many other multiversed spinoffs such as Ultimate Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2099, and Spider-Man: India. Marvel has also made its own parodies of Spider-Man in comics such as Not Brand Echh, which was published in the late 1960s and featured such characters as Peter Pooper alias Spidey-Man, and Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham, who appeared in the 1980s. The fictional character has also inspired a number of deratives such as a manga version of Spider-Man drawn by Japanese artist Ryoichi Ikegami as well as Hideshi Hino's The Bug Boy, which has been cited as inspired by Spider-Man. Also the French comic Télé-Junior published strips based on popular TV series. In the late 1970s, the publisher also produced original Spider-Man adventures. Artists included Gérald Forton, who later moved to America and worked for Marvel.
A bite from a radioactive spider on a school field trip causes a variety of changes in the body of Peter Parker and gives him superpowers. In the original Lee-Ditko stories, Spider-Man has the ability to cling to walls, superhuman strength, a sixth sense ("spider-sense") that alerts him to danger, perfect balance and equilibrium, as well as superhuman speed and agility. Some of his comic series have him shooting webs from his wrists. Brilliant, Parker excels in applied science, chemistry, and physics. The character was originally conceived by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko as intellectually gifted, but not a genius. However, later writers have depicted the character as a genius. With his talents, he sews his own costume to conceal his identity, and constructs many devices that complement his powers, most notably mechanical web-shooters. This mechanism ejects an advanced adhesive, releasing web-fluid in a variety of configurations, including a single rope-like strand to swing from, a net to bind enemies, and a simple glob to foul machinery or blind an opponent. He can also weave the web material into simple forms like a shield, a spherical protection or hemispherical barrier, a club, or a hang-glider wing. Other equipment include spider-tracers (spider-shaped adhesive homing beacons keyed to his own spider-sense), a light beacon which can either be used as a flashlight or project a "Spider-Signal" design, and a specially modified camera that can take pictures automatically.
Spider-Man has had a large range of supporting characters introduced in the comics that are essential in the issues and storylines that star him. After his parents died, Peter Parker was raised by his loving aunt, May Parker, and his uncle and father figure, Ben Parker. After Uncle Ben is murdered by a burglar, Aunt May is virtually Peter's only family, and she and Peter are very close.
J. Jonah Jameson is depicted as the publisher of the Daily Bugle and is Peter Parker's boss and as a harsh critic of Spider-Man, always saying negative things about the superhero in the newspaper. Despite his role as Jameson's publishing editor and confidant Robbie Robertson is always depicted as a supporter of both Peter Parker and Spider-Man.
Eugene "Flash" Thompson is commonly depicted as Parker's high school tormentor and bully, but in later comic issues he becomes a friend to Peter. Meanwhile Harry Osborn, son of Norman Osborn, is most commonly recognized as Peter's best friend but has also been depicted sometimes as his rival in the comics.
Peter Parker's romantic interests range between his first crush, the fellow high-school student Liz Allan, to having his first date with Betty Brant, the secretary to the Daily Bugle newspaper publisher J. Jonah Jameson. After his breakup with Betty Brant, Parker eventually falls in love with his college girlfriend Gwen Stacy, daughter of New York City Police Department detective captain George Stacy, both of whom are later killed by supervillain enemies of Spider-Man. Mary Jane Watson eventually became Peter's best friend and then his wife. Felicia Hardy, the Black Cat, is a reformed cat burglar who had been Spider-Man's girlfriend and partner at one point.
Writers and artists over the years have established a rogues gallery of supervillains to face Spider-Man. As with him, the majority of these villains' powers originate with scientific accidents or the misuse of scientific technology, and many have animal-themed costumes or powers. Early on Spider-Man faced such foes as the Chameleon (introduced in The Amazing Spider-Man #1, March 1963), the Vulture (#2, May 1963), Doctor Octopus (#3, July 1963), the Sandman (#4, Sept. 1963), the Lizard (#6, Nov. 1963), Electro (#9, Feb. 1964), Mysterio (#13, June 1964), the Green Goblin (#14, July 1964), Kraven the Hunter (#15, Aug. 1964),the Scorpion (#20, Jan. 1965), the Rhino (#41, Oct. 1966)—the first original Lee/Romita Spider-Man villain—the Shocker (#46, March 1967), and the physically powerful and well-connected criminal capo Wilson Fisk, also known as the Kingpin. The Clone Saga introduces college professor Miles Warren, who becomes the Jackal, the antagonist of the storyline. After the Green Goblin was presumably killed, a derivative villain called the Hobgoblin was developed to replace him in #238 until Norman was revived later. After Spider-Man rejected his symbiotic black costume, Eddie Brock, a bitter ex-journalist with a grudge against Spider-Man, bonded with the symbiote (which also hated Spider-Man for rejecting it), gaining Spider-Man's powers and abilities, and became the villain Venom in issue #298 (May 1988). Brock briefly became an ally to Spider-Man when Carnage, another symbiote-based villain, went on a murderous spree in issue #344. At times these enemies of Spider-Man have formed groups such as the Sinister Six to oppose Spider-Man. The Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus and Venom are generally described or written as his archenemies.
Comic book writer-editor and historian Paul Kupperberg, in The Creation of Spider-Man, calls the character's superpowers "nothing too original"; what was original was that outside his secret identity, he was a "nerdy high school student".:5 Going against typical superhero fare, Spider-Man included "heavy doses of soap-opera and elements of melodrama." Kupperberg feels that Lee and Ditko had created something new in the world of comics: "the flawed superhero with everyday problems." This idea spawned a "comics revolution.":6 The insecurity and anxieties in Marvel's early 1960s comic books such as The Amazing Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, and X-Men ushered in a new type of superhero, very different from the certain and all-powerful superheroes before them, and changed the public's perception of them. Spider-Man has become one of the most recognizable fictional characters in the world, and has been used to sell toys, games, cereal, candy, soap, and many other products.
Spider-Man has become Marvel's flagship character, and has often been used as the company mascot. When Marvel became the first comic book company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1991, the Wall Street Journal announced "Spider-Man is coming to Wall Street"; the event was in turn promoted with an actor in a Spider-Man costume accompanying Stan Lee to the Stock Exchange.:254 Since 1962, hundreds of millions of comics featuring the character have been sold around the world.
Spider-Man joined the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from 1987 to 1998 as one of the balloon floats, designed by John Romita Sr., one of the character's signature artists. A new, different Spider-Man balloon float is scheduled to appear from at least 2009 to 2011.
In 1981, skyscraper-safety activist Dan Goodwin, wearing a Spider-Man suit, scaled the Sears Tower in Chicago, Illinois, the Renaissance Tower in Dallas, Texas, and the John Hancock Center in Chicago, Illinois.
When Marvel wanted to issue a story dealing with the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the company chose the December 2001 issue of The Amazing Spider-Man. In 2006, Spider-Man garnered major media coverage with the revelation of the character's secret identity, an event detailed in a full page story in the New York Post before the issue containing the story was even released.
In 2008, Marvel announced plans to release a series of educational comics the following year in partnership with the United Nations, depicting Spider-Man alongside UN Peacekeeping Forces to highlight UN peacekeeping missions. A BusinessWeek article listed Spider-Man as one of the top ten most intelligent fictional characters in American comics.
Spider-Man has appeared in comics, cartoons, movies, coloring books, novels, records, and children's books. On television, he first starred in the ABC animated series Spider-Man (1967-1970) and the CBS live-action series The Amazing Spider-Man (1978–1979), starring Nicholas Hammond. Other animated series featuring the superhero include the syndicated Spider-Man (1981–1982), Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (1981–1983), Fox Kids' Spider-Man (1994–1998), Spider-Man Unlimited (1999–2000), Spider-Man: The New Animated Series (2003), and The Spectacular Spider-Man (2008–2009). A new animated series titled Ultimate Spider-Man premiered on Disney XD on April 1, 2012.
A tokusatsu show featuring Spider-Man was produced by Toei and aired in Japan. It is commonly referred to by its Japanese pronunciation "Supaidā-Man". Spider-Man also appeared in other print forms besides the comics, including novels, children's books, and the daily newspaper comic strip The Amazing Spider-Man, which debuted in January 1977, with the earliest installments written by Stan Lee and drawn by John Romita, Sr. Spider-Man has been adapted to other media including games, toys, collectibles, and miscellaneous memorabilia, and has appeared as the main character in numerous computer and video games on over 15 gaming platforms.
Spider-Man was also featured in a trilogy of live-action films directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire as the title superhero. The first Spider-Man film of the trilogy was released on May 3, 2002; its sequel, Spider-Man 2, was released on June 30, 2004 and the next sequel, Spider-Man 3, was released on May 4, 2007. A third sequel was originally scheduled to be released in 2011, however Sony later decided to reboot the franchise with a new director and cast. The reboot, titled The Amazing Spider-Man, was released on July 3, 2012; directed by Marc Webb and starring Andrew Garfield as the new Spider-Man.
A Broadway musical, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, began previews on November 14, 2010 at the Foxwoods Theatre on Broadway, with the official opening night on June 14, 2011. The music and lyrics were written by Bono and The Edge of the rock group U2, with a book by Julie Taymor, Glen Berger, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. Turn Off the Dark is currently the most expensive musical in Broadway history, costing an estimated $70 million. In addition, the show's unusually high running costs are reported to be about $1.2 million per week.
From the character's inception, Spider-Man stories have won numerous awards, including: