6 Spider-themed Heroes and Villains (Other Than Spider-Man)
Spiders are awesome! I know they can be terrifying, but they’re mostly in the world to help in humanity’s never ending war against the insects. So it makes sense that the greatest superhero of all time is Spider-Man!
But why let a perfectly good comic book character theme go to waste in a single character? Just because Spider-Man is so well known does not mean there can’t be other characters based off of spiders. Heck, Spider-Man has so many clones, off-shoots and hangers-on that I could make this list several times over based just on his friends, allies and enemies! That’s why I have challenged myself to come up with a list of spider characters who are not connected to Spider-Man! I am including the various Spider-Women from Marvel in this restriction as well, because that would also make it too easy.
So join me after the jump for a bunch of other comic book characters fashioned after spiders, characters who have very little link to Spider-Man!
6. Council of Spiders
What do you do when you have to try and strike fear into the League of Assassins? Name yourself after spiders! Surely even deadly assassins are afraid of spiders. The Council of Spiders was a crew of assassins and mercenaries seeking to oppose Ra’s al Ghul’s League of Assassins, and they came up against Red Robin during their attempts. They’ve done little beyond that, but each one is spider-themed, so it fits. There’s Widower, Wolf, Goliath, Silk, Tangle, Funnel, Recluse and…and Sac, who has the power to fill people with spider eggs and control them like a puppet. So yeah, Sac exists. Why he hasn’t replaced the Joker as the scariest super-villain of all time is anyone’s guess. The Council of Spiders is led by the Wanderer, who was bitten by so many poisonous spiders that she can now kill people with a touch!
Nope, we’re not talking about May “Mayday” Parker! Instead, check out this obscure Legion of Superheroes character who has little to actually do with spiders! Behold Spider-Girl, a sometimes hero/sometimes villain with prehensile hair! She started out as a mention in a letters page, of having a character with prehensile hair (beating Medusa and the Inhumans to the punch by two years). A character with that power showed up a year later — named Spider-Girl — only to be rejected by the Legion of Superheroes (and only a year after Spider-Man’s comic debut!). So Spider-Girl joined the Legion of Super-Villains instead! Because that is how one must roll. Spider-Girl has been good, bad and everywhere in between since, surviving most of the various Legion reboots to some degree or another.
For Wolfspider, we once again visit the lovely world of Astro City! One of the craziest, most amazingly intricate superhero universes ever developed, Astro City has something for everyone! Their spider character is also their shrinking character, Wolfspider. Ben Colstone was a young lad in Australia when he was bitten by a very rare, very deadly spider (which is typical for Australia, obviously). He was saved by a chemical injection, which reacted with the venom and gave him the ability to shrink! He was given some extra mechanical arms, a tiny flying craft and a sweet costume, and he joined up with the Honor Guard as an international superhero!
There are other Wolfspiders in comics, but this one is the most fun.
3. Black Spider and Tarantula
But Sean, you’re telling yourself, that’s two characters! We already let the Council of Spiders fly, but this is two unique, individual characters. And to that I say you’re wrong! Black Spider and Tarantula are both random mercenary characters at DC Comics! Maybe they’ve had some stand out issues here or there, but they might as well be interchangeable! “Black Spider” was the name of several generic vigilante/mercenary types, often coming in conflict with Batman. No real powers to speak of, just bad guys who liked the spider motif. “Tarantula” was also a name shared by multiple characters, both of whom were, again, just generic vigilante/mercenary types with no powers. The first was John Law, a hero from World War II who lived in Bludhaven in his golden years. The second was Catalina Flores, a law enforcement officer from Bludhaven who took up John Law’s mantle and fought crime alongside Nightwing…before raping him. So that happened.
2. Bride of Nine Spiders
I will never not sing the praises of Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Immortal Iron Fist comic from the late 2000s. That thing was a masterpiece! And the Iron Fist TV show failed most likely because it didn’t simply adapt that comic from page to screen. The comic established that Iron Fist was one of seven mystical champions spread across the Seven Cities of Heaven. The Bride of Nine Spiders represents the Kingdom of Spiders. She’s a master of martial arts and basically just has a whole army of tiny, deadly spiders at her command. She wins fights by overwhelming her opponents with spiders. That’s some crazy stuff right there! The Iron Fist TV show absolutely wasted the character, like how they wasted everything else.
1. Black Widow
Surprise, surprise, Black Widow is actually named after a spider! I know she dresses in all black, and sometimes incorporates the visuals of a black widow spider, but this super spy movie star never draws much attention to her arachnid inspiration. It’s there, it’s cool, and Black Widow brought that awesomeness to the big screen! Sadly, we never got a moment where she and Spider-Man gave each other a little head nod for being fellow spidery superheroes, but perhaps we didn’t need one. She’s cool enough all on her own, and she didn’t need a Spider-Man to base her costume on. At least she went to the trouble of picking a specific spider and getting cool with the design, instead of just blatantly picking all spiders and awkwardly hyphening the word ‘man’ on the end.