With Spider-Man’s success in the MCU, the web-slinging hero has opened the door for many great characters to debut in the franchise. Even in the Marvel Comics universe, Spider Man books have often been fertile ground for legendary Marvel villains and heroes to get their start.
From infamous villains like Venom to beloved anti-heroes like The Punisher, Spider-Man has encountered a host of future Marvel stars. While dozens of characters have made their debut in Spider Man comics, only the best of the best have embarked on their own adventures beyond the realm of the wall-crawlers.
Rocket Racer – The Amazing Spider-Man #172 (1977)
While not a household name within the Marvel Comics ranks, Robert Farrell, aka Rocket Racer, is one of the most interesting characters to debut in. Spider Man comics. Initially debuting as a rocket powered skateboard villain, Rocket Racer soon got good at helping the wall crawler.
Like many Spider-Man characters, Farrell’s dark past was the reason he turned to crime, but New York’s favorite arachnid saw the best in him. Taking part in some of the most controversial storylines of the Spider Man comics, Farrell fought racism with his former enemy. Though largely relegated to the past, Rocket did appear in the Avengers Initiative storyline that further fleshed out his backstory.
Siryn – Spider Woman #37 (1981)
Future Marvel hero Siryn, debuted as a villain in an early issue of the spider woman comedian in the 80s. Using her trademark “Sonic Scream”, the Irish mutant annoyed Spider-Woman for a single problem before disappearing from the Marvel universe for several years.
Rewind in the X-Men comics, Siryn became a hero and joined forces with several other misunderstood young mutants. Siryn paid her dues and quickly became a mainstay in the X-Men, even branching out to the Deadpool comics in subsequent years. Her villainy a distant memory, Siryn continued her father’s legacy by taking the name Banshee for a short time.
Prowler – The Amazing Spider-Man #78 (1969)
Spider-Man characters often follow a formula, and most start out as adversaries before becoming important allies. The original Prowler fought Spider-Man, but teamed up with him after the benefactor ended his reign of terror on New York. Prowler used his superior brain power to create technology to aid in his petty theft, but ended up putting it to good use when it got good.
Prowler stopped crime with a darker edge than Spider-Man, became a superhero in his own right and appeared outside Spider Man book quite often. However, the character really came into its own when it was brought to life in Spider-Man: Homecomingand later Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Monica Rambeau – The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16 (1982)
Superhero identities always change when continuities are reset, and Monica Rambeau has gone through quite a few changes over the years. Rambeau debuted as a disgruntled dock worker who is accidentally bombarded with solar energy, took the name Captain Marvel and was one of the most powerful versions of the character.
After leaving Spider-Man behind, Rambeau joined The Avengers as Captain Marvel, but soon found a new identity. She has changed her name many times over the years, but her powers have remained largely intact. She is one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel universe and often teams up with other heroes to tackle global threats to this day.
Cloak and Dagger – The Spectacular Spider-Man #64 (1982)
Some characters stick around for a while where they debuted, and others very quickly jump to their own books with great success. The duo Cloak and Dagger debuted as guest stars alongside Spider-Man, but soon branched out into a miniseries of comics that will become a recurring monthly book.
Bound by the same experience that gave them superpowers, the combination is one of the smartest uses of the superhero formula. Covering dark topics such as drugs and gang violence, Cloak and daggerSpider-Man’s motivations closely matched Spider-Man’s, even though their methods didn’t. In their own book, the characters have featured in grittier stories than most Marvel characters, and they are still cult classics in the Marvel universe.
Morbius – The Amazing Spider-Man #101 (1971)
Marvel has produced quite a few scary comics, but Morbius, the living vampire, was one of their most hair-raising characters. Although he debuted as a villain taking on the wallcrawler, Morbius’ tragic backstory was still in place from the start. Morbius, a brilliant scientist, acquired his vampiric tendencies while trying to cure himself of a deadly blood disease.
Morbius hung around as a frequent villain for a while, even fighting Blade several times. Eventually, however, Morbius became a flawed antihero and was the subject of his own standalone book in the 1990s. Emerging as one of Marvel’s preeminent scientists, Morbius has become a force for good, even leading a team of like-minded monsters.
Black Cat – The Amazing Spider-Man #194 (1979)
Much like Marvel’s answer to Catwoman, the antihero known as Black Cat has always been an enemy and ally to Spider-Man. Black Cat is trained in martial arts and has a keen eye for burglary. She also has the ability to bring unconscious bad luck to anyone she crosses paths with.
When she’s not dating or fighting Spider-Man, Black Cat has started her own stories and ongoing series. Much more than a simple femme fatale character, Black Cat’s intricate backstory helps make her a lovable anti-hero. She is usually always around to show Spider-Man that there are gray areas for justice.
Venom – The Amazing Spider-Man #300 (1988)
Although the symbiote known as Venom made its debut earlier in the comics, the character only came into its own when it owned Eddie Brock and really became the villain that readers loved. Brock started out as a disgruntled reporter who felt belittled by Spider-Man, and the vicious symbiote used Brock’s hatred to make him a perfect host.
While Venom has spread across the Marvel universe since its debut, it’s the character’s early days that most fans fondly remember. Venom’s legendary battles with Spider-Man saw the web sling pushed to its limits, and many consider Venom to be one of the greatest Spider-Man villains of all time.
Kingpin – The Amazing Spider-Man #50 (1967)
If the Marvel universe had a main villain, Wilson Fisk, aka Kingpin, would certainly be one of the top contenders for that seedy title. The criminal mastermind debuted as an enemy of Spider-Man and continues to torment him for decades. However, Fisk really came into his own as a real villain when he became the nemesis of another New York hero, Daredevil.
Unlike super-powered villains, Fisk’s true strength is his incredible criminality mind and willingness to do brutal things to get to the top. A puppet master of evil deeds, Fisk is usually involved when New York is besieged by evil forces, and his plans are legendary. His unassailable status makes him an impossible adversary, and even his greatest enemies don’t seem to lock him up for long.
Punisher – The Amazing Spider-Man #129 (1974)
Most Marvel heroes adhere to a strict code of ethics that dictates how to deal with the criminal element, Frank Castle, on the other hand, does not. The Punisher started out as a potential Spider-Man killer, and he was a full-time villain. However, his popularity with fans led him to return to team up with other heroes and he became a mainstay.
A vigilante by nature, The Punisher hunts down criminals and eliminates them by any means necessary. This brutal method has pitted him against most Marvel heroes, but Castle often gets things done when other heroes can’t. The Punisher was a breath of fresh air for many readers who wanted a character with a little more spice compared to the benefactors they were used to.
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