The Story Behind the Spider-Man Pointing Scene in Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse

4 minute read

Spoiler Alert: This post contains spoilers for Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse

For years, one meme in the Spider-Man canon has appeared far and wide across social media. Even the least chronically online among us have probably encountered the Spider-Man pointing meme. In the animated TV still, two people dressed as Spider-Man are pointing at one another. The meme is often used when someone is making fun of two similar people or things or pointing out a comical similarity. And since it’s become ubiquitous online, every Spider-Man property has found some way to incorporate it into their storytelling. In 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home, past Spider-Men Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield made surprise cameos with a reference to the meme. A few weeks after the movie premiered, all three Spider-Men (Maguire, Garfield, and current Spider-Man Tom Holland) recreated the meme for a promotional image.

In the new animated film Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse, there’s a quick reference to the meme during a particularly tense moment. It’s only logical that this movie, which features many iterations of the superhero across many dimensions, would find a way to nod to the meme. Here’s everything you need to know about the meme, its origins, and its latest on-screen moment.

Where the Spider-Man pointing meme comes from

The widely-used meme comes from a 1967 episode of the Spider-Man cartoon, specifically from episode 19b titled “Double Identity.” The episode finds the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man trying to subdue a man named Charles Cameo, a villain who impersonates others as he commits crimes. He transforms into Spider-Man to disguise himself as the real webslinger is looking for him. There’s a moment in the show when they come face to face and point at each other, each one trying to claim that the other is an imposter. This scene culminated in the iconic meme that has been used for years.

When the meme began and how it’s used

The meme has been used for years across platforms like Reddit and Twitter. As with many internet trends, it’s almost impossible to pinpoint the true original poster, but according to, it came into use as early as 2011 and saw its popularity increase in 2016 and 2017, especially with the help of Black Twitter.

Over time, the meme has been used in different ways, but it’s most commonly used when poking fun at celebrities, or other people and things, that are similar. Various iterations of the meme have also been introduced, many of which include three or more Spider-Men, as have images that appear to accidentally replicate it.

How the meme is referenced in Across The Spider-Verse

In Across The Spider-Verse, the film’s protagonist Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) has just been told that he’s disrupted a “canon” event, an event that every Spider-Man across the Spider-Verse must experience on order to maintain equilibrium. The topic arises after Miles saves the police captain’s life while trying to defeat a new supervillain, The Spot (Jason Schwartzman). Miguel O’Hara, also known as Spider-Man 2099 of Earth 928 and voiced by Oscar Isaac, explains to Miles that if he disrupts another “canon event,” the fate of the Spider-Verse hangs in the balance. The police captain needs to die in every universe, prompting Miles to remember that his father was just made captain and to go off to try to rescue him. Miguel tries to stop him, chasing after him through the Spider-Man headquarters, which has hundreds of Spider-People from across all different dimensions standing around.

In a silly moment that lets some of the air out of the tension in the scene, Miguel yells out, “Spider-Man, stop him!” and all of the Spider-people standing around the headquarters look at each other, point and say, “You?”

The chase continues as the film reaches its climax and ultimately leaves viewers on a cliffhanger which will be resolved when the trilogy ends with Spider-Man: Beyond The Spider-Verse, slated for release in March 2024.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Write to Moises Mendez II at