Warning: This post contains light spoilers for Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse
There have been many Spider-Men since the character was introduced in the comics in 1962. First, there were the TV shows. Then came Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man in 2002, before Andrew Garfield assumed the role in 2012. In 2016, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man was introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a slate of three movies (in addition to appearances in other MCU films), the last of which saw all of the modern Spider-Men meet up for the first time with the villains they’ve faced off against. In 2018, Miles Morales made his big-screen debut in the animated hit Into The Spider-Verse, which reveals that all of the Spider-People are connected through the Spider-Verse.
Into The Spider-Verse introduced a whole team of Spider-People, including Spider-Man (Jake Johnson), Spider-Ham (John Mulaney), Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn), and Spider-Man Noir (Nicolas Cage). Their coexistence is explained by a multiverse with many dimensions. In the latest Miles-led film, Across The Spider-Verse, audiences get a greater understanding of the vastness of the multiverse. The number of Spider-People can get a little unwieldy, so here’s a primer on who each of the key webslingers are and who they were in the comic books before making their movie debuts.
Miles Morales (Shameik Moore)
Miles Morales, our main protagonist, is a Black and Puerto Rican high school student from Brooklyn. Much like the other Spider-Men, he was bitten by a radioactive spider and was given superpowers in his dimension of Earth-1610. He meets Gwen Stacy in the first Spider-Verse movie and she comes back to visit him in the second installment, which kicks off a series of events that unfold throughout Across The Spider-Verse. His father was recently promoted to captain of the police force, a development which drives the tension in the new movie. Miles is also up against a supervillain named The Spot (f.k.a. Dr. Jonathan Ohnn, voiced by Jason Schwartzman), who has set out to destroy everything he loves.
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In the comics, Miles’ story is similar to the movie, but more bleak. He received powers from a genetically modified spider that his uncle, Aaron Davis (a.k.a. Prowler), stole from Oscorp. But Miles assumes the role of Spider-Man after Spider-Man dies at the hands of the Green Goblin. He feels guilt over what happened and meets up with Jessica Drew at S.H.I.E.L.D., who gives him a uniform as he officially assumes the role of Spider-Man.
Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld)
After being bitten by a radioactive spider on her home world of Earth-65, Gwen was turned into Spider-Woman, the one and only Spider-Person in her universe. This resulted in her best friend, the Peter Parker of her dimension, turning himself into Earth-65’s version of the villainous Lizard. Believing she was fighting a mindless monster, Gwen battled the Lizard—only to realize it was Peter all along when his mangled body morphed back into human form. That was also the moment that Gwen’s father, Captain George Stacy, arrived on the scene and became convinced that Spider-Woman was responsible for an innocent Peter’s death.
Gwen first teamed up with Miles in Into the Spider-Verse when Kingpin’s super collider disrupted the multiverse and pulled her into his dimension. The two eventually developed what seemed to be a budding romantic connection. In the comics, the character of Spider-Gwen, created by Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez, made her first appearance in the 2014 miniseries Edge of Spider-Verse. She is now the star of her own ongoing series, Spider-Gwen.
Miguel O’Hara (Oscar Isaac)
Miguel O’Hara is the melodramatic anti-hero from Earth-928 in Across The Spider-Verse. When we are first introduced to him, we learn that he’s the leader of an inter-dimensional effort to wrangle all of the “anomalies” that have escaped to other dimensions. He and Jessica Drew meet Gwen Stacey during a fight and O’Hara takes Gwen under his wing, begrudgingly. His main objective is to keep the Spider-Verse intact because he’s seen first-hand the destabilizing effect of trying to alter the course of events in one dimension.
O’Hara was the first non-White Spider-Man in the Marvel comics when he was introduced to the world in 1992. His story was a bit different from the other Spider-People. O’Hara was the head of genetics at Alchemax and attempted to replicate Spider-Man’s powers. He was addicted to a drug called Rapture and threw himself into his experiments to curb his addiction. When he was experimenting, his coworker sabotaged his machine and his DNA became 50 percent spider. He became Spider-Man 2099 and joined forces with Peter Parker to fight alternate versions of Peter’s most infamous villains.
Jessica Drew (Issa Rae)
Making her first film appearance in Across the Spider-Verse, Jessica Drew is the Spider-Woman of Earth-404 and Marvel’s first pregnant superhero to hit the big screen. She originally shows up to help Gwen and Miguel defeat the version of the Vulture that has appeared on Gwen’s home world of Earth-65. As Miguel’s right-hand Spider-Person, she then convinces him to let Gwen come back with them to Spider-Society headquarters and becomes Gwen’s mentor as she trains with them.
In the Ultimate Marvel comics, Jessica Drew, a character created by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley, is a female clone of Peter Parker who was engineered by Doctor Octopus during the “Clone Saga” storyline. Her character’s pregnancy was introduced in a 2015 issue of Spider-Woman by Dennis Hopeless and Javier Rodriguez.
Spider-Punk (Daniel Kalyuua)
Hobie Brown, a.k.a. Spider-Punk, is a laid-back, anti-establishment, punk rocker from Earth-138, who dons an electric guitar while fighting villains in Across The Spider-Verse. Gwen brings up Hobie’s name when she catches Miles up about the people she’s met in different dimensions, and he helps the two of them fight The Spot. After the fight, Gwen brings them to the Spider-Man HQ and he delivers some great one-liners.
Spider-Punk is relatively new to the Spider-Verse world. He was first introduced in 2015 as an unhoused youth and was bitten by a radioactive spider that was mutated due to President Norman Osborn’s dumping of toxic waste. He joins forces with Captain Anarchy and Earth-138’s Hulk (Robbie Banner) to fight for freedom against oppressive power structures.
Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson)
When Peter B. was pulled into Miles’ universe in Into the Spider-Verse, he had no interest in helping Miles defeat Kingpin, let alone becoming Miles’ mentor. After more than two decades of fighting crime as the Spider-Man of Earth-616, Peter B. was worn out both physically and emotionally. Luckily, Miles and the Spider-Gang helped reinvigorate Peter B.’s enthusiasm for being a hero and he returned to his universe ready to turn his life around.
In Across the Spider-Verse, we learn that Peter B. made things right with his wife, Mary Jane, and the two had a child together. Peter B. expresses hope that his daughter will turn out to be like Miles. In the comics, Earth-616’s Spider-Man shares a backstory with Peter. B Parker, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end.
Pavitr Prabhakar (Karan Soni)
Pavitr’s Mumbattan on Earth-50101 in Across The Spider-Verse is the setting for a major juncture in the new movie’s plot. Gwen travels to this dimension to find The Spot and Miles ends up following her. While there, they meet the fast-talking yet charming Pavitr Prabhakar (voiced by Karan Soni). He helps Gwen, Spider-Punk, and Miles fight The Spot, but while the team is not able to apprehend the villain, Miles disrupts a “canon event,” which could have catastrophic consequences for the Spider-Verse. Pavitr has a lovable, optimistic attitude that make him a great addition to the movie.
In the comics, his character was born in a village that was home to a coveted amulet for which supervillains were searching. Pavitr moves out of his village to Mumbai and when he leaves, the villain Oberoi destroys his home village with everyone in it while looking for the amulet. With this heavy grievance, he seeks the help of a superpowered entity named Master Weaver, who helps him unlock his spider powers. From there, he became the protector of Mumbai.
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