Nine Heroes Inspired by Spider-Man
In honor of Rek-Rap's debut, here are a few other characters who were inspired by Spider-Man to become heroes, including Miles Morales and Jessica Jones.
Thanks to his web-slinging adventures as Spider-Man, Peter Parker is one of the most inspirational figures in the Marvel Universe. A living example of how to use great power responsibly, Spider-Man has inspired dozens of characters throughout the Multiverse to embrace their heroic destinies.
Now, as part of the ongoing DARK WEB (2022) crossover event, Spider-Man has even inspired one of Limbo’s demons to take up the heroic mantle as Rek-Rap in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (2022) #17 by Zeb Wells, Ed McGuinness, Cliff Rathburn, and Marcio Menyz. Let’s take a closer look at some of the other Marvel Universe characters Spider-Man has inspired to follow in his footsteps.
Before Miles Morales became Spider-Man in the main Marvel Universe, he was deeply moved by the death of Peter Parker in his home dimension, the Ultimate Marvel Universe. When a genetically modified spider’s bite gave Miles spider-powers, he initially didn’t want to use them to become a Super Hero…but after watching the Green Goblin kill his world’s young Parker, Miles was inspired to start operating as Spider-Man with a store-bought costume in ULTIMATE FALLOUT (2011) #4 by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli.
Despite intense initial skepticism from the late Parker’s allies, Miles won them over with his heroic acts against Electro. Nick Fury even replaced his store-bought Spider-Man costume with his unique red-and-black suit. As Miles' adventures led him to start hopping dimensions, he went on to team up with and befriend the Marvel Universe’s Peter Parker. He now calls the main Marvel Universe his home, where he continues to operate as Spider-Man alongside Parker.
Long before Jessica Jones was a hard-boiled private investigator or a member of the New Avengers, she was one of Peter Parker’s classmates at Midtown High School. After exposure to radioactive chemicals gave her super-strength, Jessica watched a young Spider-Man fight the Sandman at their school, as revealed in a story in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1999) #601 by Brian Michael Bendis and Joe Quesada. Jessica said that watching that fight was a defining moment that inspired her to use her powers as the ill-fated Super Hero Jewel.
Although the Purple Man put an early end to her time as a costumed hero, Jessica’s heroic exploits earned her a place in the Defenders and on a few Avengers teams, including a New Avengers squad that included her teenage hero Spider-Man.
SPIDER-WOMAN (MATTIE FRANKLIN)
In an attempt to increase his power, Norman Osborn once invited five individuals to be part of the Gathering of Five, a mystical ritual that randomly distributed powers and curses among its participants, in 1998’s AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #441 by John Byrne, Rafael Kayanan, and Bud LaRosa. Despite Osborn’s intentions, Mattie Franklin—a longtime Spider-Man fan and the teenage niece of J. Jonah Jameson—walked away from the ceremony with several superhuman abilities, including super strength and the ability to fly.
When Peter Parker took a quick hiatus from web-slinging shortly after that, Franklin briefly impersonated Spider-Man before taking the name Spider-Woman—with permission from Jessica Drew, the original Spider-Woman—in 1999’s AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1999) #5 by Howard Mackie and John Byrne. After her relatively short Super Hero career, Franklin worked with the Loners, a group of former teen heroes, and was ritually killed by Sasha Kravinoff.
SCARLET SPIDER (BEN REILLY)
Although Ben Reilly is currently busy menacing Spider-Man as Chasm in DARK WEB, Peter Parker’s erstwhile clone followed Spider-Man’s heroic example for many years. As part of a plot against Spider-Man, Miles Warren—the mad scientist better known as the Jackal—created Ben and gave him Peter’s memories in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #149 by Gerry Conway, Ross Andru, and Mike Esposito.
Reilly appeared to die soon after meeting Peter, but what he actually got was a second shot at life. He started traveling across America, where his memories of Peter’s life compelled him to perform heroic feats. Reilly eventually befriended Peter and started working alongside him as the Scarlet Spider, even briefly taking over as Spider-Man.
But after dying and returning as a villainous new Jackal, Ben started working for the nefarious Beyond Corporation. As a result of their attempts to erase his memories, Ben lost many of the formative memories he inherited from Peter, which created a gnawing absence in his mind that drove him to seek revenge as Chasm.
Ollie Osnick started out as Doctor Octopus’ biggest fan, complete with his very own set of homemade tentacles, in 1982’s PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN (1976) #72 by Bill Mantlo and Ed Hannigan. But after Spider-Man stopped the young would-be villain, Ollie became obsessed with the Web-Slinger. After refashioning his tentacles into “spider legs” and donning a Spider-Man Halloween costume, Ollie briefly operated as the heroic but hapless Spider-Kid in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #263 by Tom Defalco, Ron Frenz, Brett Breeding, and John Beatty.
Ollie eventually re-emerged as a more hi-tech, agile, and violent vigilante called the Steel Spider. Although he stepped away from crime-fighting for a while, Ollie was inspired by Spider-Man’s actions during CIVIL WAR (2006) to operate as an unregistered hero. However, Ollie’s time as the Steel Spider ended after a brutal battle with Norman Osborn’s Thunderbolts led to his dismemberment and capture.
Like her father before her, Felicia Hardy was once one of the most skilled thieves in the Marvel Universe. Shortly after her first encounter with Spider-Man in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #194 by Marv Wolfman, Keith Pollard, and Frank Giacoia, the Black Cat grew infatuated with the Web-Slinger, seeing him as a kindred spirit. As the Black Cat tried to win Spider-Man’s affection, the pair began working together as vigilantes and started a relationship.
The couple went on to have an off-and-on relationship that they rekindled several times over the following years. After a short stint running a criminal empire, the Black Cat has resumed her status as one of Spider-Man’s closest allies and befriended Parker’s longtime love Mary Jane Watson. She has also taken steps into the wider Super Hero community by forging bonds with heroes like Iron Man and Captain America.
Long before Eugene “Flash” Thompson bonded with a symbiote to become the heroic Agent Venom and Agent Anti-Venom, he was Spider-Man’s biggest fan. When Flash was one of Peter Parker’s classmates at Midtown High School, he formed a Spider-Man Fan Club and even dressed up as the Web-Slinger to defend his name in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #18 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.
Despite his past as a bully, Flash was inspired by Spider-Man’s heroism to join the military and prove his selflessness. Eventually, that decision led to Flash being bonded with the Venom symbiote as part of a government program. While bonded with the Venom and Anti-Venom symbiotes, Flash kept their violent impulses under control and earned a place among the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and Spider-Man’s close allies.
After being falsely accused of murder, Peter Parker briefly put aside his Spider-Man identity and fought crime under four new Super Hero identities. Then, when Peter resumed operations as Spider-Man, a new group of young heroes adopted his other identities and banded together as the Slingers. Together, the high-tech Hornet, the shadowy Dusk, the mystically empowered Prodigy, and the agile mutant Ricochet carried on the heroic legacy of Peter’s one-time alter-egos for years.
After the group disbanded, Ricochet dismissed the Slingers as a group of “Spider-Man wannabes.” Nevertheless, when the original Hornet was killed by a brainwashed Wolverine, the Slingers reassembled to deal with Ben Reilly’s harsh crime-fighting methods. Recently, Hobie Brown—the original Prowler—took over the Hornet identity and teamed up with Dusk and Ricochet to stop the creatures rampaging through the Beyond Corporation in 2022’s AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #88.BEY by Geoffrey Thorne, Jan Bazaldua, and Jim Towe.
Doctor Octopus may be one of Spider-Man’s deadliest foes, but Peter Parker’s heroism deeply moved Otto Octavius and inspired him to prove that he could be the Superior Spider-Man. After Octavius transferred his mind into Spider-Man’s body to get revenge on the Web-Slinger, Parker overwhelmed his longtime rival with a lifetime of memories and emotions in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1999) #700 by Dan Slott, Humberto Ramos, and Victor Olazaba. Overcome by the selfless heroic actions that defined Parker’s life, Octavius vowed to be a hero, and that inspiration sustained him throughout his Super Hero career in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN (2013).
Even after Peter regained control over his body, Parker’s memories continued to inspire his actions as the Superior Octopus. Although he has started operating as a villain again, Octavius continues to show Parker some lingering respect for his heroic legacy.
Don't miss Rek-Rap's first Super Hero outing in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (2022) #17, on sale now!
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