Spider-Man is one of the most iconic superheroes in history.
Even if you know nothing about Spider-Man, you’d likely recognize him by sight.
He’s been web-slinging across comic book pages and movie screens since 1962.
If you’re not familiar with Spider-Man, then you may wonder if he’s part of the Marvel or DC universe.
Here’s everything you need to know about Spider-Man and which comic book titan he belongs to.
Is Spider-Man Marvel Or DC?
Spider-Man is from the Marvel comics.
He debuted in the 15th issue of Amazing Fantasy in 1962.
Interestingly enough, Spider-Man wasn’t meant to be a headliner.
He was merely a hero intended to fill in some gaps when an existing Marvel anthology ended.
Stan Lee and Steve Ditko weren’t sure how audiences would react to a teenage superhero.
At that time, there were few, if any, teenage superheroes in comics.
Fans quickly took to the hero, and Spider-Man received his own comic book in 1963.
Since then, he has remained a staple of Marvel comics.
Why Didn’t Marvel Originally Want To Publish The Spider-Man Comics?
Although it’s hard to imagine Marvel without Spider-Man today, that was almost nearly the case.
The publisher at the time, Martin Goodman, didn’t think that a teenage superhero was going to sell.
Everything about Spider-Man went against the characteristics that the existing successful superheroes portrayed.
Here are some of the reasons Spider-Man almost didn’t get his own comic book.
1. He Was A Teenager
One of the main reasons that Goodman thought Spider-Man wouldn’t be successful was the fact that he was a teenager.
At that time, teenagers were typically sidekicks.
They weren’t full-fledged heroes on their own.
Spider-Man brought a radical shift to that storyline.
He was a superhero on his own.
He didn’t have an older hero to guide him.
He was basically figuring it out on his own.
Spider-Man introduced the idea that teenagers can be heroes, too.
It isn’t just an adult game.
More than that, it proved that teenagers could have their own stories, drama, and problems that were compelling to audiences.
Peter Parker faces the same problems that many of his readers face.
As a high school student, he often appeared weak and nerdy.
Even after he received the radioactive spider bite, he still was a pretty nerdy individual whom a lot of people either overlooked or tried to trample on.
Perceived as quite nerdy themselves, comic book readers probably identified with Peter’s struggles in high school.
Another common theme of his teenagehood was the fact that he struggled financially.
He was an orphan raised by his uncle and aunt.
While they weren’t poor, they weren’t exactly wealthy either.
When his uncle died, Peter had to find a way to make ends meet for the family.
His financial problems became even worse after his aunt’s health started to deteriorate.
This was another way in which audiences identified with Peter.
He may have been a teenager, but he was dealing with the same problems they were.
That made him a compelling character.
One of Spider-Man’s most endearing qualities is the fact that he often makes wisecrack jokes while fighting his enemies.
Whether it’s teasing them or saying a witty one-liner, it’s a staple of his character.
This is another thing that Goodman thought would make audiences dislike Spider-Man.
He wasn’t sure if Spider-Man’s wisecracks would be something that audiences enjoyed.
At that time, superheroes were quite earnest.
They tended to stand for something positive.
They didn’t goad their enemies.
Spider-Man changed that.
He brought some personality to his fights with an enemy.
Not only did this make reading a combat sequence more enjoyable, but it made him stand apart from the other superheroes.
Other heroes have since started to do a bit of wisecracking of their own.
Spider-Man’s tendency to tease his enemies was one of the reasons why he almost didn’t get his own comic series.
3. Lack Of Romance
Even in comic books, sex sells.
A reason that Goodman wasn’t sure if Spider-Man would be successful was his lack of romance.
Being a teenager, romance wasn’t something that Peter was particularly interested in.
He had his share of girlfriends and love interests, but due to his age, it was more of a teenage type of love than the mature love found in most comic books from those days.
Any type of love between Peter and others was usually a bit more innocent.
Goodman thought this lack of romance would make the series unsuccessful because some readers preferred reading about more mature romance.
They wanted to see superheroes get their shot at love.
In the past, a superhero didn’t have to work too hard to make partners fall in love with them either.
They were either wealthy enough, handsome enough, or charming enough for their potential partner to fall head over heels.
Peter wasn’t so lucky.
He was a bit awkward when it came to dating.
Instead of turning away from Peter due to his difficulties with romance, audiences loved him for it.
Again, many people were able to relate to Peter’s awkwardness in the dating world.
The love that the comic books presented was, in many ways, more realistic and relatable.
Peter’s romantic problems, however, were one of the reasons why he almost didn’t get his own series.
4. Spider Motif
A final reason Spider-Man almost didn’t get his own series was because of his motif.
Peter Parker got his powers after receiving a bite from a radioactive spider.
Because it was a spider that bit him, he took on many of the same abilities as a spider.
He had super agility and strength.
He was able to produce webs that allowed him to swing across the city of New York.
One of the most powerful abilities he received was his “Spidey sense.”
This was a warning system for potential danger heading his way.
Because he got his powers from a spider, Peter decided to brand himself as Spider-Man.
His costume had a spider on it, and he took the name of Spider-Man.
Goodman worried that the spider motif would repel audiences.
Few people enjoy spiders.
He believed that they might find it difficult to root for a superhero who represents spiders.
Luckily, audiences didn’t seem to mind.
His powers were unique, and although his symbol was the image of a spider, real spiders generally did not appear in the comics.
Spider-Man was a success even though he represents one of the most hated creepy crawlies in the bug world.
What Is The DC Version Of Spider-Man?
Although Spider-Man firmly belongs to Marvel, you may wonder if DC ever made its own version of the hero.
In fact, DC had its own version of Spider-Man well before Marvel published Spider-Man.
Marvel published the first Spider-Man comic book in 1963.
Spider-Man made his first appearance a year before that.
DC had its own web-slinging hero in 1941.
He made his debut in the first issue of Star-Spangled Comics that year.
The character was called the Tarantula.
His real name was John Law.
Here are a few similarities and differences between Spider-Man and DC’s Tarantula.
1. Origin Of Their Powers
One of the biggest differences between Spider-Man and Tarantula is how they got their powers.
In Spider-Man, Peter Parker gains his powers after getting bitten by a radioactive spider.
The spider’s radioactive venom warps his genes and enables him to shoot webs.
He also becomes stronger and more agile.
His powers all result from the spider’s bite.
John Law, on the other hand, takes inspiration from his pet tarantula.
He notices a few abilities that the tarantula has that he believes would help with fighting crime.
As such, he ends up using the spider as inspiration to make gadgets that help him fight crime.
For example, he makes pistols that shoot out a sticky substance.
As the substance leaves the pistol, it hardens and enables him to trap people within it.
It isn’t a substance that comes from him as it does from Peter Parker.
Although, it is worth mentioning that in later versions of the comics, Peter also starts to make his own web-slinging formula.
It no longer comes from his body.
One of the biggest differences between Spider-Man and the Tarantula is that they both got their powers or abilities in different ways.
2. Walking On Walls
Another similarity that Spider-Man and the Tarantula share is their ability to walk on walls.
Both heroes have used this ability to fight enemies or surprise them.
However, how they go about being able to walk up walls differs.
Spider-Man can walk up walls because of the spider bite that he received.
His fingers and toes become sticky enough that he’s able to climb up a vertical surface without much difficulty.
It’s not unlike how a traditional spider can easily climb up and down vertical surfaces.
The Tarantula did not receive a radioactive spider bite.
As such, he had to invent his own way of walking up and down walls.
He did, however, take inspiration from his pet tarantula.
To walk up and down walls, the Tarantula put suction cups on his costume.
The cups adhered to the walls which allowed him to get enough grip to walk up and down them.
Clearly, the Tarantula’s way of walking up and down walls is a bit more brutish than Spider-Man’s method.
However, both heroes are capable of walking up and down walls.
3. Superhero Name
Considering that both Spider-Man and the Tarantula take their abilities from spiders, it makes sense that both would have a spider-related name.
However, their names were almost the same.
When John Law comes back home after a night of crime fighting, his housekeeper tells him that he’s been in the news.
Apparently, the news reporter had been calling him Spider-Man.
They also referred to him as the Tarantula.
Law had already chosen the Tarantula as his superhero name when the news report came out.
Reporters started to refer to him by that name more often moving forward.
However, Spider-Man was one of the first names that they called the superhero.
Spider-Man, however, has always had the name Spider-Man.
However, if DC had chosen to go with Spider-Man instead of the Tarantula, then it’s very possible that Peter Parker would have had a different superhero name.
Both John Law and Peter Parker are similar in that they have careers.
Law is a successful crime novelist who is wealthy enough to have a housekeeper.
He also clearly has enough money to experiment with different gadgets and make a solid costume for himself.
Peter Parker also has a job.
He works as a photographer for The Daily Bugle.
Most of his shots cover himself as Spider-Man.
He also takes on other odd jobs now and then to make ends meet.
While both Parker and Law have jobs, it’s obvious that Law makes a bit more money than Parker.
A large part of that is due to their ages.
Law is an adult while Parker is a teenager.
Law has also established himself as a writer while Parker is still focusing on just graduating from high school.
Both also share an interest in reporting.
Peter covers Spider-Man, but he has dreams of reporting more information than just the tabloid fodder that his boss wants to publish.
Law writes crime novels and likely does a fair bit of reporting, himself, to ensure he’s writing accurately.
Both Parker and Law have similar careers even though both are at very different stages in their careers.
A big difference between John Law and Peter Parker is that Law eventually decides to retire as the Tarantula.
When he feels that he has done enough, he hangs up his suit and moves to a different country where he focuses on writing once more.
He even ends up moving into the same apartment complex as Nightwing.
For several years, the role of the Tarantula remains unfilled.
Spider-Man, at least in the comics, does not retire.
While some arcs depict Peter as having given up the mantle, usually, he’s still quite young and either at the start or middle of his career as Spider-Man.
Because of that, it’s unclear if Peter Parker will ever get to retire from his role as Spider-Man or if he’ll get killed before that happens.
One similarity between the two is that others have gone on to share the name.
For example, after John Law, another individual named Catalina Flores takes on the Tarantula name.
She even goes on to have a fiery relationship with Nightwing.
Unfortunately, Flores ends up dying in one of the comics.
The role of the Tarantula has yet to go to someone else.
In the world of Spider-Man, and thanks to the expansion of the Spidey Universe, there are tons of different Spider-Mans around.
They all have different variants of the name.
When Peter Parker appeared to have died during the Ultimate story arc, Miles Morales took up the mantle of Spider-Man.
His success as the new web-slinging hero introduced a new variation of the hero.
As such, both the Tarantula and Spider-Man have had others take up their mantles before.
Spider-Man is a beloved Marvel superhero.
Although he’s beloved today, when Stan Lee first pitched the idea, the character of Peter Parker was a radical shift in how comics depicted superheroes.
Spider-Man is commonly associated with Marvel today, but before Spider-Man, there was another spider-related character called the Tarantula in the DC Universe.