What’s the Deal with the Spider-Verse? Comics Explained

Photo: Sony Pictures and Marvel Entertainment

We’ve got another fan letter to answer today! Join us on this amazing journey through the spectacular world of comics!

Dear Marvelous Movies,
So, Into the Spider-Verse was a great Spider-Man movie and all, and I can’t wait for the sequel! But where did all those other spider-people come from? How come I hadn’t heard of any of them before? Were they all in the comics? I mean, come on–a cartoon spider-pig? I thought comics were a serious and sophisticated medium of art. What gives?
Your fan,
Reilly Kaine of Houston, TX

MM: Great question, Reilly! First, you should understand that comics are actually really weird and silly! Whatever crazy thing you can think of has probably been done in the comics before, sometime, somewhere! And if it hasn’t, then just wait ’til next summer’s annual crossover event!

RK: Really? Any crazy thing? What about a universe where Spider-Man and all the Marvel heroes are monkeys?
MM: Yep! Apes, actually!

Photo: Marvel Comics

RK: What about a universe where Uncle Ben got powers and became Spider-Man?
MM: Yep! “What if someone else got the hero’s powers?” is one of the oldest tricks in the book for alternate realities!

10 Insane Alternate Superhero Origins You Won't Believe Exist – Page 3
Photo: Marvel Comics

RK: What about a universe where Doc Ock took over Peter Parker’s body and became Spider-Man?
MM: That actually happened in the “main” Marvel universe for a while! You may know more about comics than you let on!

RK: Okay. Well then, what about the other characters in the Spider-Verse movie, like Miles Morales? What’s his story?
MM: Great question! Miles was from the Ultimate universe–a rebooted timeline of Marvel for a new generation. All the characters were young, hip, and reinvented without any regard for faithfulness to the source material! So Peter Parker was Spider-Man there, but he basically still an angsty teenage jerk! Then that Peter died, and Miles Morales became the new Spider-Man!

RK: Cool! So how did he become Spider-Man, then?
MM: Who cares? Chalk it up to comic book science?

RK: Seems legit. And what about Spider-Gwen?
MM: She was created specifically for the Spider-Verse comics event of 2014. And she became an instant hit–because “what if this dead character actually lived?” is the second-oldest trick in the book for alternate realities!

RK: Nice. And what was the Spider-Verse event about in the comics? A lot like the movie too?
MM: Nope! All of the spider-people of different universes had to unite against a common threat–namely the Inheritors, a race of vampire-like beings who feed on the mystical energy of people with animal-people like the Spiders.

RK: Hmm, that sounds kinda weird. Spider-Man’s stories usually involve science, not magic.
MM: Yeah, you would think! Well, as much as hopping between dimensions and teaming up with cartoon pigs can be considered science!

RK: Fair enough. Has there ever been a universe where Spider-Man shoots webbing out of his butt like a real spider?
MM: Hmm…not so sure about that one…

RK: What about one where Spider-Man’s power was just to turn into a spider?
MM: Well, he has turned into a giant spider before!

RK: No, not a giant spider. I just meant a regular, small spider.
MM: Oh, no. Never heard of that happening. What would be the point of that?

RK: What about a universe where the spider got bitten by a radioactive human named Peter, and then turned into some kind of a Man-Spider?
MM: I don’t think so, but listen up, Marvel! Your next big alternate reality crossover idea is right here!

RK: Out of all the different spider-people in different universes, what’s been the silliest, dumbest one?
MM: Easily the movie reboot with Andrew Garfield! No contest.

That’s it for today! Until next time, keep sending in your comics questions to thegeniuses@marvelousmovies.com!

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