Spider-Man is one of the great superheroes—some may even say he’s objectively the best superhero. Yet the question must be asked — which version of Spider-Man is the greatest one of all? Between all the animated series and alternate universes, there are quite a few iterations of Spider-Man. And so, let’s count them down! Here are the seven greatest Spider-Men!
7. 60’s Animated Spider-Man
I mean, even if this cartoon wasn’t such a campy thrill, this version of the character deserves to be on every list for the theme song alone! Any song where the answer to “Is he strong?” is just “He’s got radioactive blood” is one to adore.
6. The Megalomaniacal Spider-Man
The idea behind the Megalomaniacal Spider-Man — created by alt cartoonist Peter Bagge — simple: what if Spider-Man used his powers for selfishness? We see Peter Parker as a cruel CEO making John Jonah Jameson kiss his shoes and shouting about his loathing of the UN.
5. Ultimate Peter Parker
Writer Alan Moore once bemoaned that superhero stories are rarely satisfying because they rarely get to have an ending. Not so with Ultimate Spider-Man — Brian Michael Bendis’ successful reboot of the character received a hero’s death fighting Norman Osborn in front of his home. Unlike the “main” version of the character, this Peter Parker never left high school and never joined the Avengers, but his death did inspire others to do good in his wake. He was the purest version of Spider-Man. which makes him one of the very best.
4. Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man
For so many, this is the definitive Spider-Man. Appearing first in the 2002 movie Spider-Man, director Sam Raimi introduced audiences to the neurotic Peter Parker, the hard working Mary Jane and the maniacal Norman Osborn. Under Raimi’s eye, the films felt human and raw. It’s a shame the third movie in his series was so badly received. I could have watched his iteration of Spider-Man forever.
What if Peter Parker’s girlfriend was bitten by the radioactive spider instead? The answer is Spider-Gwen. After watching Peter destroy himself trying to recreate her power, the newly super Gwen Stacy tries to do good to assuage her guilt. From her neon pink and white outfit to her universe reflective of our own to her antagonist based on Donald Trump, there’s no question why Spider-Gwen has become so immediately iconic.
2. Miles Morales
Marvel’s always been concerned with keeping Peter Parker fresh. It’s why he got married, had his marriage annulled, and was turned into a clone. Writer Brian M. Bendis came the closest to freshening up the wall-crawler — her just made him someone else. Enter Miles Morales, a teenager trying to figure out his powers and life — much like the original Spider-Man. Also, he’s one of Marvel’s most prominent African American/Latino heroes. Miles Morales is one the greatest characters in the modern Marvel U, and I can’t wait to see what they do with him next.
1. The OG Peter Parker
I mean, he’s the reason why we have this entire list in the first place, right? Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s original take on the superhero — a hopelessly neurotic, anxious, and terrified teen — remains the best Spider-Man to date. If The Fantastic Four fought Gods, for the most par,t Peter Parker fought grimy old men who too found animal costumes. Who else could be our #1 Spider-Man? It’s the original Peter Parker, who swings through comics to this day!
What do you think? Any Spider-Men I missed? Let me know on Twitter @AlexFirer, and as Stan Lee would say — happy swinging, people who read comic books!