Spider-Man's probably the most anxiety-prone superhero out there, so it's no surprise he's embarked on some endeavors that left readers questioning his emotional well-being. Here are ten times the hero's adventures (and mental health) flew off the rails in wonderfully weird ways.
10. Spider-Man records an album of Elton Johnesque pop music
If you thought Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark was Spider-Man's musical pinnacle, then you've never heard this Marvel-sanctioned, 1975 rock opera dedicated to the hero.
The album artwork was also a thing of great beauty. Who knew Thor loved jazz? You can listen to most of this album here.
Of course, I still prefer the 1979 German disco track "Spiderman" sung by a fellow who had the retroactive misfortune of being named Peter Griffin.
9. Spider-Man gets a Spider-Buggy
For an extremely brief period in his history, Spider-Man experimented with his own car that was gifted to him by an auto company. To the superhero's credit, he was incredibly dubious of this "Spider-Mobile" in the first place. On the other hand, he did have the poor taste to ride it around town.
8. Spider-Man gets caught up in some metaphysical pablum, evolves gross webshooters
Several years ago, Marvel Comics attempted to give Spider-Man organic web-shooters like the ones he wielded in Sam Raimi's cinematic trilogy. To do so, the publisher forced him into hippity-dippity, mystical circumstances — too complex to elaborate here — in which he evolved these new, synergistic features. And here you thought this superhero was grounded in that staple of hard science fiction, the radioactive spider bite.
7. Spider-Man murders people in Turkey
In the bootleg Turkish crime drama 3 Dev Adam, Spider-Man is a eyebrow-sporting crime lord who executes his enemies with hungry rats and boat propellers who dukes it out with his arch-nemesis Captain America. You may think it's not canon, but Marvel hasn't issued any statements recently noting otherwise. For another time Spider-Man went bonkers overseas, see the time he killed a WWF wrestler with Superman and Batman in India.
6. Spider-Man yells about his radioactive sperm
In 2007's dystopian, Dark Knight Returns-style miniseries Spider-Man: Reign, we learn that Mary Jane has died because Peter's radioactive Spider-sperm gave her cancer. During a certain jaw-dropping juncture of this alternate reality tale, Peter screams at Mary Jane's corpse (which has been disinterred by Doctor Octopus) about how is love gun shot to kill. Why he's never used this superpower against his foes since then is beyond me.
5. Spider-Man gets rid of an all-powerful magical artifact by tossing it in the ocean
During the 1980s, Marvel Comics superheroes crossed over with characters from Robert E. Howard's Hyborian Age. This resulted in such edifying storylines as Conan the Barbarian moonlighting as a pimp and Spider-Man teaming up with Red Sonja to defeat the warlock Kulan Gath. After trapping the wizard in an amulet, Spidey tosses him off the coast of Staten Island and promptly forgets about him...
Until a fisherman discovers the necklace and frees Kulan Gath. The wizard transforms almost everyone in Manhattan into barbarians. Except for Spider-Man, of course. Kulan Gath tortures the living crap out of him.
4. Spider-Man meets his god, Stan Lee
In the final episode of the 1990s Spider-Man cartoon, a trans-dimensional militia of Spider-Men must prevent Carnage from ending all reality. After defeating the villain, Spidey is whisked away to our reality, where he learns that he's actually the mental fabrication of an excelsior universal clockmaker, Stan "The Man" Lee. (I'm assuming Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko hung up the phone on this.) Upon communing with his mustachioed godhead, Spider-Man is not distraught over the realization that he's fictional, a corporate icon, or that he could've been named "Greg Gunderson, the Arachnid Ace" if Stan was feeling a twinge more alliterative in 1962. No, his self-esteem is through the roof! Poor guy's in shock.
3. Spider-Man becomes possessed by an evil alien, learns to jazz dance
Many readers consider this sequence the nadir of the Sam Raimi Spider-Man film trilogy. I sort of love the implications of this moment when you spell it out in plain language. That is, "An alien symbiote crash-lands on Earth and uses its malevolent power to cloud Peter Parker's mind. It also imparts a penchant for swing dancing." Did aliens teach humans to swing dance, like some Lindy-Hopping Engineers from Prometheus? That would explain the late 1990s rather easily.
2. Spider-Man Mad Libs
As if having professional comic book writers foist indignity upon indignity upon Peter Parker was bad enough, these fantastic 1981 Spider-Man Mad Libs (courtesy of Mark Anderson) allowed laymen like you and me to blindly dictate the terms of Peter Parker's mopey existence. Look what I just did to Spider-Man's laundry. How deliciously absurd!
1. Spidey Super Stories
This series of comic books was written as a spin-off of the webslinger's appearances on The Electric Company in the 1970s. Because these tales were written for a younger audience, Spider-Man's adventures were told at an elementary-school reading level, which grammatically streamlined reality in myriad, hilarious ways. For example, see Doctor Doom's plot to take over the world with a magic trumpet, Spider-Man's misadventures with cycling...
...his calculated abuse of seafood merchants...
...the wall-crawler's musings on paleontology...
...or this incredible sequence, in which Spider-Man, Marvel Boy, and Moon Dragon concoct a plan to destroy Doctor Doom's personal Death Star.
For more Spider-Strangeness, see these erotic moments in his storied history, the time the Green Goblin knocked up Peter's girlfriend (among many things), and the following ten public service announcements, the most notable of which revealed that Spider-Man was inappropriately touched by an older boy. And for Spider-Man at his coolest, see the soundtrack to the 1960s cartoon show.
BONUS: Spider-Man's tighty-whitey nightmares about Kraven The Hunter. [via]