8 Spider-Man Comic Storylines Perfect For The New Marvel Universe Movie

Comics Lists spider-man

On this we can all agree: three movies retelling the origins of Peter Parker’s Spider-Man in 15 years is not a good or wanted thing. Every comic book reader, movie watcher, pop culture bystander and grandparent who’s glanced casually at a standard-definition television in a century that begins with a “2” understands that a young man received a very special bug bite, got cocky, got sad, got responsible and became a wise-cracking superhero icon. It’s modern mythology at this point.

Sony and Marvel are also well cognizant of this fact, so as both companies prepare for Spider-Man’s debut in the Marvel cinematic universe on July 28, 2017, they’ll have to select a storyline that’s innovative yet accessible, paving new ground for a familiar character. Fortunately, the filmmakers have over 50 years of comics to glean from, including storylines of new Spider-Men created in the same publishing line — The Ultimate Universe — that creatively fueled Joss Whedon’s The Avengers. We thought up eight particularly resonant Spider-Man yarns that could help anchor the new adventures of Peter Park or, hopefully, Miles Morales in his new celluloid home. Let us know what you think would work in the comments.


“The Death of Jean DeWolff”
PeterParker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #107-110
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Rich Buckler

From the pages of Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man, “The Death of Jean DeWolff” story arc is a much darker and grittier tale than any Spider-movie has dealt with thus far. And, that’s exactly why it could work for the next film. When Captain DeWolff, a cop that Peter admires, is randomly murdered, Spidey gets his Sam Spade on and will stop at nothing to find the shadowy culprit. It’s a street-level story that trades super-powered, technologically-advanced villains for a violently delusional psychopath called the Sin-Eater, which may be just what we need after the shit show that gave us a mecha-Paul Giamatti as Rhino. Plus, it could be a great way for Marvel to introduce Daredevil into the MCU, as he helps Spider-Man pursue the Sin-Eater.

But more than anything, what “The Death of Jean DeWolff” plot line offers a Spider-Man movie is what has always made the character so compelling: moral struggle. It takes great power and great responsibility to a whole new level when Peter finds himself out for blood. Without Matt Murdock providing a moral compass, even Peter isn’t sure what he’s capable of. Of course, with audiences and movie-Peter still reeling over Gwen Stacy’s splattery conclusion this (non-symbiote) black suit yarn keeps things appropriately dour. Robert Tutton


“If This Be My Destiny…!”
The Amazing Spider-Man #31-33
Writers: Stan Lee, Steve Ditko
Artist: Steve Ditko

In terms of “classic” Spider-Man stories, it doesn’t get much better than “If This Be My Destiny…!” The arc marks a pivotal moment in Spider-Man history, opening with Peter at his first day at college where he meets Harry Osborn and Gwen Stacy. Aside from dealing with college drama, Peter must also figure out a way to save his Aunt May from a mysterious ailment. Featuring the iconic image of Spider-Man trapped underneath mounds of heavy machinery, the arc boasts career-best work from Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. It’s the perfect blend of the dynamic, high-stakes action necessary to construct a blockbuster and the internal character drama that made Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 such an emotionally resonant story for audiences. “If This Be My Destiny…!” is not only an ideal entry point in the Spider-Man saga, but also serves as an effective thesis statement for the character as a whole. Mark Rozeman


“Learning Curve”
Ultimate Spider-Man #8-13
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mark Bagley

“Learning Curve” marks the Ultimate Spider-Man arc directly following “Power and Responsibility,” the much-celebrated reimagining of the Webslinger’s origin story. Whereas “Power and Responsibility” checks all the boxes we’ve seen before in Spider-Man adaptations (Peter gets his powers, loses Uncle Ben, fights the Green Goblin), “Learning Curve” offers storylines we have yet to see on film, while still serving as a great standalone Spidey adventure. In terms of benchmarks, we have Peter joining The Daily Bugle (there’s an excuse to have J.K. Simmons return) and facing off with Wilson Fisk for the first time — a great way to tie-in Marvel’s Daredevil series, which will feature Vincent D’Onofrio as the Kingpin of Crime. Mark Rozeman


“The Spider Totem/Ezekiel”
The Amazing Spider-Man #30-45, Various
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artist: John Romita Jr.

Upon taking the reins of Spider-Man in the early 2000s, writer J. Michael Straczynski made his mark on the mythology by introducing Ezekiel, a mysterious, white-haired man who appears to have the same abilities as Spider-Man. The character and his exact motivations remain an enigma for much of his run, but we do learn that he represents a path that Peter Parker might have taken if his Uncle Ben was never gunned down. For the most part, Ezekiel has eschewed the heroic tendencies of Spider-Man in favor of building a corporate empire for himself. Adapting the Ezekiel arc would not only put Peter in conflict with a potential alternative version of himself, but also help hit home what makes Spider-Man such a beloved, selfless hero in the first place. Mark Rozeman


“To Have and To Hold”
The Sensational Spider-Man Annual #1
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Salvador Larroca

With Spidey rumored to make his first Marvel appearance in the upcoming Civil War adaptation, it makes some measure of sense that “To Have and To Hold” — an annual issue by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca that examines our hero’s post-Civil War life — would be a logical step for a follow-up film. While “To Have and To Hold” may not have the breadth of story and action needed to make a splashy feature, it wears its love for the character and his history on its sleeve, effortlessly incorporating flashbacks that touch upon all the hallmarks of the long-running series. Should Marvel ever wish to experiment with its structure, it would be interesting to have a Spider-Man movie boasting a non-linear structure that puts an emphasis on character rather than flat-out spectacle. Mark Rozeman


“Ultimate Clone Saga”
Ultimate Spider-Man #97-105
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mark Bagley

For many Spider-Man fans, “The Clone Saga” represents the height of Marvel’s creative (and, later, financial) bankruptcy in the ‘90s. When it came to revamping old Spider-Man stories for the Ultimate universe, Brian Michael Bendis attempted to create a version of the “Clone Saga” that filtered out the highly problematic elements and highlighted its more emotionally rich dynamics. The result is an action-packed (and thankfully concise) installment that has Peter facing off against several clones of himself, all the while dealing with the surprise return of his father and Aunt May discovering his superhero identity. While the enormity of the story may prove to be too much for a single movie, there are storyline elements that could very well play out over multiple entries. Not to mention, a Spider-Man movie featuring multiple incarnations of the Webslinger would also provide a cheeky meta reference to the character’s convoluted film history. Mark Rozeman


“Ultimate Six”
Ultimate Six #1-7
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Trevor Hairsine

Talk about low-hanging fruit, Ultimate Six is the first cross-over between Spider-Man and the Avengers in the Ultimate Universe, the same publishing that largely inspired Marvel’s cinematic approach, replete with Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. Even more appropriate, this story starts with members of the Sinister Six held in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s custody, forming a perfect bridge between The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Serendipitous story elements aside, writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Travis Hairsine create some grisly, captivating scenes that would translate seamlessly to the big screen. Where else can you witness Doctor Octopus telepathically will his amputated tentacles through unfortunate S.H.I.E.L.D. soldiers? The dialogue and dynamics between a very teenage Spidey and the old souls in The Avengers also add a generational weight that could demarcate the next line of Marvel movies. Sean Edgar


“Who is Miles Morales?/Scorpion”
Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #1-12
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Sara Pichelli, Chris Samnee, David Marquez

When news of Spider-Man’s renewal at Marvel first broke, many fans clamored for a deviation from the norm. Naturally, this led to demand for a Spider-Man film featuring current Ultimate Spider-Man Miles Morales, the half-black/half-Hispanic teenager who took up the webbed mantle in the wake of Peter Parker’s tragic death in this pocket universe. And while certainly not as embedded in pop culture consciousness as Peter’s origins, Miles’ story would certainly lend itself to an effective film adaptation. Even if you do away with the concept of Miles becoming a new Spider-Man, you’re still left with a great family drama in which Miles must face down his own uncle as part of his path to becoming a hero. Granted, based on the rumored casting currently going on at Marvel, a Miles Morales Spider-Man seems highly unlikely. One can certainly dream though…Mark Rozeman

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