I just watched Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse this past week, and I still cannot stop thinking about how amazing this film is! The characters are so dynamic and interesting, and they brought together multiple universes of the Spider-Man series in such a way that no one’s seen before. On top of that, the animation is next-level, but that’s beside the point!
I think the biggest takeaway from this movie for me was getting to know these other “iterations” of Spider-Man, and learning about their backstories while not taking anything away from the main central plot of the film. Each individual is fun and has their own quirks that makes me want to know more about their own universes. While the movie offered a little insight, here’s another brief on the Spider-People we get to know in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Spider-Gwen is probably one of my favorite of the more recent Spider-People. In her universe, Earth-65, Gwen Stacy is known as Spider-Woman. Like Peter Parker in the universe that most view as the “main” timeline, Gwen was also bitten by a radioactive spider. Peter Parker, her friend, ended up becoming the Lizard in Earth-65 because of students at their high school constantly bullying him. Even though Gwen is successful in stopping Parker, he ends up dying in the end, causing the public to believe the that Spider-Woman is a murderer. (Thanks, J. Jonah Jameson!) Spider-Gwen has to carry this burden with her, somewhat mirroring both Gwen’s death in the “main” timeline and Peter Parker’s burden of guilt over Uncle Ben’s death.
First off, I want to point out that Spider-Man Noir is voiced by Nicolas Cage in this movie, which is actually amazing, but that’s not why we’re here. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this character is that he’s a reporter (though he says he’s a private eye in the film), rather than a photographer. In his universe (which is much darker than many of the other Spider-Verses), the Great Depression is at its height and America is at its lowest. Peter Parker was bitten by a spider while on an investigating a tip on criminals smuggling really old spider artifacts. Of course, we all knows what happens next: he gets his his spider powers and becomes a kick-butt crime fighter!
Not to be confused with Spider-Pig from The Simpsons Movie, Spider-Ham is definitely the most… unique character in this story. Can we even call him a Spider-person? Anyway, this is where it gets weird. Spider-Ham wasn’t always a pig! In fact, he was born a spider, who was simply named “Peter,” who lived in the lab of a loony scientist, May Porker. May Porker one day had an experiment go all wrong, which made her go crazy, resulting in May Porker biting Peter the spider! The bite cause Peter to transform into a pig (adopting the name Peter Porker), but he retained his spider abilities, thus crowning him as the one and only Spider-Ham. Yes, this was actually a comic. (thanks Tom DeFalco and Mark Armstrong).
Originally from Earth-14512, Peni Parker is a Japanese-American middle schooler who takes up the responsibilities of her late father. After being adopted by Ben and May Parker, she finds out that she is the only one who can continue her father’s project, SP//dr. The SP//dr suit is a mech that is partially controlled by a radioactive spider. In order to communicate with this spider, Peni allows it to bite her, giving them a psychic connection. The two of them have been best friends ever since!