Across The Spider-People
Kelly’s Field Notes
Super Hero: Spider-Woman (aka Jessica Drew), Ultimate Spider-Man (aka Miles Morales), Spider-Man 2099 (aka Miguel O’Hara)
Species Comparisons: Spiders (Order Araneae)
First Comic Appearance: Jessica Drew - Marvel Spotlight #32 (February, 1977), Miles Morales - Ultimate Comics: Fallout #4 (August, 2011), Miguel O’Hara - Spider-Man 2099 #1 (November 1992)
Jessica’s Power Set:
Miles’s Power Set:
Miguel’s Power Set:
Finger and Toe Retractable Talons
Fangs (Venom Production)
Can See In the Dark (Sensitive to Light)
Suit Abilities - Airfoil and anti-gravity particles for gliding, tear resistant suit, camouflage (invisibility), suit can also cast mirages.
Lyra, his AI assistant, is also worth mentioning!
Real Spider Powers:
Intelligence - jumping spiders from genus Portia have been observed problem solving and learning
Strength - tiny jumping spiders can catch and kill prey many times they're size, so can black widows and some orb weavers
Web slinging - spiders create several different types of webs
Agility - spiders can quickly adjust mid -movement to escape predators or catch prey
Wall crawling - spider setae, or tiny hairs, help them stick to walls and other surfaces
Awareness - spiders have a wide range of senses to feel and see the world around them
Speed - spiders are able to cover long distances in only a few seconds
Mandibles/Fangs - spiders have sharp and strong mandibles and fangs, some capable of going through the tough carapace of pill bugs (terrestrial isopods)
Venom - spider venom runs the spectrum of harmless, to irritating, to deadly, depending on species
Pheromones - some species of bolas spider can trick male moths into believing they are female moths, luring them into a trap
Camouflage - crab spiders can change their color to suit their environment, often we see them on flowers that are white, yellow, or orange in color
Dance moves - male spiders engage in courtship behaviors to attract females, male peacock spiders, for example, perform elaborate dances flailing their limbs and bouncing their abdomens
How Do Jessica, Miguel, and Miles Compare With Real Spiders?:
Jessica has the agility, speed, and strength of a spider. Her gliding sort of reminds me of spider ballooning, when young spiders take off on the wind to separate from their siblings and mother. Her venom blast power is electricity based and nothing like spider venom beyond causing paralysis. In the 1979 cartoon series Jessica creates an air bubble around herself to breathe underwater, this was a pretty fun ability and matches the ability of diving bell spiders which trap an air bubble between their legs and abdomen so the spider can essentially breathe when fully submerged.
Miles has all the powers Peter has and then some. He’s got spider strength, agility, and speed, but an important distinction is his ability to become invisible. While spiders cannot completely disappear, some species such as crab spiders, can change color to blend in with their surroundings. Crab spiders often become the color of flowers they are perched on, as they patiently wait for prey to fly in for some nectar.
Miguel has all of Peter’s powers, plus Miles’s camouflage. Miguel has a few extras as well such as healing, fangs that are connected to a venom gland, retractable claws, and he can see really well in the dark.
How They Rated on the Podcast -
Media Kelly and Amanda Read/Watched For This Episode:
Spider-Man 2099 (1993-1996) Issues #1-38
The venom bite was weird, but a nice touch!
Spider-Woman: Origin (2005) Issues #1-5
The comic states there are over 35,000 species of arachnids, this is wildly low - depending on which reference you check it’s more likely between 65,000 and 100,000+ species.
This comic kept referring to the Wundagore widow (not a real widow species) as “poisonous.” They should have said “venomous” as venom is injected and poison is usually ingested. Mundagore Mountain is a mystical significance in the Marvel universe so perhaps this spider is extra special.
Ultimate Comics Fallout #4 (August 2011) Issues #1-6
Spider-Woman (TV Series, 1979-1980)
Spider-woman gets stuck in a giant spider’s web, this does happen with real spiders. They can catch each other.
Spider-Woman uses an air bubble to breathe underwater, much like a diving bell spider!
Barth, Friedrich G. "Spider senses–technical perfection and biology." Zoology 105.4 (2002): 271-285.
Cross, Fiona R., et al. "Arthropod intelligence? The case for Portia." Frontiers in Psychology 11 (2020): 2573.
Dinh, Christine. “Caught in Spidey’s Web: 7 Things to Know about Jessica Drew (Spider-Woman).” Marvel, 4 June 2021, www.marvel.com/articles/comics/things-to-know-about-spider-woman.
Haynes, K. F., et al. "Aggressive chemical mimicry of moth pheromones by a bolas spider: how does this specialist predator attract more than one species of prey?." Chemoecology 12.2 (2002): 99-105.
Hurst, Jacob A., and Linda S. Rayor. "Effects on running speed of changes in sexual size dimorphism at maturity on in the cursorial huntsman spider, Delena cancerides (Sparassidae)." Journal of Comparative Physiology A 207.2 (2021): 269-277
Liu, Z. H., et al. "Biochemical and pharmacological study of venom of the wolf spider Lycosa singoriensis." Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases 15 (2009): 79-92.
Patel, K. D., et al. "The necrotic venom of the brown recluse spider induces dysregulated endothelial cell-dependent neutrophil activation. Differential induction of GM-CSF, IL-8, and E-selectin expression." The Journal of clinical investigation 94.2 (1994): 631-642.
Poerschke, Bastian, Stanislav N. Gorb, and Clemens F. Schaber. "Adhesion of individual attachment setae of the spider Cupiennius salei to substrates with different roughness and surface energy." Frontiers in Mechanical Engineering 7 (2021): 55.
Riou, Mickaël, and Jean-Philippe Christidès. "Cryptic color change in a crab spider (Misumena vatia): identification and quantification of precursors and ommochrome pigments by HPLC." Journal of chemical ecology 36.4 (2010): 412-423.
Rohou, A., J. Nield, and Y. A. Ushkaryov. "Insecticidal toxins from black widow spider venom." Toxicon 49.4 (2007): 531-549.
Utah State University. “Woodlouse Spider - School IPM - USU Extension.” USU, extension.usu.edu/pests/schoolipm/structural-pest-id-guide/woodlouse-spider.
Yirka, Bob. Tiny Jumping Spiders Found Preying on Frogs and Lizards. 14 Aug. 2017, phys.org/news/2017-08-tiny-spiders-preying-frogs-lizards.html.