TOP TEN TUESDAY: Spider-Man Villains Not Yet Featured in a Film
Well Marvel movie maniacs, are you getting ready to head to the multiplex for the newest screen incarnation of our favorite web-slingin’ hero? We movie geeks are a couple of steps ahead of you, and maybe the fine folks of Sony Studios. Looking over Spidey’s 50 year history, we’re amazed at his terrific roster of bad guys. Sure Batman has the greatest comic book villain ever in the Joker, but things get pretty goofy a few notches down ( Tweedledom and Tweedledee? ). Really, the webhead’s got a great line-up just waiting for their close-up. All right you NYC menaces, who’ll be the next evildoer to try and squash that bug?
10. MOLTEN MAN
Ah, the last really great villain of the Steve Ditko era, The Molten Man is sort of a spin-off. A low-level criminal named Raxton takes a bath in a special liquid alloy created by Professor Smythe, builder of those pesky Spider-Slayer robots funded by J. Jonah Jameson. Quickly he emerges with bright golden impenetrable skin and unbelievable strength. In later incarnations he was almost a walking lava-man who left footprints of fire, determined to scorch our favorite wall-crawler. Thanks to some extra thick webbing, Spidey was able to hold him for police pick-up ( wonder is he left a ” courtesy of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man” card ? ). Just think how CGI will make him glow and hiss steam as he marches towards our hero for a truly heated battle royal in a future flick!
9. THE RINGMASTER AND HIS CIRCUS OF EVIL
Hey you, stop sniggering over jokes about circus folk! The first time Spidey faced this troupe he needed a little help! Back in landmark issue # 16 , that swirling disc in the middle of the Ringmaster’s top hat hypnotized our hero and the entire audience except for a blind lawyer named Matt Murdock. That’s right, the man without fear himself, Daredevil in his snazzy yellow and dark red original duds. After a brief dust-up, the duo took on the rest of the circus: twin acrobats the Great Gambonnos, Cannonball, Samson the strongman, and the crafty Clown, who later took over as leader and added that mistress of serpents, Princess Python ( Hmm, something about a Ditko-drawn bad girl ). This is one surprising resilient group. Later, they even took on the Hulk and turned the big green galoot into a clown. Wonder how many of his grease paint brethren could fit into a car with him? Maybe Jim Carey as the Ringmaster and Angelina Jolie tossing snakes at our webhead in the next movie?
After his first appearance in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN # 9, the powerful villain Electro became so popular that he was “farmed out” to battle many other Marvel heroes, including Daredevil, the Fantastic Four, and others. With the ability to harness the power of lightning and electricity, Electro (aka Maxwell Dillon) gave webhead all he could handle in their numerous battles. Those stories are notable for Spidey using his scientific knowledge, rather than his Spider-powers, to defeat a bad guy in some ways more powerful than he was, employing such tactics as rubber insulation and water to short circuit the super-charged criminal. Also a member of the infamous Sinister Six, Electro was such an impressive nemesis that director James Cameron allegedly featured the character as the main villain in his aborted Spider-Man film.
7. THE SPIDER SLAYER ROBOTS
Another of Spidey’s foes that kept coming back for more, the Spider-Slayer Robots first appeared in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN # 25 and recurred in several early issues. A product of J. Jonah Jameson’s hatred for the webcrawler, the robots were actually the invention of scientist Dr. Spencer Smythe, who just happened to be an expert in arachnids and robotics (!). Smythe was hired by JJJ to create the perfect killing machine – of Spider-man. When the first robots were defeated, Smythe went on a personal vendetta against both Spidey and JJJ. In one of the most memorable stories (and comic book covers) of the early issues, Spider-man is handcuffed to Jameson next to a time bomb. JJJ never gave up, though, and in later issues he hired Dr. Marla Madison to create more killer robots. J. Jonah ended up marrying Dr. Madison, but don’t worry – more recently, Smythe’s son Alistair has taken up the task of trying to best Spider-man with yet more lethal machines.
6. THE VULTURE
One of Spidey’s most enduring enemies, The Vulture (aka Adrian Toomes) was a brilliant but (of course) twisted scientific genius who invented a flight harness -complete with wings that gave him superior strength and agility. The Vulture is often seen silently swooping down out of the sky to pummel our hero, so Spidey really had to have his Spider-sense on full alert when battling this creepy-looking villain. Making his first appearance in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN # 2, the Vulture showed up in several of the early comics, most notably as a member of the Sinister Six in the first AMAZING annual, and in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN # 48 – 49, where Spidey had to do battle with two Vultures (awesome!) Later incarnations of the Vulture included advanced weaponry in the flight suit, and even a Vulture who is genetically altered to look like a real vulture!
5. MORBIUS THE LIVING VAMPIRE
I’m surprised Morbius, the Living Vampire has never been brought to the big screen. With his white skin and red and blue outfit, he’d make the type of powerful cinematic presence that’s in style these days. Morbius is technically not a vampire, at least in the old-school sense. He was a Nobel Prize-winning biochemist, who had attempted to cure himself of a rare blood disease with an experimental treatment involving vampire bats and electroshock therapy. However, he instead became afflicted with a far worse condition that mimicked the powers and the thirst for blood of legendary vampirism. Morbius had to digest blood in order to survive and had a strong aversion to light. Morbius first appeared as a villain in The Amazing Spider-Man #101 (Oct. 1971), and went on to become the hero in his own comic book series.
4. THE SCORPION
J. Jonah Jameson may be cranky and stubborn, but at least he learns from his mistakes. In his all-consuming hatred of Spidey, JJJ decided to create a super-powered being to eliminate that wall-crawling pest. Funded by the newspaperman, Dr. Farley Stillwell transforms reporter Mac Gargan into The Scorpion in issue # 20. He can match the web-slinger in strength and agility plus he’s got that deadly stinging tail he controls with his mind. Of course Scorpy turned against JJJ, so the old blowhard went with Professor Smythe’s Spider Slayer robots for his next plot against our hero. The green suited foe would return many times and even take on Captain America in that hero’s book. IF you think the Lizard’s tale is deadly in the new flick, imagine the Scorpion’s tale comin’ at ya’ in 3D!!
3. THE RHINO
The Rhino wasn’t the sharpest tool in the Spider-man villain shed, but he had a Hulk-like momentum in his speed, strength, and rage that made him a formidable foe. The character debuted in Amazing Spider-Man #41 (Oct. – Dec. 1966) as a nameless thug for hire working for an Eastern European country. He volunteered to participate in an experiment that bonded a super strong grey polymer to his skin, thus augmenting his strength and speed, resulting in the powerful baddie known The Rhino. He can withstand bullets, falls from great heights and even anti-tank weaponry without sustaining injury. Although he died at the end of his debut story, the character proved popular enough to be revived, becoming a perennial opponent for both Spider-Man and the Hulk.
How can ya’ not love a bad guy who conceals his identity by wearing a big fishbowl-like globe over his head? Former movie special whiz Mysterio was one of Spidey’s most unusual early villains ( for one thing he’s not got that animal motif thing going on ). First the guy poses as the webhead to frame him for a crime spree, then he enlists the help of ole’ J. Jonah to publicly defeat the wall-crawler using his film trickery. Our hero triumphed, but soon faced him again as one of the original Sinister Six in Annual #1. With all the new effects tricks at his disposal today (CGI, prosthetics, pyrotechnics ) imagine Spidey facing all manner of movie menaces in a future action epic!
1. KRAVEN THE HUNTER
Perhaps the most respected big game hunter in the world, Kraven the Hunter (real name: Sergei Kravinoff) was obsessed with his quest to capture the most elusive trophy of all – Spider-Man’s head on his wall! Unlike other hunters, Kraven typically disdains the use of guns or bow and arrows, preferring to take down large dangerous animals with his bare hands. The character first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #15 (August 1964) and initially committed suicide after believing he defeated Spider-Man after burying his adversary alive. He was brought back to life with the curse that he can only die now at the hands of Spidey himself. Kraven is the half-brother of Dmitri Smerdyakov, better known as The Chameleon, who appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (March 1963)
THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN Opens in Theaters everywhere today!