After two franchises that didn’t just jump the shark but web-swung over it, and a brief but memorable tease in Captain America: Civil War, fans of the friendly neighborhood superhero were thrilled to finally get an adaptation that felt faithful to the classic comics they loved while being updated to the modern age (except for the fans raging that they cast people of color in the film, but we’re just gonna ignore those folks).
Spider-Man: Homecoming proved to not only be one of the most delightful, spirited and refreshing films in both the Spider-Man and Marvel franchises, but also vastly expanded the scope of the MCU, bringing us a street-level New York very different from the murky, stylized neighborhoods of the Netflix shows. Spider-Man: Homecoming knew they’d have a slew of devoted fans waiting to see their beloved hero as part of a larger world, but you might be surprised how many other characters from Peter Parker’s time on the comic book page came along for the ride. We’ll introduce you to the comic book versions of these new faces, which means much like Spider-Man during his time on the Electric Company, you should be careful to avoid The Spoiler!
17 ADRIAN TOOMES/THE VULTURE
No surprise here that this iconic villain takes the stage in Spider-Man: Homecoming. The trailers were packed to the gills with Michael Keaton delivering “I’ll kill you and everyone you love,” both a reminder of why Peter keeps his identity a secret and that Michael Keaton can be really, really creepy when he wants to be.
But casual fans may not realize just how crucial Vulture is to Spider-Man history. He may not get the love that Green Goblin, Doc Ock or Venom muster, but after appearing in the second ever issue of The Amazing Spider-Man, Adrian Toomes’ Vulture has been a part of quite a few pivotal story arcs and was even a founding member of the villainous Sinister Six. Not bad for an old guy in a bird suit, right?
16 LIZ ALLAN
Even though we warned you at the start about spoilers, we’ll say it one more time, turn back now if you haven’t seen Spider-Man: Homecoming yet. We cool? Alright, so that was a pretty crazy twist, what with the whole “Liz Toomes” thing. In the comics, Liz Allan is not, in fact, the Vulture’s daughter, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t had her fair share of connections to some villainous folk.
She started out as school bully Flash Thompson’s girlfriend and an object of unrequited love for Peter, but by graduation Liz had developed feelings for Parker instead. Of course, unbeknownst to her, Parker was too busy battling her step brother, the Molten Man. After high school, Liz met and married Harry Osborn, who would later don his father’s mantle as the Green Goblin, and even try and recruit their child Normie into the “family business”.
15 MS. WARREN
You’d be right in thinking that there’s no Ms. Warren in the comics, but Peter Parker did in fact have a teacher who bore that name. Raymond Warren first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15, ergo he’s been around as long as Spider-Man himself. Warren is Midtown High’s science teacher, but Raymond has actually gotten tangled up in Peter Parker’s second life more than once, having connections not only to The Tinkerer and The Living Brain but, most notably, by being the brother of Miles Warren.
Unlike the low ambitions of his sibling, Miles actually studied under the High Evolutionary, the stand-in for God in the Adam Warlock/Jesus allegory. And if Warlock is Christ, then Miles is Milton’s Lucifer, banished from the kingdom so as not to inspire ambitions in the High Evolutionary’s other creations. Returning to Earth, Miles begins to experiment with cloning and genetic manipulation before taking on the alter-ego of The Jackal. No word on whether Ms. Warren has a brother hanging out with the Sovereign, but if you ever wanna send Spider-Man to space, Ms. Warren is your connection.
14 JACKSON BRICE/SHOCKER
In the film, Jackson Brice is the first of two Shockers, the one who suffers an abrupt end at the hands of former boss Adrian Toomes. In the comics, however, Jackson is a very different type of villain. First appearing in 1964 in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man #10, Brice is notably skilled with a lasso and dresses in traditional cowboy garb, going by the name Montana. Together with Fancy Dan and The Ox, he formed The Enforcers, a group of guns for hire originally working for Big Man and eventually The Kingpin.
Of course, Brice would eventually take on the mantle of Shocker, but not in the books. Rather, in the 2008 animated series Spectacular Spider-Man, after appearing several times as Montana, Brice would don the gauntlets. So it seems the folks behind Homecoming were pretty far-reaching when it came to studying the source material.
13 ANNE MARIE HOAG
Tyne Daly is not a name we ever expected to see crop up in the credits of a Marvel movie, but once she walks on screen it becomes clear that she was tailor made for the role of Damage Control’s director. After tossing around the idea of a TV show involving the group (perhaps to compete with DC’s already forgotten Powerless), Marvel introduced the team and its leader the best way they could, having them serve as both answer to an ever-present question and also antagonist to both our hero and villain.
Hoag is the head of Damage Control in the comics as well, at least for a while, until she took a government job and accidentally set off a stock manipulation scheme involving Tony Stark and Wilson Fisk. Most notably, Damage Control features heavily into Wolverine’s subplot of the Civil War story arc.
12 SALLY AVRIL
Sally Avril is, admittedly, a blink-or-you’ll-miss-her character in Homecoming, only having a brief line at the hotel pool, etc. But this background member of Peter’s academic decathlon team has a big future ahead of her if Sony decides to tell the Untold Tales of Spider-Man. Sally Avril began as little more than a member of Flash Thompson’s crew in Amazing Fantasy #15, but in 1996, Astro City writer Kurt Busiek decided to bring her front and center.
Avril was a champion gymnast whose thirst for adventure made her first attempt to uncover Spider-man’s secret identity and later fight alongside him as a superhero known as Bluebird. Her enthusiasm for fighting crime, however, was not matched by her skills, and after several rescues by Parker, he finally decided to let Avril get pummeled to “teach her a lesson.” Yet Avril’s determination pushed her further, and her eagerness to prove herself led to her untimely death in a car accident on the way to a crime scene.
11 BETTY BRANT
When folks saw stills of a blonde girl with a black headband, they instantly thought of Gwen Stacy. But it turns out Midtown Science’s news show host who would totally “f- Thor” is actually another character crucial to Spider-Man lore: Betty Brant. Not a science scholar in the comics, Betty is actually a high school dropout who took a job as a secretary at the Daily Bugle to support her family. When a young Peter Parker joins the team as a photographer, the two began to date.
Betty would later marry fellow Bugle employee Ned Leeds, though their marriage would be strained both by a love triangle involving Peter and some brainwashing on the part of the Hobgoblin. After being roped into the Cult of Love and suffering some tragic losses, Betty persevered and soon became an investigative reporter for the Bugle.
10 PHINEAS MASON/TINKERER
If you saw Michael Keaton’s Vulture in the trailers and thought to yourself, “Where does he get those wonderful toys,” look no further than the delightful Phineas Mason, a simple tinkerer with a real hankering to make a high altitude vacuum seal. In the comics, however, Phineas Mason is a far more sinister foe.
Originally introduced in Amazing Spider-Man #2 in 1963, perhaps Mason’s most interesting arc began in Bill Roseman’s Deadline, when a vengeful Phineas Mason accidentally killed Michael Hart’s wife after Hart, also known as the Judge, set free criminals who had killed Mason’s own son. The Judge’s memory is soon wiped and he obtains superhuman powers, which a repentant Mason uses Memento-style to try and right wrongs before his scheme is ultimately exposed.
9 ABRAHAM BROWN
You may have noticed the Abe Brown on Peter’s academic decathlon team and wracked your brain as to where in Spider-Man lore that character had previously appeared, but don’t worry, true believers, you’re not slacking if you drew a blank. Abraham Brown was never a classmate of Peter Parker. His comic book roots are far more fascinating and obscure.
Abe Brown first appeared in the pages of Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #1 in 1974 when he, along with Lin Sun and Bob Diamond, used magic amulets to become the Sons of the Tiger. Together the team fought crime and battled alongside the more notable Marvel heroes, including Spider-Man, until the team disbanded. Afterwards, Abe Brown ended up involved in thwarting a plane hijacking where he was given the costume of the Black Tiger, a title he still bears today.
8 MR. HARRINGTON
Yes, even Peter’s Academic Decathlon coach has his roots in the books. Though his first name is never addressed in the film (nor is that missing student, but we’ll just ignore that for now), we can only assume this to be Roger Harrington, who in the comics is a former Midtown High teacher.
After being promoted to principal, Harrington hires Peter Parker to be Midtown High’s new science teacher in 2001’s Amazing Spider-Man #32, along with Flash Thompson as the new gym coach. Principal Harrington is rescued by Spider-Man when Mystery attacks Midtown High. Unfortunately, in Friendly Neighborhood Spiderman #13, Harrington is killed by the Chameleon of Earth-9500. Of course, if the MCU’s Harrington does become principal, he’d have some tough shoes to fill: Manhattan Science’s current principal is the grandson of a Howling Commando, after all.
7 SEYMOUR O’REILLY
Seymour O’Reilly, who appears briefly in Spider-Man: Homecoming played by JJ Totah, has never been a huge presence in Spider-Man lore, but has in fact been there since the beginning. In Amazing Fantasy #15, Seymour appears as the typical schoolyard brat, bowtie and all (it was the early ‘60s, after all), alongside Flash Thompson, ridiculing “Puny Parker.” Though derisive of Parker, O’Reilly is exhibited as showing a great deal of admiration for Spider-Man.
Years later, O’Reilly showed up at Midtown High’s class reunion in the pages of Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #7. Still up to his obnoxious bullying ways, he at one point even attempts to put a kick me sign on someone’s back, and his reaction to Peter marrying Mary-Jane is poor at best. O’Reilly meets his untimely end at the hands of Angelo Fortunato’s Venom later that evening, but not before finding out that Parker is the alter-ego of the hero he always admired.
6 CINDY MOON
Spider-Man: Homecoming offers us brief glimpses of Cindy Moon, so audiences might be surprised to discover Cindy is a fan favorite with comic book readers since her debut just three years ago in Amazing Spider-Man #1. In this series, it’s revealed that the same radioactive spider that bit Peter Parker’s hand also bit Cindy Moon’s ankle, and she began to develop powers of her own. However, because she was being tracked by Morlun, she was locked away in a bunker for 13 years.
When Peter finds out about the tragedy of Cindy, he frees her from the bunker and she begins to fight crime, and engage in a romantic relationship with Peter, under the alias Silk. After some rough patches and an arduous search for her parents, which led her to the Negative Zone, Silk most recently aligned herself with S.H.I.E.L.D.
5 FLASH THOMPSON
Flash Thompson may be new to the MCU, but he’s certainly a familiar face to movie fans. Well, actually, it's a familiar name. While the previous two series cast Joe Manganiello and Chris Zylka as the traditional bulky bully, Spider-Man: Homecoming cleverly opted for the kind of contemporary bully one might find at a STEM school: the taunting rich kid.
In the books, Flash Thompson was always the traditional bully one might see depicted in the ‘60s, going so far as to rock a sweater with his own initial emblazoned on it. For decades little more than an antagonist turned pal. however, Flash’s story took some dramatic turns, first when he went off to the Iraq War, and later when he became Agent Venom, taking on the symbiote and teaming up with the Guardians of the Galaxy.
4 NED LEEDS
Much like Betty Brant, Ned Leeds wasn’t a high school pal of Peter Parker, and he certainly didn’t play the Wade to Peter’s Kim Possible. However, Ned is a big part of Spider-Man history, a field reporter at the Daily Bugle who wound up romantically involved with Betty after she and Peter’s relationship fell apart. Rough as that may sound, Peter was actually encouraging of it, even serving as the best man at their wedding.
Unfortunately, while investigating the Hobgoblin, Ned was brainwashed into believing he himself was the villain in question, and Ned committed several crimes in the place of the real Hobgoblin, Roderick Kingsley. Kingsley later revealed Ned to be the “true identity” of the Hobgoblin, resulting in Leeds being brutally killed by assassins.
3 MAC GARGAN/SCORPION
So who was the mysterious tattooed buyer on the Staten Island Ferry? Well, if you stuck around during the credits, you’d find Mac Gargan to be a fellow inmate alongside Toomes, one who is very eager to get the identity of Spider-Man to his “friends” on the outside. One can only imagine those friends are rather “sinister”.
In the comics, as likely will be the case in the films, MacDonald Gargan is The Scorpion, a former PI hired by J Jonah Jameson to undergo an experiment which caused Gargan to take on the attributes of an animal, but also lose his mind. Since that day, Gargan’s hatred for Spider-Man was only met by his vendetta against Jameson, culminating in a thwarted attack on Jameson at his wedding. A constant presence in Spider-Man lore since 1964, while it's likely his origin will change, we’ve surely not seen the last of Mac Gargan.
2 HERMAN SCHULTZ/SHOCKER
Though Herman Schultz may have been second to don the gauntlets in Spider-Man: Homecoming, he was the first to hold the title of Shocker in 1967’s Amazing Spider-Man #46. Schultz was a career criminal who crafted his shock suit in order to more easily open safes, but found it worked as an effective weapon as well, even capable of subduing Spider-Man.
Shocker sprung from the pages of Spider-Man when he joined the Masters of Evil and went toe to toe with The Avengers in Avengers #228, fought on the side of good during the Infinity War, and even joined up with a new Sinister Six during Civil War. He’s notable for his suit, which is heavily insulated to protect him from the potential damage of his powerful gauntlets. Set photos showed Herman in the iconic mask, but it looks like we’ll have to wait for the sequel to see Shocker in all his glory.
1 AARON DAVIS/PROWLER
Hands down the best cameo and best easter egg in Spider-Man: Homecoming (sorry, Pepper), the presence of Aaron Davis doesn’t just broaden the world of Spider-Man to include a hint at Peter’s protege, but also serves as a nice tip of the hat to the tweet that got the ball rolling.
Aaron Davis, a criminal who goes by the name The Prowler, is the uncle of Miles Morales, the young boy who would become the new Spider-Man, hence the nephew hinted at during the “interrogation” scene. Interestingly enough, it was a picture of Donald Glover in a Spider-Man costume, the actor who played Aaron in the film, and the racist backlash it received, that inspired the creation of Miles to begin with. Though #donaldforspiderman didn’t quite come to light, it did give Marvel one of its best new characters of the last decade, and helped bring The Prowler into the MCU.
Which friendly face did you like seeing in Homecoming? Let us know in the comments!