10 Villains You Won’t See in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2′
As is always the case with highly anticipated comic book movies, there are plenty of internet rumors surrounding director Marc Webb’s upcoming sequel to ‘The Amazing Spider-Man.’
With the news that ‘Chronicle’ star Dane DeHaan is joining the cast (which also includes Jamie Foxx as the evil Electro) as Harry Osborn, fans are curious as to which other villains we’ll get to see pitted against everyone’s favorite neighborhood wall-crawler. Still, there are plenty of bad guys that can pretty much be taken out of the running right here and now. So without further ado, here’s a list of the top ten villains who won’t make the cut in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2′ or likely any ‘Spider-Man’ movie to come.
In the 1960s, comic book companies decided the best way to nab new readers was to appeal to youth trends of the day. Comic books writers and artists attempted to pander to a generation they didn’t quite understand, using terms like “fab” and “groovy” in an attempt to appear “with it,” and this shameless tradition would continue in one form or another even to the present day.
In 1978, fans would meet perhaps the apex of this movement, in a story actually titled ‘Spider-Man Night Fever.’ In the all-too-perfectly-dated 24th issue of ‘Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man,’ readers met the Hypno-Hustler, a villain whose mind-numbing hypnotic powers bent anyone to his will, as did the harmonic sounds of his back-up band, the Mercy Killers. Unfortunately for the Hustler, a makeshift pair of earplugs saved Spidey from his trance, and the death of disco saved readers from many more return bouts of ‘Saturday Night Furor.’
Ever wonder what a Spider-Man/’Deliverance’ crossover would look like? Then wonder no more, my friend. Meet Banjo, an inbred mutant living in the mountains of Appalachia.
Spidey stumbled across his path when searching for Peter Parker’s old friend and boss, Joe “Robbie” Robinson in the pages of ‘The Spectacular Spider-Man’ #156. With a color scheme seemingly patterned off the Batman villain Blockbuster (who himself was a pretty blatant imitation of the Incredible Hulk), Banjo was an amplified redneck stereotype, partnered with his just-as-creepy brother, a small boy with mental powers named Bugeye. And while he hasn’t reappeared since his debut, one can’t help but wonder if Banjo would’ve been a bit more popular had his brother looked exactly like him. Because, you know, dueling Banjos.
Gordon Thomas was a war vet working for a sign company creatively named Ace Signs. When he was laid off, Thomas did what any rational former signsmith would do, and embarked on a life as a super-villain called Typeface in the pages of ‘Peter Parker: Spider-Man’ #23.
Arming himself with weaponized letters and harboring a fondness for dramatic speeches, Typeface took out his font-rage on the city of New York, until Spider-Man talked some sense into him. Inspired by the hero and apparently easily influenced, Typeface changed his ways and attempted a career as a super-hero vigilante. He even earned himself a sidekick along the way in the form of the anal-retentive grammar-Nazi SpellCheck. The end result was a dynamic duo sure to strike terror into the hearts of graphic designers everywhere.
There wasn’t much about the 1980s cartoon ‘Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends’ that made sense. But that didn’t stop an entire generation from being introduced to the web-slinger through his TV counterpart. Usually a loner in the comics, animated Spidey was suddenly BFFs with the X-Men’s Iceman and a new mutant character named Firestar. The group spent the majority of their time hanging out in an impossibly transformable apartment, also occupied by a prerequisite dog sidekick named Ms. Lion.
It was on this show that fans first met Video-Man, a threat born right out of the already-menacing mind-destroying arcade. With a visual appeal rivaling the finest achievements of the Atari 2600, Video-Man wasn’t the most threatening villain to ever cross the wall-crawler’s path. And while he may not be headed towards the big screen anytime soon, Video-Man did manage to find his way into the mainstream Marvel Universe years later in a 2006 throwback special that reunited Marvel’s super trio entitled ‘Spider-Man Family Featuring Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.’
5. The Gibbon
It’s safe to say that after over 100 issues of writing ‘The Amazing Spider-Man,’ Stan Lee was running out of ideas. The brilliant mind that gave readers Dr. Octopus, the Green Goblin, Electro, Sandman, and all the other Spidey greats, Lee had pretty much given all that he had to give by the time his last regular issue of ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ (# 110) hit stands in 1972. But that didn’t stop Stan the Man from delivering the Gibbon, one of the duller knives in Spider-Man’s rogue drawer.
Clad in a monkey suit with abnormal ape-like dexterity and strength, Martin Blank originally wanted to be Spider-Man’s partner. But when the wall-crawler justifiably laughed right in the face of the temperamental would-be primate, Blank decided to turn to crime as the Gibbon, proving to fans worldwide that perhaps Stan Lee could use a bit of a breather after all.
6. The Kangaroo
There’s a general assumption on the part of Americans that Australians are a tough bunch. So it stands to reason that an Australian super-villain might be able to pose a real threat to the world famous web-spinner.
But when that same bad guy is nicknamed the Kangaroo, and got his powers by just hanging out with a herd of kangaroos in the outback, well, it’s safe to say that all preconceived assumptions are thrown out the window, and the reader is left with an image as threatening as a member of Winnie-the-Pooh’s entourage. Yet despite pretty much only possessing the power to hop, the Kangaroo still managed to give Spidey a run for his money in their first encounter in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ #81. One shudders to think what evil heights the Australian mastermind might have achieved had he incorporated a convenient pouch into his fearsome costume.
Not long after a nuclear explosion fused a highly educated professor with a high school jock and birthed the DC Comics hero Firestorm, Marvel created their own atomically intermixed character in the form of Fusion, the Twin Terror, in the pages of ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ #208. And while Firestorm has withstood the test of time starring in several ongoing series over the years, Fusion didn’t prove quite as popular. The idea of two drastically different people being merged into one super-powered body was already a lot for the readers to swallow. But Fusion demanded even more in the suspension of disbelief category.
The two beings that happened to get trapped in the same lab explosion that created Fusion were not only twin brothers, but were also little people, one a noble janitor and the other a scheming scientist. It was a recipe for disaster, served with the disturbing dessert of Spider-Man punching both little people in the face at the story’s end, thus ending the threat of Fusion once and for all.
One can hope that the armored anti-hero Warrant got his name from the rock band that gave the world ‘Cherry Pie.’ It would only add to his appeal as the quintessential early ’90s Marvel anti-hero. Back in those days, big bulky armor, complete with shoulder pads, a take-no-prisoners attitude, and many, many guns was all you needed to head off into battle in the world of the Marvel Universe. Warrant possessed all those traits in spades, proving just how much of a hard-as-nails bounty hunter he was when he went after Spider-Man’s old enemy, the Lizard.
In order to draw the scaly Dr. Curt Connors out from hiding, Warrant strapped Connors’ kid to his back and wore him like an accessory until Spidey came to the rescue. Warrant was a product of his time, and these days, better left in the realm of comic book limbo. Especially when you consider the motto that he spouted in his very first appearance in ‘Web of Spider-Man’ #110, “Overkill is best of all.”
9. Fancy Dan
To be perfectly honest, out of everyone on this list, Fancy Dan has the greatest chance of popping up in some future Spider-Man film. As the diminutive martial arts expert of the longtime Marvel team of muscle known as the Enforcers, Ol’ Fancy Pants has made his way into several classic comic book stories, many penned by the great Stan Lee himself. But despite his longevity as a Spidey foe dating back to his first appearance in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ #10, Fancy Dan has a lot working against him. And none of those factors is more detrimental than the fact that he’s just not that fancy.
When it comes right down to it, he’s a short judo expert in a suit. Even Montana, another fairly nonthreatening Enforcer, has the flashy gimmick of lariat skills to call his own. If Fancy Dan is really going to break into the big time, he needs to earn his name. Maybe add a neckerchief or something to help peacock his image. As long as he doesn’t overdo it.
As any Indiana Jones fan can tell you, Nazis make great bad guys. It’s nearly impossible to feel any sympathy for a group of people whose political philosophy is horribly revolting. So at first glance, it seems plausible that Fritz von Meyer, a Nazi scientist and Marvel super-villain, could make the cut in an upcoming Spider-Man movie. However, Fritz isn’t your typical Nazi super scientist — he’s actually just the skeleton of a Nazi scientist who happens to be coated in an army of killer bees that he controls with his consciousness.
Debuting first as an enemy of the short-lived superhero team called the Champions, in the pages of 1977’s ‘The Champions’ #14, Swarm would go on to buzz around Spider-Man’s life many times, entertaining fans everywhere with enough evil bees to make even the Wicker Man jealous. Just remember, Swarm — killing Spider-Man won’t bring back your g–d–n honey.
Matthew K. Manning is a comic book writer, historian and fan living with his wife and daughter in Mystic, Connecticut. His newest book, ‘Spider-Man Chronicle,’ was released in early October by DK Publishing.