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Swing Into These Spider-Punk Facts That Only Huge Fans Will Know

2018's "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" expanded the minds of moviegoers to a diverse stable of Spider-Heroes, each emerging from their own universes and made distinctive by their own endearing variations on a theme. But with Dan Slott penning the original "Spider-Verse" comic series in 2014, Marvel comic book fans were already intimately familiar with the concept of a multiverse that had Spider-Man serving as its primary constant. 

"Into the Spider-Verse" was filled with Easter eggs and references to Spider-Man characters, but the film was missing one of Slott's greatest additions to the pantheon: The anti-fascist, anarchist rabble-rouser known as Spider-Punk.

Hailing from Earth-138, the Punk's real name is Hobie Brown, and he lives in a fascist dictatorship overseen by Norman Osborn. When bitten with a radioactive spider, he fuses his punk rock ethos with a dream of revolution, empowered to enact the desire for change his musical leanings have long expressed.

Now, with news that the sequel "Across the Spider-Verse" will bring Spider-Punk to the big screen, it's an exciting time for fans of the character — even if no single film could ever capture his complex, intricate history. Nevertheless, Daniel Kaluuya will be lending his voice towards that effort; to fill in the gaps, here's a briefing on all the things that separate Spider-Punk from his other Spider-Man brethren.

He was almost Spider-UK

Not everyone knows exactly who Spider-Punk is, but his iconic costume likely stands out to anyone who has been following Marvel comics or video games in recent years. His jean jacket, spike mohawk, and spiderwebbed guitar make for one of the coolest Spider-Man costumes of all time. The punk aesthetic inspired Spider-Punk's whole attitude and approach to life because before he became a character, his costume was meant for someone else entirely.

"['Spider-Verse' artist Olivier Coipel] came up with the design we now know as Spider-Punk," Slott told CBR in 2015. "He said, 'That's Spider UK.' I said, 'That's not Spider UK. He's supposed to be from the Captain Britain Corps. He should have the Union Jack and the Spider. This guy's all punk.' He was like, 'Yeah! It's all punk, and very London!'

When the pair decided the costume wasn't right for a member of Captain Britain's team, the look inspired a whole new character for their comic, and Spider-Punk was born.

"Olivier was bummed, because the Spider-Punk design was brilliant," Slott continued. "So I said, 'That's a great design! We will totally use it. We're creating all these new Spider-Men. So when we get to Doc Ock's army we'll put him there. He'll be one of Doc Ock's best henchmen and he'll be there all the time! We'll show you Spider-Punk non-stop! I promise you!'"

He's the Earth-138 version of Prowler

The multiverse is a strange place. In Marvel's imagining of an intricate web of overlapping universes, there are certain details seemingly immovable, while others are in constant flux. The "Into the Spider-Verse" film explored how every version of Spider-Man has some kind of tragic backstory — a necessary imeptus for the birth of this hero — but also showed that it's not necessarily always a Peter Parker who makes the journey.

Spider-Punk and his real-world identity were introduced in 2014's "The Amazing Spider-Man" volume 3 issue 10. Peter Parker has never exactly been a revolutionary, so it shouldn't be all that surprising that he isn't the man behind the mask on Earth-138. That world's Spider-hero is Hobie Brown, who's name might ring familiar to some longtime comic book fans.

In the main Marvel Comics universe (aka Earth-616), Brown played an important role in Spider-Man's story. He was the original Prowler, making his debut appearance all the way back in a 1969 "Amazing Spider-Man" issue written by Stan Lee. Earth-138's Hobie Brown has the same fight-the-power ethos as that original character — but this time, the combination of a radioactive spider bite and a tragic backstory of his own turned him into Spider-Punk.

He was friends with Gwen Stacy

The "Into the Spider-Verse" movie gave a great introduction to the idea that every Spider-Man throughout the multiverse shares some basic elements of their origin. They might all have different alter egos, but every one of them has suffered some kind of tragic loss — and almost all of them have a relationship with Gwen Stacy.

In the original Earth-616 comic book universe, Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy were dating. When the Green Goblin killed Gwen after discovering Spider-Man's real identity, Peter learned that being a superhero puts everyone he loves in danger. Miles Morales, meanwhile, had a much different relationship with Gwen. They became friends when a Spider-Powered version of Gwen landed in his universe, and the ending of "Into the Spider-Verse" hinted at the two of them meeting back up and going on multiversal adventures together.

Spider-Punk and his relationship to Gwen might not be as romantic as Peter Parker's, but it seems destined to end no less tragically. In "Web Warriors" #7, Spider-Punk meets up with Spider-Gwen, and he's amazed to see her as a superhero. He reveals that in his universe, Gwen Stacy was a musical legend who he deeply admired before she died — apparently in some kind of epic showdown. Spider-Gwen obviously wants to hear more of his story, but before he can explain more, the two of them are pulled into another multiverse-spanning conflict.

He leads a Spider Army

Spider-Punk gets introduced as "The Anarchic Spider-Man" in 2014's "Spider-Verse" #2. He lives in a reality vastly different from the one other Spider-Heroes occupy. His world is a stark, fascist dystopia. The natural world has been all but destroyed by unchecked capitalism and rampant consumerism. As if that wasn't bad enough, Spider-Punk also lives in a version of the United States run by none other than Norman Osborn.

Spider-Punk might reside in a fascist state, but he has no plans on living there peacefully. In his very first story, Spider-Punk is leading a massive rebellion against the authoritarian control of his country. The group that Spider-Punk leads calls themselves the Spider Army. The Army includes other superheroes like Captain Anarchy, but for the most part it's filled with regular people. The Spider Army uses punk rock as a weapon, and when it goes into battle, the screeching howl of a thousand guitar amps follows its charge. It's not often that fans get to see any version of Spider-Man in a true leadership position, so this is just one more thing that distinguishes Spider-Punk from his endless catalog of counterparts living out their lives elsewhere in the multiverse.

He killed Norman Osborn with a guitar

On Earth-616, Norman Osborn operates as the Green Goblin — and often, Spider-Man's number one enemy. Osborn is a disruptive figure who has torn Spider-Man's life apart on more than one occasion. Wherever he goes, chaos and death are sure to follow. Unfortunately, even in the endless expanse of the multiverse, Spider-Man can almost never escape Osborn.

Spider-Punk has his own unique relationship with Osborn — as well as his own reasons for hating the man. In Spider-Punk's first comic book outing, Osborn is revealed to be the President of the United States, and he rules the country with an iron fist. The Earth-138 version of Osborn is particularly threatening because he has an army called the Thunderbolt Department at his disposal, but that's not even the worst thing about his authoritarian control. Osborn's company Oscorp also created the Variable Engagement Neurosensitive Organic Mesh. Armed with V.E.N.O.M., Osborn and the Thunderbolt Department are thought to be unstoppable.

None of that stops Spider-Punk, however, from leading his army into battle against the state. It's no easy fight, but the Spider Army eventually comes out on top. At the end of the battle, Spider-Punk swings his electric guitar at Osborn's head and strikes the V.E.N.O.M.-infused President dead. With his world saved, Spider-Punk is able to focus on new enemies that threaten the multiverse beyond his own reality.

He works with a team

No matter the universe, Spider-Man is a hero who typically handles his problems alone. In the MCU, for instance, Peter Parker gets his first opportunity to join a team when Tony Stark offers him a spot on the Avengers roster at the end of "Spider-Man: Homecoming"; Peter initially turns Tony down. Although MCU Peter has more involvement with other heroes than he typically does in the comics, in his own films he typically handles deadly enemies on his own.

During the events of "Into the Spider-Verse," Miles Morales had a whole team of Spider-People helping him stop Kingpin's evil plan; still, everyone he's working alongside needs to go home by the end of the movie. In his day-to-day heroics, Miles will eventually be all by himself.

Spider-Punk, however, breaks that mold. He's a rocker at heart, and a rocker is nothing without his band. 

The first issue of Spider-Punk's solo series introduces his team of heroic friends. He works with the Earth-138 versions of Hulk, Iron Heart, and Captain America (fittingly called Captain Anarchy here) to take down a gang known as Kraven and the Hunters. The team has their very own base of operations, and together turn protecting New York City into a super-powered, fast-paced jam session.

He's saved the multiverse several times

Some heroes are seemingly born to save the universe. Spider-Punk has more than enough to deal with on Earth-138 but fate (and the imagination of comic book creators) dictated that he would save countless other Earths from countless other threats. Dan Slott first introduced the character in "Spider-Verse" #2 in 2014, so from the very beginning fans knew that Spider-Punk wouldn't be spending all of his time on his home world.

Throughout the "Spider-Verse" series, Spider-Punk helps all the other Spider-Heroes battle the mystical forces of Morlun and the Inheritors. The fate of Spider-Heroes everywhere, and the worlds they inhabit, hangs in the balance throughout the event, but of course Spider-Man and his amazing friends manage to save the day.

That was only the beginning of Spider-Punk's adventures. He went on to serve as a member of the Web Warriors, helping various Spider-Heroes deal with issues in their respective universes. While he managed to find time to return to Earth-138 to do his part, Spider-Punk always needed to keep an eye on the multiverse. In "Edge of Spider-Geddon" #1, Spider-Woman recruits him for yet another reality-saving adventure. The endless supply of reality-bending threats, not to mention the popularity of big crossover events, more-or-less ensures that Spider-Punk will always be a man of multiple Earths.

He has a different relationship to his name

Superheroes get their names from a variety of sources. Whether or not they pick what the public calls them, most superheroes don't give their name a second thought, getting down to the business of saving folks. Spider-Punk, on the other hand, tried and failed to pick his own name, and it's been a sore subject with him over the years.

After getting bitten by a radioactive spider, Hobie Brown became a hero and decided to call himself Spider-Man. He was an anarchist with real comic book sensibilities — but when he joined a multiversal force of Spider-Heroes, he picked up the name Spider-Punk as a way to distinguish him from others.

Spider-Punk isn't exactly a fan of his new moniker. When a version of Kang visits his world in "Edge of Spider-Geddon" #1, Hobie takes issue with being called "Spider-Punk." He insists that he's Spider-Man and doesn't want his punk aesthetic co-opted by Kang as a marketing tool (which is, indeed, very punk). A few multiversal adventures later, Spider-Punk lands his very own series, and by that point in time he's come to embrace his nickname, even referring to himself as Spider-Punk from time to time.

He was previously voiced by Drake Bell

Fans were excited to hear that Sony's 2023 film "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse" will feature "Get Out" star Daniel Kaluuya as the voice of Spider-Punk. However, Kaluuya won't be the first person to voice the fan-favorite Dan Slott character.

Spider-Punk made his animated debut in 2016, just two years after his introduction to the world. At the time, the Disney XD series "Ultimate Spider-Man" was ahead of the film curve, adapting the "Spider-Verse" storyline for its own small screen storytelling purposes. For the sake of "Ultimate," former "Drake & Josh" star Drake Bell (who already voiced the main Spider-Man of the series) got to be the first actor to portray Spider-Punk. Ultimately, however, Spider-Punk didn't receive much screentime on "Ultimate Spider-Man," which was disappointing to many fans. Undoubtedly, they're hoping Kaluuya and "Across the Spider-Verse" dive significantly deeper into the character and his backstory.

He's been in 3 video games

Spider-Punk just might be the most popular alternate Spider-Man of the moment. In less than a decade, he has gone from introduction to making appearances in comic books, shows, and movies; Sideshow Collectibles has given him his own figure, and he's stolen attention in a handful of different Marvel video games.

Spider-Punk first broke through to the video game realm a year after he made his comics debut. In January 2015, Marvel announced the Punk would be joining the roster of Gameloft's "Spider-Man Unlimited" mobile game. The announcement showed off Spider-Punk's increasingly-iconic costume while blaring a punk-sounding track perfectly fitting for the character.

After that, Insomniac Games decided to get in on the Spider-Punk movement by adding his costume to its PS4 "Spider-Man" game. The game was a hit and his costume a stunning scene stealer, complete with a Pete Townshend-like ability called Rock Out that allows Spider-Punk use his electric guitar as a weapon.

Most recently, "Marvel Strike Force" brought the Web Warriors into the fold in December 2021. Spider-Punk was brought in to join the action using custom attacks like Guitar Solo, Mosh Pit, Amped Up, and Punk's Not Dead to crush his enemies. Spider-Punk is such a fun, dynamic character that he makes a great addition to any video game desirous of a little extra flair.

He's a true revolutionary

The first things people notice about Spider-Punk is his spiky mohawk, a punk rock staple. Then comes his all-punk denim jacket, bearing logos from his favorite bands (as well as a red "A" embracing anarchy), and of course, a (spiderwebbed) electric guitar for doing way more than merely playing 3 chords. 

From a design perspective, Spider-Punk absolutely nails the late-'70s, early-'80s aesthetic that evolved rapidly from the early bands (Iggy and the Stooges, the MC5) to the most iconic (Ramones, Sex Pistols, The Clash) to the later waves (T.S.O.L., Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, Misfits, Bad Brains) that furthered the movement. A casual observer might think Spider-Punk is all about imitating the looks of old school punk rock; anyone who takes a deeper dive should realize that what he really embraces is the punk philosophy itself.

"Spider-Punk" writer Cody Ziglar told Den of Geek in 2022 that his run on the series has been about exploring how the character could take his beliefs a step further now that the Norman Osborn in his world had died. "This is very much him saying, 'I've taken out the figurehead, but now I deal with the actual institution. How do I topple the actual institution?'"

Hobie Brown believes in tearing down corrupt institutions and returning as much power as possible to the average citizens of his country. Behind all his flashy style and Marvel-appropriate branding, Spider-Punk as a character is a true revolutionary who would likely find himself at odds with the philosophies of many Earth-616 heroes. Continuing to evolve at this pace, seeing his character in the coming years should be a thrilling reminder that punk's not dead.