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Sunday, February 25, 2024

7 Spider-Man Comics to Read While You Wait for Beyond the Spider-Verse

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Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is merely the first half of a two-part story which means, unfortunately, we have a long wait ahead until Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse continues that cliffhanger in March 2024. How can Marvel fans fill those long, interminable months? Why not read some comics?

The Spider-Verse movies are heavily inspired by Marvel’s contemporary Spider-Man comics in terms of both visual style and storylines. That means there are plenty of books to scratch that Spider-Verse itch during the wait for Beyond the Spider-Verse. We’re here to break down which books you should read, whether you crave solo adventures featuring Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy or epic crossovers that span the Spider-Verse.

All the Spideys in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Full Spoilers Edition)

Miles Morales: Spider-Man

The Spider-Verse movies are about Miles Morales at the end of the day, so it makes sense to dive into the comics focusing on Miles himself. And the Miles Morales: Spider-Man trade paperback is as good a starting point as any. This collects the first ten issues of Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man, Miles’ original monthly series.

Fans of the movies will find themselves on comfortable footing here, as the book provides a comprehensive origin story for Miles and his feud with his uncle Aaron aka Prowler. Whereas Marvel has altered Miles’ status quo so that he now exists in the same universe as Peter Parker (similar to the Insomniac Spider-Man games), here Miles is a rookie hero learning the ropes after his universe’s Peter has been killed. It quickly becomes clear why Miles struck such an immediate chord with readers.

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Miles Morales: Spider-Man

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Spider-Gwen: Gwen Stacy

Spider-Gwen may be the real breakout character of Across the Spider-Verse, especially with the film’s opening act serving as a full-blown origin story for Earth-65’s Gwen Stacy. But it can be hard to know exactly where to start with the Spider-Gwen comics, especially since Marvel has a habit of relaunching and renaming her books every so often.

Fortunately, this particular collection makes it very easy to dive into Gwen’s story. It includes her original origin story in Edge of Spider-Verse #2 and the first eleven issues of her solo series. While the book features many recognizable Marvel faces, their motives and personalities are often radically different from the norm. Spider-Gwen’s subversive and visually dynamic world is as much the star of the show as the title character herself.

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Spider-Gwen: Gwen Stacy

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Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows Vol. 1 – Brawl In the Family

Jake Johnson’s Peter B. Parker plays more of a supporting role in Across the Spider-Verse, which casts him as a very proud papa to an infant daughter named Annie May. While Marvel will probably never allow the Peter Parker of the core Marvel Universe to become a father, fans did get a taste of the Spider-Dad in a series called Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows.

Renew Your Vows is set in an alternate universe where Peter and Mary Jane stayed married and now have a daughter named Annie May. In this world, all three share Peter’s spider powers and fight crime as a family unit. The result is a charming and entertaining book that balances spandex and fisticuffs with grounded family drama.

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Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows Vol. 1 – Brawl In the Family

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Spider-Punk: Battle of the Banned

Spider-Punk has played a supporting role in various Spider-Verse comics, but it’s only recently that he got a chance to shine in his own solo series. Spider-Punk: Battle of the Banned gives Hobie Brown the spotlight he deserves. It also features Hobie’s hand-picked Spider-Band, featuring thoroughly punk-ified versions of familiar Marvel heroes like Captain America and Ironheart. With Hobie so frequently stealing the show in Across the Spider-Verse, this is the best place to learn more about this anarchic version of Spidey.

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Spider-Punk: Battle of the Banned

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Spider-Man 2099 Vol. 1: Out of Time

Across the Spider-Verse treats Spider-Man 2099 as an antagonist, but he’s a character with a long, proud superhero legacy in the comics. Miguel O’Hara is one of the oldest members of the extended Spider-Verse family, debuting with the rest of Marvel’s 2099 imprint back in 1992. That leaves readers with a choice of either going back to the beginning or starting with Miguel’s more recent comic book adventures.

There’s no right answer, as either way you’re getting great superhero content from writer Peter David. But we’d point to Spider-Man 2099 Vol. 1: Out of Time as the best starting point for the character. It features an accessible premise, exploring what happens when Miguel is stranded in the present and works to prevent the rise of the oppressive corporation Alchemax.

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Spider-Man 2099 Vol. 1: Out of Time

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Spider-Men: Worlds Collide

In the early days of Miles Morales’ career, he existed in the Ultimate Universe rather than the regular Marvel Universe. So it was a big deal when 2013’s Spider-Men brought the two worlds together and allowed Miles and Peter Parker to cross paths for the first time. There’s a lot of great character interaction to be found and strong use of Mysterio as a shared villain.

Spider-Men: Worlds Collide also collects the sequel, Spider-Men II. That book asks an important question – if Miles is from the Ultimate Universe, then where is the Miles Morales of the regular Marvel Universe? Both books feature fun team-ups and strong visuals. They’re as much a template as anything else for the Spider-Verse movies.

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Spider-Men: Worlds Collide

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Spider-Verse

If any Marvel comic can rival Across the Spider-Verse in terms of sheer scope and the number of Spider-Men involved, it’s definitely 2014’s Spider-Verse. This crossover brings together dozens of Spideys from across the Marvel multiverse. It’s also the place where many popular characters like Spider-Gwen and Peni Parker got their starts.

Spider-Verse was undoubtedly a major influence on the animated movies, though it should be noted the two differ a lot when it comes to the actual plot. In this story, Peter Parker and his fellow Spideys are on the defensive after the vampiric Morlun and his family (known as the Inheritors) begin feasting on the heroes of the Spider-Verse. Spider-Verse can be surprisingly dark at times (with more than a few Spideys meeting gruesome ends) but it’s also a wacky celebration of the character’s long history and legacy.

There’s also plenty more to read once you wrap up the original crossover. Books like Web Warriors feature more team-ups between Spider-People, and 2018’s Spider-Geddon and 2022’s End of the Spider-Verse serve as direct sequels. Even Venom has his own series of Venomverse crossovers at this point.

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Spider-Verse

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For more comic book recommendations, check out IGN's picks for the 27 greatest Batman graphic novels and our guide to how to read the X-Men line in 2023.


Jesse is a mild-mannered staff writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.

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