The Most Surprising Things About Spider-Man’s Web-Shooters

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

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Promotional art from Spider-Man 2(2004)

One of the chief features of Spider-Man is his amazing web-shooters that let him swing through the air and catch thieves just like flies. However, the average fan doesn’t know much about this fantastic invention, especially the weirdest things it can do. Face it, tiger, you hit the jackpot: we’re about to explain the most surprising things about Spider-Man’s web-shooters.

First off, you should know that young Peter Parker invented the web-shooters on his own (the iconic Sam Raimi movies opted instead to make the web-shooters organic).

[H]ave you ever noticed that our favorite hero isn’t just shooting webs out at random when he is making a fist and punching Carnage and other baddies?

This is a bigger deal than you might think because it means that the young man who would always struggle with money invented something (his amazing web fluid, specifically) with world-changing applications when he was only 15. Later, even billionaire Tony Stark would question why Peter never made a fortune from this innovative invention.

Webs Of All Flavors

Another weird thing about Spider-Man’s web-shooters is that he has used them to shoot different kinds of web fluid that he develops. The standard webs are just used to tie up crooks and disappear after about an hour or so, but this isn’t always sufficient for more intense combat.

Spidey invents ice webbing to incapacitate the Human Torch in Strange Tales Annual #2 (Marvel Comics, 1963)

Accordingly, the superhero invented ice webbing (1963’s Strange Tales Annual #2) and, more disturbingly, he once used the web-shooters to fire special webbing with hydrofluoric acid in it (2010’s Amazing Spider-Man #615) in order to stop Sandman in a way that Walter White might have approved of.

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Spidey using acid in his web-shooters to find Sandman in Amazing Spider-Man #615 (Marvel Comics, 2010)

While later comics would slowly phase this kind of thing out, comics like 1963’s Amazing Spider-Man #6 showed Spider-Man using his web-shooters to create some skis that he used to defeat the Lizard. In 1964’s Amazing Spider-Man #12, he used his webbing to create a fireproof umbrella in order to protect himself.

Webs Of All Shapes

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Spidey using his web-shooters to make a flame-proof umbrella in
Amazing Spider-Man #12 (Marvel Comics, 1964)

That’s right: when Spider-Man is feeling cheeky enough, he can borrow the Penguin’s whole deal just by shaping his webs.

Various people have taken a crack at improving Spider-Man’s webs and web-shooters, and arguably none were as successful as Doctor Octopus after he swapped bodies with Peter Parker and decided to prove himself as the Superior Spider-Man. Among many other interesting improvements, Doc Ock made the webs bulletproof because he felt (rightly so) this would be a useful feature in combat.

Spidey explaining his webby underwear in Amazing Spider-Man #2 (Marvel Comics, 2014)

But he never foresaw how weird this would get: once Peter Parker was back in his body, we saw in 2014’s Amazing Spider-Man #2 he used the web-shooters to create underwear so sturdy it wouldn’t come off until he got the solution from an old girlfriend of Doctor Octopus.

One of the most impressive features of Spider-Man’s web-shooters is the fact that they are designed so well. For example, have you ever noticed that our favorite hero isn’t just shooting webs out at random when he is making a fist and punching Carnage and other baddies?

That’s by design: Peter has to double-tap the palm triggers to fire a normal blast, and different motions will alter how the fluid comes out. For example, a fast tap shoots a thin web out, and a stronger tap sends out a stronger one, allowing him to adapt to different situations while also saving on how much web fluid he uses. 

Ultimately, we can’t help but think that Spider-Man’s web-shooters are one of the coolest inventions in the entire Marvel Universe, and it’s all the more impressive that Peter Parker designed and maintained the shooters and his fluid while always being flat broke.

That’s far more impressive than, say, the X-Men constantly dipping into Charles Xavier’s endless piles of money for their latest technological innovations (or to just rebuild the mansion for the millionth time). We can’t wait to see the next Spider-Man MCU adventure to see these web-shooters in live-action once more.

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