The tangled web of Spider-Man and the Avengers

When Marvel Comics started publishing superhero books back in the 1960’s, the goal was to depict a more believable vision of the world, specifically New York City. Whereas Superman flew over the skyline of Metropolis and Batman protected Gotham City, Spider-Man and the Avengers both fought crime in the real NYC. This of course led to the inevitable team-ups and battles (see the image to the left or Avengers Vs. X-Men on the stands today) that eventually became standard practice.

So why was Spider-Man not in the Avengers movie everyone is so happy about? The reason is that Marvel sold the rights Columbia/Sony back in the day.

Strange as it may seem, Spider-Man, the X-Men, Ghost Rider, Daredevil and the Fantastic Four are all owned by studios other than Marvel Entertainment. Even so, if Avengers made a lot of money and Spider-Man is one of the most popular superheroes around… why not combine them? It’s a no-brainer, right?

Word is that Spider-Man and the Avengers nearly shared the big screen… in a way.

According to reports, a meeting between Disney/Marvel and Columbia/Sony led to an agreement to hint at the shared NYC of the Marvel Universe through the inclusion of the Oscorp building in the city skyline, near Stark Tower.

Norman Osborn is of course the industrial businessman and parent to Harry Osborn, best friend to Peter Parker (AKA Spider-Man). Later, Osborn was revealed to be the man under the mask worn by the Green Goblin, Spider-Man’s most dangerous foe.

But the Marc Webb film will reset the Spider-Man legacy, so Osborn be returned to the role of businessman rather than cackling supervillain as seen in the first Sam Raimi Spider-Man film.

Yes, this is going to confuse many people.

In any case, Sony and Marvel are apparently just as interested in combining their franchises as fans are. This may not lead to a Spider-Man cameo in the next Avengers movie, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of it becoming a reality down the road.

This of course assumes that The Amazing Spider-Man is the hit that the studio wants it to be.

So far, it is by far the less popular of superhero movies released this Summer. Competing with the final part of Chris Nolan’s Batman trilogy and the culmination of the Marvel Comics master plan the Avengers, it’s understandable that Spider-Man, the webslinger who once attracted the attention from movie goers resulting in record-breaking attendance, has been reduced to just another superhero.

Will The Amazing Spider-Man suffer from the ‘Parker luck’ or will it soar to new heights?

6 thoughts on “The tangled web of Spider-Man and the Avengers

  1. that cover brings up all kinds of memories that are at the back of my mind and currently inaccessible, getting old sucks, but I think it might have been one of the first comics I ever read as a kid.

    I would really love to see all the Marvel heroes end up together or have cameo’s in the movies – well except if Nicholas Cage continues to play Ghost Rider… then not him.

    I also loved the image of Bruce and Tony throwing money at one another and Peter picking it up, funny stuff


  2. This licensing business is definitely confusing and a sadder part of bringing Marvel characters to other media. What’s also got me confused is I enjoyed the recent Avengers cartoon series and it definitely featured the FF in fun cameos… is tv animation considered a separate venue creatively in terms of copyright, etc…?


    • They do typically license the animated stuff separately from the live-action stuff. Marvel was doing a lot of in-house animation while selling off the rights to live-action to various companies.


  3. I think Spidey might be a victim of bad timing this summer. I like Spidey, and while I didn’t like the reboot so quickly, everything I’ve heard and seen makes me optimistic about this reboot after all… but the timing couldn’t be worse.

    Megablockbuster Avengers sets the bar high… and the Batman “trilogy” is coming to and end. Spidey shouldn’t be sandwiched in the middle of this summer like that… but it all boils down to rights.

    Originally Raimi & the “old” crew were on board for Spider-Man 4, but needed more time… Sony was going to lose the rights (revert back to Marvel) IF they didn’t meet this deadline… so Sony retooled and rebooted to keep the franchise… but it might backfire on Sony IF there isn’t enough fan money to spread around this summer. Of course Sony would have lost the rights, so that forced their hand… and I know Marvel would love to get their properties back now that Disney Movie Studios is behind them.

    Marvel probably wins either way.


  4. I don’t think Spider-Man *needs* to be seen in The Avengers or vice versa, sure if the studios can get over their pathetic inability to agree on anything I wouldn’t object to an Oscorp tower appearing or something equally subtle (such as Spidey appearing on a tv or a Daily Bugle seen lying around), but anything more? No. It all gets too cutesy and claustrophobic. They have to get on with telling *their own story*, movies aren’t comic books (I know – *duh!*) they only have a finite amount of time in which to tell a story and shouldn’t be getting bogged down in geeky in-jokes, it makes it all too much like *product*. Anyway, I can’t see Peter Parker wanting to be involved with the movie Avengers who only really formed at the behest of the military.
    The original Marvel Universe was formed not only because it *made sense* that all those characters existed together but also because it was valuable cross-promotion, yet comics come out more or less every month not so with films therefore I think anything outside of subtle references between say Avengers and Spider-Man or any other Marvel-based films in the future would be a mistake. The existing Iron Man, Thor and possibly revived Hulk movies may have problems with suspension of disbelief from the less imaginative members of the audience if they *don’t* ladle on the Avengers references now which will likely irritate those interested in story rather than distracting stunts that don’t matter. Well, that’s my two cents, these things aren’t needed and can smack of the audience being puppets of the studios – “you GOTTA see this!”. That said, people love to be hyped now😦.


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