Tarantula (Marvel Comics)

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Tarantula
ASM134Cover.jpg
First appearance of the Tarantula I in The Amazing Spider-Man #134.
Art by Ross Andru.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearance(Antonio "Anton" Miguel Rodriguez)
The Amazing Spider-Man #134 (July 1974)
(Luis Alvarez)
Web of Spider-Man #35 (February 1988)
(Jacinda Rodriguez)
Agent X #6 (February 2003)
Created byGerry Conway
Ross Andru
In-story information
Alter ego- Antonio "Anton" Miguel Rodriguez
- Luis Alvarez
- Jacinda Rodriguez
Team affiliationsBrand Corporation
Boca Del Rios revolutionist forces
Boca Del Rios fascist government
Notable aliases(Antonio "Anton" Miguel Rodriguez)
Mr. Valdez
(Luis Alvarez)
El Arana
AbilitiesSkilled martial artist
Enhanced agility
Finger claws and toe spikes incorporated into his costume, usually envenomed
As a tarantula-like creature (Rodriguez):
Superhuman strength
Wall-crawling ability
Organic webbing shot from his buttocks

The Tarantula is a fictional character name used by supervillains appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.

Publication history[edit]

The character was introduced in The Amazing Spider-Man #134 (July 1974).[1] Writer Gerry Conway recalled how he created the character:

During the political upheavals in South America during the 1970s, there was a real sense that we, the United States, were somewhat culpable, both for supporting the repressive regimes that were in power, and in the case of Chile, actually assisting in the overthrow of the democratically elected government. So, in that environment, a character like the Tarantula was inherently political. But the real reason I wanted to write that particular story was something said by my good friend Don Glut, who was also writing for Marvel at the time. Don once asked, "Why aren't there international heroes from smaller countries, a third-world, or old-world Captain America, like say, Captain Serbo-Croatia?" We laughed, but I really liked that notion: Just because the United States came up with their guy, why stop there? Why stop with the larger countries, the superpowers?[2]

Acting as a patriotic enforcer for the oppressive dictatorship of the fictional South American country of Delvadia (essentially a Delvadian equivalent to Captain America), his defining marks are his red stretch costume with a black tarantula on its chest and the poisonous spikes attached to his gloves and boots. The character was killed off in the early 1980s, but the Tarantula identity has been carried on by a series of successors.


Prior to the Delvadian Tarantula's debut, a character with the name of the Tarantula appeared in Ghost Rider #2 (April 1967). There is no connection between this character and any of the other depictions.

Fictional character biographies[edit]

Antonio "Anton" Miguel Rodriguez[edit]

As a revolutionary terrorist in the small fictional South American republic of Delvadia, Antonio "Anton" Miguel Rodriguez was expelled from his small organization after murdering a guard for no reason during a robbery. Anton then went over to the side of the repressive fascist-dictatorship government, where they created the identity of the Tarantula for him to serve as a government operative and his country's counterpart to Captain America. After alienating his masters, the Tarantula I embarks on a criminal career in the United States. He hijacks a Hudson River dayliner to rob the passengers and hold them for ransom; his plan, however, is disrupted by Spider-Man and the Punisher.[3] He escapes prison with the help of the Jackal who sought revenge on Spider-Man; however, the Tarantula I is again defeated by Spider-Man.[4] He is then hired by Lightmaster to assist Kraven the Hunter in committing various kidnappings and murders, but is again thwarted by Spider-Man.[5]The Tarantula I then joins forces with Senor Suerte to steal the "Madbombs" and use them for extortion, but this time is defeated by Captain America.[6]

The Tarantula I is hired by the Brand Corporation to silence an informer, but is again thwarted by Spider-Man. The Brand Corporation then orders him to kill Spider-Man. In an attempt to bestow him with spider-powers, he is injected with a mutagenic serum and placed in an electrolyte bath. The Will o' The Wisp disrupts the mutagenic process, causing the Tarantula I to start transforming into a gigantic, monstrous, spider-like being. He falls into Jamaica Bay, but survives the plunge and continues to mutate, and then battles Spider-Man atop a tall New York City building. Horrified and disgusted with what he has become, he leaps off the building, begging for the police officers gathered below to kill him. Hit by a hail of gunfire, the Tarantula I strikes the street below and dies.[7]

During the Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy storyline, the Tarantula I is among the clones that were created thanks to the Jackal's company, New U Technologies.[8] He was involved in a fight with the other cloned supervillains until it was broken up by a clone of the Prowler.[9]

Luis Alvarez[edit]

Luis Alvarez wears a costume identical to that of Rodriguez and is also a special government operative, a former captain in the Delvadian militia, but not given to terrorist activities. He acts more as a death squad/government enforcer. He is chosen by Delvadian government officials to be the second Tarantula, and undergoes a mutagenic treatment to increase his already-considerable physical abilities.[10] He is sent to the United States by the Delvadian government to eliminate political refugees from that country, and to kill Spider-Man for what happened to the first Tarantula, but Spider-Man defeats him as well.[11] Later, working as a mercenary, he teams up with the Punisher. The Tarantula II battles the Punisher and Batroc the Leaper.[12] Eventually, he is caught and murdered by the Jury.[13]

Unknown version[edit]

A third version of the Tarantula (real name unknown) appears as a patron at the Bar With No Name, where he and several other villains get into a brawl with Spider-Man and Alyosha Kravinoff.[14] The Tarantula III later fights the Runaways in Van Nuys, and is defeated by a "debugging incantation" cast by Nico Minoru.[15]

Years later, the Tarantula III resurfaces as an ally of the Black Cat, and as one of the villains taking advantage of the gang war raging in the Third Precinct.[16][17][18]

In a prelude to the "Hunted" storyline, the Tarantula III is among the animal-themed characters captured by the Taskmaster and the Black Ant on Kraven the Hunter's behalf. He is among those whom Arcade publicly reveals as the Savage Six.[19]

Jacinda Rodriguez[edit]

In Gail Simone's Agent X series, a fourth version of the Tarantula claimed to be the daughter of Antonio Miguel Rodriguez: Jacinda Rodriguez. She only appeared for one issue. Both she and her partner, Marie Batroc (the daughter of Batroc the Leaper), are shot several times by the Taskmaster.[20] Her last name and family relation were confirmed in her own entry in the Appendix to The Handbook of the Marvel Universe.[21]

Kaine[edit]

Kaine, a clone of Peter Parker created by the Jackal, adopted the alias of the Tarantula during the Spider-Island storyline.

Powers and abilities[edit]

In addition to being a great athlete with incredible agility and leaping skills and being excellent in hand-to-hand combat, Antonio "Anton" Miguel Rodriguez wore gloves with retractable razor-sharp finger claws and boots with two retractable razor-sharp spikes loaded with drugs that would render his victim unconscious, or other harmful or lethal drugs and poisons. He was educated in military school, was an excellent hand-to-hand combatant and was skilled in various martial arts, particularly in kickboxing. When he was mutated into a giant tarantula-like creature thanks to the Brand Corporation's mutagenic serum, he gained superhuman strength and the ability to adhere to surfaces. However, in his final mutation into a human-sized tarantula, while he possessed superhuman strength, his limbs were not structured to enable him to lift (press) weights. Just before his death, he developed the ability to shoot organic webbing from his buttocks.

Luis Alvarez had his strength, stamina, agility and reflexes enhanced to peak human levels, thanks to Dr. Karl Mendoza's formula. Like Rodriguez, he also wore retractable razor-sharp finger claws in his gloves, and two retractable razor-sharp spikes in his boots anointed with harmful or lethal drugs and poisons. Also, like his predecessor, he was educated in military school, was an excellent hand-to-hand combatant and was skilled in various martial arts, particularly in kickboxing.

Other versions[edit]

Earth-1048[edit]

  • During the Spider-Geddon storyline, the Earth-1048 version of the Tarantula is shown to sport mechanical spider legs. He was robbing the Financial District when he was attacked by Spider-Man. After immobilizing the Tarantula with a web bomb, Spider-Man is visited by the Superior Spider-Man of Earth-616 (Doctor Octopus' mind in Spider-Man's body) as the Tarantula breaks free. As the Superior Spider-Man gets in the way of the web bomb, the Tarantula gets away. The two of them later find the Tarantula robbing a research facility and defeat him, while the Superior Spider-Man's spider-bots disable the Tarantula's mechanical spider legs. Both Spider-Men swing off, while the Tarantula is arrested by the police.[22]

In other media[edit]

Video games[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2012). "1970s". Spider-Man Chronicle Celebrating 50 Years of Web-Slinging. Dorling Kindersley. p. 74. ISBN 978-0756692360. [Gerry] Conway and [Ross] Andru would introduce another major addition to Spider-Man's rogues gallery when the Tarantula debuted in this first chapter of a two-part tale.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Williams, Scott E. (October 2010). "Gerry Conway: Everything but the Gwen Stacy Sink". Back Issue!. TwoMorrows Publishing (#44): 13–14.
  3. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #134-135
  4. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #147-148
  5. ^ Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #1-3
  6. ^ Captain America #224
  7. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #233-236
  8. ^ Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy #2
  9. ^ Prowler (vol. 2) #1
  10. ^ Web of Spider-Man #35-36
  11. ^ Spectacular Spider-Man #137
  12. ^ Punisher (vol. 2) #64-72
  13. ^ Venom: Sinner Takes All #2-4
  14. ^ Ron Zimmerman (w), John McCrea (p), James Hodgkins (i). "Part One" Spider-Man: Get Kraven #1 (August 2002), United States: Marvel Comics
  15. ^ Brian K. Vaughan (w), Takeshi Miyazawa (p), Craig Yeung (i). "Star-Crossed, Chapter One" Runaways v2, #7 (October 2005), United States: Marvel Comics
  16. ^ Dan Slott and Christos N. Gage (w), Humberto Ramos (p), Victor Olazaba (i), Edgar Delgado (col), Chris Eliopoulos (let), Nick Lowe (ed). "The Graveyard Shift, Part One: The Late, Late Mr. Parker" The Amazing Spider-Man v3, #16 (11 March 2015), United States: Marvel Comics
  17. ^ Gerry Conway (w), Carlo Barberi (p), Juan Vlasco (i), Israel Silva (col), VC's Joe Caramagna (let), Nick Lowe (ed). "Spiral, Conclusion" The Amazing Spider-Man v3, #20.1 (12 August 2015), United States: Marvel Comics
  18. ^ Dan Slott and Christos N. Gage (w), Humberto Ramos (p), Victor Olazaba (i), Edgar Delgado (col), Chris Eliopoulos (let), Nick Lowe (ed). "The Graveyard Shift, Part Three: Trade Secrets" The Amazing Spider-Man v3, #18 (6 May 2015), United States: Marvel Comics
  19. ^ Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 5) #16. Marvel Comics.
  20. ^ Agent X #6
  21. ^ http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/tarantuladaughter.htm
  22. ^ Spider-Geddon #0. Marvel Comics.

External links[edit]