Tarantula (Marvel Comics)

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For the DC Comics character of the same name, see Tarantula (DC Comics).
First appearance of Tarantula (Rodriguez) in Amazing Spider-Man vol. 1, #134. Art by Ross Andru
Publication information
Publisher (All)
Marvel Comics
First appearance (Riley)
Ghost Rider #2 (April, 1967)
The Amazing Spider-Man #134 (July 1974)
Web of Spider-Man #35 (February 1988)
Heroes for Hire vol. 2, #1 (2006)
Created by (Rodriguez)
Gerry Conway
Ross Andru
Gerry Conway
Alex Saviuk
In-story information
Alter ego - Clay Riley
- Anton Miguel Rodriguez
- Luis Alvarez
- Maria Vasquez
Team affiliations (Rodriguez)
Brand Corporation
Boca Del Rios Revolutionist Forces
Boca Del Rios Fascist Government
Heroes for Hire
Notable aliases (Riley)
Clay Rider
Mr. Valdez
El Arana
La Tarantula
Abilities (Riley)
Expert with a whip
Great athlete
Excellent hand-to-hand combatant
Skilled martial artist
Incredible agility and leaping
Finger claws and toe blades incorporated into his costume, usually envenomed
As a tarantula-like creature:
Superhuman strength
Wall crawling
Ability to shoot organic webbing from his backside
Excellent hand-to-hand combatant
Skilled martial artist
Peak level strength, agility, stamina and reflexes
Finger claws and toe blades incorporated into his costume, usually envenomed
Skilled knife fighter
High-level intellect
Wrist blades, finger claws and toe blades incorporated into costume

Tarantula is the alias of a number of fictional characters appearing in publications from Marvel Comics.

Fictional character biographies[edit]

Clay Riley[edit]

The original Tarantula (Clay Riley) is a Zorro-like western-era villain equipped with a scourge and has a mysterious Mexican accent. He first appears in Ghost Rider #2 (April, 1967). He is the leader of the villainous Nightriders in the mini-series Blaze of Glory. He is killed in the climactic shootout in the final issue.[1]

Anton Miguel Rodriguez[edit]

The second Tarantula (Anton Miguel Rodriguez) is a supervillain who wears a red stretch costume with a black tarantula on its chest. He's equipped with poisonous stingers attached to his boots. He was first introduced in The Amazing Spider-Man #134 (July 1974).[2]

As a revolutionary terrorist in the small fictional South American republic of Delvadia, Anton Miguel Rodriguez was expelled from his small organization after murdering a guard without reason during a robbery. Anton then went over to the side of the repressive fascistic-dictatorship government, where they created the Tarantula identity for him to serve as a government operative and his country's counterpart to Captain America. After alienating his masters, Tarantula embarked on a criminal career in the United States. In his first appearance, he hijacked a Hudson River dayliner to rob the passengers and hold them for ransom; his plan was disrupted by Spider-Man and Punisher.[3] He escaped prison with the help of Jackal who sought revenge on Spider-Man; however, Tarantula was defeated by Spider-Man.[4] He was then hired by Lightmaster to assist Kraven the Hunter in committing various kidnappings and murders, but was again thwarted by Spider-Man.[5] Tarantula then joined forces with Senor Suerte to steal the "Mad-bombs" and use them for extortion, but was this time defeated by Captain America.[6]

Tarantula was hired by the Brand Corporation to silence an informer, but was thwarted by Spider-Man. The Brand Corporation then ordered him to kill Spider-Man. In an attempt to bestow him with spider powers, he was injected with a mutagenic serum and placed in an electrolyte bath. Unfortunately for Rodriguez, Will o' The Wisp disrupted the mutagenic process, causing Tarantula to start transforming into a gigantic, monstrous spider-like being. Rodriguez remained relatively humanoid at first (he functioned on a bipedal level at least). However, after several more skirmishes with both Will o' the Wisp and Spider-Man, he rapidly continued to mutate into a fully arachnid appearance. He fell into Jamaica Bay, but survived the plunge and continued to mutate, and then battled Spider-Man atop a tall New York City building. Horrified and disgusted with what he had become, he leapt off the building, begging for the police officers gathered below to kill him. In a hail of gunfire, Rodriquez struck the street below and died.[7]

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, Anton Rodriguez wore gloves with retractable razor-blades and boots with retractable razor-sharp points loaded with drugs that would render his victim unconscious, or other harmful or lethal drugs and poisons. He was educated in military school and was an excellent hand-to-hand combatant and 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 backside.

Luis Alvarez[edit]

The third Tarantula (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 was chosen by Delvadian government officials to be the third Tarantula, and underwent a mutagenic treatment to increase his physical abilities.[8] He was 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 second Tarantula, but Spider-Man defeated him.[9] Later, working as a mercenary, he teamed up with Punisher during the EuroHit story, more specifically in Punisher vol. 2, #64-67. Tarantula battled Punisher and Batroc the Leaper.[10] Eventually, he was caught by the Jury and had his neck broken by Wysper.[11]

Powers and abilities[edit]

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

Jacinda Rodriguez[edit]

In Gail Simone's Agent X series a new Tarantula debuted, claiming to be the daughter of the second incarnation. She only appeared for one issue, and both her and her partner Marie Batroc were shot several times.[12] Her last name and relation to the second Tarantula were confirmed on Crossfire's entry in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.[13]


An unidentified Tarantula appeared as a patron at the Bar With No Name, where he and several other villains got into a brawl with Spider-Man and Alyosha Kravinoff. After being pummeled by the duo, Tarantula limped away alongside Electro.[14] The Tarantula later fought the Runaways in Van Nuys, and was defeated by a "debugging incantation" cast by Nico Minoru.[15]

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

Maria Vasquez[edit]

The female Tarantula

The new Tarantula (Maria Vasquez) debuted in the new Heroes for Hire series following the Civil War storyline. Even Misty Knight, her team leader knows nothing about her history. Tarantula has a bad attitude and is highly skilled using the blades on her wrists and the toes of her boots. She indicates that she enjoys inflicting pain. If instructed not to kill, she will seriously injure an opponent, to the chagrin of her teammates. She has been observed licking her bloody blade after slicing through an enemy in Heroes For Hire vol. 2, #1. Maria has also been shown to be highly intelligent with knowledge of biology and engineering (issue #2 of the same series). In issue #4 she stated that she decided to become a hero to avenge her sister, who had been killed in the Stamford Incident. This was against the wishes of her father, who would have preferred that she found a safer profession (such as a doctor or lawyer) where she could put her intelligence to good use. Shortly after this revelation, her father was killed by ninjas, though she had been the one marked for death by Ricadonna (along with the rest of the Heroes For Hire).[volume & issue needed] After they murdered her father, Tarantula killed the entire team of ninjas herself.[volume & issue needed] She shares a passionate kiss with teammate, the aloof Shang-Chi, but she never manages to find the truest implication of such outburst of passion, as she's offered along with Colleen Wing to the Brood Queen by Humbug.[volume & issue needed] When Shang-Chi and the other heroes come to save them, she has gone unconscious, the utter shock leaving her catatonic and crying. Shang-Chi avenges her, then takes her unconscious body away.[volume & issue needed]

This version stars in the five-issue ensemble miniseries Six Guns (#1-4 cover-dated Jan.-March 2012), by writer Andy Diggle and artist Davide Gianfelice, and also starring new contemporary versions of the Marvel Old West heroes Tex Dawson a.k.a. the Western Kid; the Black Rider; Matt Slade and the Two-Gun Kid.[19][20][21]

Other versions[edit]

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

Ultimate Tarantula (upper left) along with the other clones of Spider-Man

The Ultimate Marvel version of Tarantula is introduced in the "Clone Saga" arc as one of the several spider-powered clones of Spider-Man. This incarnation wears a black-costume (similar to Spider-Man's black suit), has six-arms, and spider-like eyes and fur.[22]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Blaze of Glory #4 (March 2000)
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #134-135
  4. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #147-148
  5. ^ Spectacular Spider-Man #1-2
  6. ^ Captain America #224
  7. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #233-236
  8. ^ Web of Spider-Man #35-36
  9. ^ Spectacular Spider-Man #137
  10. ^ Punisher #68-72
  11. ^ Venom: Sinner Takes All #4
  12. ^ Agent X #6
  13. ^ http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/tarantuladaughter.htm
  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. ^ Beard, Jim (October 6, 2011). "Six Guns: Trigger Happy". Comic News (column), Marvel.com. Archived from the original on November 20, 2011. 
  20. ^ Beard, Jim (June 23, 2011). "Six Guns: Locked and Loaded". Comic News (column), Marvel.com. Archived from the original on November 20, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Six Guns (2012)" at The Unofficial Handbook of Marvel Comics Creators. Archived from the original (required scrolldown) November 20, 2011
  22. ^ [1]