Tarantula (Marvel Comics)
First appearance of Tarantula in Amazing Spider-Man #134. Art by Ross Andru
|First appearance||The Amazing Spider-Man #134 (July 1974)|
|Created by||Gerry Conway (writer)
Ross Andru (artist)
|Alter ego||- Anton Miguel Rodriguez
- Luis Alvarez
- Maria Vasquez
Boca Del Rios Revolutionist Forces
Boca Del Rios Fascist Government
Heroes for Hire
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:
Ability to shoot organic webbing from his backside
Excellent hand-to-hand combatant
Skilled martial artist
Peak-level strength, agility, stamina and reflexes
Wears retractable blades in his gloves and retractable spikes in his boots, anointed with drugs and poisons
Tarantula is a fictional character, a supervillain appearing in publications from Marvel Comics. He acts as a patriotic enforcer for the oppressive dictatorship of the fictional South American country of Delvadia, essentially a Delvadian equivalent to Captain America. Visually, his defining marks are his red stretch costume with a black tarantula on its chest and the poisonous stingers attached to his boots. The character was killed off in the early 1980s, but the Tarantula identity has been carried on by a series of successors.
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?
Prior to the Delvadian Tarantula's debut, a character with the alias Tarantula appeared in Ghost Rider #2 (April, 1967). There is no connection between this character and any of the other Tarantulas.
Fictional character biographies
Anton Miguel Rodriguez
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 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 is disrupted by Spider-Man and Punisher. He escapes prison with the help of Jackal who sought revenge on Spider-Man; however, Tarantula is defeated by Spider-Man. He is then hired by Lightmaster to assist Kraven the Hunter in committing various kidnappings and murders, but is again thwarted by Spider-Man. Tarantula then joins forces with Senor Suerte to steal the "Mad-bombs" and use them for extortion, but is defeated by Captain America.
Tarantula is hired by the Brand Corporation to silence an informer, but is 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. Will o' The Wisp disrupts the mutagenic process, causing Tarantula 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. In a hail of gunfire, Rodriquez strikes the street below and dies.
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 physical abilities. 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. Later, working as a mercenary, he teams up with Punisher. Tarantula battles Punisher and Batroc the Leaper. Eventually, he is caught and murdered by the Jury.
In Gail Simone's Agent X series a new Tarantula debuted, claiming to be the daughter of Anton Miguel Rodriguez. She only appeared for one issue. Both her and her partner Marie Batroc are shot several times. Her last name and relation to Anton Miguel Rodriguez were confirmed on Crossfire's entry in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.
An unidentified Tarantula 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. The Tarantula later fights the Runaways in Van Nuys, and is defeated by a "debugging incantation" cast by Nico Minoru.
Powers and abilities
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 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.
- 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.
- Williams, Scott E. (October 2010). "Gerry Conway: Everything but the Gwen Stacy Sink". Back Issue!. TwoMorrows Publishing (44): 13–14.
- Amazing Spider-Man #134-135
- Amazing Spider-Man #147-148
- Spectacular Spider-Man #1-2
- Captain America #224
- Amazing Spider-Man #233-236
- Web of Spider-Man #35-36
- Spectacular Spider-Man #137
- Punisher vol. 2 #64-72
- Venom: Sinner Takes All #2-4
- Agent X #6
- Ron Zimmerman (w), John McCrea (p), James Hodgkins (i). "Part One" Spider-Man: Get Kraven #1 (August 2002), United States: Marvel Comics
- Brian K. Vaughan (w), Takeshi Miyazawa (p), Craig Yeung (i). "Star-Crossed, Chapter One" Runaways v2, #7 (October 2005), United States: Marvel Comics
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Tarantula (Clay Riley) at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- Tarantula (Jacinda Rodriguez) at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe