One of the scene-stealing Spider-people in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse was Spider-Punk, voiced by Daniel Kaluuya (in his second Marvel role after Black Panther). While characters like Miles Morales, Gwen Stacy, and Spider-Man 2099 are Spider-People who have had many series of their own to their name, Spider-Punk is a more recent Spider-Man creation with a much shorter comic book resume. But he has had quite the journey so far, even before ever hitting it on the big screen. Here’s the Marvel Comics history of Hobart “Hobie” Brown, also known as the Spider-Punk.
In terms of the many spider folk we saw in Across the Spider-Verse, Spider-Punk is among the newer Spider-Man variants we meet. He first appeared in 2015—in the Marvel Comics event Spider-Verse. This, of course, inspired the first Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse film. Created by longtime Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott, he was originally designed by artist Olivier Coipel to be the Spider-Man of the UK. But Slott changed his mind, as he felt the UK deserved a Spider-Man that was more than just a tribute to ’70s punk rock icons the Sex Pistols. But he loved the design, so the character was reimagined, and thus was born Marvel Comics’ Spider-Punk.
The Origin of Spider-Punk, the Spider-Man of Earth-138
Unlike Peter Parker, Hobart Brown was living on the street as an unhoused youth on Earth-138. But as was often the case for his multiversal spider brethren, a spider bit him. This one mutated as part of President Norman Osborn’s toxic waste dumping. He gained powers that were identical to the 616 universe’s Peter Parker. A punk kid or not, Hobart was still a gifted scientist and invented his web shooters. But none of this stopped him from playing the guitar and being in a punk band. Thereby making him officially cooler than 616 teenage Peter Parker.
Becoming a punk rock-inspired Spider-Man, Spider-Punk led the subjugated citizens of New York against Osborn’s V.E.N.O.M. troops. While Peter Parker and Miles Morales had a strict anti-killing code, Spider-Punk was understandably a bit harder-edged. Although he, too, had a soft spot for his universe’s Gwen Stacy, “until she croaked,” he often said. Spider-Punk killed the Norman Osborn of his Earth during a riot by repeatedly bashing him with his guitar. (Dang, Spidey). Once Osborn died, this world’s Spider-Man unmasked himself to the rioting crowd, who now viewed Spider-Punk as a revolutionary icon.
Joining His Fellow Web Warriors
During the Marvel Spider-Verse comic book event, Spider-Punk was recruited by Superior Spider-Man, who was Doc Ock in Peter Parker’s body, to join an army of arachnid heroes. Hobie became a part of the so-called Web Warriors in big spider-hero-centric events like Spider-Verse and, later, in Spider-Geddon. And he quickly rose to the pack of most prominent Spider-Man variants among the group. Not an easy task, when we’re talking about dozens, if not hundreds, of webslingers. Spider-Punk even fought notorious Marvel villains like Red Skull and even Kang and lived to tell the tale.
Spider-Punk in His Own Series at Last
Finally, in 2022, Spider-Punk got his own mini-series, Spider-Punk: Battled of the Banned, from writer Cody Ziglar and artist Justin Mason. In the recent Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon series, Spider-Punk made his first non-comic book Marvel appearance. They gave him a cockney accent, despite the fact that the comic character was from New York City. That new character detail stuck, and the Daniel Kaluuya version of Spider-Punk we meet in Across the Spider-Verse is a Brit as well. Despite the odds, the original conception of the character as a citizen of the U.K. won out in the end.
Spider-Punk in Across the Spider-Verse
In Across the Spider-Verse, Hobie was one of the spider heroes that befriends Gwen Stacy, and forms a bond with her. She even stays with him sometimes on Earth-138B. Although technically a part of the Spider-Society, Hobie, being a bit of an anarchist, plays by his own rules. So when Miguel O’Hara declares that Miles Morales must be contained before saving his father, possibly disrupting reality, Hobie eventually sides with Miles. At the end of the film, we see him as part of the team recruited to help Miles escape from Earth-42. With Hobie no doubt getting even more exposure in Beyond the Spider-Verse, we expect Spider-Punk to become as prominent as the other Marvel Spider-People in the mainstream very soon.
Originally published June 1, 2023