There's a reason why Spider-Man is consistently Marvel's number one comic seller by a huge margin. The character of Peter Parker is so relatable and timeless that millions of people have looked up to him as a role model and inspiration for decades. If anyone can claim the title of "The Face" of Marvel comics, it would be Spider-Man. That doesn't mean things are all rainbows and butterflies for everyone's favorite webhead, though.
Perhaps more than any other Marvel character, Spider-Man has been through the wringer. He often faces brutal, violent challenges that leave him broken and questioning his worldview. Realistically, Uncle Ben should have told him, "With great power comes great people kicking the ever-loving sh*t out of you." Below is a list of some of the goriest Spider-Man issues and craziest Spider-Man comics out there right now. With all that's happened to him, it's a wonder he's still the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man and not the Scarred, Clinically Depressed Spider-Man suffering from PTSD.
Spider-Man Swallows Sandman, Explodes
Although the Marvel Zombies brand should never be taken too seriously, it would be a shame not to mention the horrific Spider-Man death that occurred in Marvel Zombies Return #1. The event takes place on Earth-91126, where that world's Spider-Man is almost exactly like our own. The Sinister Six appear and Spidey goes to change into his costume. While he's gone, the zombie version (don't ask, it's a whole thing) of Spider-Man appears and kills almost all of the Sinister Six. Sandman escapes, but then runs into the real, still alive Spider-Man. Sandman is so scared and angry that he goes into a homicidal rage, pouring himself into Spider-Man's mouth and killing Spidey by bursting out of his stomach and mouth in a huge blast. You know, if he was a serious villain he probably should have done that years ago.
Spider-Man Gets His Eye Ripped Out And Eaten In Front Of Him
In the comic crossover story arc The Other, it really sucks to be Spider-Man. See, Spidey learns he has a deadly, radiation-based illness that is making him disoriented and weaker in fights. He talks to all of his superpowered friends (including Bruce Banner and Doctor Strange) and they all tell him the same thing: death is coming for him.
To make matters worse, the insane supervillain Morlun is hunting Spider-Man at the time in order to drain his life force. In The Amazing Spider-Man #526, he finally catches up with the webhead. A massive battle takes place across New York City, and after getting his butt whooped for most of it Spidey summons one last burst of strength to fight back... but it's not enough. Morlun casually rips Spider-Man's eye out and eats it in front of him, then continues to beat the bejesus out of him, leaving the wallcrawler as nothing but a bloodied, beaten, one-eyed mess.
Spider-Man Kills Gwen Stacy
You can't make a list of most brutal things to happen to Spider-Man and not include the death of Gwen Stacey. It was a moment that cemented Spider-Man forever as a tragic hero. Taking place in the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man #121-122, Spider-Man faces his greatest challenge when the Green Goblin abducts Gwen Stacy and takes her to the Brooklyn Bridge (fun fact: in the original comic, they state it's the George Washington Bridge a few times, while the art clearly shows it's the Brooklyn Bridge).
The two fight while Gwen is unconscious. In a total dick move, the Green Goblin tosses Gwen off of the side. While it looks like the end for Stacy, Spider-Man frantically shoots a web and snatches her before she hits the ground. Hurray, day saved!
Not quite. Peter's happiness over saving her is short-lived when he discovers Gwen dead at the end of his web. At the time, he was positive that the Goblin killed her before he tossed her off the side. Over time, however, it became accepted that in Peter's haste to save her, the web that he shot snapped her neck in the recoil, like a powerful bungee cord. Now that would have made a great lyric for Alanis Morissette.
Spidey Won't Do It, But Peter Parker Would Totally Kill The Kingpin
One of the most pivotal moments in the original Civil War storyline was when Spider-Man unmasked himself to the world. It was a bold move that invited pretty much all of his enemies to come knocking on his front door. You'd think he'd go unlisted at that point, but whatever. The story arc immediately following Civil War deals with the reprecussion's of his unmasking.
It was called Back in Black, and it showed Peter donning his black costume again as he deals with the almost-assassination of his Aunt May. Gone is the wisecracking, lovable, neighborhood Spider-Man, and in his place gave us a humorless, angry, kind of dickish individual out for revenge.
In one of the most violent moments, Spider-Man finds out that Kingpin is behind the assassination attempt and Peter follows him to prison in order to settle things. When he gets there, he says that Spider-Man isn't there to kill the Kingpin, but rather Peter Parker is. He takes off his mask and outfit and proceeds to beat the snot out of Kingpin. He tortures Kingpin until the crime lord begs for death. Peter says he won't do that yet, but he will if Aunt May ends up dying. Aren't comic books fun?