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.
Peter Kills Mary Jane With His Radioactive Sperm
Spider-Man: Reign was a four-issue limited series following an older, retired Spider-Man thirty years in the future. It does not exist within normal continuity, but it deserves to be mentioned mainly because the term "radioactive sperm" never gets old.
In the future New York City is a safe-zone, meaning there are no colorful supervillains in spandex running around. The city itself, however, is ruled by an authoritarian government that uses a ruthless police force called The Reign. Of course, one thing leads to another and an older, depressed Spider-Man just has to come out of retirement to save the day.
Throughout the story it's revealed that Mary Jane is long dead and in a tragic (yet extremely odd) twist, we learn that Peter killed her. Turns out, when you're bitten by a radioactive spider, it messes up your insides in ways you can't imagine. Peter is devastated to learn that Mary Jane has radiation poisoning and the source is his sperm. Again, he kills the woman he loves with radioactive sperm. Okay, that was the last one.
Spider-Man Finds Out His True Love Gwen Stacy Had An Affair With Norman Osborn
No matter what physical or emotional blow the universe (AKA the writers) throw at our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, he always finds a way to work through it. Throughout his long history, there have been moments that threaten to break Spidey, and one of the biggest came from the Sins Past saga. Taking place in Amazing Spider-Man #509-514, this story arc changed everything we thought we knew about Gwen Stacy and Norman Osborn.
Until then, Gwen was mostly held up as a tragic figure in the Spideyverse, the girl that Peter would have ended up if Spider-Man was allowed to have nice things. But this, friends, this is why we can't have nice things: Gwen not only had an affair with Norman Osborn only seven months before she died, but she also became pregnant. With twins.
Thanks to the Goblin serum that pumped through Norman's veins, the twins rapidly aged into adults and had their own powers and abilities. Finding out the woman you loved more than anything had an affair with your absolute worst enemy is enough to destroy a man, and it's an event that nearly drove Peter to the edge. Oh, plus the twins try to kill him. So that's a nice cherry on top.