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This daily newspaper strip is basically the adventures of Spider-Man in an Alternate Continuity to the comic books. The strips are written by Stan Lee and have been illustrated by the likes of John Romita and Larry Leiber (Stan's brother). Although Stan remains credited on every strip, some fans speculate that it is either Larry or another ghost writer who takes up the task of writing an all-year 'round batch of adventures.
There are many changes in the strip's presentation, both to pacing and to how Spidey interacts with the rest of the Marvel Universe. He's met Daredevil relatively recently, for one thing. There was also a switch to Peter Parker's domestic situation to match with the "Brand New Day" storyline... and readers' letters made the writers agree to drop that.
The strips were initally responsible for Peter marrying Mary Jane Watson, with the 616 books following suit. To date, the strips are now the sole means of accessing the spider-marriage, in any current canon.
Provides Examples of:
- As You Know: Due to the casual nature of a newspaper strip, this is used frequently for readers who might not have read the previous day's strip. Especially when some newspapers don't have Sunday strips.
- All Just a Dream: The switch to an unmarried Peter in early 2009 was done with no explanation, thus passing it off as a dream had some merit in this case. And the strip where he wakes up almost comes across as a Take That (the title for the story was "Will The REAL Peter Parker Please Stand Up?").
- Anti-Hero: The Punisher, obviously, in his guest appearances.
- Arch Enemy: Due to Spider-Man's tendency to get incapacitated by means of a brick or another heavy object to the head (see Tap on the Head below), bricks are jokingly referred to as being his most dangerous foe by some readers. He was also recently run over by a car.
- Author's Saving Throw: Using the dream as a Reset Button, in order to avoid repeating the "One More Day" mistake (and basically admitting so).
- Classical Movie Vampire
- Continuity Nod: A story arc with Sandman in 2009 makes it clear that the events of Spider-Man 3 are canon to the strip. Several times. Despite not making any chronological sense considering the strips started in the 1970s.
- Costume Copycat: A guy pretends to be Spider-Man's Secret Identity, but for the fame and fortune. Peter has to save him when villains inevitably go after the impostor.
- Grand Finale: We're going to get a Venom story in Spider-Man in the final collection of the newspaper strips.
- Hypnotize the Princess: When heiress Muffy Ainsworth is captured by a vampire, who was really an actor just staging a stunt to revive his career. Hypnotizing her was real, but it was meant to look like a vampire's spell.
- Idiot Ball: So many characters pick this up that it is not unusual for the series to descent into an outright Idiot Plot at times.
- Ms. Fanservice: Mary Jane is often seen lounging around their apartment wearing lacy pink lingerie for no discernible reason except to be fan service.
- To further drive the point home, her debut in the strip is just as much of an Establishing Character Moment as it is in the source material: she's wearing a shirt, with the only "buttoned" button being the one right above her belly button, and not wearing a bra.
- Pretty in Mink: Muffy Ainsworth wears a white fur jacket in her flashback arc.
- Mary Jane has worn a few fur-trimmed jackets.
- In the arc where a guy pretends to be Spider-Man for the fame and fortune, his wife buys a fur coat among other things. When he's complaining about some lawsuits based on what Spider-Man did (or people imagined he did), his wife is just trying on the fur in front of a mirror and telling him of the jewelry she bought.
- Tap on the Head: Happens very often to Spider-Man. It is a miracle how he manage to steer clear of permanent brain damage with all that trauma applied to his skull.
- Spider Sense: It seems to work only to let Spider-Man know where trouble is or to help him find pieces of paper with important information. If someone comes up from behind to whack him over the head with a blunt weapon, or a brick falls off of a wall, he's helpless to avoid being knocked out.
- Happily Married: Peter and MJ.
- Start of Darkness: For quite a few villains.