Entomophobic Marvel fans are probably facing a major conundrum. On one hand, Ant-Man, Marvel’s newest superhero movie, is quickly becoming the latest sleeper superhero hit. On the other hand, Ant-Man is filled with millions of creepy, crawly bugs, which could cause entomophobes (those with a fear of bugs) some trauma. But whether you love or hate the creepy-crawlie, ComicBook.com is celebrating Ant-Man with five other superheroes who have found inspiration in six (or eight) legged creatures:
The Blue Beetle legacy is one of the cooler and underrated ones within DC’s deep history of superheroes. Three different people have called themselves Blue Beetle, each with wildly different powers, but linked together by an alien scarab created by the alien race known as The Reach. Dan Garrett, the first Blue Beetle, was an archeologist who discovered the scarab and gained superhuman powers after uttering the phrase “Kaji Dha!” When Garrett died investigating an evil robot army, his student Ted Kord succeeded him as the Blue Beetle Unable to unlock the abilities of the scarab, Kord used his genius abilities to create a variety of gadgets to help him fight crime and live up to the legacy of the Blue Beetle name. Kord also met a tragic end, dying while investigating a conspiracy against all metahumans and superheroes. After Kord’s death, the scarab found its way onto the back of Jaime Reyes, a teenage boy living in Texas. Reyes learned that, when attached to a host, the scarab transformed into superpowered exoskeleton with the powers of flight and a host of alien weaponry. In the New 52, both Jaime and Ted Kord are alive and well. Jaime had a brief solo series, while Ted Kord briefly appeared at the end of Forever Evil.
Ok, spiders aren't technically insects, but bear with us. There are dueling stories as to who created Spider-Man. Stan Lee claimed watching a spider walk up a walk inspired him to create a spider themed superhero. Jack Kirby refuted this and claimed he refurbished a discarded superhero idea called the Silver Spider to create the popular webslinger. Whoever created him, the dweeby teen from Queens became one of Marvel’s biggest brands and possibly their best known character. Spider-Man’s success extends far beyond the comics. He’s appeared in two separate series of movies and has appeared in a variety of cartoons and television shows (including a bizarre Japanese show that featured Spider-Man piloting a giant robot named Leopardon). The nerd world rejoiced earlier this year when Marvel Studios announced that it and Sony (the holder of Spidey’s movie rights) had agreed to fold Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
While Deadpool is best known for his wisecracks and frequent breaking of the fourth wall, Ambush Bug appeared in Action Comics in the 1980s with a very similar schtick (albeit without the penchant for wacky violence). Ambush Bug derives his power from an alien suit sent to Earth by an alien hoping to spare his wardrobe from the destruction of his planet. While in space, a radioactive space spider destroyed the rocket, leaving only the Ambush Bug as the only survivor. Ambush Bug is one of the few characters that’s aware he’s a character in a comic book and frequently references in-jokes and DC events. In the New 52, Ambush Bug appeared as one of the stars of the weekly “Channel 52” feature in the back of DC comics, reporting on the major events occurring in the DC comics released that week.
(Same deal as Spider-Man.) Black Widow is Marvel’s premier spy and assassin and the first female superhero to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Natasha Romanov is one of Marvel’s foremost martial art experts and marksmen. While possessing no true powers, Russian experimentation has slowed her aging and given her increased healing abilities and a heightened immune system. First appearing as an enemy of Iron Man, she defected to the United States out of love for her partner Hawkeye and later joined both the Avengers and SHIELD as a top level agent. Black Widow has deep connections with many Marvel characters. Captain America and Wolverine rescued her as a child from Nazi spies, she trained under the Winter Soldier when he was a brainwashed Russian assassin, and she fought alongside her frequent romantic partner Daredevil for many years. Despite her high profile in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, fans of Black Widow have long expressed their frustrations about the lack of a Black Widow solo film. However, Scarlett Johansson, who plays Black Widow in the films, has stated that Marvel is looking at spinning her character off into her own series of movies.
The Black Beetle
One of the newest insect superheroes on the scene, The Black Beetle is a pulp hero created by comics superstar Francesco Francavilla in 2009. The Black Beetle doesn’t have any superpowers, he’s just a typical hardnosed vigilante with a gun, some martial arts skills and a knack for creating beetle-themed inventions. That doesn’t make The Black Beetle comics any less amazing, though. Francavilla (probably best known for his amazing Afterlife with Archie illustrations) is a master of pulp and noir comics and The Black Beetle is a joy to read.
Who are your favorite bug-themed superheroes? Let us know in the comments below.