Off My Mind: Spider-Man's Mechanical Web Shooters

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Posted by G-Man (18922 posts) - - Show Bio

We all know that Spider-Man does what ever a spider can. Except when it comes to spinning webs. Peter Parker was a smart teenage high school student that attended a science experiment in which he was bitten by a radioactive spider. The results, as we all know, were the proportional strength & speed of a spider along with spider-senses and the ability to cling to any surface. What he wasn't gifted with was the ability to spin webs. I always felt Spider-Man not having natural web-shooting abilities to be the right one, especially if you think about where a spider shoots its webs from. 

The solution was for Peter Parker the bookworm to invent web shooters. Actually he didn't just invent web shooters, he also came up with the chemical mixture that made up the webbing. Webbing that could be as thin as an actual thread of web but stronger than cable. Depending on how he pressed the release mechanism on his web-shooters, he could shoot out webbing in different ways. The beauty of the webbing catching crooks just like flies was that it dissolved in an hour, allowing the authorities to cart them away to jail. 

Peter Parker may have been an incredibly gifted lad, but was he smart enough to actually design the webbing and web-shooters at that young age? 
== TEASER ==
In the Tobey Maguire films, the webbing was natural, coming out from his wrists (not that other area). This solved the problem with trying to believe a smart but young kid could actually invent something that no one else has been able to replicate. If he gained the abilities of a spider, why didn't he get the ability to spin webs?  

Peter Parker Inventing Web shooters: Amazing Fantasy #15
As much as I think that would solve the problem with believing Peter could have made them, the natural webbing just didn't seem right (and is a little gross, even if they come from his wrists). In the first image of Andrew Garfield in The Amazing Spider-Man and the image released yesterday, you can see they are going with the mechanical shooters this time around. I think that's great but what I'm hoping for is a credible explanation as to how he created them. Yes Peter Parker was a brilliant kid but was he truly gifted enough to invent these devices (in only 2 panels in Amazing Fantasy #15)? What were his science projects like and why didn't they earn him a scholarship to some incredibly prestigious school? From the day he received a microscope as a child, he dreamt of becoming a scientist. You would think he would have applied himself further than he did. Everyone knew he was smart but no one knew he was freaky-smart. Then again, he also invented the spider-tracer (why didn't he ever invent something he could sell to help Aunt May pay the bills?).
 
With all the other brilliant individuals in the Marvel Universe, I'm surprised no one has come up with something similar, especially his intelligent enemies. There's been mention of how the miracle of his webbing design could be used in other areas to help people and even save lives. Spider-Man could never patent the formula since it would reveal his secret identity but why hasn't any other smart individual come up with the idea to try to replicate his invention? 

I know it seems like I want the best of both worlds. I don't want Spider-Man to have natural webbing but, even though I'm a fan of the web shooters, I have a hard time believing teenage Peter Parker could have invented them. Or at least it would've taken him more than just two panels. We're seeing how easily he can invent different devices in the current Big Time stories but that's also after years of schooling and experience. I'm just not sure if teenage Peter Parker was ready to make them
 
What are your thoughts on the mechanical web shooters? Are you pro- or anti-mechanical ones? Do you think it's believable for Peter Parker to have easily invented them?
#1 Posted by thechessclub (483 posts) - - Show Bio

Maybe his parents got him an erector set early on?

#2 Posted by cattlebattle (13411 posts) - - Show Bio

Pro-Mechanical for me
#3 Posted by ComicMan24 (147057 posts) - - Show Bio

I prefer the organic ones even though I don't mind the mechanical ones. But yeah I am curious to see how he is going to invent them.

#4 Edited by QuantomMan (215 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm really looking forward to the web shooters in the films. And like you mentioned, I really hope that they explain it in the film. Something brief but satisfying/believable.  
 
Something that I really like about mechanical web shooters instead of the Ultimate/Tobey Spiderman natural webbing is that it's an easy plot twist to incorporate. Good example would be in like every fifth episode of the 90's cartoon where Peter goes to swing line away from the pursuing villain, or attempts to web his foe in a ensuring battle, and what happens, he runs out of fluid.  
 
It increases the struggle of the fight in my opinion, especially against those villains of Spiderman who clearly out-power him 

#5 Posted by Psykhophear (251 posts) - - Show Bio

I like Spidey shooting the webs organically like in the movies and not mechanically.

#6 Posted by xerox_kitty (15762 posts) - - Show Bio
@G-Man said:
"(why didn't he ever invent something he could sell to help Aunt May pay the bills?)."


That's a good point.  I never thought of that.  Why didn't he invent something like electric can-opener or a devise to locate your lost keys.  Nothing that would drastically change the future of mankind, but something useful enough to make sure Aunt May could enjoy her retirement years in comfort :p
#7 Posted by spawn devil (938 posts) - - Show Bio

Peter is somehow a hidden child prodigy with the combined intellects of Sheldon Cooper and Michael Scofield along with a little bit of Gregory House.

#8 Edited by G-Man (18922 posts) - - Show Bio
@thechessclub said:

" Maybe his parents got him an erector set early on? "

Is it wrong that I chuckled when I read this?
#9 Posted by Jake Fury (19268 posts) - - Show Bio

I prefer the mechanical web shooters. If he had organic webs then he'd probably have venom and I don't want to see him running around biting people all the time.
#10 Posted by welshguy (195 posts) - - Show Bio

The whole "webbing out of wrists" thing was icky to me. As for the mechanical ones, well he is a genius. I managed to make a suit of power armour when I was about eight. Okay, it was cardboard and as my brother proved not very protective (he delivered a savage knee strike or knee-a-beer as we called them to my hip) but by god I invented it and would have no doubt gone to making a more practical and powerful power-suit later in life if I had any engineering expertise or personal fortune. And I was just a simple welsh lad of average intellligence in the real world. Peter parker is a genius in a comic-book world so the bugger can damn well create what he likes. Nowadays (a phrase to show my age) I think movie makers get too caught up in the hole reality vibe. This new spider-man franchise reboot thing doesn't interest me but it does sound like its going in a better direction than the Raimi/Maguire one

#11 Posted by QuantomMan (215 posts) - - Show Bio
@G-Man said:
" @thechessclub said:

" Maybe his parents got him an erector set early on? "

Is it wrong that I chuckled when I read this? "
Lol, then everyone that read this is in the wrong
#12 Posted by Zombienutz (4 posts) - - Show Bio

I love me some mechanical webshooters. I think the problem is that, until recent stories involving his new super genius job, Peter was never showcased as a a big brain hero. There were always moments of it, but it also seemed to be overlooked a lot as well. When it comes down to it, the kid can do some science.

#13 Posted by Norusdog (203 posts) - - Show Bio

while I agree the shooting webbing out of his wrists 1. is gross and 2. doesn't fit with how a spider would actually do it..but then again do we really want to see him shooting webbing out of his ass? that'd be worse.
 
regardless..him inventing it is just idiotic when you take into consideration the rest of his character. Most importantly his "struggle" for money and helping his aunt etc.
 
If he is smart enough to invent this chemical mixture that acts in this way then he's smart enough to PATENT and SELL IT.  Perhaps making it last longer...and doing so in such a way that doesn't give away that it's the same stuff Spiderman uses..if he can create the shooters to make it mimic a spiders webbing..then he can create a distribution device that makes it look like something else.
 
Not to mention that if Peter can afford to get the compounds that make up this "webbing" mixture..then it's VERY AFFORDABLE to create.
 
He would be a multi-billionaire with just this alone.
 
and..of course..the whole radioactive spider bite was a thing of the times..which is why more current "reboots"/"retellings" go for something more akin to the times we're in NOW....genetic modifications/etc.
 
Either way "natural" webbing not only makes more sense but is less of a stretch for believability..even if coming out of his wrists is odd.
 
It will be absolutely idiotic to see Peter create this chemical compound, a total wonder of modern science (even by todays standards, much less when SM was created) yet struggle with finances and HAVE to take a job as a reporter taking pictures of himself to make money.
 
So yah can't agree with you on this.  If ANYONE invented such a material they would be billionaires...and if Peter is smart enough to create this compound AND the distribution devices (web shooters) then he's smart enough to patent and market it.  As it is, him "inventing" it makes NO SENSE.

#14 Posted by Flipyap (3 posts) - - Show Bio

 "  In Ultimate Spider-Man [...], the webbing was natural, coming out from his wrists"  

 That's not true at all. It's the 616 Spider-Man who eventually got organic webshooters and the ability to talk to bugs after a lady kissed him, and later he developed fangs and stingers when he ate that one dude's face. 
 
... comic books.

#15 Posted by thiagofonseca (42 posts) - - Show Bio

I only like the mechanical ones.
 
But has it been stated that those are mechanical webshooters? Couldn't it just be the opening for organic webs to come out of his wrists?
 
And: Does Spider-Man still have the organic webspinning powers and that stuff coming out of his back ("The Other" storyline) but Mephisto made him forget, or are we supposed to think that never happened?

#16 Posted by Xtian22 (33 posts) - - Show Bio

In Ultimate universe he has also invent webbing and shooters, but with his fathers unfinished formula, so I like that explanation and origin of web shooters. 

#17 Posted by celticpain (4 posts) - - Show Bio

I've always felt that the radioactive spider that bit Peter Parker some how genetically implanted the knowledge of how to make web fluid. Yes, I know this part sounds stupid but its the only example I can think of... like how baby sea turtles only seconds after being born know they should run to the ocean.    
#18 Posted by leokearon (1785 posts) - - Show Bio

I know Pete is really smart but I found the idea of him making webshooters and webbing and the cartridges on his own, stretching it abit. I prefer the organic ones anyway. Especially since all the mechanical ones are used for is showing scenes of Pete running out of webbing and needing to reload at a critical moment.
#19 Posted by QuantomMan (215 posts) - - Show Bio
@celticpain said:
"
I've always felt that the radioactive spider that bit Peter Parker some how genetically implanted the knowledge of how to make web fluid. Yes, I know this part sounds stupid but its the only example I can think of... like how baby sea turtles only seconds after being born know they should run to the ocean.    
"
now THAT is a believable explanation 
 
as a matter of fact, I want to say that was the reason he knew in a cartoon series. Don't remember. I know that we're not talking about cartoons, but still, hopefully they explain it in the reboot
#20 Posted by SupremoMaximo (202 posts) - - Show Bio

I was showing my teenage son the new photo above and and he said something to the effect of "how come they don't come from his wrists like they do in the comics?  In amazing spider man they come from his wrists" 
 
Apparently he never knew they were web shooters. 
 
So I grounded him. 
 
Kids today  with their loud music, and their Dan Fogleberg, and their Zima, hula hoops and their pac-man video games.

#21 Posted by batalha (5 posts) - - Show Bio
@Xtian22 said:

" In Ultimate universe he has also invent webbing and shooters, but with his fathers unfinished formula, so I like that explanation and origin of web shooters.  "

I think this is a very elegant solution for the problem and if they go that route in the movie it seems much easier to make it believable that a kid in his teens could "invent" them    
#22 Posted by batalha (5 posts) - - Show Bio
@SupremoMaximo said:
" I was showing my teenage son the new photo above and and he said something to the effect of "how come they don't come from his wrists like they do in the comics?  In amazing spider man they come from his wrists"  Apparently he never knew they were web shooters.  So I grounded him.  Kids today  with their loud music, and their Dan Fogleberg, and their Zima, hula hoops and their pac-man video games. "
good man, kids should know that change is always bad. 
#23 Posted by MSBoyd23 (110 posts) - - Show Bio

I like the organic web shooters. He's always got them on him, he doesn't have to wear bulky wrist things that could get ripped off in a fight, he never runs out of webbing, and if he's in a situation where he can't quickly change into his costume, he can shoot some web on his face, poke out some eyeholes, and commence with the beat down. Thus giving the nickname "web-head" a whole new meaning.

#24 Posted by G-Man (18922 posts) - - Show Bio
@welshguy said:
" The whole "webbing out of wrists" thing was icky to me. "
He'd be shooting out bodily fluids. Definitely icky. 
 
@thiagofonseca said:
" I only like the mechanical ones.  But has it been stated that those are mechanical webshooters? Couldn't it just be the opening for organic webs to come out of his wrists?  And: Does Spider-Man still have the organic webspinning powers and that stuff coming out of his back ("The Other" storyline) but Mephisto made him forget, or are we supposed to think that never happened? "
It hasn't been officially stated but I'm really really hoping they're mechanical. As for "The Other"...I think we are supposed to think that never happened. Where's his stingers at?
#25 Posted by Billy Batson (58381 posts) - - Show Bio

Anti. 

If he gained the abilities of a spider, why didn't he get the ability to spin webs?    

I always think about this. 
#26 Posted by Norusdog (203 posts) - - Show Bio

invented ones are just plain dumb.  As I said it makes no sense that someone with that level of intelligence wouldn't be selling inventions he made.  Think about it.
 
Web shooter material could be used in so many applications..esp if he modified it to last longer/shorter depending on the application.
 
Think of his new "spider suits" he's inventing in comics...we're talking about a damn kid that is inventing things akin to the Iron Man armor and whatnot...they're genius inventions...why then is Peter struggling with money and having to resort to being a photographer? it makes no sense....
 
"natural" web shooters is the ONLY thing that makes any kind of sense when you look outisde of "derr the character is only as smart as we need him to be...peter can invent these things but not something to patent, sell, and become a billionaire on...DERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR"

#27 Posted by antiterra (165 posts) - - Show Bio

"especially if you think about where a spider shoots its webs from."

Aaaand thank you G-Man for planting that lovely image in my head. The brain bleach industry would like to express their gratitude.

#28 Posted by -The Renegade- (124 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm for the mechanical web shooters. And yes I think it's okay if it's Peter that invents it, but like you said not in two panels (not that easily). I'm sure people like Tony Stark or Reed could have invented it easily too, but they just think about it since they didn't need a device like that.

#29 Posted by Nova`Prime` (4165 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't see why he couldn't make the webshooters, I mean really its some a compressed air device. The real question is making the websolution that would probably be alittle harder then the shooters.

#30 Edited by MattDemers (313 posts) - - Show Bio

What were his science projects like and why didn't they earn him a scholarship to some incredibly prestigious school?     

See, it's like why Bruce Wayne doesn't put ziplines/batsuit analogue suits on the market: he doesn't want to call attention to himself. If Pete decided to invent all this junk to get him and May money, he would have brought needless attention to his work, his life and he never seemed to be around when Spider-Man swung by. 
 
Probably not the "canon" response, but it seems to be the most logical.
#31 Posted by Supreme Marvel (11271 posts) - - Show Bio
@xerox-kitty said:
" @G-Man said:
"(why didn't he ever invent something he could sell to help Aunt May pay the bills?)."
That's a good point.  I never thought of that.  Why didn't he invent something like electric can-opener or a devise to locate your lost keys.  Nothing that would drastically change the future of mankind, but something useful enough to make sure Aunt May could enjoy her retirement years in comfort :p "
Because he's a selfish b4st47d really.
#32 Posted by Chris2KLee (172 posts) - - Show Bio

I am very pro web-shooter creation. It reminds people that Peter is a genius level intellect. It's been hinted more than a few times in the comics that if he had just sat down and did the schooling, he'd probably be hanging out with Iron Man and Reed Richards in the lab.

#33 Posted by karrob (4264 posts) - - Show Bio
@QuantomMan said:
" @G-Man said:
" @thechessclub said:

" Maybe his parents got him an erector set early on? "

Is it wrong that I chuckled when I read this? "
Lol, then everyone that read this is in the wrong "
Lmao! So true
#34 Posted by QuantomMan (215 posts) - - Show Bio
@Billy Batson said:
" Anti. 

If he gained the abilities of a spider, why didn't he get the ability to spin webs?    

I always think about this.  "
Must keep you up at night thinking of a man pulling (with his hands mind you, spiders don't "shoot" webs, they funnel it out strands at a time) web fluid out of his rectum area and throwing it at bad guys
#35 Posted by InnerVenom123 (29510 posts) - - Show Bio
@norusdog said:
" invented ones are just plain dumb.  As I said it makes no sense that someone with that level of intelligence wouldn't be selling inventions he made.  Think about it.  Web shooter material could be used in so many applications..esp if he modified it to last longer/shorter depending on the application.  Think of his new "spider suits" he's inventing in comics...we're talking about a damn kid that is inventing things akin to the Iron Man armor and whatnot...they're genius inventions...why then is Peter struggling with money and having to resort to being a photographer? it makes no sense....  "natural" web shooters is the ONLY thing that makes any kind of sense when you look outisde of "derr the character is only as smart as we need him to be...peter can invent these things but not something to patent, sell, and become a billionaire on...DERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR" "
He was acting like a stupid teenager and yet a brilliant scientist.  He made a brilliant invention.... and used it to beat the sh-t out of bad guys in his free time.
#36 Posted by Doctor!!!!! (1886 posts) - - Show Bio

Spider-Man is going old school. 
I guess bio-webbing is out.
#37 Posted by Razeil (56 posts) - - Show Bio

I like the explanation that was given in his second encounter with Ezekiel, that the knowledge to make the webbing was passed down to him via the spider bite.

#38 Posted by Eternal Chaos (22990 posts) - - Show Bio

I could see him inventing web shooters. I don't see why he couldn't. He was a gifted high school chemist and having his abilities in that field could easily help him produce the necessary chemical components. As far as the device to actually shoot the chemicals for the webbing, that could've been a little more difficult. He probably figured he could make the web shooters work like a gun, apply pressure and zing. Different sensitivity levels, different results. As far as others inventing the webbing, they probably never needed to. I mean, why on earth would Doctor Doom need webbing? Or Norman Osborne?

#39 Posted by Trodorne (2499 posts) - - Show Bio

I mean the fluid itself is the primary focus on how to make it. im sure with a polycarbon fluid, there are several that start out as fluid and can bio degrade when exposed to oxygen. so all you need is an adhesive layer to coat over top of the original base which would act as the tether and the adhesive would allow it to stick much like a spider web.....
  hmm this idea can work just need a degradable solution for the adhesive mix in order to hold a person for a duration of a hour at the most or maybe cut the formulas degradation time to 45 mins to allow police assistance. this bodes research and discussion.

#40 Posted by RazzaTazz (8968 posts) - - Show Bio

The main issue I always had was a matter of mass.  He has enough cartridges on his wrist to be equivalent to a can of silly-string.  So with two wrists he has about two cans worth.  This would equate to maybe 40 seconds of shooting.  No say the web susbtance exists to it can be projected and expands in air somehow - this would give him maybe three or four times as much, so every time Spider Man heads out to fight crime, he has maybe 2 and a half minutes or webbing to use.  Thats not a lot.   
 
Even if it is organic, all that matter being expelled from his body has to come from somewhere, and if it is like a real spider would leave him severely dehydrated. 

#41 Posted by Billy Batson (58381 posts) - - Show Bio
@QuantomMan said:

" @Billy Batson said:

" Anti. 

If he gained the abilities of a spider, why didn't he get the ability to spin webs?    

I always think about this.  "
Must keep you up at night thinking of a man pulling (with his hands mind you, spiders don't "shoot" webs, they funnel it out strands at a time) web fluid out of his rectum area and throwing it at bad guys "
I know how spiders "shoot" webs.  


a man pulling web fluid out of his rectum area and throwing it at bad guys    

would be cooler than his normal technique.
#42 Posted by InnerVenom123 (29510 posts) - - Show Bio
@RazzaTazz said:
" The main issue I always had was a matter of mass.  He has enough cartridges on his wrist to be equivalent to a can of silly-string.  So with two wrists he has about two cans worth.  This would equate to maybe 40 seconds of shooting.  No say the web susbtance exists to it can be projected and expands in air somehow - this would give him maybe three or four times as much, so every time Spider Man heads out to fight crime, he has maybe 2 and a half minutes or webbing to use.  Thats not a lot.    Even if it is organic, all that matter being expelled from his body has to come from somewhere, and if it is like a real spider would leave him severely dehydrated.  "
This is where comic book logic comes in :)
#43 Posted by ironshadow (1455 posts) - - Show Bio

Of course he could have patented the web shooters without revealing his identity, he could have just said that he was inspired by Spider-Man when he created them.

#44 Edited by StriderNo9 (104 posts) - - Show Bio

How did Ultimate Spiderman do it? Wasn't it a formula his dad helped create before he died. I like that idea. For the record I also prefer the mechanical ones. 

#45 Posted by Decept-O (7295 posts) - - Show Bio

I think young Peter Parker could have invented and created the mechanical web-shooters.  I think that is something within the realm of his character and intelligence.  I know there is the whole debate regarding why he didn't market the webbing, etc., for money.  Yet if you think about that issue, why would he?  He'd want the webbing for use for himself, it would risk revealing his identity and even be a hindrance against his super hero modus operandi if numerous people used the webbing.  Selfish for him not to market it?  Maybe, yet again, he is out saving lives by using the webbing and mechanical shooters.  That negates everything right there in my opinion.   
 
While his creation of the web-shooters and webbing in the early comics were explained far too briefly, I don't think it is that big of a deal.  Peter Parker is a science genius, so it is definitely plausible for him to have the webbing and web-shooters.   
 
I accepted the organic web-shooters in the previous Spidey films, but all in all, most peeps want the mechanical ones, so at least this is a small step in the right direction for the new film. 
Online
#46 Posted by boylie (1 posts) - - Show Bio

Mechanical shooters make me happy 
The organic ones were...... dirty 
 
And who knows, maybe in this new Spiderman world, the compouds were already being developed and he just made a firing mechanism for them or something. Or maybe he is that smart. I never thought twice about it in the comics or the cartoon, I imagine most wouldn't have that big a problem suspending disbelief during the movie either

#47 Posted by guuthulhu (48 posts) - - Show Bio

I haven't read much Spider-Man. I knew that sometimes they were mechanical and sometimes natural, but I had always thought someone else made the mechanical ones for him. My friends had never pointed out to me that Peter actually did that. Granted, I had it in my head wrong, it just seems more believable to me that he wouldn't do it. Reading a lot of the comments here, it doesn't seem right, either. If he's so bright, why does he have a crap job? It seems really retarded to me, now I know the truth. 
 
I do like the natural web shooters. It makes the problem go away, and if you're bitten by a radioactive spider, I don't see why he couldn't have them shoot from his wrists. He mutated, after all. 

#48 Posted by zombietag (1483 posts) - - Show Bio

you think its ever taken the cops more than an hour to pick up the baddies?

#49 Posted by Xenozoic Shaman (404 posts) - - Show Bio

I prefer the mechanical version as it gave them a way of including Peter's affinity for science into the mix.  It also allowed for future inclusion of his scientific skill, when he created alternate web formulas and shooters to tackle new problems.  As reality-bending as comics are, it seems to make things more believable when you see that he didn't miraculously gain every single ability that the spider possessed. 
 
Besides, we all know that it was the Spider-Man from a dark alternate future who made it possible.  Knowing that the world would be doomed without a web-slinging Spider-Man, alternate Peter traveled back in time using a heavily modified Spider-Mobile, and gave him the knowledge of how to built web shooters, while teen Peter slept.  The teen Peter Parker was then able to create a more livable future for all, making it possible for him to ruin his marriage, and reveal his identity to one and all.  Hooray!

#50 Edited by doordoor123 (3721 posts) - - Show Bio

Apparently spider-webbing is really strong and if we were somehow able to replicate the webbing, it would be a great material inplace of plastic.  
Peter Parker IS really smart, but he doesnt apply his intellect until he has something to apply it on. And I also think, at the young age that he was, that he hadnt understood the magnitude of his creation. Now that hes Spider-man, he cant reveal that he created the webbing because hell have to reveal his identity.  
 
OH AND I PERFER EITHER WAY! Its not about what hes made of, or what he does. Its who he is that counts. As long as the writing stays true to the character, then im a fan.

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