Spider-Strength

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Background

Superior strength is a boring but somewhat necessary requirement for most superheroes. There are plenty of examples of physically weak villains, but bulging muscles are pretty much mandatory for superheroes both male and female.

Once-scrawny teenager Peter Parker is no exception. When he acquires his Spider-Powers, it comes with the obligatory "proportional strength of a spider". Without that increased strength, he couldn't event swing across town, let alone go toe-to-toe with the wide range of threats from muggers to cosmic warlords that populate his exciting career.

In his early days, as a teenager, Spider-Man's official bench-press strength was 10 tons. But the following years have seen him demonstrate levels far above that mark. A more realistic assessment for modern Spider-Man's strength would have him capable of lifting 40 tons – or perhaps more when under extreme stress. That brings him close to She-Hulk (75 tons) and Ben "Thing" Grimm (100 tons). They all pale in comparison to The Hulk whose strength appears to be effectively limitless, reaching cosmic levels at times.

Spider-Man's strength appears in almost every issue, and its various forms and uses are too many to list in detail. But here's a few classic examples that are often quoted when attempting to determine the limits of his physical ability.

From Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #27 and Amazing Spider-Man #162, here's Spider-Man breaking chains by flexing his chest muscles.

From Amazing Spider-Man #33 the famous scene where Spider-Man finds inspiration to throw free many tens of tons of machinery to save himself from drowning in the lair of the Master Planner. This was revisited again many years later (in stone) in Amazing Spider-Man #365. See also Spectacular Spider-Man #168 as he breaks free of a stone-capped well.

In Amazing Spider-Man #320, Spidey throws around a "mini-tank" that looks to weigh around 15-20 tons (about 1/3 the weight of a full-sized combat tank). In Amazing Spider-Man #424 while fighting a new up-powered Electro, Spider-Man loses his temper and lifts a 40-ton subway car above his head.

Then in Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #98, Peter holds up "part of" the Daily Bugle (one support-beam's worth) and manages to stand up under the weight.

Image Gallery

Appearances

Cover Date Appearance Information
Aug 1962 App: Amazing Fantasy #15
  Gains "proportionate strength of a Spider", crushes steel pipe.
Year 1964 App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) Annual #1 (Story 2)
  Powers first examined. Strength compared to other heroes.
Aug 1965 App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #27
  Breaks chains by flexing chest.
Feb 1966 App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #33
  Lifts up tens of tons of steel equipment.
Nov 1976 App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #162
  Breaks chains by flexing chest.
Sep 1989 App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #320
  Throws around mini-tanks.
Sep 1990 App: Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #168
  Smashes his way out from a stone trap.
Aug 1992 App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #365 (Story 1)
  Lifts up tens of tons of stone.
Jun 1997 App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #424
  Lifts up a subway car and threatens Electro.
Nov 1998 App: Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #98
  Lifts up part of the Daily Bugle building.