With the impending release of Spider-Man: No Way Home on digital download and Blu-ray, Marvel decided to give us all a little treat. Not only do we know the movie will be out for digital purchase on March 22 and Blu-ray on April 12, but we also got a sweet inside-joke photo of Tom Holland, Andrew Garfield, and Tobey Maguire recreating the famous meme in which three Spider-Men point at each other. Unlike the “original” meme, these three Peter Parkers are, naturally, unmasked, so we can see which one of them is which. (Can you imagine had they done it with their masks on! Talk about trolling the internet!)
Anyway. We all love No Way Home and we love the Spidey pointing meme, but there are some strange things about this now-famous image that are downright bizarre once you unpack the origins. Let’s take a look.
There are only two Spideys in the original scene
The pointing Spidey meme comes from a 1968 episode of the animated series Spider-Man called “Double Identity.” In the actual scene, there are two people in a Spidey costume, not three. The third Spidey was added by various meme-creators sometime around 2011. It’s actually fairly easy to tell when you see the more famous meme version because the Spideys each have slightly different costumes.
In the original episode, one of the Spideys was fake
The whole plot of “Double Identity” in the ’68 Spidey cartoon was that one of the Spideys wasn’t even Peter Parker, but instead an imposter. Within Marvel Comics, the notion of various Spider-Men meeting each other across the multiverse has occurred. However, in the context of the pointing Spidey meme, that’s not two Spider-Men, originally. It’s the real Spidey and an imposter.
So, the idea of the three Spider-Men pointing at each other is an image that lacks context twice; there were only two in the first scene, and if one of them was originally an imposter, the scene doesn’t mean what you think it means. Obviously, once it became a meme, we all decided it was three (two?) “real” versions of Spider-Man pointing at each other. Prior to the release of this new promo photo, No Way Home did feature a similar moment where the three Spideys point at each other. This means that No Way Home has given context to a meme that utterly lacked context before. Weird, right?
The original ‘Spider-Man’ episode where the meme comes from is hard to stream
Although Disney+ has various Spider-Man cartoons in its streaming library, the 1967-1970 cartoon is not one of them. You might have thought this moment came from the ’80s cartoon Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (which is on Disney+) but it didn’t!
This means, that despite how famous this meme is, the image from which it derives is in an episode that is pretty hard to track down, at least on official channels. You can find clips of the episode on Daily Motion and YouTube (watch above) but that’s it!
Spider-Man: No Way Home hits digital download on March 22 and Blu-ray on April 12.
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