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In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Spider-Man is seen to have armpit-webbing that's used for gliding, apparently (fast forward to 0:10s):

In other words: Was this just a Marvel Cinematic Universe invention, or did Spider-Man actually use his armpit-webbing to glide in the comics?

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  • Related (and probably answered therein):scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/21172/…
    – Darren
    Jul 18 '17 at 14:18
  • Do we know if it's actually webbing in the movie, as in the same material that Peter uses in his shooters, or just some special lightweight, flexible, Stark-invented material? Jul 18 '17 at 14:57
  • In the comics, it's definitely not the same material - webbing from his webshooters dissolves after about 1 hour.
    – RDFozz
    Jul 18 '17 at 20:45
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As explained here, the armpit webbing was not originally designed for any practical use. It was so useless, in fact, that most versions of the Spider-Man costume did not include it at all. It has made an appearance again in later years, but still serves no practical use.

You can see in these early reference images that even while the armpit webs are present, no mention of actual use or purpose is made.

costume uses

Plenty of uses, no flying

In the comics, even when Peter had the armpit webbing, he's never used it for gliding, and most people theorize that it's more for helping slow down when he's web swinging, bug there's no real concrete evidence to support that either.

In fact, in his second battle against the Vulture, Spider-Man is knocked out of the sky, and even though he is in free-fall, gliding on the web wings does not seem to be an option. He tries to shoot a web line, misses repeatedly, and ends up injuring himself in the fall.

i'm free fallin'

The ability to glide in Spider-Man: Homecoming (which is still a little debatable, IMO) is new - an upgrade and purpose given to a classic element of Spider-Man's original costume.


But wait!

This isn't exactly made up out of nowhere.

Prior to gaining the glide under her own power, Spider-Woman was able to glide using her armpit-webs.

easy glider

Similarly, Spider-Man from the year 2099 (Earth-928) is also able to glide using a webbing like material on his back (not quite the same as his armpits).

the spider... of the future

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In the 1981 cartoon Spiderman, Peter was shown using under arm web wings much like a "gilder suit" to slow his descent down. This was in a battle with a radioactively powered Sand Man. I was looking for a clip of it, but all I could find was a fan-made condensed episode on Youtube. Full Disclosure: The clips do have where Sand Man throws him off the roof of a tall building, but not where he uses the wings to glide. However, earlier in the episode, we do see Spidey use his webbing to instantly make a giant fly swatter to use against Sand Man.

To be fair, this was the 80s, so the "scientific logic" of this show was...loose, at best. I will seek out the full episode online, and see if I can post it here, giving the time stamp to where we see Spidey gliding. Again, full disclosure: this was not a regularly used ability for the Peter Parker Spiderman in most versions, but this proves there is a precedence for it. Unsurprisingly, it was hardly used in the same show where it could have been of REAL HELP to spidey, like when the Green Goblin dropped him over Central Park.

So i managed to find it:

The 1981 Spider-Man cartoon that ran concurrently with the same styled Spiderman & His Amazing Friends cartoon. Episode 5, titled The Sandman is Coming. Can be seen here:

https://kisscartoon.xyz/episode/spider-man-1981-season-1-episode-5/

At precisely 18:00 minuters in, we see Spidey, after being thrown off a building by Sand Man, create web wings under his arm that he uses to slow his decent to the ground. There are also a few instances of him making web wings in the comics to glide, though because this uses so much webfluid, its seen as impacticale One instance is here:

enter image description here

I can't say exactly where it comes from, but this shows he has used webbing for gliding on occasion before.....just not in the way it's shown on Homecoming or other modern media.

While searching, i came across an old video from Nerd Synch that spoke to the history of spiderman and the "web wings" phenomenon. Actually, it was the homecoming film that inspired its creation. Figured this may be a bit more informative than anything else I could offer. We should get Scott to join, because he knows his stuff:

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