SPIDER-MAN’s Comic Book ‘HOMECOMINGS’: Is There Anything to Learn?

"Spider-Man: Homecoming" title card
Credit: Marvel Studios / Sony Pictures
Mary Jane: Homecoming
Mary Jane: Homecoming
Credit: Marvel Comics

The Winter Soldier, Civil War, Infinity War... Marvel Studios has a habit of adapting the titles of well-known comic book stories and partially drawing on their DNA to craft the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But what about its latest title, Spider-Man: Homecoming? "Homecoming" isn't exactly a well-known story title in the Spider-Man mythos (and there are a few of those), but it does have roots in his long comic book history. Could one of the Spider-Man stories that bore that name have some influence over Spidey's latest movie offering?

There are several stories titled "Homecoming" from throughout Spider-Man's history. For starters, the collected edition of 2005's Mary Jane miniseries which featured high school-aged versions of Spidey's supporting cast, is subtitled "Homecoming," and it centers around - you guessed it - a high school dance. This may not seem like a likely candidate to influence a new film, but given the age of the cast and the high school setting, it does have some commonality with Marvel Studios' stated plans for the movie franchise.

Amazing Spider-Man #1
Amazing Spider-Man #1
Credit: Marvel Comics

Meanwhile, there was also an issue of Spider-Man Family with a story that bore that title. This "Homecoming" was set in the Marvel Manga-Verse, and featured the Spider-Clan. While they played a role in "Spider-Verse", it's unlikely Marvel would muddy the waters of the film world with something like that yet - though Doctor Strange does focus on alternate worlds, so never say never.

Most importantly there are two major stories in Spider-Man lore titled "Homecoming." The most recent was the story title of Peter Parker's return to the role of Spider-Man after his arch-nemesis, Doctor Octopus, took over his body. It's a stretch, but given that we don't know the film's villain just yet, there could be a slight nod in the title. 

But the primary "Homecoming" in Spider-Man's history is Amazing Spider-Man #252, which formally introduced the alien symbiote costume from Secret Wars that became Venom several years later. When Peter's costume was destroyed on an alien planet, a machine produced a new, all black costume for him. It turned out to be a living entity that was subverting Peter's mind, and became one of his primary villains when it bonded with Eddie Brock.

Amazing Spider-Man #252
Amazing Spider-Man #252
Credit: Marvel Comics

Without a long history behind him, telling a Venom story likely wouldn't carry the weight it had in comic books - and there's also the matter of Spider-Man 3's version of that story. But given Marvel's penchant for pitting its film heroes against their opposite numbers - Iron Monger, Red Skull, Yellowjacket - it's not completely off the table that Peter would take on an evil version of himself.

There are also rumors that Sony has not abandoned plans for a solo Venom movie it'd produce itself. Given the breakout solo success of the anti-hero Deadpool for 20th Century Fox, you have to think he's very much in Sony's plans. 

Of course, Homecoming could just be soley a nod to Spider-Man being back under Marvel's purview, returning to the film version of the Universe that birthed him.

Either way, Spider-Man: Homecoming is scheduled to hit theaters July 7, 2017.

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