Spencer Smythe
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceThe Amazing Spider-Man #25 (June 1965)
Created byStan Lee
Steve Ditko
In-story information
PartnershipsJ. Jonah Jameson (formerly)

Spencer Smythe (/smθ/) is a supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is usually depicted as an adversary of the superhero Spider-Man as well as the father of Alistair Smythe. A scientist researching robotics and arachnids, he turned to crime to finance his research, and dedicated his life to capturing Spider-Man. He is best known for creating the Spider-Slayers, robots designed specifically to hunt down, capture, or kill the web-slinger.

The character has appeared in several Spider-Man adaptations, including animated series and video games.

Publication history

Spencer Smythe and the Spider-Slayers first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #25 (June 1965) and were created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.[1]

Fictional character biography

Spencer Smythe is an expert in robotics and arachnids who asked J. Jonah Jameson to fund his projects, having been convinced by Jameson's editorials that Spider-Man was a menace. After watching a demonstration showing that Smythe's robot could sense and track spiders, Jameson hired Smythe to capture Spider-Man. Jameson himself controlled the robot, meaning that Spider-Man was chased by a machine with Jameson's face. However, the web-slinger escaped by leaving the Spider-Man suit wrapped in the robot's tentacles.[2]

Annoyed at his robot's inability to capture Spider-Man, Smythe began to obsess about the web-slinger, turning to crime to finance his research and constantly improving his robots which he dubbed Spider-Slayers.[3][4] But his creations, no matter how deadly or powerful he made, were always defeated by Spider-Man utilizing a key flaw in their designs.[5]

Eventually, Smythe's criminal career came to an end when the radioactive materials used in the robots' manufacture poisoned him, dooming him to a slow and agonizing death.[6] Blaming Spider-Man and Jameson equally for his impending demise, Smythe handcuffed the two together with a bomb scheduled to detonate in 24 hours, determined to make the two suffer the agony of inescapable death that he saw the two as having condemned him to.[7] Unfortunately for Smythe, his disease was too advanced for him to survive the 24 hours himself, and he died convinced that he had killed off the two responsible. Peter Parker, however, had a pretty good grasp of what made mechanical devices tick, and was able to abort the bomb by freezing its controls mere moments before it would have detonated.[8]

After Spencer's death, his son Alistair Smythe inherited the Spider-Slayer legacy.[9]

During the Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy storyline, Spencer is "reanimated" in a clone body (with his soul intact) by Ben Reilly's company New U Technologies,[10] but is later killed again.[11]

Skills and abilities

Spencer Smythe is quite intelligent, capable of designing advanced robots that could pursue solitary targets. These robots were physically dangerous enough to overpower Spider-Man at multiple points, but they lacked A.I. software.

In other media


Video games


  1. ^ DeFalco, Tom; Sanderson, Peter; Brevoort, Tom; Teitelbaum, Michael; Wallace, Daniel; Darling, Andrew; Forbeck, Matt; Cowsill, Alan; Bray, Adam (2019). The Marvel Encyclopedia. DK Publishing. p. 338. ISBN 978-1-4654-7890-0.
  2. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #105
  3. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #106–107
  4. ^ Rovin, Jeff (1987). The Encyclopedia of Supervillains. New York: Facts on File. p. 6. ISBN 0-8160-1356-X.
  5. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #107
  6. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #186
  7. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #190
  8. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #192
  9. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man Annual 19
  10. ^ Clone Conspiracy #2
  11. ^ Spine-Tingling Spider-Man Infinity Comic #4
  12. ^ "Horizon High Pt. 1". Spider-Man. Season 1. Episode 1. August 19, 2017. Disney XD.