Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse - The comic book history of the Prowler

Prowler in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
(Image credit: Sony Animation)

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is now in theaters, and one of its biggest twists involves the return of the Prowler, who played a key role in the first movie. We won't spoil the twist here (though you can still read all about it), but now's a perfect time to dig into the comic book history of the Prowler and how he relates to Miles Morales.

The original Prowler of the Spider-Verse films is Miles' uncle Aaron Davis, who occupies the same role in comics. But he's not the original Prowler from Marvel Comics - that's Hobie Brown, an ally of Spider-Man and a gifted engineer who built his own Prowler gear.

First appearing in 1969's Amazing Spider-Man #78 by Stan Lee, John Romita Sr., and Jim Mooney, Hobie actually started out as a villain just briefly. But Spider-Man talked him out of committing crimes right in his first appearance, even recruiting Hobie to stand in as a fake Spider-Man to trick J. Jonah Jameson a few issues later.

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Since then, Hobie has remained one of Peter's best friends and allies, operating as a hero even after Aaron Davis also took up the name the Prowler as a villain. He's had a few ups and downs, including dying, being cloned, and being reborn (pretty typical Spider-Man stuff), and recently took on the identity of Hornet, an armored hero persona once used by Peter Parker.

As for Aaron Davis, the current most prominent Prowler, he first appeared in the Ultimate Universe in 2011's Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli before crossing over to the main Marvel Universe along with Miles and a few other characters after 2015's Secret Wars event which rewrote Marvel's Multiverse and changed some aspects of the publisher's continuity.

In the mainstream Marvel Universe, Davis has remained a villain, though he hasn't always been the Prowler. Davis briefly used the identity of the Iron Spider using armor designed by Tony Stark, forming his own Sinister Six to fight Miles Morales in the process. Though Davis later briefly reformed, ditching the Iron Spider armor, he's since returned to villainy as the Prowler.

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Like Aaron Davis, Hobie Brown also has his own connection to the Spider-Verse, as a Multiverse Variant of Hobie is actually Spider-Man on Earth-138 (a reference to the song 'We Are 138' by the punk band The Misfits), where he's known as Spider-Punk. Spider-Punk himself appears in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, voiced by Daniel Kaluuya of Black Panther fame.

Thanks to his classic Ultimate Universe origin story and its adaptation into the mainstream Marvel Universe and the Spider-Verse films, Miles Morales and the Prowler are inextricably linked - a relationship that has turned into its own web of Marvel connections.

Read up on the best Spider-Man villains of all time.

George Marston

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)