Real Name: Anton Miguel Rodriquez
First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man 134
Died In: Amazing Spider-Man 236. There was a second Tarantula, Luis Alvarez, who made his debut in Web of Spider-Man 36 and died at the hands of a Jury recruit in Venom: Sinner Takes All 4.
What's His Problem? An important revolutionary in a South American country torn by war, Rodriquez was cast out of his group when he needlessly killed a hostage. Switching sides, he became his country's version of Captain America, only in his case he was a super-hero figurehead for a corrupt government. Even said corrupt government found him too violent after he killed guards and prisoners alike during interrogation sessions. Fleeing to America, he set himself up in the underworld of New York as an assassin and extortionist. When Spider-Man's interference skunked a hit for the Brand corporation, Rodriquez volunteered to be injected with a replicant spider-serum, hoping to duplicate the Wall-Crawler's uncanny abilities. As tends to happens when villains try to re-invent their powers, something went horribly wrong and the Tarantula emerged from the experiment an eight-legged monstrosity.
Abilities: Rodriquez was a highly trained athlete, skilled in hand-to-hand combat, and ruthless beyond compare. He wasn't too bad in shop class, either; he was able to reconstruct his pointed shoes in prison, and eventually refined them so that the spikes could retract. His gloves also held retractable nails, which like his shoe tips were coated with a deadly neuro-toxin.
Favorite Quote: "I have no shame, American. I have power--and power is all I need!" (Amazing Spider-Man 147, after Spidey taunts Rodriquez with his history of betrayal.)
Heroes He Keeps Running Into: The Tarantula tangled with both Spider-Man and Punisher during his early days. His downfall was a collision with the nebulous Will O'Wisp, whose interference with the spider-replication experiment may have been what mutated Rodriquez into a late-night-horror-show reject.
People Who Think He's Not So Bad: Spurned by both sides during his country's Civil War, Anton couldn't even get respect from his fellow assassins-for-hire. Kraven the Hunter treated him with scorn during their involuntary team-up. The vengeful Will O'Wisp hypnotized him into during his bidding. Heck, even the Brand Corporation couldn't be bothered with the Tarantula after his mutation in a giant spider. In the end, Rodriquez wanted to die, and fell before the guns of the New York City Police despite Spidey's earnest attempts to help him.
Most Despicable Act: For my money, it was calling everyone's favorite Wall-Crawler "Spider-Hombre." Even apart from that, Rodriquez was a terrorist both for and against the government in his country, almost killed the mayor of New York City, and had no qualms about offing a defenseless snitch for the right money.
Amazing Spider-Man 134
Spectacular Spider-Man 1
Amazing Spider-Man 235