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|“||I wanted what you had for myself, Parker. The things I could do with it... with power like that... But what I got was different. Something better, Parker. Something worse. Something that can live inside, that could liquefy the innards of a man and walk the earth within his hollow shell... Something that could watch. And wait. And fester. See? See now? I AM THE THOUSAND.||„|
|~ The Thousand introducing his true form to Spider-Man.|
The Thousand (real name: Carl King) is a minor yet extremely despicable supervillain from Marvel Comics, and an enemy of Spider-Man. He is the main antagonist of The Coming of the Thousand story arc, comprised from Spider-Man's Tangled Web #1-3, published in 2001.
Carl King was a bully who liked to pick on Peter Parker, but when he realized that Peter was bitten by a radioactive spider and became Spider-Man, he eats the spider to likewise acquire his powers, only to become a living swarm of spiders that can kill people from inside and use their corpses as vessels.
As a child, Carl King was a bully who frequently targeted Peter Parker. King would extort money from Peter, force him to do his homework, dunk his head on a toilet and physically beat him with no mercy. He continuously tormented Peter from grade school (as early as kindergarten) through high school. During a science exhibit depicting the effects of radiation, King witnesses Peter getting bitten by a radioactive spider and gaining superpowers. He begins stalking Peter, and further witnesses his becoming of the superhero Spider-Man.
This causes King to become jealous of Peter. Wanting to gain superpowers as well, King returns to the science exhibit and eats the dead spider that bit Peter and Cindy Moon. King shows no signs of mutation for several days, until one morning when he discovers that his body is now composed entirely of spiders. He also discovers that he can consume the innards of other people and use their skin as a suit, after doing so to his mother accidentally. Curious as to whether or not he could do it again, he does the same to his father (the imagery implies that he raped him first). Seeking to master his new abilities, King consumes and takes over the bodies of his girlfriend, as well as various homeless people and children. King learned that he became stronger with each new host.
Years later, King decides to kill Peter Parker out of jealousy of the fame and glory he has received as Spider-Man. He kills and took over the body of Jess Patton, an employee at the Daily Bugle. At the Daily Bugle, King, as Patton, lies to Peter about being broke, alcoholic, and homeless after breaking up with a boyfriend. Out of pity, Peter takes "Jess" to his apartment to stay. Once there, King reveals his true identity and attacks Peter, defeating him easily after he changes into his Spider-Man costume. King bites Peter, paralyzing him, and then puts him in restraints.
Before King can eat Peter, Peter's landlord Mr. Ambrose enters the room. Not wanting a witness to his existence, King takes over Ambrose's body. King, as Ambrose, then tells Spider-Man his full origin story. In the time it takes him to do this, the venom in Spider-Man's body wears off and he attacks King. The two trade insults as they fight, and King gains the upper hand. Preparing to deliver the finishing blow, King accidentally strikes a transformer instead. This electrocutes him and kills the majority of his spiders.
Believing King to be dead, Spider-Man leaves the scene. Unbeknownst to him. However, one of the spiders survives and vows revenge. Seconds later, however, the spider is stepped on by an oblivious passerby who was searching for a place to smoke. Unless another of his spiders survived, this definitely killed Carl King, bringing his threat to an end once and for all.
Unlike many of the members of Spider-Man's rogues gallery, which were ordinary people until some accident or personal tragedy happened to them, much like Carnage, Carl was already a bad person before acquiring his powers. A despicable bully, Carl picked on Peter Parker since kindergarten and continued his physical and verbal abuse on him up to high school. While other students like Flash Thompson and his gang also liked to pick on Parker too, they knew there were certain boundaries they weren't willing to cross, but Carl had no restrictions and loved to beat Parker mercilessly, dunking his head on a toilet and even teasing him that his Aunt May had called him to set him up and did not love him. Carl also believed that all students liked him because no one was willing to stood up for Parker.
However, after Peter acquired his powers and became Spider-Man, Carl stalked him and grew up to be jealous of him, believing that he deserved those powers, yet he would have only wanted them to gain money and fame instead for helping others. As such, Carl found the deceased spider that bite Peter and Cindy Moon and ate it in hopes of acquiring the same powers. Such decision costed Carl his body, transforming his concioussness into a living swarm of spiders. Blaming Parker for his condition, Carl became so determined to track him that he started to change bodies every certain amount of time, not caring on who he killed, including his mother, his father, his girlfriend, homeless people, children, J. Jonah Jameson's secretary, etc. His ultimate desire was take over Spider-Man's body to become famous, but his wicked ways and their past history were enough for Spidey to defeat him once and for all and make Carl pay for all of his villainous actions
- He was created by the infamous Garth Ennis and John McCrea.
- The Thousand is similar to Venom, as they are both supervillains obsessed with Spider-Man who know his secret identity and possess spider-like powers and an immunity to the Spider-Sense. Unlike the Thousand, however, Venom has some morality on his actions.p
- Due his powers and appearance, it is possible that the Thousand was inspired by Oogie Boogie, the main antagonist of The Nightmare Before Christmas. Like Carl, Oogie is essentially a living sack used as a vessel by a swarm of insects, with one of them serving as the leader and who ends up being squished to death.
- His demise was ironic, as Carl wished to become a famous individual like Spider-Man, but instead died without anyone-else but Peter knowing of his existence.