ali abaday
Jun 09 2018

How Did Spiderman Become a Gang Leader?

There are two companies people are the talk of town these days in the world of movie and TV—one is Netflix and the other is Marvel. In the beginning, Netflix mainly sent mail-order rental DVDs to people’s houses in the US while offering a few films on its website, but it was on its way to becoming one of the biggest companies in the entertainment industry.

As for Marvel, they showed their designs on a major expansion 10 years ago in the post-credits of Iron Man, where the Avengers come up in a conversation between Tony Stark and Nick Fury. Within 10 years, these plans came to fruition, and now a lot of film companies are working to create a “cinematic universe” just like Marvel’s.

For a lot of people, the greatest scene in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was in Captain America: Civil War, when Spiderman suddenly appears and snatches Captain America’s shield. However, what few people are aware of is that this historic moment was not the first time Spiderman and Captain America have met face to face.

3 dev adam

Forty-five years before Captain America: Civil War, back when Turkish filmmakers had no qualms about copyright violations, Spiderman and Captain America came together for the first time in film called 3 Dev Adam (3 Giant Men). Apart from El Santo (perhaps also famous in Mexico) and the Turkish commissioner Orhan, not many people knew anything about Captain America, so in the Turkish film, his girlfriend Peggy Carter is replaced by a woman named Julia.

But first, let me clarify a few things. In this movie, Spiderman is not your friendly neighborhood superhero—he’s the leader of a Spider Gang, and he’s a bad guy. Also, his costume is yellow and red instead of blue and red, and of course he doesn’t have his famous web, but he has amazingly long eyebrows.

When 3 Dev Adam came out, it was billed not as a comedy, but as a serious crime film. Compared to films that are better known internationally like Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam (The Man Who Saved the World) and Turist Ömer Uzay Yolu’nda (Tourist Ömer in Space), it has some really sadistic scenes. In the opening part of the film, the Spider Gang has captured a woman they believe betrayed them, and they bury her up to her neck in sand chop up her head with a motorboat engine. This only gives you an idea of what comes next.

The Spider Gang conducts some of its illegal activities on the American continent, smuggling antiques and running counterfeit dollars. When the US and Mexico hear the gang is in Turkey, they each send one of their best cops to work together with the Turkish police. Captain America is sent by the US, and Mexico sends its wrestler, Santo. Captain America’s girlfriend Julia comes along, and Commissioner Orhan is also in the group as a liaison with the Turkish police.

Following in the footsteps of the Mafia, Spiderman puts an ad in the paper to entice people to sell him their valuable antiques, but then he kills them and sells the objects to antique dealers for cheap prices. Then, the gang members buy the same antiques with counterfeit dollars and sell them to foreign buyers for millions of dollars. But after all the chases, fights, and murders, Spiderman dies.

Still, screenwriter Doğan Tamer’s film has some interesting moments throughout. In addition to being a bad guy, Spiderman is also a gang leader. Captain America’s costume is bulletproof, he doesn’t have a shield, and he puts on Spiderman’s mask in order to better know his enemy. Naturally, all the foreigners in the film speak Turkish like it's their native tongue. The film includes sadistic scenes like a strangling with a shower hose, the murder of a couple having sex by a fireplace and a man getting his eyes fed to hamsters.


When the film was made in 1973, the silver-masked fighter Santo was also not well known. It’s possible he was important for Mexican people, but perhaps he could be better understood this way: Episode 4, Season 2 of the modern vampire series The Strain, written and produced by Academy Award-winning director Guillermo del Toro, is titled “The Silver Angel.” In this episode, an old series about a masked wrestler called the Silver Angel is mentioned, and there is even a black and white clip of the series. The clip they show in the film was shot by del Toro himself.

Even though the Turkish film is called 3 Giant Men, Commissioner Orhan doesn’t fight—all the fighting is with Captain America and Santo. Orhan mostly keeps on eye on the gang and shares intelligence with the local police.

In reality, the film has nothing to do with superhero adaptations, and with its small budget, disjointed scenes, and gratuitous sex and violence, it’s basically a trashy movie. Still, there’s no other film where you can find Spiderman, Captain America, and Santo all together.

For those who are curious about whether this is the only film about Captain America’s adventures in Turkey, there’s one more film called Major Tayfun. It’s not possible to find copies of this film anymore, but there are a lot of ways the hero resembles Captain America.



The 1972 movie called Örümcek (Spider) is about a man who calls himself “Spider,” but the story has nothing to do with Spiderman. Spider wears a leather jacket and black sunglasses welded to his motorcycle helmet, and he goes up against some smugglers. There are giant spider symbols on his belt, helmet, and the front of his jacket.

Between the 1950s and the 1980s in Turkey, even though the superheroes that appeared on the screen in comic book adaptations were fairly well known, none were as popular as historic characters. The best proof of this is that these movies never had any sequels. However, as Turkish comic book adaptations have begun to attract more viewers over time, they have also begun to develop a fan base of their own.

The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Ahval.