Marvel comics swears that Spiderman’s webs dissolve which is why there are not crews to clean up Spiderman’s webslingings all over the city. But that is a simple answer for what I fear is a more complex problem.
Let’s examine the properties of his spider silk. It needs to be strong so as to support Spiderman’s acrobatic weight. Secondly it must be very sticky so that one end can easily latch onto a building’s concrete, glass or cladding and still support Spiderman’s weight.
As well, criminals are not stupid. If one found that carrying a knife could cut them out of Spiderman’s webbing, they would also carry this simple tool to get themselves unwebbed.
And the silk must not dissolve for a webbed bag of criminals destined for the police and courtesy of your friendly neighbourhood Spiderman. At least not until the police want to release said criminals to get in their squad cars and be sent to jail.
Let’s say on average, a security guard patrols every 4 hours an area where Spiderman might leave his bag o’ criminals. Then the security guard must phone the police and wait for them to arrive.
Then, between the checking of the security cameras to find what happened and the police arriving much later (there is no rush because the criminals are just hanging there waiting to be released), I imagine Spiderman’s webbing must last at least eight hours before dissolving.
Which means that those long strings of silk that Spiderman swings on are just left for the morning high traffic times. And every swing by Spiderman is another 100 foot length of silk just waiting to cause problems.
Car wheels are going to go over the webbing and it will stick more to the wheel than the building because a larger surface area of the sticky stuff is caught by the wheel than holds it onto the building. As the wheel turns the webbing could get stuck on the axle forcing the axle off the car and ruining it. This will cause accidents with other cars.
Toddlers are early risers. What if one of them is taken outside? The first thing the toddler will do on encountering the web is put it in its mouth. The toddler’s mouth will be shut tight and it will be unable to eat for another 8 hours.
Bigger kids would likely try to imitate Spiderman by swinging on the leftover silk strands. All this will accomplish is to have the kid ram into the building the spider silk is attached to and be stuck there beside the building unable to remove their hands from the silk.
A street cleaner will be no help as its bristles will get stuck after a few revolutions, either breaking the machine or making it wait another 8 hours to become useful again.
The wind might blow the spider silk into a large building’s entrance where it sticks over the door. If the door opens inwards people might think they can still get through. But if they over estimate how much room they have to get through, their hair might be stuck for a full working day to that spider silk. Now a scissors is unlikely to work on the spider silk but they can cut off some of their own hair to gain their freedom. Spiderman’s city is a city with adults that look like they let their children cut their hair.
All these problems and more are likely to occur after a Spiderman patrol. Do yourself a favour and don’t welcome Spiderman to your city.