Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Steve Ditko
Publication Date: September 1962
This is exciting. Spider-Man is almost without a doubt the Marvel Universe's most famous superhero. He is arguably the most popular superhero ever created, with Batman and Superman from competitor DC comics as his greatest competition. I can't even imagine the amount of merchandise that's been produced in his honor, or the money that's been spent in his continued entertainment support. And Stan & Steve invented the guy in 14 pages. Makes you think...
I dunno if summing this up is really necessary. Many others have done it before me, and anyone interested in this type of blog probably knows how the story goes. But I digress...Peter Parker is a high school science geek who lives with his Aunt May and Uncle Ben. At a science fair, he’s bitten by a radioactive spider, which gives him superhuman strength and agility. Peter invents something to shoot a web like substance as well, and introduces himself to the world as Spider-Man, a TV sensation. At one point, Spider-Man has the opportunity to catch a crook, but, disinterested, he does nothing. When he gets home, he finds that his Uncle has been murdered. Spider-Man chases off to catch the person that did it, and finds out it was the crook he let get away. Peter learns then his greatest lesson, which is that with great power comes great responsibility. Oh, and a legend is born. No big deal.
I'm not sure what I can say to add to the beginnings of one of comics' greatest success stories. Of the many heroes Stan created in a short span of time for Marvel comics, Spider-Man is clearly the most appealing and enduring. I have to assume that even if almost every aspect of Marvel were to shut down, the company would still be churning out Peter Parker product. The main reason that Spider-Man became a great success is well documented, but it's still worth repeating, and that's his everyman quality. Spider-Man is a great unifier. It is the fact that he doesn't always succeed, that he's not that well liked in the MU, and that he has some of the absolute worst luck known to man that keeps people interested in his continuing saga. Also, his origin story is perfect. It is not convoluted, but it still packs one hell of a moral punch. The only origin one could argue that might be better (might be) is Batman's. I'm not going to say too much more here, as a lot has already been said about Spider-Man's origin, and stated more eloquently than me.
- What the hell happened to the spider? Hmm...
- Spider-Man must be pretty good at sewing...I guess in Ultimate Spider-Man, the recent retelling of the Spider-Man saga, Bendis pokes fun at how easily Spider-Man made this sweet costume
- Do you think if Stan had any idea how popular young Peter Parker would become, he would have named his superhero Spiderman? That hyphen is more irritating than you'd think.
Next: Fantastic Four # 6