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- Spider-Man Biography *Spider-Man Publication History *Spider-Man Character Biography *Spider-Man's Powers and Equipment *List of Spider-Man Enemies *Spider-Man Supporting Characters * Spider-Man Store *Spider-Man in other media *Spider-Man Gallery* See also Marvel Comics
Spider-man Fast Facts
- Real Name: Peter Parker
- Occupation: Crime fighter, teacher
- Group Affiliation: Avengers
- Base of Operations: New York City
- Height: 5' 10" (178 cm)
- Weight: 165 lbs (75 kg)
- Eye Color: Hazel
- Hair Color: Brown
Publication history By 1962, with the success of the Fantastic Four and other characters, Marvel editor and head writer Stan Lee was casting about for a new superhero idea. He said that the idea for Spider-Man arose from a surge in teenage demand for comic books, and the desire to create a character with whom teens could identify. In his autobiography, Lee cites the non-superhuman pulp magazine crime fighter The Spider as an influence, and both there and in a multitude of print and video interviews said he was inspired by seeing a fly climb up a wall — adding in his autobiography that he has told that story so often he has become unsure of whether or not it is true. Artist Ditko, in a 1990 article by himself, gave a more prosaic origin story for the name:
“ "In a discussion with me about Spider-Man, Stan said he liked the name Hawkman but DC had the name and character. Marvel would add Ant-Man [and the Wasp] so it would have the insect category. (Technically a spider is not an insect). From that I believed Stan had named the character. ”
Lee approached Marvel publisher Martin Goodman for approval for the character. In a 1986 interview, Lee described in detail his arguments to overcome Goodman's objections. Goodman agreed to let Lee try out Spider-Man in the upcoming final issue of the canceled science-fiction/supernatural anthology series Amazing Adult Fantasy, which was renamed Amazing Fantasy for that single issue, #15 (Aug. 1962).
Jack Kirby, in a 1982 interview, claimed Lee had minimal involvement in the character's creation, and that it had originated with Kirby and Joe Simon, who in the 1950s had proposed a character called The Silver Spider for the Crestwood comic Black Magic until the publisher went out of business.
Simon, in his 1990 autobiography, disputes Kirby's account, asserting that the supernatural anthology Black Magic was not a factor, and that he (Simon) devised the name "Spiderman" (later changed to "The Silver Spider"), while Kirby outlined the character's story and powers. Simon later elaborated that his and Kirby's character conception became the basis for Simon's Archie Comics superhero The Fly, introduced in early 1959.
Amazing Fantasy #15 (Aug. 1962). Cover art by Jack Kirby (penciller) & Steve Ditko (inker).Comics historian Greg Theakston says that Lee, after receiving Goodman's approval for the name Spider-Man and the "ordinary teen" concept, approached Kirby. Kirby told Lee about his 1950s Silver Spider/Spiderman, in which an orphaned boy living with an old couple finds a magic ring that gives him superpowers. Lee and Kirby "immediately sat down for a story conference" and Lee afterward directed Kirby to flesh out the character and draw some pages. Steve Ditko would be the inker. "A day or two later", Kirby showed Lee the first six pages, and, as Lee recalled, "I hated the way he was doing it. Not that he did it badly — it just wasn't the character I wanted; it was too heroic". Simon concurs that Kirby had shown the original Spiderman version to Lee, who liked the idea and assigned Kirby to draw sample pages of the new character but disliked the results — in Simon's description, "Captain America with cobwebs".
Lee turned to Ditko, who developed a visual style Lee found satisfactory, although Lee would later replace Ditko's original cover with one penciled by Kirby. Ditko said,
“ "The Spider-Man pages Stan showed me were nothing like the (eventually) published character. In fact, the only drawings of Spider-Man were on the splash [i.e., page 1] and at the end [where] Kirby had the guy leaping at you with a web gun... Anyway, the first five pages took place in the home, and the kid finds a ring and turns into Spider-Man. ”
Ditko also recalled that,
“ One of the first things I did was to work up a costume. A vital, visual part of the character. I had to know how he looked ... before I did any breakdowns. For example: A clinging power so he wouldn't have hard shoes or boots, a hidden wrist-shooter versus a web gun and holster, etc. ... I wasn't sure Stan would like the idea of covering the character's face but I did it because it hid an obviously boyish face. It would also add mystery to the character.... ”
Much earlier, in a rare contemporaneous account, Ditko described his and Lee's contributions in a mail interview with Gary Martin published in Comic Fan #2 (Summer 1965): "Stan Lee thought the name up. I did costume, web gimmick on wrist & spider signal". Additionally, Ditko shared a Manhattan studio with noted fetish artist Eric Stanton, an art-school classmate who, in a 1988 interview with Theakston, recalled that although his contribution to Spider-Man was "almost nil", he and Ditko had "worked on storyboards together and I added a few ideas. But the whole thing was created by Steve on his own... I think I added the business about the webs coming out of his hands".
The Amazing Spider-Man #23 (April 1965), featuring the Green Goblin. Cover art by co-creator Steve Ditko.A few months after Spider-Man's introduction in Amazing Fantasy #15 (Aug. 1962), publisher Martin Goodman reviewed the sales figures for that issue, finding it to have been one of the nascent Marvel's highest-selling comics. A solo series followed, beginning with The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (March 1963). The title eventually became Marvel's top-selling series with the character swiftly becoming a cultural icon; a 1965 Esquire poll of college campuses found that college students ranked Spider-Man and fellow Marvel hero The Hulk alongside Bob Dylan and Che Guevara as their favorite revolutionary icons. One interviewee selected Spider-Man because he was "beset by woes, money problems, and the question of existence. In short, he is one of us". Following Ditko's departure after issue #39, John Romita, Sr. replaced him as artist, and would pencil the character over the next several years.
An early 1970s Spider-Man story led to the revision of the Comics Code. Previously, the Code forbad the depiction of the use of illegal drugs, even negatively. However, in 1970 the Nixon administration's Department of Health, Education, and Welfare asked Stan Lee to publish an anti-drug message in one of Marvel's top-selling titles. Lee chose the top-selling The Amazing Spider-Man; issues #96–98 (May–July 1971) feature a story arc depicting the negative effects of drug abuse. In the story, Peter Parker's friend Harry Osborn becomes addicted to pills. When Spider-Man fights the Green Goblin (Norman Osborn, Harry's father), Spider-Man defeats The Green Goblin, by revealing Harry's drug addiction. While the story had a clear anti-drug message, the Comics Code Authority refused to issue its seal of approval. Marvel nevertheless published the three issues without the Comics Code Authority's approval or seal. The issues sold so well that the industry's self-censorship was undercut and the Code was subsequently revised.
In 1972, a second monthly ongoing series starring Spider-Man began: Marvel Team-Up, in which Spider-Man was paired with other superheroes and villains. In 1976, his second solo series, The Spectacular Spider-Man began, running parallel to the main series. A third series featuring Spider-Man, Web of Spider-Man, launched in 1985, replacing Marvel Team-Up. The launch of a fourth monthly title in 1990, written and drawn by popular artist Todd McFarlane, debuted with several different covers, all with the same interior content. The various versions combined sold over 3 million copies, an industry record at the time. There have generally been at least two ongoing Spider-Man series at any time. Several limited series, one-shots and loosely related comics have also been published, and Spider-Man makes frequent cameos and guest appearances in other comic series.
The Amazing Spider-Man #96 (May 1971), the first of three non-Comics Code issues that prompted the Code's first update, allowing comics to show the negative effects of illegal-drug use. Note cover-blurb reference to "The last fatal trip!" Cover art by Gil KaneThe original Amazing Spider-Man ran through issue #441 (Nov. 1998). Writer-artist John Byrne then revamped the origin of Spider-Man in the 13-issue miniseries Spider-Man: Chapter One (Dec. 1998 - Oct. 1999, with an issue #0 midway through and some months containing two issues), similar to Byrne's adding details and some revisions to Superman's origin in DC Comics' The Man of Steel. Running concurrently, The Amazing Spider-Man was restarted with vol. 2, #1 (Jan. 1999). With what would have been vol. 2, #59, Marvel reintroduced the original numbering, starting with #500 (Dec. 2003). This flagship series had reached issue #542 as of mid-2007.
By 2008, Spider-Man regularly appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man, New Avengers, Spider-Man Family and various limited series in mainstream Marvel Comics continuity, as well as in the alternate-universe series The Amazing Spider-Girl, the Ultimate Universe title Ultimate Spider-Man, the alternate-universe tween series Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane, and the alternate-universe children's series Marvel Adventures Spider-Man and Marvel Adventures: The Avengers.
Spider-Man has become Marvel's flagship character, and has often been used as the company mascot. When Marvel became the first comic book company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1991, the Wall Street Journal announced "Spider-man is coming to Wall Street"; the event was in turn promoted with an actor in a Spider-Man costume accompanying Stan Lee to the Stock Exchange. When Marvel wanted to issue a story dealing with the immediate aftermath of the September 11th, 2001 attacks, the company settled on the December 2001 issue of The Amazing Spider-Man. In 2006, Spider-Man garnered major media coverage with the revealing of the character's secret identity, an event detailed in a full-page story in the New York Post before the issue containing the story was even released.
The 2007 One More Day storyline ended with Peter and Mary Jane making a deal with Mephisto and agreeing to have their marriage erased from every memory in order to save Aunt May's life. The consequences of this decision include the erasure of Peter's unmasking to the world and the return of his mechanical web-shooters. An article in The Associated Press described the mixed reviews to this plot twist, with one comics fan posting, "Considering I have been reading Spider-Man for exactly 20 years now, and that seems to be the amount of time Joe Q. has decided to rip from Spider-Man continuity, can I simply return all of my Spider-Man comics for a full refund?" While some are adverse to the storyline, others embrace it as getting to read Spider-Man from the beginning.
In 2009, Marvel plans to release a series of educational comics in partnership with the United Nations, where Spider-Man fights alongside UN Peacekeeping Forces to highlight UN peacekeeping missions.
Main article: Spider-Man Biography
In his first appearance, Peter Parker is introduced as an orphaned science whiz kid teenager living with his aunt and uncle in the Forest Hills section of New York City. He is a brilliant student but the subject of mockery by his peers who regard him as a bookworm. One day he gets bitten by a radioactive spider during a science demonstration. He gains spider-like powers such as super-strength and the ability to climb walls. Peter's own cleverness enables him to develop gadgets that fire webbing.
As Spider-Man, he becomes a successful TV star. One day at a studio he refuses to stop a thief, saying that it is the job of the police not that of a number one star. Weeks later his beloved guardian, Uncle Ben, is murdered and an angry Spider-Man sets off to capture the killer. When he does, he is horrified to find that the man is none other than the thief he refused to arrest. Learning that with great power comes great responsibility, Spider-Man becomes a vigilante.
After his uncle's death, Peter and his Aunt May become desperate for money, so he gets a job as a photographer at the Daily Bugle selling photos to J. Jonah Jameson (J. stands for John), who vilifies Spider-Man in the paper. As he battles his enemies for the first time, Parker finds juggling his personal life and costumed adventures difficult, even attempting to give up.
Enemies frequently endanger his loved ones, with the Green Goblin managing to kill his girlfriend Gwen Stacy. Though haunted by her death, he eventually marries Mary Jane Watson, and much later reveals his civilian identity to the world, furthering his already numerous problems. His marriage to Mary Jane and public unmasking are later erased due to a deal made with the demon Mephisto, resulting in several adjustments to the timeline, such as the resurrection of Harry Osborn and the return of Peter's mechanical web-shooters.