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  • Writer's pictureDavid Baker

Spider-Man Turns 60

With great power, comes great responsibility.

In 2022, the Marvel stable of superheroes will celebrate a number of sixtieth birthdays: this year the Incredible Hulk (March), Thor (May) and Iron Man (December) will all turn 60, but their crime-fighting arachnid comrade, the amazing Spider-Man, may well be the best known of the bunch.

Originally created by Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko, ‘Spidey,’ as he is popularly known, made his comic book debut on June 5, 1962, and his web slinging adventures were quickly spun off into cartoons and live-action television, even enjoying success with segments on “The Electric Company” and his own television series from 1977 to 1979, before launching his never-ending, often reinvented, and wildly profitable movie franchise.

As Marvel describes his early days,

After being bitten by an irradiated spider at a science experiment in AMAZING FANTASY #15, high school student Peter Parker failed to stop his beloved Uncle Ben from being murdered by a burglar, thus setting him on a new path to using his powers to become a super hero, Spider-Man.
With no source of income to help his Aunt May with rent and to support his heroic inventions devices, Peter mounted a rescue of astronaut John Jameson in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1, only to be smeared by newspaperman J. Jonah Jameson in “The Daily Bugle.” Desperate, the youngster approached the Fantastic Four for a job as Spider-Man, but the famous heroes turned him down.
In AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #2, Peter tumbled onto the idea of taking photos of himself as the hero to sell to Jameson for extra cash. His first sale included pics of Spidey battling the high-flying Vulture. Later, the wallcrawler clashed with the terrible Tinkerer and what appeared to be a clutch of outer space aliens.
Spider-Man bemoaned the lack of real challenges in the crooks he fought in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #3, but soon found himself soundly thrashed by new villain Doctor Octopus. Inspired at school by a talk from the teenage Human Torch, Peter developed a new form of webbing that turned the tide in his war with Doc Ock. For his troubles, though, Jameson labeled the crusader a “menace” in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #4, and Spidey discovered public opinion about his alter-ego to be mixed following a tough scrap with Sandman.

Spider-Man debuted in Amazing Fantasy #15 and Marvel Comics has announced plans to release Amazing Fantasy #1000 later this year to mark the special occasion. The upcoming comic will feature a collection of stories that "explores the past and future of Amazing Spider-Man storytelling in tales that leave a profound impact on the Spider-Man mythos and showcase why Spidey is one of the most beloved heroes in history!"

Ten Fun Facts about Spider-Man

  • Spider-Man was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

  • Spider-Man first appeared in May of 1962 in a comic book called Amazing Fantasy #15.

  • It’s Spider-Man, not Spider Man - To avoid confusion with another popular superhero of the time, Stan Lee specifically placed a hyphen between the words Spider and Man. The name of that superhero? Superman!

  • Spider-Man is loved by a former President - President Barack Obama names Spider-Man as his personal favorite.

  • There have been nine Spider-Man movies made - In order of release, those films are: Spider-Man (2002), Spider-Man 2 (2004), Spider-Man 3 (2007), The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014), Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse (2018), Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019), and Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021). Three more Spider-Man films have been announced.

  • In the comics, there have been 14 different versions of Spider-Man.

  • Peter Parker is the original Spider-Man - In the comics and on the screen, there have been other variants of the Wall-Crawler – such as Miles Morales.

  • Peter Parker gained his powers by being bitten by a radioactive spider - Being bitten by a radioactive spider gave Peter the following powers: Superhuman Strength, Superhuman Speed, Superhuman Reflexes, Superhuman Durability, Healing Factor, “Spider-Sense” Alert, Heightened Senses, and Wall-crawling.

  • There was a Spider-Man musical. Yes, a musical. - There was a Spider-Man musical called ‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark’. It was on stage on Broadway in New York from 2011 to 2014 and received very mixed reviews.

  • Spider-Man is the most popular superhero in the world - In a 2021 survey by GAME, Spider-Man was the most the favorite superhero of 57 countries! Wonder Woman was the second most popular hero, being the favorite in 15 countries!

Why It Matters. It’s friggin’ Spider-Man.

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