Despite appearing decades later than the world’s most famous superheroes, Superman and Batman, Spider-Man is the third most popular costumed hero. The wit, age, lifestyle and problems of the common man have made him relatable and understandable to the general public, including teenagers. Not to mention the fact that Spider-Man has changed the entire comic book industry on more than one occasion.
The birth of a hero
How interesting is it for teenagers to read about the problems of a grown-up billionaire orphan or an alien with superpowers? For years they did, but the teenagers themselves in comics have always been little more than sidekicks to the protagonist. For example, Robin or Bucky. But that all changed in the early 1960s, when Stan Lee and Steve Ditko introduced the world to the average teenager Peter Parker. And despite having been bitten by a radioactive spider and now possessing amazing powers (the spider-sense, the ability to climb walls and his web-shooting cartridges), he was first and foremost a teenager with all the age-related problems that go with it.
No wonder Spider-Man became so popular so quickly, changing the comic book world in the process.
Spider-Man first appeared in the pages of Amazing Fantasy #15 in August 1962. This came as a surprise to many because the teenage Peter Parker was learning to control his powers without a mentor, realising what it meant to be a hero and fighting crime while protecting civilians.
After that, Spider-Man appeared in several magazines, but the most important was The Amazing Spider-Man.
The Symbiote series
After the events of Secret Wars, Spider-Man was possessed by a black symbiote from outer space for 4 years (1984-1988). After returning to Earth, Spidey walked around in his new black suit, which drew the ire of comic book fans. Finally, in an episode of The Amazing Spider-Man, Peter Parker realised how negatively the suit was affecting him, fought the symbiote and returned to the classic red and blue suit.
First on-screen appearance
A phenomenon like Spider-Man couldn’t stay away from television for long. His first appearance was in the ABC animated series Spider-Man from 1967 to 1970, the show’s most famous theme song. In 1978, CBS attempted to produce its own series starring Nicholas Hammond as Peter Parker, but the project only lasted a year.
In 2002, the first action movie about a friendly neighbour was released, directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker. This film changed the idea of superhero movies and can be considered the starting point of what we have now. Spider-Man 2 (2004) is considered the best film of the entire Raimi trilogy, and therefore the best Spidey film (although it is not yet known what the next films will be). Doctor Octopus appeared in that film, played wonderfully by Alfred Molina. On the other hand, Spider-Man 3 tried to hold back too much, becoming a very lacklustre and controversial film, and Raimi’s franchise has come to an end.
It wasn’t until five years after Spider-Man 3, specifically in 2012, that Sony relaunched the franchise with new actor Andrew Garfield in The New Spider-Man. While the box office wasn’t bad, it wasn’t enough for the film company, and average reviews prevented this reboot from lasting more than two films.
In 2010, it was decided to bring Spider-Man to Broadway. This project was started, cancelled, rebooted and cancelled again. Despite the production mess, in 2011 Spider-Man: Darkness Out opened and became the most expensive Broadway musical in history, with music by U2’s Bono. The production cost $1 million a week.
The controversial results of the reboot led Sony to negotiate with Marvel Studios, which resulted in Sony retaining the rights to Spidey, but making him part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The role of Spider-Man is now played by actor Tom Holland, who already donned the Spider-Suit in “The First Avenger: The Opposition” and continued to do so in “Spider-Man. Homecoming” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home”.
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