The legend of Spider-Man was born in 1962, when Stan Lee, the head writer of the successful comic book Marvel Comics, decided to search for new superhero ideas. He wanted to create a character with whom the teenagers would relate to. It all began when he saw a spider climb up a wall, and the inspiration struck him. He started by outlining the character’s story and then he created its costume. “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”, Stan Lee stated.
Spider-Man featured for the first time in Amazing Fantasy #15, on August 1962, and its spectacular success led to the launching of The Amazing Spider-Man comic book series. Spider-Man’s popularity was increasing day by day and he soon became the favorite Marvel character, following the success of Fantastic Four, Daredevil and the X-Men. A new legend was born and millions of teenagers were identifying with Spider-Man.
Who is, actually, Spider-Man? Controversially or not, Spider-Man is an orphan named Peter Parker, whose parents, government spies, were killed is a plane crash when he was only a little child. He was thus raised in New York, by his uncle Ben and his aunt May, who were significantly older and not very wealthy, but who loved him and tried to provide everything he needed. Peter represented the teen stereotype. He was not popular, on the contrary, he was a bit of a loner, and he only hang out with his friend, Harry Osborn. He was crushing on the girl next door, his beautiful and popular neighbor Mary-Jane, but she was constantly ignoring him. However, what he lacked in looks he compensated in brains. We may even call Peter a genius, as he was very intelligent and passionate by anything that had to do with science. It was this passion for science that led to his transformation. During a science exhibit he attended with his class, he was accidentally bitten by a radioactive spider and the rest is history.
The bite empowered Peter with the characteristics of a spider: strength, speed, agility, the ability to climb walls and adhere to ceilings, and a sixth sense that allowed him to detect proximate danger. Aware of the changes in his life, Peter used his many talents to design a costume that would conceal his identity and to build devices which would complement his powers. However, he was only concerned with protecting him and his family, until he allowed a burglar to escape. Later, it turned out that this burglar killed his uncle Ben and, filled with guilt, Peter decided to start fighting crime and injustice.
Over the years, Spider-Man has been through many adventures, he fought so many villains and he overcame numerous challenges.
Spider-Man is still a very beloved character nowadays, with millions of fans who are inspired by his story. His success could not be restrained to comic books, so Spider-Man appeared in cartoons, movies, novels, video games, children’s books, television series, records and coloring books. The animated series Spider-Man (1967-1970), the live-action series The Amazing Spider-Man (1978-1979), the numerous cartoon series and the Spider-Man movie trilogy (2002, 2004, 2007), they all contributed to the global success of Spider-Man which began due to the Marvel Comics series. Spider-Man inspired even the creation of a Broadway musical, called Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. There is no doubt that the legendary Spider-Man is one of the world’s most beloved superheroes, whose success will soon celebrate 50 years.