Comics Portal: Spider-Man Turns 50!
It’s amazing (pun intended) to consider that Spider-Man is celebrating his 50th birthday this week! This brings a lot of memories to mind, so I hope you’ll indulge me as I honor the hero in my own way.
When I first read a Spider-Man comic, I was pretty young. I had trouble pronouncing the letter “s” and the letter “p” when they were together. He was “Pider-Man” to me for a long time. (I think my mom enjoyed hearing me try to say the word “spaghetti,” which is why we had it for dinner so often.)
I had trouble with him being called Spider-MAN at first. He wasn’t old enough to be called that, I thought, so I asked everyone I knew why he wasn’t called Spider-BOY. Now, that’s no big deal. In fact, Peter Parker has been married and forgotten it all, something some of my friends would love to experience themselves.
I also struggled with a Spider-Man who wore a red and blue costume. Shouldn’t that have been grey? (I thought this was pretty smart until someone pointed out that Batman, my favorite, wore blue, yellow and grey instead of regular bat colors.)
My brother and I had a life-size poster of Spider-Man on the wall near our beds. My mother hated it because those big white eyes would glow in the dark sometimes, and we’d start crying! But it was still a cool poster.
I read comics to see things I don’t have in my life. When Spidey got a cold and that weakened him enough to lose an important battle, I was disappointed. I would have preferred that he found a way to win!
As a proofreader, it drives me nuts when people spell his name wrong. It is NOT Spiderman, Spider-man or any other variation. It’s Spider-Man. ‘Nuff said!
Now that I’ve ragged on him enough, let me talk about the things I like about Spider-Man.
My favorite Spider-Man moment happened way back in Amazing Spider-Man #33. Spidey is trapped under a pile of machinery/metal that he isn’t strong enough to lift. Here’s how comicbookcollectorsclub.com describes what happens next:
“Page four includes three horizontal panels of equal dimensions; one showing the ceiling beginning to crack from the growing water pressure, the second two of Spider-Man resisting the pain and lifting the crushing tonnage. The fourth panel encompasses the remaining 2/3 of the page, a medium shot of Spider-Man finally on his knees, culminating on the fifth page, a single image of Spider-Man lifting the weight off of him; triumphant against overwhelming adversity. Ditko’s analogy was clear: Peter Parker was finally able to lift the ‘weight’ of guilt that had haunted him since his Uncle’s murder. The teenager had come full circle, from confused youth to responsible adult, atoning for the mistakes of the past.”
I loved that sequence! When I think of Spider-Man, that’s the first thing I remember … that and his ability to face danger with a good dose of humor!
Since then, Spidey has grown into one of the most popular and financially successful Marvel Comics’ characters ever. He teams up with X-Men’s Wolverine a lot these days, reminding me of the Superman/Batman pairings in World’s Finest. His origin is also one of the best-known, something you can tell whenever someone says a person has been bitten by a “radioactive” whatever.
The hero has a wild rogue’s gallery, including Mysterio, Doctor Octopus, the Shocker, Venom (who used to be Spidey’s black costume), Carnage and the Lizard.
Spider-Man can be found in comics, stickers, cartoons, underwear, movies and live-action television programs as well as on candy. He’s the star of Ultimate Spider-Man, currently a big hit on the Disney XD cable channel, so look for a second season to appear in the coming months! Work has already begun on the Amazing Spider-Man film sequel, so you’ll read news here at Comic Booked as it becomes available!
Spidey has been associated with some of the biggest names in the comics business. That includes Stan Lee, Steve Ditko and Todd McFarlane, for instance.
Where will Spider-Man go from here? I don’t think his costume will change very much again for a long time. I also don’t think he’ll get married again anytime soon. But other than that, Spidey will continue to have adventures that will entertain young and old alike for at least another 50 years!