ByRyan Christopher Gilbert, writer at
Marvel Aficionado / Stirlingite / Film Aficionado/ Doctor Who Fanatic / Gamer / Witcher Fan/ Book Lover/
Ryan Christopher Gilbert

Although Captain America is my favorite super hero, let me talk about the hero of my childhood: Spider-Man. Amazing, spectacular, sensational, or just a friendly neighborhood hero. Point is, I freaking loved this guy. (I still do!)

Spidey and I go way back since I was probably in Kindergarten, from when I started noticing super heroes. I was barely learning to read, so I didn't read the comic books yet. I discovered the might of the Web-head in the early 1990's Saturday morning cartoon simply called Spider-Man. It was awesome! It was full of action, drama, and witty jokes. I loved it. What made it great was that it genuinely had me hooked while watching it, and I always flipped out when the screen said, "To be continued."

As I grew older, my reading comprehension grew exponentially as well. I plunged into comic books. And what comic did I mostly read? You guessed it! Spider-Man! It didn't matter which series it was. If it featured my friendly neighborhood pal, you bet your life I read it. Technically, my first love in comic books was Sonic The Hedgehog (that's entirely another story), but I got stuck to Spider-Man! (Okay, bad joke!) I don't remember the first story arch. I didn't really care. I just wanted to read about the exploits of my hero. I currently own the Marvel Masterworks Collection of The Amazing Spider-Man volumes one through eight in my bedroom next to my desk.

The next best thing besides reading or watching Spider-Man is being Spider-Man. No, I didn't move to New York and get bitten by a radioactive spider! (But wouldn't that be awesome?!) I'm talking about video games! I'd say the game I loved the most was Spider-Man 2 based on the movie. The game was amazing! You could swing all around New York City and beat the crap out of thugs. Sadly, it was the last time where Spider-Man was actually in a good video game.

Seeing Spidey on the big screen for the first time in 2002 was a dream come true! I was in Heaven. Spider-Man 2 was the best so far. I distinctly remember coming home from watching it for the second time just feeling so mesmerized. I was staring at my big poster of him in my bedroom. I looked up and thought, "I want to be just like you." Unfortunately Spider-Man 3 was a horrible train wreck that set off the even crappier reboots, The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Looking back, I hate both versions equally. Tobey Maguire's Peter Parker was a whiney crybaby who couldn't speak up in his monologues. And Andrew Garfield's Peter Parker was just a street hipster punk! And he couldn't keep his freaking mask on when it counted!!! Unfortunately, some things just don't age very well. But I'm confident that Tom Holland will be great! It's just so wonderful to see Spider-Man finally being added to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Captain America: Civil War. I bet my life that Holland will blow these two out of the water.

To me the greatest quality of Spider-Man back then and today, is that he doesn't always win. He fails sometimes. Peter Parker is an underdog. Stan Lee and Steve Ditko made our beloved Spidey more relatable than most super heroes. Peter struggles with school, girls, money, and work. (Okay, technically in the current Amazing Spider-Man series, Peter is actually a wealthy billionaire scientist.) Even if Spider-Man defeats the Green Goblin, Peter Parker may not make it in time for his date with Mary Jane. But if Peter wins by not swinging from buildings, New York is devastated. This is what makes Spider-Man work! He struggles to find that perfect balance between being Peter and being a hero. (Even though today, he's a wealthy billionaire scientist.) And unfortunately for Peter, that hardly ever happens. But that's why it's fun to love this costumed crusader! We root for him. We weep for him.

All in all, Spider-Man has really come a long way since I was small. I loved him then and today. To me, he's still amazing!! Who was your childhood hero? Tell me in the comments.


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