It's been 54 years since our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man made his first appearance in the final issue of Amazing Fantasy on August 10, 1962. Since then, his popularity hasn't ceased rising, especially after the latest Tom Holland live action reboot. Back in 1962, Stan Lee's publisher didn't see the potential in the concept behind the spectacular hero who can climb walls and shoot webs, but the audiences loved him from the start— and we still do. Spider-Man has become Marvel's most well-known superhero among people of all ages, despite their comic book knowledge.
Peter Parker is arguably the most loved superhero of all time. During Denver's Comic Con 2016, Stan Lee said that Spider-Man is his personal favorite hero— and it's no secret that many people will agree with the comic book legend. So, what is it behind this masked superhero that makes him appeal to everyone, even those not familiar with comic books?
Spider-Man, was the first of a new era of superheroes. Before Spider-Man, heroes like Superman and Batman, were portrayed like omnipotent and god-like figures of super perfection. When Lee decided that he wanted Spider-Man to be a teenager with a lot of personal problems this is what Martin Goodman, his publisher, told him:
Stan, that is the worst idea I have ever heard. First of all, people hate spiders, so you can’t call a book Spider-Man. Secondly he can’t be a teenager—teenagers can only be sidekicks. And third, he can’t have personal problems if he’s supposed to be a superhero—don’t you know who a superhero is?' — Stan Lee, TIME
But Goodman missed the mark on this one. When Lee used his latest superhero in Amazing Fantasy (a comic book they were about to discontinue) they sold more copies than ever before. It appeared that Spider-Man's weaknesses actually became his powers! Peter Parker is an unpopular teen and a nerd with family issues; this made him more relatable to readers, and it still does! Peter Parker changed the world of comic books and set the ground for the future; with his appearance more and more characters started gaining human vulnerabilities and flaws.
Spider-Man isn't the perfect hero. An accident gave him his powers when he was still a high school student. He wasn't born with them like Superman and he certainly didn't seek them out like Batman. His build is weaker than the usual heroes and he often makes mistakes while fighting his opponents. He gets sick and has allergies. He's a superhero with limitations and a specific skill-set of powers who doesn't look the hero part and he's loved for that!
And Let's Not Forget He Has Real Life Problems...
Peter Parker lost his parents and lived with his aunt and uncle who nag him about household chores. He was bullied at school for being who he is, he wasn't popular because he's shy, and he doesn't always get the girl (and when he does he can't believe it). He's like any other teenager. He's a normal person. When in university he struggled with the same issues as other students as well.
When Uncle Ben dies, Peter experiences both grief and guilt. Aunt May has to deal with money problems, which forces Peter to seek a day job instead of pursuing science. Spider-Man often worries about having to pay his rent while fighting crime; bills are also his antagonist. He's a superhero with a day job and he truly dislikes his boss (like the average person). Peter Parker is Spider-Man as much as he is a struggling freelance photographer!
Spider-Man shows us that we can also be heroes even if we're not perfect! He often has to make difficult decisions between right and wrong, or between what he'd like to do and what is his duty but people don't always appreciate what he's doing.
He's publicly offended and that doesn't stop him from trying to help. But this doesn't mean that he hasn't considered giving up being Spider-Man, questioning his identity and purpose in life— because he has. After all, this is the hero who has learned that:
With great power there must also come — great responsibility.
His Personality Always Provides Good Entertainment!
Peter Parker has a lot of personal problems and has suffered a lot of losses but he always keeps things lighthearted with his wisecracks! Marvel describes him as puny! He's known for his witty jokes and one-liners. He never fails to brighten everyone's day (excluding the bad guys who definitely don't appreciate his jokes). How could we dislike someone so entertainingly funny, who cares about those around him and despite having never asked for super powers, he does his best to do right by everyone?
New York City As A Setting
The fact that Spider-Man is from Queens, New York City also plays a major role in the likability of the character because of the added effect of realism. Spider-Man operates in a real city with real people. New York City is no Gotham, no Metropolis and no Star City. Spider-Man is a teen from Queens who moves to Hell's Kitchen.
It's very easy to identify with a character that experiences the same problems as you do. New York City has become such a universal location and having a superhero fight crime and struggle with personal issues in this setting it's bound to make him more real and more relatable. It's not far fetched to think of him as your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
Let's also not ignore the heartwarming interaction Captain America had with Spider-Man while fighting in Captain America: Civil War. When Cap realized that Peter is from Queens he connected with him in a deeper level, as he's from Brooklyn.
He's A Team Player, But He Also Flies Solo
Spider-Man benefits working in a team setting as he usually needs some pep talk in order to stop blaming himself for everything, another very human, and thus relatable, quality I think that another thing that's great about him is that he regularly meets people from across the Marvel Universe! Throughout the years, we've come to love this superhero through his adventures in many team-ups, such as the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, and X-Men. So even if Spider-Man isn't your favorite hero, it's easy to love him because he probably teamed up with your favorite hero at some point. Spider-Man fans are grateful for the recent Sony and Marvel deal that brings our hero into Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Screen Adaptations Of The Wall Crawler Make Him Easier To Love!
Spider-Man's story has been adapted to TV and silver screen multiple times, making the Wall Crawler accessible to all ages. He's a versatile character that has taken on so many different forms. Most famously the 1994's Spider-Man: The Animated Series (alongside X-Men) made a huge impact on '90s kids like myself. Non-comic book readers had the opportunity to marvel at the amazing Spider-Man on television since 1967! Ultimate Spider-Man has become Marvel's longest running cartoon, showing the constant support audiences give to Spider-Man.
Right now, there're five live action Spider-Man movies and one in the works with more scheduled for the future. He is among the superheroes with most feature film appearances.
It's crazy how many alternate Spider-Men exist! This is clearly because of the appeal that Peter Parker's Spider-Man has. The fact that there are so many alternate versions also exposes the character to an even wider audience gaining even more fans and support. Even if you're not a Peter Parker fan, there's another Wall Crawler made just for you because there are almost virtually endless Spider-Men. Miles Morales is one of those popular alter Spider-Men that fans really want to see interpreted on the big screen!
Tom Holland's Spider-Man, A Promise For The Future!
The newest live action Spider-Man reboot has reminded us of how much we love Spidey. Many argue that Spider-Man's long awaited debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was the best thing about Captain America: Civil War. For one, I know that I squealed with happiness when I saw him do his superhero landing after stealing Cap's shield!
The biggest discussion following Holland's iteration is that he's able to capture both Peter Parker's nerdy personality and Spider-Man's superhero persona, which is something that all fans have been asking for through the years. This also proves that Peter's personality is what fans truly love about this superhero.
At the end of the day, Spider-Man is the hero you'd want to be. The future of Spidey is looking as bright as ever! Spider-Man: Homecoming will hit theaters on July 7, 2017!
What do you think? Is there something else that makes as all love Spider-Man?