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Spider-Man first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15
The movie due out this may.

4.18.2002 by Scott, every Thursday.

Hola mi amigos! A friend of mine returned from Europe this week and brought me some Spanish comics, loosely translated as “Dog-Face”. Let me tell you, Spain has some issues that I think they could use some help with. As far as I can garner, these books are about a cult of women, who shun clothing during their rituals, and then they cut off one of their heads and replace it with another. Bizarre stuff here, and you look at this, along with “La Tomatina”, and one can’t help but draw conclusions about that country.

All right, so this week I’ll be taking an in depth look at Spider-man, in accordance with the fast approaching Hollywood release.

Spider-Man, flagship character for Marvel comics. He was created by two of the most gifted creators ever to work in the industry, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

There was a measure of controversy here though, as for years the credit for the creation was granted solely to Stan “the Man” Lee, leaving Ditko out of the picture, and the credit for years. This topic has been hotly debated in the industry, as Lee claimed That he had always considered the creation of Spider-Man a joint effort, while Ditko believed he was being systematically cut out of the picture my Marvel, and that Lee has always led the media and masses to believe that he and he alone created Spidey.

Lee had responded via an open letter, saying "I have always considered Steve Ditko to be Spider-Man's co-creator...From his very first panel, Steve created and established the perfect mood for Spider-Man. So adept was he at story-telling, that Steve eventually did most of the plotting and illustration while I, of course, continued to provide the dialogue and captions.”

"I write this to ensure that Steve Ditko receives the credit to which he is so justly entitled."

The letter was rebuffed by Ditko, who criticised Lee for his use of the word “considered” as it to mean pondered or otherwise unsure of.

They worked together for a time, the rift between them growing as Ditko no longer met with Lee as they worked on the inaugural run of the series, instead sending his art in by messenger, until Ditko finally quit, passing on the pencil to John Romita.

Spider-Man was radically different from the other heroes being published at the time of his introduction. Not because of his powers or costume, but because of his alter ego, Peter Parker. He wasn’t an alien, a boy billionaire, or an Amazon Queen. He was a shy, bookish, and bullied teenager who had to live with being orphaned, poor, and having few friends. By a bizarre twist of fate, he was granted fantastic powers, and while his life changed in many ways, he was still dogged by problems the readers could relate to. He had to work, he wanted to fit in, and he had homework, his boss was a pain. It made him real; it made him a star.

His books also introduced a poignancy to comics that wasn’t seen in the super hero genre before. He was indirectly responsible for the death of his uncle, he was unable to save his girlfriend, Gwen Stacy, from the hands of the Green Goblin. His arch-nemesis turns out to be the father of his only friend. Spider-Man also grew, unlike Superman. Peter Parker graduated from high school and went away to college. He got his first motorcycle, his first apartment, he dated, and in the comics in 1987, he got married. This strong emotional content with the feeling the readers got in being able to relate to the character has made him one of the most popular characters in comics history.

Spider-Man, the icon has spawned so many products and media projects, they are impossible to document completely. There was of course the classic cartoon that debuted in 1967, “a live action television series that ran on CBS in 1977-78, another cartoon in 1981 “Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends”, which in 1984 was changed to just “Spider-Man” as a solo act. Spider-Man, the animated series ran from 1993 to 1998, and Spider-Man Unlimited aired on FOX for one season in 1999. And that doesn’t even include the toys, t-shirts, and scores of other Spidey products that have been produced in the 36 years since his creation.

All of this leading up to the big motion picture coming up next month, with Tobey McGuire slated to bring Petey to a new audience. I’ll be waiting in line to see it, if nothing else but to see if it can live up to the hype, as well as the tradition.

Scott MacIver

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