Week of Geek: Spider-Man! An Appreciation!

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Spider-Man!  Spider-Man!  Does whatever a spider can!  Spins a web, any size!  Catches thieves just like flies!  LOOK OUT!  Here comes the Spider-Maaaaaaan!

That song’s been around since the 1960s.  About as long as the character it features.  Yep, we’re gonna talk about everyone’s favorite web-head today, which seems timely seeing as how his first solo MCU film comes out this weekend.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is Spidey’s 6th movie in 15 years, which is a high turn-over rate in film.  It’s actually his 7th if you count his appearance in Captain America: Civil War, and this is his first solo film since joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Let me break it down and bring you up to speed…

ComicsHis first appearance was in Amazing Fantasy issue #15 in 1962, and he was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.  He was one of the first teens in comics who wasn’t a sidekick or side character, and he was specifically created with teens in mind as a relatable hero, with power but also insecurities and awkwardness.  He’s been a regular in Marvel ever since and has become one of the publisher’s most iconic characters.

TV – Spidey’s been in other media almost since he appeared on the scene.  The first was an animated series that ran from 1967 to 1970 (and that’s where his theme song comes from).  One version I saw a lot of was an animated series that ran from 1994 to 1998.  But he’s been a steady presence on small screens, with a new series coming out this year.

Broadway – Probably the less said about this, the better.  But still, it did happen.

Movies – OK, buckle up, ’cause this gets a little complicated.  A really great article just came out that outlines the whole sordid affair, but let me sum up.  Some of you might be wondering why we haven’t seen Spidey on screen with the Avengers up until now.  Well, there’s a couple of reasons for that.  Back in the 90s, before the big super-hero boom in film and before they created their own movie studio, Marvel sold off the film rights to some of their most popular characters, most notably the X-Men to 20th Century Fox and Spider-Man to Sony.

Sony had tremendous success with it’s first 2 Spider-Man films, 2002’s Spider-Man and 2004’s Spider-Man 2, both starring Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker.  But trouble started to brew in 2007 when Spider-Man 3 debuted.  Though it did alright financially, it was panned by the critics and is still a sore spot for Spidey fans.  So, Sony tried to reboot the series a mere 5 years after the first trilogy (that’s a big thing you start to see when you follow pop culture trends; movie studios are first and foremost a business, and they want to make money).  This brings us to Amazing Spider-Man in 2012, starring Andrew Garfield, and Amazing Spider-Man 2 in 2014.  These were met with resounding ‘meh’s from audiences, so Sony, after having three under-performing films, decided it was time to open up communications with Marvel Studios, who have been killing it with their extended universe of films.  Sony didn’t want to give the character back to them, per se (as was the case with Daredevil and maybe Fantastic 4), but to partner up.  Thus, Spidey appeared in Civil War, with Tom Holland (the 2nd Englishman to play the part) taking over as Peter and he will now get his own film as a joint Marvel/Sony project.

So Spidey returns to the fold!  But I wouldn’t hold your breath when it comes to the X-Men.  Fox is still making good money on those characters and will likely want to hold on to them.

Other characters – The world of Spider-Man has many interesting players to read up on, especially when you get into the multiverse.  There’s Miles Morales, an alternate universe Spidey who is biracial and made a big splash when he first debuted.  One of the most recent and popular characters is nicknamed Spider-Gwen.  She’s an alternate universe version of long-time Parker love interest Gwen Stacy, but in this reality she’s the one who was bitten by that pesky radioactive spider, and became her universe’s version of Spider-Woman.  Fans were thrilled to have Gwen back and staring as the hero, considering what happened to the main universe’s version (spoilers).  And Spider-Man has a heck of a Rogue’s Gallery, some of which have had their own comics.

So there’s a relatively brief rundown, considering the character is 55 years old.  Anything important I missed?  Post in the comments section and if you go see the film be sure to let us know what you think on the Write It website.  Any and all Spider-Man comics you read this summer do count in the Teen Summer Reading Challenge, btw.  And click here and here for more MCU vids to watch.

Until next time, End of Line, and remember…

To hiiiiiiim, life is a great big baaaang up!  Wherever there’s a haaaang up, you’ll find the Spider-Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!  (It’s hard to tell in print, but I’m actually a half-way descent singer, I swear!)

One Response to “Week of Geek: Spider-Man! An Appreciation!”

  1. BNuts Says:

    Spider-Man has been my favourite superhero ever since the ’90s cartoon. While I’ve followed his adventures in animation in my earlier life, I started reading the comics too, once I got into university and realized they were available to read for free through the library. Spidey is just so much more appreciable as a character than those with great wealth or great power, since he struggles with so many common life issues, alongside the Spider-related ones — and his world has expanded exponentially since his first appearance, to include an entire Spider-Verse, and different Spider-People (some of them aren’t even Peter Parker!).

    I always enjoy seeing heroes done right, so I’m happy, having heard good things about ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming.’ And there’s a new Spider-Man cartoon coming. I didn’t like ‘Ultimate Spider-Man’ because it was so jokey and so villain-of-the-week. Hopefully this next one borrows more from ‘Spectacular Spider-Man,’ or maybe even from the original comics of ‘Ultimate Spider-Man,’ which were some of the first comics I read.

    Either way, as a Spider-Fan I look forward to great things from the world’s greatest and most responsible, underpowered superhero.