Now a billion dollar film series, Spider-man was first created as a comic book series in 1962. Spider-man debuted in Marvel Comic’s Amazing Fantasy # 15, created by Stan Lee (scripter-editor) and Steve Ditko (artist-plotter). Sold for just 12 cents, today Amazing Fantasy #15 is a collector’s item that has been sold at auctions for as much $214,000.
Marvel Comics has produced many famous characters including the Hulk, Ironman, the Fantastic Four, and X-Man. However, Spider-man (“Spidey”) was a unique and original creation for several reasons, beginning with the fact that he was the first teen-aged superhero who operated independently without an older superhero mentor. Also completely original to the superhero genre was the fact that Peter Parker (Spider-man) suffered from real-life problems that teenaged readers could relate to, such as shyness, insecurity, bullies, and money problems.
The comic books introduce Peter Parker as a high school science nerd with a difficult past; he is an orphan being raised in New York City by his poor, elderly aunt and uncle. He becomes Spider-man after being bit by a radioactive spider, which gives him spider-like super powers. His powers, which continue to develop and expand as the comic series progressed, include superhuman strength, the ability to cling to walls, a sixth “Spidey sense”, superhuman speed and agility, and perfect balance. These super abilities combined with Peter’s natural intelligence and quick sense of humor makes Spider-man a smart and complicated character who soon captivated wide-spread audiences.
As a result, the amazing Spider-man comics saw great success, selling hundreds of millions of copies worldwide. Spider-man’s popularity caused him to become Marvel Comic’s flagship character, as well as to become part of American culture for over five decades.