Spider-Man turns 58 | Marvel Comics’ greatest hero

Published in 1962, Amazing Fantasy # 15 forever changed Marvel Comics and the comic book industry

“… Peter Parker was far from the best man on campus…”

In the middle of the silver era of comics (period between 1956 and 1970, when the respectability of the industry reached another level), more precisely in 1962, the fifteenth edition of the monthly Amazing Fantasy was born. This Marvel Comics editorial line was aimed at creating better-crafted and deeply inspired stories in the sci-fi genre for audiences, hitherto known as Amazing Adult Fantasy and before it stood the duo Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

With cancellation looming, the couple were given carte blanche, in August 1962, to publish one last story they wanted. For that, they came up with the idea of ​​a masked vigilante with spider-like powers that had previously been dropped by publisher Martin Goodman. This new character’s tale would bring the innovation of not only being a story of a crime-fighting superhero, but also being the story of a young man going through everyday issues, such as romantic relationships. , the search for work and the balance of school life with vigilante.

All this with a teenager taking on the role of protagonist and no longer that of helper (as had become common since Robin’s creation – Dick Grayson in 1940). If the idea of ​​a school life mingled with that of a hero was anything new, the concept of a comic book approaching the world from a young man’s point of view had already been used since 1939 in the stories of ‘Archie Andrews and Friends published by MLJ Comics.

The start of a dream

Still, the success of Amazing Fantasy # 15 was immediate, and audiences wanted to consume more stories about Peter Parker and his heroic alter ego, Spider-Man. This ensured the survival of the line and ultimately, with the character established as a success, generated a rehab to focus exclusively on the “teioso” stories. No more incredible fantasy, but incredible Spider-Man.

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The series debuted in 1963, bringing the duo LeeDitko into the screenplay and illustration respectively. The early stories had a very young and uncompromising tone, with a narrator ultimately seeming to set the stage for the reader, Peter going through some unusual situations (like the historic boxing match with his eternal Bull Thompson Flash Thompson) or some rather cartoonish villains. . At the same time, the stories drew attention to times of great moral dilemmas that were easy to identify.

More than once, especially when entering college, Peter finds himself torn between wanting to go out and having fun with his colleagues and the need to take care of his aunt. This personal dilemma was the basis of Amazing Spider-Man # 31, which not only became one of the most beloved stories of the LeeDitko phase, but also one of the first milestones for many characters in the hero’s mythology. – such as Aunt May (who was uncomfortable seeing Peter so devoted to her due to his health issues at the expense of pleasure), Gwen Stacy (who has already shown the first signs of attraction to Peter) and even Peter Parker himself, giving clear signs of burnout trying to balance the lives of the caretaker, student, and aunt’s manager.

Amazing Spider-Man # 31 was a turning point for the hero’s development

The undeniable success of the comics spawned the hero’s first animated series in 1967, called Spider-Man. Now best known for the memes created from her limited animation, it was for her that the character’s theme song, “Spider-Man Theme” was composed and decades later remade by the group Ramones.

“You killed the woman I love!”

The 70s were very important to Spider-Man. In the comics, in 1973, Amazing Spider-Man volumes 121 and 122 were released under the title The Night Gwen Stacey Died. The murder of the protagonist’s girlfriend at the hands of his greatest enemy, the Green Goblin, was a landmark milestone in the comics and many classify it as the end of the Money Age and the beginning of the bronze era.

Gwen Stacey’s death was a milestone in comic book stories

In 1977 came the first live-action version of the arachnid with the series The Amazing Spider-Man which, although well received, lasted only 13 episodes between 1977 and 1979. In the following years, films about the character will arrive in television with the titles Spider-Man: Strikes Back and Spider-Man: The Dragon’s Challenge. All directed by Nicholas Hammond from the television series.

A Japanese version of the Web Head produced by Toei was released in 1978. Named only Spider-Man, this version was made in the molds of the Tokusatsu genre (a name given to the genre of live works that use special effects in their productions like Godzilla and Kamen Rider) and despite a certain aesthetic similarity between the uniform and the comic book, they stopped there. The protagonist was now Takuya Yamashiro, and his skills came from alien bracelets, which allowed him to throw webs and transform an alien spaceship into a giant robot.

Around 1994 came what was the gateway to a whole new generation of fans: Spider-Man: Animated Series. Hitchhiking on the hits of Batman: Animated Series and X-Men: Animated Series, the animated series was for a long time the second-longest-running Marvel Comics real estate show, just behind X-Men, which ran for 65 years. episodes. Its opening song was performed by Joe Perry, guitarist for the band Aerosmith.

Japanese version of the web header

The animated series has also been tasked with introducing the antagonist Venom to the general public through the double episodes (distributed on VHS separately) titled The Saga of Venom. A Marvel Universe had also been established throughout the series, either through the tips of characters like Daredevil, Captain America, Iron Man, and others, or as references.

“Who am I? Do you really want to know?”

Even with the consolidated presence in comics and television, there was a lack of ground that Spider-Man had yet to achieve success: the movies. Prior to 2002, some project ideas had been put forward, with James Cameron’s version having Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role, but none seeing the light of day. In the early 2000s, director Sam Raimi (from the films Uma Noite Alucinante) took over the project that Tobey Maguire would have as protagonist.

Spider-Man’s success went far beyond his individual success. The film was part of the genre of superheroes that has been gradually renewed since the late 1980s. In this sense, the first adaptation of the scholar joined X-Men: the film, from 2000, and Blade: the Vampire Hunter, from 1998, at the forefront of the new way of producing comic book adaptations, generally acting in an area that did not allow for extravagance in the genre. These productions gained negative outlines in the post-Schumacher phase of the Batman films, but were not yet as serious and sinister as Christopher Nolan’s approach to the bat.

If the version of Raimi brings a freedom of adaptation compared to the comic book, like the web produced by the hero being organic and not from capsules, or the total absence of Gwen Stacy, they were not so rejected. by the public than in other adaptations. Other elements, such as Willem Dafoe’s flamboyant interpretation for Norman Osborn and JK Simons’ precise composition for JJJameson, are much loved by fans today.

For many, the definitive version of Spider-Man

The success also spawned two other streaks; Spider-Man 2 was and still is treated as one of the great movies in the genre due to its rather mature approach to what makes Peter Parker a hero (based on Amazing Spider-Man # 50 or also referred to as Spider-Man No More), sometimes making films much more of a drama than something comic book. Alfred Molina’s Dr. Octopus also receives a lot of praise for running away from the comic book scientist’s mad vision and delivering a criminal with a purpose.

Spider-Man 3, however, did not repeat the success of the previous two, failing to feature charismatic or deep villains like they previously were and being heavily criticized for the comedic tone given to a film which, in theory, adapted an important saga as part of Secret Wars. and Amazing Spider-Man # 299 (Venom first appearance). The public failure forced Sony, which owns the image rights to the character, to develop a reboot in the form of a new franchise.

Thus was born the franchise “The Amazing Spider-Man”, composed of two films and directed by Marc Webb (500 days with her). This time around, the approach would follow a line closer to the ultimate comic book universe (sort of a reboot in Marvel stories in the early 2000s) and give more space to the romance between Peter Parker and Gwen. Stacey. Both films received a lot of reviews for featuring an updated and slightly too cool version of Peter. The second movie, in particular, didn’t know how to work with so many characters on screen, making mistakes just like Spider-Man 3.

Marc Webb’s version and Emma Stone’s performance rekindled interest in Gwen Stacey

However, these works were responsible for rekindling mainstream interest in Gwen Stacy (who had been coming back to attention since The Amazing Spider-Man 2008 animation) and ultimately the character won her own monthly Spider-Gwen and The Unbelievable Gwenpool. . Currently, the character has an established presence in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, having had two solo films and an appearance in two Avengers films. Unlike other approaches, in the current version a truly adolescent look has been chosen to establish the figure of Peter Parker.

The point is, after more than fifty years, Spider-Man is still one of the most beloved figures in comics and the great protagonist of Marvel Comics. He is the character who has brought the figure of superheroes closer to the reality of the reader and who has had the best dialogue with youth over the decades. His stories have also given birth to so many unforgettable and important characters such as Miles Morales, Wilson Fisk, Mary Jane, Justiceiro etc., besides forming the taste of reading and the imagination of generations. No matter when, the boyfriend will always be in the neighborhood.

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