Spider-Man turns 50 this month. While my friends know that my favorite comic book character is Wolverine, “ Snikety Snikt”, I don’t usually run around touting my love for that menace Spider-Man. That web head gets a bad rap with me and he shouldn’t. He is the guy that got me into comics.
He’s got a few years on me so I come into his Timeline a little late. It was 1974! I was possibly the first generation to grow up with the TV being the babysitter. And in 1974 I saw Spider-Man vs. the Yeti.
You might question that by saying, “The first Spider-Man cartoon was in 67!”
You are correct! My introduction to Spider came from PBS. The Electric Company in 1974 was my first run in with Spidey and quite frankly was the first time I wanted to read.
I wanted to know what he was saying. How did he defeat that Yeti? Spider-Man’s great responsibility was apparently, to teach me to read, and he did. I dove into reading so much that my mom bought me comics. My first comic was Giant-Size Spider-Man Vol 1 #2 Spiderman and the Master of Kung Fu. From there I was hooked on reading. In a year or two I was reading books, comics and more. It was all due to Spider-Man.
In 1978 Spider-Man came alive with the live action show in 1978. Looking back on it now, it was bad. REALLY BAD! However, at 6 or 7 years of age, I loved it. It led me on a journey through various cartoons, movies and tons of comics.
I have read the stories of Peter Parker and his wall crawling alter ego for almost forty years! I have followed Spidey’s life, marriage, conquests and tragedies. I’ve seen him side with X-Men, Avengers, and many others. I have watched him fight Super-Man, The Sinister Six, Magneto and more. He saved the world from the Tri-Sentinel (with a little help from Captain Universe.) I have seen him get his black suit in the Secret Wars, that would later become Venom. I recall his McFarlane run with that amazing webbing. He gave homage to the Batman movie in 1989 and his reboot in Ultimate Spider-Man was great. He also did something that no other comic has been able to do in issue #36 of Amazing Spider-Man. His tragic suffering and descriptions of the tragedy of September 11th, 2001 made me cry.
He has graced the big screen numerous times. Most recently, this year in an epic battle versus the Lizard. Spider-Man is truly Spectacular, Amazing and much more.
His most important contribution to my life has been none of these things though. With all those memories he is still not my favorite comic book character. He barely made the top five! He is, however, the favorite superhero of my oldest son.
My 6 year old son loves Spider-Man. He can’t get enough. From the classic cartoons, comics, movies and books, he consumes the stories. I have to constantly tie and untangle string to the wrists of his action figures so he can swing in and save the day. Roland’s imagination, creativity and entertainment are in some small part yours and your responsibility.
I hope you remember what your Uncle Ben said fifty years ago. Roland sure does.