Hero or Menace?

My experiences with the web-head and how he's become an inspiration to me...
May 11, 2011
What's up, friends? Spiderfan05 here. This is my first article here so just bear with me. Now that I've handled the introduction, let's get on with the article.

When we're kids, we all have someone we look up to. Be it a celebrity, a family member, a friend or heck, even a fictional character. That's the case with me. I mean, don't get me wrong, I look up to a couple of celebrities and family members too but I'm not here to talk about that today. No, today, I'm going to talk about the terrifying, the deadly, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN

What is it about 'Ol Web-head that we Spider-fans like so much? What is it about this red and blue wearing web slinging freak that gathers so much appeal? Well, I'll tell you. In my own words at least.


To get this off, I was born in 1995. I'm currently 15 and I'll be turning 16 in June. From the start, it's like I was destined to be a Spidey-fan. The very first action figure I ever owned was Spider-man. My very first comic book was a Spider-man title. To this day, I still collect comic books and action figures and my collections for both are predominantly Spider-man.

To really get this article rolling, let me share with you a brief history of Spider-man.

During the character's creation back in 1962, Spider-man's co-creator, Stan Lee was enjoying the success of The Fantastic Four. At around the same time, he found out that he had been getting a lot of fan mail from high school and college kids. Lee figured that if a lot of comic book readers were teenagers, why not create a hero that they could identify with. He would have their problems, their emotions, their general teen angst. Lee's publisher at the time, thought it was a terrible idea. He had claimed that only adults can be superheroes and that teenagers were to remain as sidekicks. The idea was eventually given a chance and Spider-man's first appearance was actually the last issue of a soon-to-be-cancelled publication called Amazing Fantasy. Months after Spidey's introduction, Lee's publisher reviewed the sales figures and found that Amazing Fantasy 15 ended up being one of Marvel's highest selling comics. Spider-man was soon given his own solo series in March of 1963 and the rest is history.

From the way I see it, I have always loved the fact that Spider-man was intended to be relatable for teenagers. I could understand that. It's not easy being a teenager. What most people don't understand is that, when you're a teenager you tend to become more self conscious. You become concerned with climbing up the social ladder and making a name for yourself. You have to deal with hormones, mood swings and just general unpredictable behavior. In a sense, Spider-man was a reflection of your average teenager.

Right off the bat, you realize that Peter Parker is a timid, socially awkward teenage geek who ends up being subjected to ridicule and social outcasting. I could totally relate to that. I could identify with the guy who would always be bullied or teased or always be rejected by girls.

Someone like me could relate to the teenage Peter Parker and find comfort in knowing that you're not the only one going through tough times. Case in point, before the spider bite, Parker's life was a mess. After gaining the powers and the costume, his life turns into an even bigger mess.

With this in mind, let us go over what Parker has already been through. He grew up barely knowing his parents as they died in a plane crash when he was only an infant. He grew up being raised by his Aunt May and Uncle Ben and actually ended up feeling guilty for the death of the latter. He has had trouble helping his Aunt making ends meet and settling for a job as a photographer for the Daily Bugle where he meets his boss, editor in chief and Spider-man hater, J.Jonah Jameson. His first love and eventual girlfriend, Gwen Stacy dies in his arms.

Knowing this, you realize that Spider-man is not just some super-powered freak in a red and blue suit but rather, there is someone underneath the mask who, just like you or me, undergoes the struggles and turmoil of everyday life.

More than once in his life, Peter has had to sacrifice everything and go for broke yet, has overcome the odds and time and again, manages to come out on top. Despite all the problems, all the grief, he has managed to keep a strong, positive outlook on life and it shows us the sheer determination and will power that Peter Parker has as a person.

That has always been one of my favorite aspects of Spider-man's character. The fact that he doesn't let his problems get the better of him. The very fact that he somehow manages to carry on and keep fighting is really what amazes me.


I have been a Spider-fan for years and I have gotten some heat for it. What most people don't understand is, that it's not just about Spider-man himself, it's about what makes the character tick and what makes Spider-man...Spider-man. I wrote this article on the off-chance that it may shed some light on the appeal of Spider-man and why I consider myself a fanatic of the webbed wonder. I find that in this day and age, we're too caught up in our everyday problems and we always let said problems get to us. We're faced with problems in the economy, gas prices, and other troubles that occur in our daily lives.

Based on this, I figure we can learn a little thing or two from our FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN.

Thanks for reading, guys. 'Till next time, true believers!
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