Last week we covered why Wolverine is so popular, now it’s Spidey’s turn. And that puts me in a bit of a corner, because I can’t actually write a counter argument against him. I’ve been trying all week to come up with good arguments as to why Pete shouldn’t be as popular as he is. The only decent one I could think of was the rubbish things Marvel have done with him on occasion (The Clone Saga, Civil War & Superior Spider-Man for example), but these are occasional lapses. Ok, they’ve all been terrible, but that’s because Marvel have been heavily misguided in their approach during these periods. So what I’m going to do instead is say why I think Spiderman is one of the best superheroes. If you intend to comment on why you think Spiderman is so popular, can you skip the next bit, write your comment and then read, I want to hear peoples honest opinions without them being influenced by what I say.
Now, the big thing here, for me, is realism and relate-ability. Realism, you’re probably thinking, JR you’re talking about a guy who has spider powers and swings around Manhatten in bright red and blue spandex, but hear me out. Before the 60’s superheroes were pure fantasy, none of them really had real lives and those that did (Superman/ Batman) didn’t have real problems. Even when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced the concept of the fallible superhero with the Fantastic Four, they still didn’t ring as true to life as they could have. But Spiderman changed that. He was young, the same age as his intended readership at the time, which made him easy to relate to. Before that the relate-ability of the comic book came from sidekicks such as Robin or Bucky, but here we had a hero who the kids could put themselves in the shoes of, they didn’t have to imagine themselves as the sidekick. He’s smart, but not on the ridiculous level of Reed Richards, and funny. How many superheroes made wise-cracks before Spidey. I can’t think of too many. He was also an outsider, which lets be honest Bruce Wayne never was, was he? Neither were Barry Allen, Hal Jordan or Clark Kent, sure Clark kent was often ignored, but that’s because he chose to be but Peter Parker was not only ignored, he was bullied, he had problems talking to girls, he preferred reading to going out, sound like anyone? He also was affected by his super heroism more than any of his piers and predecessors. He lost his first girlfriend in the line of duty, alongside numerous associates, father-figures and even the woman who raised him (although she was brought back to life, twice). But he still fought on and never lost his positive outlook on life.
That’s my two pennies worth, now over to you guys.