The other day, I was talking two bloggers on Twitter. While chatting, we realized that all three of us had been planning to write a blog post about Steve Ditko; the co-creator of Spider-Man. So, we decided to team-up. Silver Age Sensations has a wonderful article called What do you see Mr. A? That is The Question; isn’t it Rorschach. The SuperHero Satellite continues our spotlight on Steve Ditko with a terrific article called Charlton Action Heroes: A Count Down To Retcon..
Marvel Comics has a thing for bug themed characters. Over the years, Marvel has given us Ant-Man (soon to be starring in his own Marvel movie), Yellowjacket, Wasp (a founding member of the Avengers), The Black Widow, Mantis, The Human Fly, The Scorpion, The Hornet, Spider-Woman, Spider-Girl, and probably other characters that I’ve forgotten. Without a doubt their most famous bug themed character is Spider-Man. So here’s the question, what’s so amazing about Spider-Man? Why is he so much more popular than any other bug themed character?
To answer this question, I want to look at another immensely popular superhero – Superman. Superman is one of my favorite superheroes. Not only is he a great character, but he has a wonderful supporting cast. He has memorable villains like Lex Luthor and Brainiac and friends like Supergirl, Kyrpto, the Legion of Super-Heroes, and the residents of the Bottled City of Kandor. Clark Kent also has a wonderful supporting cast featuring Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Perry White, and more.
Unfortunately, I do not know who made this award winning Spider-Man Cake.
I’m a big fan of the old television series The Adventures of Superman with George Reeves. I was telling my husband recently that I like the show because it focuses on Clark Kent more than it focuses Superman. While Jimmy, Lois, and Perry are in almost every episode, Lex, Brainiac, Supergirl, and the Legion never appear. If Marvel Comics had existed in the 1950s and had done a TV show, I think it would have been very similar.
I’ve always thought that DC Comics focused on the superhero where Marvel Comics focused more on the person in the costume. While I was thinking about the Adventures of Superman, I realized that wasn’t true when Stan Lee and Steve Ditko were doing the Amazing Spider-Man comic book. The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, and Doctor Strange didn’t have any life outside of their costume identities. And, Marvel didn’t have a clue what to do with Bruce Banner, Tony Stark, Don Blake (Thor’s alter ego), or Steve Rogers.
Spider-Man was the exception. Stan Lee and Steve Ditko gave Peter Parker an amazing supporting cast featuring Aunt May, J. Jonah Jameson, Gwen Stacy, Flash Thompson, Harry Osborn, Betty Brant, Liz Allen and many more. Most issues of Lee and Ditko’s Amazing Spider-Man featured more pages with Peter than with Spidey. And, Pete was always up to his neck in troubles. Aunt May was sickly. Peter was always broke and in need of money. He was bulled at school by Flash Thompson and his gang. He had girlfriend troubles and heartache. He even faced day to day issues like graduating from high school and entering college.
When I see Spider-Man, I see Peter Parker in costume. I can relate to him in a way that I can never relate to Iron Man, Thor, or Captain America.
While Steve Ditko and Stan Lee’s best know creation is Spider-Man. Their greatest creation was Peter Parker. Peter Parker is what Spider-Man so amazing!