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Spider-Man is a Marvel Comics superhero created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in 1962. The Spider-Man comics were considered groundbreaking from their inception in that the hero's alter-ego, Peter Parker, often faced personal struggles more closely associated with everyday life than usual superhero fare. Notably, Parker has held a wide variety of jobs, depending on his status at the time, ranging from photographer to dishwasher to high-school science teacher. He is also notably not humorless, unlike many superheroes such as Batman--some fans have called his ability to enrage enemies through endless taunting his "extra superpower".

Peter Parker was a physically unimposing youth deeply interested in science who was bitten by a radioactive spider. This being the 1960s, radiation worked differently than it does today, and the bite imbued him with "spider-powers"--the proportional strength, agility, and endurance of a spider; the ability to stick to walls, ceilings, and other surfaces; and a "spider-sense", what seemed like limited ESP, allowing him to sense incoming danger a moment before it would become unavoidable. He also designed devices called "web-shooters" that shot a chemical concotion of his own devising, which acted as webs, allowing him to net criminals with a flick of his wrist.

Spider-Man is, along with Batman and Superman, one of the most famous and widely-recognized characters of the superhero genre. 2002 saw the release of a major Hollywood film based on the character, directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire. The film was a financial success, and two sequels followed, also directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire as the titular character. A Broadway musical theater production with music by U2 is in the works, but has suffered many setbacks related to actor injuries and going over-budget. In 2012, a reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man, was released. The film was directed by Marc Webb and starred Andrew Garfield in the title role. The film was a success, and led to a sequel, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, released in 2014. The sequel fared well at the box office, but was met with a mixed reaction critically. In 2015, it was announced that Marvel and Sony had reached an agreement that would allow Spider-Man to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was also confirmed that Andrew Garfield would not continue as Spider-Man. On June 23, 2015, actor Tom Holland was announced as the new Spider-Man, with the first MCU entry slated for a July 28, 2017 release date.

Unlike many superheroes, Spider-Man is fully religious, a Christian Protestant, known to pray during moments of great emotion--whether in desperation during a pitched battle or in quiet gratitude while lying in bed watching his wife sleep.

Major Villains

Spider-Man has a classic array of villans that many people love as much as the hero himself.

Green Goblin

The Green Goblin has many different human identities, the most devious of which was Norman Osborn, the father of Peter Paker's best friend, Harry. Osborn had started a major science and engineering company with his partner, Mendel Stromm. Osborn soon found out that Stromm had embezzled money from their company and promptly had him arrested. Later, Osborn found a mysterious chemical while going through Stromm's notes. Supposedly, it could multiply a person's strength and intelligence. Osborn tried to recreate the serum, but missed a few steps. The formula turned green, and exploded on Osborn. After he left the hospital, he realized that the formula had given him what he wanted, but also transformed him into a psycopathic criminal. With increased greed and lust for power, Osborn created his character the Green Goblin and turned to crime. Goblin wanted to gain a reputation by killing Spider-Man, but lost in combat. From that day on, the two superhumans were arch enemies. The Green Goblin has made two appearances in Spider-Man films. The first was as Norman Osborn, in 2002's Spider-Man, played by Willem Dafoe. The second was in 2014's The Amazing Spider-Man 2, as Harry Osborn, played by Dane DeHaan.

Doctor Octopus

Also known as "Doc Ock," Otto Octavius was a nuclear physicist. During an accident in which a four-armed apparatus was attached to his back, he became able to control the four mechanical arms by thought. After this accident, Octavius effectively became known as Doctor Octopus. He is one of the best known villains from the early years of Spider-Man. To date, Doctor Octopus has only appeared in one film, 2004's Spider-Man 2, in which he was played by Alfred Molina.


"Spider-Man: The Ultimate Guide", writen by Tom Defalco, copyright 2001

See also