"When I was a kid, I
played a spider in a school play.
I sat down next to little
Miss Muffit and she slapped me."
- W.J. Flywheel, Webporium
(Peter Benjamin Parker), is a fictional superhero in the Marvel
Comics Universe, created by writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko.
First appearing in Amazing Fantasy #15 (Aug. 1962), he has become,
along with Superman and Batman, one of the world's most popular,
enduring, and recognizable superheroes.
Spider-Man's early stories
broke ground by attempting to relate to readers with a teenaged
character who is not a sidekick but a hero himself, and who balances
his personal struggles with his heroic exploits. Through the years, Spider-Man
has appeared in many media, including several animated and live
action television series, syndicated newspaper comic strips, and two
very successful big-screen films, with a third set to debut in 2007.
has published many series featuring the character, the first and
flagship title being The Amazing Spider-Man. Peter Parker grows from
a shy high school student to a troubled college student to a married professional.
Various accounts of the
character's creation have been given, with at times, Stan Lee, Steve
Ditko (the official creators), Jack Kirby and Joe Simon claiming
various degrees of credit for the character's concepts.
Peter Benjamin Parker's
parents Richard and Mary Parker, CIA and later S.H.I.E.L.D. agents,
are killed by Albert Malik, the third Red Skull while infiltrating
his criminal organization.
The infant Peter Parker is
left in the care of his Uncle Ben and Aunt May Parker (Richard's
older brother and his wife), who live in the Forest Hills
neighborhood of Queens, New York. The aging couple love Peter, but he
is unpopular among those his own age. Over time, he grows to be a
lonely, timid teenager. The exceptionally bright Peter shows more
interest in his studies, especially science, than in any kind of
social life. He is often the target of jokes by more popular students
like Flash Thompson, the high school's star athlete who later becomes
Spider-Man's biggest fan and one of Peter's best friends.
Peter attends a science
exhibition where he is bitten by a radioactive spider. The spider's
bite gives Peter an array of spider-like powers. These powers include
the ability to stick to walls and ceilings, super-human strength and
agility, and an extra-sensory "spider-sense".
Peter sets out to find fame
and fortune at first, winning a wrestling match against professional
wrestler Crusher Hogan. After a match, Peter allows a robber to
escape the TV station after stealing some money, saying that it isn't
his problem. He later regrets this decision when he finds out the
same robber has killed his Uncle Ben. Realizing that he could have
prevented his uncle's death, Peter devotes himself to fighting
injustice, driven by his uncle's words, "with great power there
must also come great responsibility." This phrase (usually in
the modified form "with great power comes great
responsibility") subsequently achieved widespread fame.
Spider-Man tries to do the
right thing, but many authority figures view him with suspicion.
Thanks to a continuous smear campaign by J. Jonah Jameson, publisher
of The Daily Bugle, many people consider Spider-Man little more than
a costumed menace. Ironically, Peter spends much of his life working
as a freelance photographer for Jameson, primarily selling
photographs of himself as Spider-Man to be used in negative articles
amasses many enemies, some targeting him as Peter Parker or
attacking his loved ones: the Green Goblin kills Peter's girlfriend
Gwen Stacy, and Venom threatens to reveal his secret identity. The
stresses of Peter's dual identity lead to a separation from his wife
Mary Jane Watson, although the couple later reconciles.
Mary Jane Watson (left) is
a supporting character in the Marvel Comics' Spider-Man series. Created
by writer Stan Lee and artist John Romita, Sr., she first fully
appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #47 (April 1967).
A gorgeous, green-eyed
redhead, she has been the primary romantic interest of
Spider-Mans alter ego Peter Parker for the last twenty years,
although she initially competed against others for his affection,
most prominently Gwen Stacy.
Today, Mary Jane is
considered an important part of the Spider-Man mythos and has been
featured in most other media adaptations of the character. She has
even been the main character of some comics and novels aimed at
young, female readers. Kirsten Dunst (right) portrayed her in the
recent film series.
has appeared various in comics, cartoons, movies, coloring books,
novels, records, and children's books over the years. On television,
he first starred in the ABC animated series Spider-Man (1967-1970).
This series is so badly animated it has now risen to cult status
among comic fans. In order to be more cost-effective, given the
limited budget for the show, Spider-Man's costume for this series
only has webbed areas on his head, arms and boots; the rest of his
costume is plain (save for the spiders on his chest and back).
Additionally, the series also relied upon re-used stock animation
from one episode to the next, stock animation which included
everything from Spider-Man swinging across the New York City skyline,
to Peter Parker stripping off his white dress shirt to reveal his
spider-suit (and putting on his mask) during his hidden
transformations into the costumed superhero. Character movement was
also kept to a minimum and was once described as "like a comic
book with the mouths moving." Cost cutting and reduced budgets
reflected in the cheesy plots and bad animation. The opening credits
depicts a scene of robbers burgling a jewelry store. In the first
shot, the sign reads "Fine Jewlery." Then in the next shot,
it changes to the correct spelling ("Jewelry," US
spelling). In the third season, two episodes re-used almost the
entire footage from two Rocket Robin Hood episodes as well as
remaking previous episodes with minimal changes. In addition, footage
from previous episodes was cannibalized almost in their entirety with
minimal changes to present essentially the same plots; the episodes
featuring The Vulture and The Rhino from the first season were
reedited together as single episodes in the later seasons. Mysterio's
appearance in the series differed from the first season to the third.
In his first appearance, his mask was off periodically, and his head
had pointed ears. In his second appearance, his mask and costume were
the same as the previous episode, but the mask was never removed. In
Season Three's "The Madness of Mysterio," he was never
wearing his costume, but he had started carrying a cigarette-holder
in his mouth, wore a smoking jacket, his skin was green, and his ears
were no longer pointed; while the series' final episode simply reruns
Mysterio's standard appearance in "The Return of the Flying
Dutchman" episode as part of a clip episode. An error on
Spider-Man's costume appeared through Season 1. The spider on his
costume (both front and back) was depicted with only 6 legs. By
Season 2 new drawings of the costume showed an 8 legged spider, but
reused footage from Season 1 maintained season one's error.
Bad animation aside, the
theme song of the show has become a popular standard. The lyrics were
written by Academy Award winner Paul Francis Webster, while the music
was composed by Bob Harris. The song's opening line, "Spider-Man,
Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can," became almost as
synonymous with the character as his costume. The 2002 and 2004 film
adaptations have featured characters as buskers performing the song;
Jayce Bartok and Elyse Dinh respectively. Both films also feature
some version of the song at the very end of the credits: the 2002
adaptation featured the original 1967 recording while the 2004 film
had a re-recording by Michael Bublé (also featured on the
film's soundtrack). 2007's Spider-Man 3 features a performance of the
song by a marching band at a public rally celebrating Spider-Man.
The Amazing Spider-Man was
the first live-action TV series based on the popular comic book The
Amazing Spider-Man, not counting his appearances on the educational
The Electric Company series, and was shown on CBS-TV from 1977-1979.
It consisted of 13 episodes, which included a pilot movie in the fall
of 1977; five one-hour episodes in the spring of 1978; six one hour
episodes aired in the fall of 1978 and winter of 1979; and then a
final two-hour episode in the summer of 1979. None of the episodes
are available on DVD, but almost all of them have been released on
VHS. Despite the series being set in New York City, it was mostly
filmed in Los Angeles. At the time The Amazing Spider-Man played on
the CBS television network, it was with other live action television
series or movies based on the comic book characters. Including The
Incredible Hulk, Wonder Woman, Captain America and Doctor Strange.
Spider-man fans were highly critical of the series for the changes
made to the comic book storyline and the lack of any real
"supervillains". To add insult to injury, Spider-Man
co-creator Stan Lee disliked the show, and was vocal about his
dissatisfaction with it; he once said in an interview that he felt
the series was "too juvenile" - a controversial statement
given his credit as script consultant on each episode.
Amazing Spider-Man series had solid ratings throughout its run, but
the series was expensive to produce and CBS was leery about being
labeled the "superhero network" so they canceled the show,
in addition to Wonder Woman. However, The Incredible Hulk remained at
the network until 1982, with budget cuts, due to it having a broad
In the mid-1980s and early
1990s, two attempts were reportedly made to recreate an Amazing
Spider-Man live-action television series. The first one would have
had the original cast team-up with the cast from The Incredible Hulk
television series. This was part of a plan to have several television
movies featuring the Incredible Hulk and various Marvel Comics
characters (three had already been aired, the first with Thor, the
second with Daredevil, while the announced She-Hulk did not appear in
the third). Reportedly, this attempt finally fell through when Hulk
star Bill Bixby died of cancer in 1993. A second attempt would have
been an entirely new series that died in preproduction because the
networks wanted to make Spider-Man into a mutant.
2002, Spider-Man finally made it to the big screen directed by Sam
Raimi and written by David Koepp. Based on the fictional Marvel
Comics character Spider-Man, the film stars Tobey Maguire as Peter
Parker, a high-school student who turns to crimefighting after
developing spider like powers. Spider-Man also stars Willem Dafoe as
Norman Osborn (a.k.a. the Green Goblin), Kirsten Dunst as Peter's
love interest Mary-Jane Watson, and James Franco as his best friend
After being stuck in
development hell for nearly 25 years, the film was licensed for a
worldwide release by Sony Pictures Entertainment in 1999 after it
acquired options from M-G-M on all previous scripts developed by
Cannon Films, Carolco and New Cannon. Exercising its option on just
two elements from this multi-script acquisition (a screenplay
credited to James Cameron, Ted Newsom, John Brancato, Barney Cohen
and "Joseph Goldman" (pen name of Menahem Golan) and a
later treatment credited solely to Cameron), Sony hired David Koepp
to create a working screenplay from this "Cameron material."
Directors Roland Emmerich, Tim Burton, Chris Columbus, and David
Fincher were considered to direct the project before Raimi was hired
as director in 2000. The Koepp script was rewritten by Scott
Rosenberg during preproduction and received a dialogue polish from
Alvin Sargent during production.
Filming took place in
California and New York City from January to June 2001. Spider-Man
was released on May 3, 2002, and became a critical and financial
success. With $821.71 million worldwide, it was 2002's
The film tells the
Spider-man orgin story. High school senior Peter Parker (Tobey
Maguire) lives in Forest Hills, a quiet suburban neighborhood in the
New York City borough of Queens, with his Uncle Ben (Cliff Robertson)
and Aunt May (Rosemary Harris). He secretly loves Mary Jane Watson
(Kirsten Dunst), a warm-hearted girl next door, but he is too shy to
approach her. His best friend Harry Osborn (James Franco) is the son
of Dr. Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe), president of the Oscorp
manufacturing corporation, which is working to win a contract to
supply weapons to the United States Army. On a field trip to a
genetics laboratory, Peter is bitten by a genetically engineered
spider. He passes out in his bedroom at home, and the next day his
vision is perfect, he has become more muscular with superhuman
strength, his wrists emit web strings, and his reflexes are
super-quick. At school, he saves Mary Jane from a split-second fall
and easily defeats her bullying boyfriend Flash Thompson (Joe
Manganiello) in a fistfight. Realizing that the spider's bite has
given him spiderlike powers, he trains himself to scale walls, jump
between rooftops, and swing through the city.
Peter enters a wrestling
tournament, hoping to win $3,000 so he can buy a sports car to
impress Mary Jane. On the day of the tournament, Ben tries to give
him some fatherly advice, but Peter lashes out at him. At the
tournament, the announcer presents Peter as "The Amazing
Spider-Man". Peter easily defeats his opponent, Bonesaw McGraw
(Macho Man Randy Savage), but the man in charge only gives Peter $100
for winning the match early. When a thief robs the man, Peter takes
his revenge by allowing the robber to escape. Later that night, Peter
finds out that his Uncle Ben was carjacked and shot. As his uncle
dies, Peter learns of the thief's whereabouts through the police
radios and a chase ensues. Peter catches up with the thief, only to
learn a horrifying discovery. The man who seemingly killed his uncle
is revealed to be the same man who robbed the wrestling arena earlier
(who Peter let escape). If Peter stopped him earlier, his uncle might
still be alive. Feeling responsible for Ben's death, and feeling
guilty for rejecting his advice, Peter dedicates himself to fighting
crime as Spider-Man always remembering Uncle Ben's words, "With
great power comes great responsibility."
2 is the sequel to the 2002 film Spider-Man, it is the second film
in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man film trilogy based on the fictional Marvel
Comics character of the same name. Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, and
James Franco reprise their roles as Peter Parker, Mary Jane Watson,
Harry Osborn, respectively. The film was written by Alvin Sargent
from a story by Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, and Michael Chabon.
Set two years after the
events of Spider-Man, the film focuses on Peter Parker struggling to
manage both his personal life and his duties as Spider-Man. Dr. Otto
Octavius (Alfred Molina), who takes a turn for the diabolical
following a failed experiment and the death of his wife. Using his
mechanical tentacles, Octavius is dubbed "Doctor Octopus"
and threatens to endanger the lives of the people of New York City.
Spider-Man must stop him from annihilating the city.
Spider-Man 2 was released
in both conventional and IMAX theaters on June 30, 2004 and received
extremely positive reviews. It grossed over $783 million worldwide,
and won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. It also received
five awards at the Saturn Awards ceremony including Best Fantasy Film
and Best Director for Raimi, and frequently ranks among the best
superhero films of all time.
Bruce Campbell cameos as an
obnoxious usher who denies Peter access to Mary Jane's play when he
is late, thus causing a rift in their relationship. Spider-Man's co-creator
Stan Lee cameos as a man on the street who saves a woman from
falling debris during a battle between Spider-Man and Doc Ock. Evil
Dead II co-writer Scott Spiegel appears as a man who attempts to eat
some pizza Spider-Man is delivering, only to have it webbed from his
hands. Joel McHale appears as the teller in the bank who refuses Aunt
May's loan. Hal Sparks appears as the elevator passenger who has a
conversation with Spider-Man. Comedian Donnell Rawlings appears as
the New Yorker who exclaims that Spider-Man stole "some
guy's" pizza. Bones star Emily Deschanel appears as the
receptionist who tells Parker she isn't paying for the late pizza.
The Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi appears as Mr. Aziz, the
pizza store owner who later dismisses Parker. Actor Joey Diaz appears
as a train passenger who tells Doctor Octopus that he has to get past
him to get to Spider-Man. Actress Vanessa Ferlito appears as one of
Mary Jane's co-stars. Model/Actress Joy Bryant makes a cameo
appearance as a spectator that witnesses Spider-Man in action.
Director John Landis also appears briefly as one of the doctors who
operates on Doctor Octopus. Actor Phil LaMarr also appears as a train
passenger who is most easily seen to the right of Spider-Man when
he's holding two webs to slow the train down.
3 (2007) was directed by Sam Raimi and scripted by Sam and Ivan
Raimi and Alvin Sargent. It is the third and final film in the Sam
Raimi Spider-Man trilogy. The film stars Tobey Maguire, Kirsten
Dunst, James Franco, Thomas Haden Church, Topher Grace, Bryce Dallas
Howard, Rosemary Harris, J.K. Simmons, James Cromwell and Cliff
Robertson in his final film appearance.
Set months after the events
of Spider-Man 2, while Peter Parker basks in his success as
Spider-Man, Mary Jane Watson continues her Broadway career. Harry
Osborn still seeks vengeance for his father's death, and an escaped
convict, Flint Marko, falls into a particle accelerator and is
transformed into a shape-shifting sand manipulator. An
extraterrestrial symbiote crashes to Earth and bonds with Peter,
influencing his behavior for the worse. When Peter abandons the
symbiote, it finds refuge in Eddie Brock, a rival photographer,
causing Peter to face his greatest challenge.
Spider-Man 3 premiered on
April 16, 2007 in Tokyo, and released in the United States in both
conventional and IMAX theaters on May 4, 2007. Although the film
received mixed to positive reviews (too many storylines) from
critics, in contrast to the highly positive reviews of its
predecessor, it stands as the most successful film in the series
worldwide, Marvel's second most successful film after The Avengers,
and Sony Pictures Entertainment's highest grossing film to date.
Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee has a cameo in Spider-Man 3, as he
does in many Marvel based films. In the film, he plays a man who,
after reading a news bulletin along with Peter, tells him "You
know, I guess one person can make a difference," followed by his
catch phrase "Nuff said." Actor Bruce Campbell, who had
cameo roles as a wrestling ring announcer in Spider-Man and as a rude
usher in Spider-Man 2, returns in Spider-Man 3 with a new cameo as a
French maître d'. His character helps Peter try to propose to
Mary Jane. Composer Christopher Young appears in the film as a
pianist at Mary Jane's theater when she is fired, while producer
Grant Curtis has a cameo as the driver of an armored car that the
Sandman attacks. Comedian Dean Edwards played one of the newspaper
readers who badmouth Spider-Man. 75-year-old newscaster Hal Fishman.
In 2007, Spider-Man 4
entered development, with Raimi attached to direct and Maguire, Dunst
and other cast members set to reprise their roles. Both a fourth and
a fifth movie were planned and at one time the idea of shooting the
two sequels concurrently was under consideration. However, Raimi
stated in March 2009 that only the fourth film was in development at
that time and that if there were fifth and sixth films, those two
films would actually be a continuation of each other. James
Vanderbilt was hired in October 2007 to pen the screenplay after
initial reports in early 2007 that Sony Pictures was in contact with
David Koepp, who wrote the first Spider-Man film. The script was
subsequently rewritten by Pulitzer-winning playwright David
Lindsay-Abaire and rewritten again by Gary Ross in October 2009. Sony
also engaged Vanderbilt to write scripts for Spider-Man 5 and
In 2007, Raimi expressed
interest in portraying the transformation of Dr. Curt Connors into
his villainous alter-ego, the Lizard; the character's actor Dylan
Baker and producer Grant Curtis were also enthusiastic about the
idea. It was reported in December 2009 that John Malkovich was in
negotiations to play Vulture and that Anne Hathaway would play
Felicia Hardy, though she would not have transformed into the Black
Cat as in the comics. Instead, Raimi's Felicia was expected to become
a brand-new superpowered figure called the Vulturess.
Sony Pictures announced in
January 2010 that plans for Spider-Man 4 had been cancelled due to
Raimi's withdrawal from the project. Raimi reportedly ended his
participation due to his doubt that he could meet the planned May 6,
2011 release date while at the same time upholding the film
creatively. Raimi purportedly went through four iterations of the
script with different screenwriters and still "hated it".
by Marc Webb, The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) is a reboot of the
Spider-Man film franchise, portraying the character's origin story
and his development into a superhero while a high school student. The
film stars Andrew Garfield in the title role, with Emma Stone as Gwen
Stacy and Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curt Connors.
Development of the film
began with the cancellation of Spider-Man 4 in 2010, ending director
Sam Raimi's Spider-Man film series that had starred Tobey Maguire,
Kirsten Dunst and James Franco. Opting to reboot the franchise with
the same production team, Sony Pictures Entertainment announced a
July 2012 release date for The Amazing Spider-Man. James Vanderbilt
was hired to write the script while Alvin Sargent and Steve Kloves
helped fine-tune it. Pre-production involved auditioning many actors
for the roles of Parker and Stacy. New designs were introduced from
the comics such as artificial web-shooters. Using Red Digital Cinema
Camera Company's RED Epic camera, principal photography started in
December 2010 in Los Angeles before moving to New York City. The film
entered post-production in April 2011. 3ality Technica provided 3D
image processing, Sony Imageworks handled CGI and James Horner
crafted the film score.
Sony Entertainment built a
promotional website, released three trailers and launched a viral
marketing campaign, among other moves. Tie-ins included a video game
by Beenox. The film premiered on June 13, in Tokyo and was released
in the United States on July 3 in 2D, 3D and IMAX 3D. Critical
reaction was generally positive, with a 74% "certified
fresh" score from review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. The film
was a success financially; one of the highest grossing reboots and
the third highest grossing film in 2012, although not matching its
predecessors. The first sequel was set for release on May 2, 2014.