annually on August 1st
Spider-Man, who is likely the most popular Marvel character, and who also is one of the most famous comic book characters of all time, made his debut in the August 1962 edition of Amazing Fantasy. The comic book, put out by Marvel Comics, was dated August 1—the day on which we celebrate Spider-Man Day—although it was actually released on June 5. The comic book had previously been titled Amazing Adult Fantasy, but for issue #15—its final issue—its name was changed.
Spider-Man was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. The idea came from Lee, and Ditko played a large part in the creation and drawing of the character. Artist Jack Kirby also had a hand in early drawings of the character. When coming up with the concept of Spider-Man, Lee wanted to make sure his character would be relatable to teenagers. He was influenced by the pulp magazine crime fighter, Spider, and may have also been inspired when he saw a spider crawl up a wall.
Spider-Man's alias is Peter Parker, a teenager who is bitten by a radioactive spider and acquires a "spidey sense." He gains the agility and strength of a spider and can also detect danger like one. In addition, he is able to shoot webs from his wrists and cling to surfaces. At the time of his creation, most superheroes were adults, and most younger characters with just sidekicks (Robin, the sidekick of Batman, is one notable example.) Lee chose to use "Man" in his new character's name, because he wanted him to age over time, and he didn't think "Boy" sounded like a superhero. Parker, an orphan raised by his aunt and uncle, starts out as a high school student from Queens, New York. He was made to deal with issues of adolescence, so teenagers could identify with him. Over the years, Parker goes from being a high school student to being a college student, to being married and teaching at a high school, to being single again and working as a freelance photographer.
After his initial appearance in Amazing Fantasy, Spider-Man received his own comic, The Amazing Spider-Man, which became Marvel's top-selling comic, and also was the longest lasting of the Spider-Man comics. The first issue was dated March 1963, and the last issue—#441—was released in 1998. However, The Amazing Spider-Man volume 2 started in January 1999. In 2003, the original numbering was brought back, and volume 2 #59 became #500. There have been continued changes and various versions of the comic up until the present day.
There have been many other Spider-Man comics as well. Marvel Team-Up went into production in 1972, becoming the second Spider-Man monthly ongoing series. This comic paired Spider-Man with other heroes and villains. Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man, a solo series, went into production in 1976. In 1985, Web of Spider-Man replaced Marvel Team-Up, but it was replaced in 1996 by The Sensational Spider-Man. Spider-Man debuted in 1990.
Besides comic books, Spider-Man has appeared in a newspaper comic strip (The Amazing Spider-Man), in children's books, in movies, on television shows, and in computer, video, and other types of games. He even made it to Broadway, starring in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. There are also many toys related to Spider-Man.
The first Spider-Man television show was Spider-Man, which debuted in 1967 and was animated. There were many subsequent animated series, including, in the order they were created, Spider-Man (1981-1982), Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, Fox Kids' Spider-Man, Spider-Man Unlimited, Spider-Man: The New Animated Series, The Spectacular Spider-Man, and Ultimate Spider-Man. There have been live-action Spider-Man television shows as well. Spidey Super Stories ran on PBS from 1974 through 1977, and The Amazing Spider-Man ran on CBS from 1978 through 1979.
A trilogy of films directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire were released in the 2000s. Then, Andrew Garfield became the new Spider-Man and starred in The Amazing Spider-Man, directed by Marc Webb in 2012. This was followed by The Amazing-Spider-Man 2 in 2014. More recent films centered around Spider-Man or where Spider-Man appears include Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man: Far From Home, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
How to Observe
Celebrate the day with all things Spider-Man! Here are some ideas:
- Get a digital subscription to Marvel Unlimited and read Amazing Fantasy #15, the first comic in which Spider-Man appeared. This is much cheaper than buying an original copy of the comic, which goes for thousands of dollars.
- Read The Amazing Spider-Man or other Spider-Man comics.
- Watch a Spider-Man movie or television show.
- Play a video game that features Spider-Man.
- Dress up like Spider-Man.
- Look for celebrations for the day taking place at comic book shops. Other locations such as museums have held events on the day as well.