Each day in February, Dibbs is showcasing iconic comic book issues that you should collect! Today’s comic is Amazing Fantasy #15! Peter Parker and the origins of his superhero persona, Spider-Man!
Be sure to grab some fracs of The Incredible Hulk #181, the first appearance of Wolverine! Our next drop is coming soon with Detective Comics #140 releasing on Thursday, February 24th! Be sure to grab the FIRST DC comic on Dibbs!
A Spider-Man is Born
In 1962, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko would create the most recognizable superhero of all time. In an industry conquered by teenage sidekicks, Stan Lee saw the need to create a hero that young people could identify with. The journey Peter Parker has in becoming Spider-Man directly correlates with the struggles teenagers have throughout adolescence. The only difference is most have someone to help guide them; someone who’s been through that they’ve been through and can help. Stan Lee wanted Peter to gain his powers without having an older figure to relate to. His aunt and uncle just assume Peter is just struggling with puberty, when in reality he’s trying to learn how to use his powers. His uncle gives him advice, but Peter writes it off as the usual “parents just don’t understand”. He later realizes that his uncle's now famous advice, “With great power comes great responsibility” would be essential in Spider-Man’s development as a character.
As mentioned, most teenage superheroes were merely sidekick characters and many had “boy” at the end of the name. Stan wanted to drop the trend and use “man” instead, and have the character eventually grow into earning it. He was also concerned that “Spiderman” would look too similar to “Superman”, so Stan added a hyphen making it “Spider-Man. Ditko is also credited with first drawing Spider-Man, but Stan Lee actually rejected his attempt at drawing Amazing Fantasy #15’s cover. Comic legend Jack Kirby was asked to draw the cover instead, with Ditko only providing the coloring.
We are introduced to Peter Parker, who’s in the middle of being called “Midtown High’s only professional wallflower”. Peter isn’t the typical teen and would much rather focus on schoolwork than hangout with friends. While attending a field trip to General Techtronics Laboratories East, Peter is bitten by a radioactive spider that somehow manages to slip through the radioactive ray. He immediately becomes lightheaded and leaves the lab. Peter stumbles onto the street in front of a car, but quickly jumps out of the way. He notices that his jump was further than he had intended, and lands on the side of a brick wall. Peter begins to climb the wall to its rooftop, where he crushes a lead pipe in his hands. Peter assumes he’s inherited these new found powers from the spider that bit him.
Peter gets the idea to fight Crusher Hogan, who is advertising $100 for any man who can stay in the wrestling ring with him longer than 3 minutes. He hurries home where he changes and puts on a hood as a disguise. Peter swiftly beats Hogan, and is introduced to a television producer who asks him to go into show business.
Peter goes back home and creates a spider-themed costume, equipped with his iconic web shooters. This is where he finally names himself, Spider-Man!
We next find Spider-Man as a bigtime TV celebrity. Backstage, he witnesses a guard chasing a robber. Spider-Man doesn’t attempt to stop the thief and ends up letting him go free. The guard complains only to be told “ That’s your job! I’m thru being pushed around by anyone!”
Peter comes home one day to learn that his uncle Ben had been murdered. The police were able to corner the murdered in an old, abandoned warehouse. Peter suits up with the intention of seeking revenge for his uncle. Once inside, Peter knocks the man unconscious only to discover it's the same man he failed to stop just days ago. He leaves the man tied up for the police to find, and leaves.
The issue ends with Peter realizing “with great power comes great responsibility”. This is the catalyst that sets Peter on the path of being a hero, instead of a glory seeking celebrity!
To measure the amount of impact Spider-Man has had since his inception in 1962 would be an insurmountable task. Spider-Man is easily the most loved and most recognizable superhero of all-time. Reader related to his struggles as Peter Parker and fell in love with his adventures as Spider-Man. The character has been featured in numerous cartoon series on television and countless motion pictures. Most recently, Spider-Man: No Way Home featuring Tom Holland, became the 8th highest grossing movie in history making $1.5 billion globally.
Read More Spider-Man
Ultimate Spider-Man by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley