Growing up in the 1980s, I first really got into comic books thanks to The Amazing Spider-Man. Spider-Man was pretty fascinating to me – Peter Parker was the smart, awkward, nerdy kid who managed to gain super powers, marry the hot chick and while fighting crime make a lot of smart-assed jokes at the expense of his enemies. There’s a special place in my heart for Spider-Man – he’s the gateway drug of Marvel comics that led me to the Avengers, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Thor, and pretty much everyone else (Spider-Man was the undisputed KING of the “Marvel Team Up.”)
Spider-Man spoke to the target audience so well; he was relatable. He wasn’t the popular kid in school. He wasn’t strong. He was just smart, and witty. He could out-think and out-maneuver a bad situation and he had plenty of them. He had problems, whether with his identity, coming from a broken home, chick problems, you name it, Spider-Man was probably dealing with it. In a way he was inspiring. How would Spider-Man deal with this shit? The depth Spider-Man brought to the comic world was influential in various publications throughout both Marvel and DC and “the superhero” as a concept started to become more complex, more human, more interesting. And most importantly, Spider-Man is just fun.
Also while not as solid or memorable as the X-Men cartoon, the 1990s Spider-Man cartoon was pretty fucking sweet in its own right. Spider-Man was the first Marvel superhero to make us start taking them seriously on the silver screen with Sam Raimi directing Spider-Man and Tobey Maguire playing the part of the wall crawler, which was actually very solid for its time in an age where superhero films were few, far between and usually sucked ass.
Not going to lie, Tobey Maguire played an excellent Peter Parker and fit the part. At least in my opinion.
But something has happened over time that doesn’t sit well with me – it seems like EVERYONE suddenly hates Spider-Man. I defended Cyclops of the X-Men not long ago, but even the hatred for Cyclops can be somewhat understood at times. But this is Spider-Man we are talking about, who is pretty much THE face of Marvel Comics as far as superheroes are concerned yet people despise him in modern society. For some ungodly reason it’s usually something like “Fuck Spider-Man, he’s lame, I’m a fan of Batman” as if you can’t like both. People like this annoy me. These are the people that can’t watch both Star Trek and Star Wars, UFC and WWE, and usually can’t walk and chew gum at the same time. Still, there’s this huge influx of “fuck Spider-Man,” and I really don’t get it. Spider-Man was always cool growing up so… what happened?
Well, I can only say that I’m pretty sure for some reason some of the people in charge of Spider-Man hate him too because while I’ve always loved Spider-Man it feels like sometimes the powers that be make moves that have turned him from “your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man” into a “convoluted mess of a once-great superhero.”
For starters, the creation of Deadpool stole a lot of Spider-Man’s thunder. I love Deadpool – but the Merc with a Mouth ended up being the guy with the quips, puns and breaking of the 4th wall – it was like Spider-Man on crack-cocaine. And suddenly Spider-Man was too “family friendly” in comparison. I don’t see it as a problem because comics and their characters always borrow from one another but generally the “talkative witty superhero” was Spider-Man’s shtick first.
The movies began to take a bit of a dip in quality thanks to Marvel Studios becoming a proper film studio and showing up Sony’s renditions of superheroes but ultimately I feel like some people got really turned off by Spider-Man 3, and I can see some of the point due to the fact the movie was rushed, most people in the movie wanted out of their contracts and they tried to cram 3 villains into a very short time frame, as opposed to stretching out the stories of Venom, Sandman, and the 2nd Green Goblin etc. over another 3 films. However, that’s never been the fault of Spider-Man as a character.
I love Daredevil. But I can’t deny the first cinematic outing for the Man without Fear was kind of a ridiculous joke that felt like more of a 90 minute commercial for the Evanescence CD than it did an actual movie. It didn’t make the character bad, it was just not a good outing.
People weren’t too thrilled that Sony rebooted Spider-Man with Andrew Garfield in the role, and while there were minor gripes, it wasn’t that bad other than the fact that it was a little too soon to reboot Spider-Man after the initial trilogy ended and they probably didn’t need a re-telling of the origin story. Further complicating things after Amazing Spider-Man 2 happened, people were so sour on Affirmative Action Electro (I couldn’t get my eyes off of Jamie Fox’s racist caricature looking lips as Electro) and little-ugly-kid-who-isn’t-near-as-good-an-actor-as-James-Franco as Harry Osborn, Marvel got the rights BACK to Spider-Man through a deal with Sony, which will lead to a third reboot in less than 20 years – the problem with that is people are tired of Spider-Man origin stories. Also rumors of making him a “younger” Spider-Man have led to memes and jokes such as Spider-Man basically being a child.
If the cinematic complications of Spider-Man weren’t enough to turn people against him, the comics also went on a FUCK PETER PARKER bandwagon, including replacing him in one universe with Miles Morales, which was the first of what would be many high profile social-justice attempts to turn white male Marvel characters into something else (Morales is half-black and half-Hispanic).
I get that some people have come to like Miles Morales so much they want him to become the default Spider-Man in all media. But I’m old fashioned, and in my world Spider-Man is ALWAYS Peter Parker, so fuck you. And it wasn’t the only time in the past decade or so they tried to get rid of Peter Parker being Spider-Man. I’ve always felt what makes a character great is the character we make under the mask, so weird multiple attempts to phase out Peter Parker have just felt like they’re devaluing Marvel’s marquee superhero.
We had a clone of Peter Parker, Ben Reilly – he was Spider-Man for a while (formerly the Scarler Spider, who is a clone of Peter Parker; don’t try to even figure it out – that was a mess). We had Mac Gargan (Scorpion) become Venom and then become Spider-Man for a time. And very recently we had Dr. Octopus take over Peter Parker’s body and become Superior Spider-Man… and if that wasn’t enough we took away the hot girl from Peter Parker over the years by having Mary Jane divorce him so that we can have story arcs involving Doctor Octopus (in Peter's body) dating a fucking midget.
I get that Marvel has gone all social justice on us with female Thor, black Captain America, Asian Hulk, Muslim Ms. Marvel, and the list goes on and on (X-23 is Wolverine now, thus making Wolverine a female, in another “fuck white men” movement), but… Spider-Man dating a midget? That’s not equality. That’s a fucking joke. One of the coolest things about Spider-Man is geek becomes cool who gets the girl. But it’s impossible to look cool when your girlfriend needs to sit on phone books to drive a fucking car.
And speaking of Spider-Man’s girlfriend, I don’t know what feminist assclown decided to bring Gwen Stacy, Spider-Man’s girlfriend of old back from the dead as “Spider-Gwen” but not only is it devaluing to the main character, and annoying.
It seems to be a knee-jerk attempt to go GRRL PWR and YAY FEMINISM in the process of making Spidey look like more of a joke to the point that artists mocking this SJW-esque movement see Spider-Gwen as a representation of the “outraged female comic book ‘fan’ that whines on Tumblr” about gender and racial equality, and artists such as Frank Cho have made complete mockery of the SJW movement in comics, but that’s another story for another day.
With all this, it’s easy to see that some shit is so convoluted that it’s actually turned people AWAY from Spider-Man as a character, but not me. I love the origin story, I love the theme of “great power” coming with “great responsibility” and Peter Parker is a favorite. I feel like the bad ideas that they have thrown Spider-Man’s way are very blatantly and very obviously bad ideas, intended to make Spider-Man look bad, and many of these are due to Disney owning Marvel now and having a movement to “devalue” any franchises they cannot turn into films. With the rights now back under Marvel film studios, I can only hope that the continuation of trying to take a great character and nose dive him just so popular opinion goes against him ends and that the character that revolutionized comic books, Stan Lee’s baby boy, starts getting treated with a little more respect and dignity than a bunch of idiots who have never read comics in their lives claiming that “hur hur Spidey sucks.”