google-site-verification: googlee8ae134d89e446c0.html Playing Hero World: Let me tell you about Spider-man

Friday, 31 July 2015

Let me tell you about Spider-man

For we to understand the Super Hero genre, we must look at the archetypes created by it, or better yet, used by it. Let me tell you about Spider-man already!

Spider-man is an iconic character yet strange character that somehow keeps turning in the mainstream.
What is his appeal?
How a concept as silly as a young man dressed in a weird yet strangely cool suit somehow, someway floated as something worthy of note. What is the value of Spider-man? Why is he such a memorable character anyway?

Let me tell you about Spider-man.

Spider-man is a character that from his inception, had a story of struggle between writer-artist. He started as a throwaway tale (though there are some hints they were trying to push the character if you read the editorial section of Amazing Fantasy ³15) about a costumed hero that was "different".

See, Peter Parker (Spider-man's true identity) was no hero at all.
He was just a kid who got powers. He designed a slick suit because he wanted to profit from it. This wasn't a concept that was ignored when he got his own magazine either: For the formation years, Spider-man was about the struggle of a young man with a unique talent that was incomprehensible by those around him (Even his Aunt was afraid of Spider-man, courtesy of the newspapers!).
There are some books that go on about how Steve Ditko and Stan Lee differences made them butt heads, changing certain aspects of the character (Ditko would draw a scene where Peter would act condescending towards some college age students for protesting for social causes, while Lee would write Peter as giving them support. Or so it is written in the book Marvel Comics: The Untold Story).

The other anchor to the character at that age, and what defines the modern and the often accepted 'canon' of the mainstream aspect and appeal of the character is responsability.

'With great power comes great responsibility'

That iconic phrase sprang up at the end of Spider-man's debut.
Because Spider-man acted selfishly and let a criminal run away from a tv show he was acting on, said criminal ended up shooting his uncle.
The point that stuck with Peter was that could've been anyone's Uncle. If he has the power, he must use it for good. He cannot sit on top of it and let the world be a worse place because he can change it.

Don't we all have some unique talent? Aren't we all a bit like meek Peter Parker?
Don't we all have some short of power? Be our own work, or our bonds with family and friends... Doesn't that entice some responsibility as well?

Spider-man is about a freak, a pariah that is still a functional member of society trying to make a world a better place, because he can.
That is a powerful message still to this day. It's a call to arms, a rally cry to keep at it, to use your talents to make the world a better place than before.

Spider-man artwork by Chema Mansilia

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