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Spider-Man
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Spider-Man

Spider-Man (Peter Benjamin Parker) is a comic book superhero in the Marvel Comics universe. He was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, and first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962).

Spider-Man is the quintessential Marvel character. Blessed with extraordinary abilities, he is beset by the travails and problems of ordinary life. His power gives him the ability to do good, but does not allow him to improve his lot. The main theme of the Spider-Man series is "With great power comes great responsibility."

Spider-Man is tremendously popular, having appeared in many different comic book series (most notably The Amazing Spider-Man), as well as films, television shows, animated series, and a comic strip.

Table of contents
1 Character History
2 Abilities
3 Equipment
4 Spidey's Comics
5 Adaptations
6 Enemies
7 Other Spider-Men
8 Spider-Man in music
9 External link

Character History

Peter Parker was born to Richard Parker and his wife Mary Fitzpatrick-Parker, both of whom were agents of the CIA and later of S.H.I.E.L.D (a fictional secret agency). Their last assignment was the infiltration as double-agents of the organization of Albert Malik, who had taken on the name of Red Skull in the absence of the original. Albert found out about their plans and arranged a plane-crash that resulted in their deaths.

After his parents' death the infant Peter Parker was left in the care of his Uncle Ben and Aunt May (Richard's older brother Benjamin Parker and his wife May Reilly-Parker), who were both in the Forest Hills neighborhood of Queens, New York City. Ben immediately took to the role of the boy's father but May was at first reluctant. She still remembered her parents blaming her own birth for the destruction of their marriage, and she was afraid that Peter might signal the end of her own marriage. In time, however, she warmed up to Peter, who unexpectedly strengthened the couple's marriage. Though Peter was always loved by the aging couple he was unpopular among those of his own age. Over time he grew to be a rather lonely, timid teenager who showed more interest in his studies and science in general than in any kind of social life. He was often the target of jokes by more popular fellow students like Flash Thompson, the high-school's star athlete.

When he was 16 years old, Parker attended a science exhibit where he was bitten by a spider which had been irradiated. The spider bite gave Parker an array of superhuman powers, including the proportional speed, strength and agility of a spider, a so-called "spider-sense" that would warn him of impending danger, a fast-healing ability that allows him to quickly recover from injuries and poisons, and the ability to stick to walls. A lesser effect was the improvement of his eyesight. Originally near-sighted and bespectacled, he now has perfect vision.

In addition to his physical powers, Spider-Man uses mechanical web shooters to spin webs in a variety of ways.

Though the death of a loved one is a commonplace motive for crime-fighting in comics, Spider-Man is driven by guilt rather than revenge. Initially, Parker designed a costume and adopted the identity of Spider-Man in order to win money as a wrestler. His ego grew with his fame, and when he had the chance to stop a thief, Parker chose to do nothing, feeling he no longer had to look after anyone but himself. Upon learning that his beloved Uncle Ben had been killed by a burglar, Parker charged into action as Spider-Man. To his horror, he learned that the burglar who had killed his Uncle Ben was the same thief he had earlier allowed to escape. He devoted himself to fighting injustice in memory of his uncle, driven by the sense of responsibility the older man instilled in him.

Spider-Man eternally tries to do the right thing, but is viewed with suspicion by many authority figures. He is often considered little more than a lawbreaker himself, thanks largely to a smear campaign by J. Jonah Jameson, publisher of the daily newspaper the Daily Bugle. Ironically, Parker works as a freelance photographer for Jameson, selling photographs of himself as Spider-Man.

As originally conceived by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, Peter Parker was something of an everyman character. However, as with many characters spanning a lengthy publishing history and handled by multiple creators, Spider-Man's history is somewhat convoluted. He continued working as a freelance photographer for the Daily Bugle and living with his elderly and somewhat fragile Aunt May until he graduated from high school. He enrolled in the fictional Empire State University where he befriended Harry Osborn, who was in fact the son of his arch-enemy the Green Goblin, and Gwen Stacy, with whom he would have a lengthy romance.

Stacy was eventually killed by the Green Goblin, who himself seemingly died soon thereafter in battle with Spider-Man. Parker eventually wed long-time friend, Mary Jane Watson, an occasional fashion model and actress, though not before he engaged in lengthy on-again off-again relationship with semi-criminal Black Cat.

This marriage did not overly affect his career as a crime-fighter, until it was discovered that she was pregnant. This caused him to retire for a time, turning the mantle of Spider-Man over to Ben Reilly. After Reilly was killed by the Green Goblin and his daughter apparently stillborn, he returned to the role (an alternate version of his daughter who survived later got her own title, set 15 years into the future, titled Spider-Girl). Later, the stresses of his dual identity coupled with Mary Jane's tempestuous career as a model/actress and capricious editorial mandates led to the two separating. However, the two later reconciled.

Currently, Parker works as a science teacher at his old high school, lives in a Manhattan apartment, and receives the occasional visit from his Aunt May (who was at one point thought dead--but the elderly woman who died turned out to be an actress who impersonated her). She has finally learned the truth about her nephew's secret identity.

Abilities

The irradiated spider's bite caused a variety of physiological mutations in Spider-Man's body that mirror the characteristics of the animal.

His physical strength, agility, and reflexes were greatly improved. He gained a fast-healing ability that allows him to recover quickly from mild to moderate injuries (although nowhere near as quickly as X-man Wolverine). In addition, his vision also lost its myopia.

Spider-Man also gained the ability to adhere to any smooth surface, allowing to him to support more than his own weight while on a vertical surface or upside down. He can also grip any solid object with any part of his body as long as it can accommodate the mass of the object. For instance, if he wanted to catch a ball, all he would really need is one fingertip to make contact. It has been theorized that his body can consciously attract the basic molecules of a solid object when pressed against it. Another idea is that this ability is similar to static electricity.

Spider-Man's most subtle power is his spider-sense. A form of clairvoyance or sixth sense, it unconsciously activates and alerts him to any threat to himself, manifesting as a tingling at the back of his skull. While it cannot tell him of the exact nature of the threat, Spider-Man can judge the severity of it by the intensity of the tingling. For instance, if an enemy passes by Spider-Man with no intention of interacting with him, the spider-sense would give a low signal indicating that he should be alert for a possible danger. On the other hand, if there is an immediate lethal physical danger to Parker such as a sniper is taking aim and about to fire for a kill shot, the spider-sense's tingling would take on an almost painful intensity to indicate an need to take extreme evasive action without hesitation.

The spider-sense not only alerts Spider-Man to threats to his physical safety, but it also warns him to threats to his privacy such as being observed while changing identities. Spider-Man also uses the spider-sense as a means to time his evasive maneuvers to the point where he can avoid multiple gunshots or machine gun fire. When combined with his superhuman reflexes and agility, this makes him an extremely difficult target who is almost impossible to shoot in combat. Extremely skilled martial artists taking Spidey on hand to hand often have better luck wounding him, but he's no slouch in that department either.

Although his spider-sense has saved his life innumerable times, Spider-Man has learned the hard way that it can be beaten. For instance, the Green Goblin once secretly attacked him with a gas that temporarily suppressed this perceptive ability, allowing the supervillain to shadow him and learn his secret identity. Additionally, the alien symbiote component of his enemy Venom is not recognized by the spider-sense. This gives the supervillain an edge that Spider-Man often has trouble countering.

The phrase "My spider-sense is tingling" has since become an ironic catch phrase in American pop culture.

Equipment

Although he is usually of limited financial means, Spider-Man has developed personal equipment that plays an important role in his superhero career

Web-shooters

The most important of this equipment are his web-shooters. They are wrist mounted guns that fire a strong adhesive of his own design. The trigger rests in the palm, which is carefully positioned to prevent unwanted firings like when he is making a fist.

The default setting has the adhesive threaded through a special mesh to take on a spider web like design. The substance dries almost immediately into a strong material that can support very heavy loads: into the one-ton range. Typical uses of his webs include creating long swing lines which he uses to travel through the cavernous chasms between the Manhattan high-rises. He can change the setting to a wide spray to ensnare criminals, and to form protective shields or nets. He can also form crude objects with a heavy application. In addition, when Spider-Man desires it, he can fire the web fluid as a straight liquid when he needs to use the substance's maximum adhesive strength. However, the default meshed spray generally allows for sufficient strength while being more versatile in its use and easier to remove when desired. The substance is formulated to dissolve after one hour which is generally sufficient time for Spider-Man's needs while ensuring the webs he makes do not cause undue litter. In addition, Parker can modify the fluid formulation to suit particular specialized needs when called for. The web-shooters can also be used to expel other liquids, using interchangeable cartridges, but are only seldom used to do this.

Spider Tracers

Spider-Man has also developed small electronic "spider-tracers" which allow him to track objects or individuals. The outer casing is shaped like a spider and is designed to cling to a target without attracting attention. While he originally threw his tracers at a target in the hopes that at least one hits, he later developed a wrist launcher which ejects tracers above the wrist while the web is fired from below to allow for more precise and reliable applications of the tracers.

Spider-Man originally used a small receiver device to follow the tracers. However, he eventually learned that he could tune the tracer signal frequency to his own spider-sense for more convenient use, but the receiver is still used as a back-up and long-range measure.

Other Equipment

Spider-Man keeps his regular field equipment in a specially designed utility belt that contains his web fluid cartridges and his tracers.

It also carries his camera, which has a extended rear metal plate that allows him to use his web to position it without interfering with its functions. The camera also has an automatic shutter mechanism linked to a internal motion detector so it will take a picture whenever Spider-Man moves in front of the camera lens.

Finally, the belt contains a strong light called a Spider Signal that creates an image of his mask when activated. He typically uses it not only for a light source, but as a way of unnerving opponents and to call attention.

In addition, the Human Torch once gave Spider-Man a car called the Spidermobile which had a paint job and modifications that follow his spider motif. Unfortunately, Spider-Man had never learned to drive and he crashed the car soon after receiving it.

Also, early on in his career, Peter bought a motorcycle.

Spidey's Comics

Spider-Man first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15. After that he was given his own series. Many followed:

Adaptations

Television

Spider-Man has been adapted to
television numerous times, through a short-lived live-action television series and several animated cartoon series. The first was produced in 1967 by Grantray-Lawrence Animation, which soon went bankrupt. In 1968, animator Ralph Bakshi took over. Bakshi's episodes, which suffered from extremely low budgets, were stylized and featured dark ominous settings and pervasive background music. The series may be best remembered for its theme song. Spider-Man was voiced originally by Bernard Cowan and later by Paul Soles.

Spider-Man was also an occasional character in the children's educational show The Electric Company.

In 1980, with the creation of the animation studio Marvel Productions Ltd., Marvel endeavored to translate more of their comic characters to television. Towards this end the cartoon series Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends was created featuring Spider-Man, Iceman of the X-Men, and a new character, Firestar. Actor Dan Gilvezan gave voice to this incarnation of the wall-crawler. In the early 1990s, another successful series was made with a bigger budget and closer fidelity to the comics. In 2003, another animated television series adaptation, this time with computer animation was produced by Mainframe Entertainment and broadcast on MTV.

In 1977, a short-lived live action television series was produced, starring Nicholas Hammond in the title role. Although the series earned good ratings, fans complained about its low-budget production values and its writing, which neither followed the comics' spirit nor provided adventures that were distinctively appropriate for the character. The CBS Television Network cancelled it, along with Wonder Woman, to avoid being called "the superhero network."

Film

In May 2002, the film Spider-Man was released. It was directed by Sam Raimi and starred actor Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker. The film featured a number of impressive CGI effects to bring Spider-Man to life. Though the film adaptation took a number of liberties with the character's history and powers, most notably giving him organic web-shooters rather than mechanical, it was essentially true to the character and was widely embraced by the viewing public. Earning more than $403 million at U.S. box offices, it was the highest-grossing movie of the year, outperforming Star Wars: Attack of the Clones (the first Star Wars movie not to be the biggest box-office hit of the year). Spider-Man 2 was released on June 30, 2004; Spider-Man 3 will be released on May 4, 2007. Spider-Man 1 went on to become the fifth highest-grossing film in North American history -- not adjusting for inflation -- with a total take of more than $900 million internationally.

As of July 2004, Spider-Man 2 may be on track to become 2004's most financially successful movie -- perhaps even the highest-grossing release in history.

It has already broken a number of records. It premiered in more North American movie theaters than any previous movie. Its first-day gross ($40.5 million) surpassed its predecessor's $39.4 million record. The only higher single-day movie gross was Shrek 2's $44.8 million in the first weekend of its May 2004 release.

Spider-Man 2's opening-day gross was even more impressive for occurring on a Wednesday, usually a weak day of the week for movies. The first Spider-Man's opening-day record was set on Friday, a more traditional opening day; Shrek 2's record-breaking day was the Saturday after the Wednesday of its release.

Spider-Man 2's three-day weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) total failed to beat its predecessor's $114.8 million record, but its six-day $180.1 million total outpaced The Matrix Reloaded's $146.9 million mark.

Video Games

Spider-Man first appeared in video game form in 1982, in the Parker Brothers game "Spider-Man" for the Atari 2600. Subsequently, Spider-Man games were created by Acclaim, Sega, Paragon Software Corporation, LJN, and Activision for various video game consoles over the years.

Most recently, the 2004 video game "Spider-Man 2" by Activision was released along with the "Spider-Man 2" movie. Like the movie, it opened to critical and commercial success.

Enemies

Spider-Man has one of the best-known list of enemies in comics (his Rogues Gallery). Among the most infamous supervillains he encounters regularly are:

Other Spider-Men

In the comics, others have used the Spider-Man identity. These include:
Spider-Men in other comic continuities include:

Spider-Man in music

The theme song to the 1960s cartoon rendition of Spider-Man (called Spider-Man) has been covered by:

External link