We've seen him in the movies. We grew up watching him on TV. If you're into comics, you may have read some of his adventures. But do you know how Peter Parker became a super hero?
In Marvel Comics "Amazing Fantasy" Issue 15, the other teens refer to Peter Parker as a bookworm or a wallflower. Stan Lee introduces us to two of them: Sally, who rejects Peter, and Flash Thompson, whom she (and all the other schoolgirls) finds dreamy.
While his Aunt and Uncle adore him, and his teachers believe he's smart enough to earn a scholarship, Peter finds the rejection of his classmates hard to take.
|Good thing experiments involving radiation |
were open to the public in the 1960s.
Peter attends a demonstration in the Science Hall. Despite the crowd assembled therein, no one notices a spider crawl into the equipment.
|Public Health Warning:|
Spider bites hurt!
Deciding to capitalize on his new abilities, Peter makes a costume, and uses his scientific knowledge to develop web shooters. Then he goes on TV, and makes money from personal appearances. Stardom seems within his grasp, and he seems destined to get his own TV show, or become a movie star.
As he emerges from the TV studio one night, a cop calls out, asking for his assistance in apprehending a criminal. Despite his strength, abilities, and web shooters, Peter merely lets the criminal run past.
At first, this seems hard to understand. But then:
Of course, we all know what happens later. The criminal Peter could have helped capture robs their home. In the process, he kills uncle Ben. Spider-Man captures the man, and hands him into the police.
As Stan Lee admits, no one thought Spider-Man would become a great super hero. But thanks to public fascination with the character, he and later writers would be able to enhance our knowledge of Peter, his world, and his past. Peter would go on to fight villains like the Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus. He would fall in love with girls like Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane Watson. He would develop friendships with Harry Osborn and Doctor Connors. This first story is only eleven pages long, and contains none of that rich cast of characters. We don't even hear much from his uncle, except a joking complaint that Peter is starting to beat him (occasionally) at arm-wrestling!
Yet one moral shines through this initial story. No matter our situation, our station in life, or how little others esteem us, we all have a responsibility to the world around us. How each of us contribute to others' lives reveals the gifts and abilities with which we have been entrusted, and the character which makes each of us special. (Or should I say super?)
Related Internet Links
A 1998 interview with Stan Lee at www.barnesandnoble.com