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Topic: Spider-Man. He’s a bit creepy isn’t he? Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Nathan Greno
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Posted: 15 December 2018 at 1:41am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Never got a creepy vibe... I guess I remember him having a "weird costume" (in a good way) when I was a kid -- but I've never thought of his look as creepy. 

Edited by Nathan Greno on 15 December 2018 at 1:41am
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Mike Norris
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Posted: 15 December 2018 at 2:18pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Now these folks are creepy. 


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John Byrne
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Posted: 19 December 2018 at 1:04pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Spider-Woman’s creepy vibe came from Archie Goodwin’s origin story, in which the High Evolutionary had used a real spider as his subject. Assigned to script the ongoing series, the next writer changed that to a normal human.
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 19 December 2018 at 10:26pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Mike, they're creepy AND they're spooky. They're altogether ooky.

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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 20 December 2018 at 4:35pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Archie Goodwin had some great ideas! Of course so did Stan Lee. I think these guys must've read a lot, and fairly widely. William Gaines at E.C. was another one.

When you put the context of the time of Spider-Man first appearing there was really nothing like him before. A teenager, low self-esteem, feeling cursed as much as blessed, a skinny misfit instead of a Charles Atlas/Flash Thompson jock, yet who could've wiped the beach with either of them. There was a lot going on for a 12 cent 'funny book'. The Thing and Hulk came more from the monster side but also had that dark side and pathos. People were supposed to be repelled by The Thing as he himself was, and they could've played that up a bit more with Peter Parker, but I guess he was mostly just a bookworm nerd before and after the spider bite to most of his peers.

The spider sense was another great idea on top of everything else, based on how a spider will freeze when you look at it or just notice it usually. Ditko used to do that thing too where half Peter's face would be the Spider-Man mask, often when his spider sense 'tingled', sort of lightly colored. I don't know if that little invention was ever used before, just brilliant visually and you could use that to show rather than explain Peter Parker is Spider-Man over and over for any new readers.


Edited by Rebecca Jansen on 20 December 2018 at 4:36pm
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 20 December 2018 at 9:25pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

In my heart of hearts, I know that Lee and Kirby’s FF run is the greatest run of superhero comics ever. I know it.


Yet, in the back of my mind, Lee and Ditko’s Spider-Man keeps nagging at me. Yes, it was only just over 1/3 the length of the FF run. Yes, it didn’t kickstart Marvel as we know it, or introduce major new characters and concepts in virtually every issue. Yes, it didn’t have Kirby’s cosmic scope or sense of energy.

But, in terms of themes, emotional involvement, and sheer sense of discovery and FUN, those early Spider-Man stories are hard to beat. 

Also, I think that Spider-Man is probably the greatest single character to ever come out of Marvel Comics. It’s no accident that he became the company mascot and a cultural icon.


Edited by Greg Kirkman on 20 December 2018 at 9:27pm
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Tim O Neill
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Posted: 20 December 2018 at 10:22pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply



I never thought Spider-Man was creepy, by any definition of the word.  The two defining traits that appealed to me as a kid were:

Sense of humor - No other hero joked his way through fights, taunting the criminals.  I loved this aspect to the character

Selflessness - So many heroes fight crime without revealing their identity, but it resonates with Peter Parker more than any other.  He is consistently down on his luck and knows he could make a bundle in show business, but he continues to fight the good fight

Come to think of it, these are the traits I admire to this day.

If the premise of this thread is that he would be creepy in “real life,” then I think it’s a flawed premise.  Early Marvel is some of the most skilled fiction I have ever read - these fantastic characters happen in the “real world,” and the characters respond accordingly.  To just focus on the fantasy elements (hero powers) of this is to miss the point by a country mile.




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Jim Muir
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Posted: 21 December 2018 at 2:47am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Late to the party on this one, but I never got the
feeling of creepy from Spider-Man. He came across as a
costumed menace by J.J.Jameson, a vigilante by the police
and a hero by joe public - I never got a creepy or
unsettling vibe from the character.
If anything, the way he constantly bantered with his
villains made him quite an upbeat and positive character.
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 21 December 2018 at 11:22am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

ITEM: Greg K., I don't mean to pander, but in respect, Mr. Byrne's run on FF was pretty respectable. I likely would add Spider-Man, but he had so many different (and great artists.) Still... that Lee-Ditko run was awfully danged good. So was Lee and Kirby's run on Thor (and oh, had Vince Colletta only been working for DC or Charlton at the time...)

ITEM: I don't think I'd try to characterize Spider-Man as creepy, geeky, heroic, friendly, neighborly, etc. He changed his approach depending on whom he was encountering. He and Robbie seemed to get on as well as anyone. When he and JJJ got together, he never missed an opportunity to rib him. Spidey and John Jameson seemed to be pretty good friends. And I would have liked to see him get along with kids, a lot (a la Casper)... but it seemed that Spider-Man was only active in the evenings or on weekends.

He was an entirely new "bug" and different reaction seemed very natural to me.


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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 21 December 2018 at 11:45am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Greg K., I don't mean to pander, but in respect, Mr. Byrne's run on FF was pretty respectable.
+++++++++

Hey, I’m a huge fan of JB’s FF! But—and I’m sure he’d be the first to point it out—he was just playing with the toys which had already been created by giants. 

Lee and Kirby’s FF essentially built Marvel as we know it. Lee and Ditko’s Spider-Man basically perfected and epitomized the “superhero with a headache” trope which Marvel became so beloved for.


Edited by Greg Kirkman on 21 December 2018 at 11:38pm
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Michael Penn
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Posted: 21 December 2018 at 1:18pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

"Creepy" and Spider-Man? Never even a remote thought!

The personality of Peter Parker came through too perfectly for me not to "see" him beneath the costume.
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 21 December 2018 at 4:30pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Within the stories themselves, Spider-Man's appearance and manner are supposed to be vaguely upsetting. Aunt May finds him unnerving. J. Jonah Jameson has capitalized on his eerie look. And, according to Marvel editorial at one point, the official in-universe Spider-Man comic portrayed the character as freakish and vaguely reptilian. 



This is what the in-universe version of Marvels Comics Group, "The World's Most Accurate Comics," tells its readers Spider-Man is like.

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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 21 December 2018 at 9:59pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

That top piece is from an editorial in the Daily Bugle over-emphasizing the "threat or menace" treatment - I believe it was in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #15. Not from the Marvels series as far as I recall. So it was intended to be extra-creepy.

The bottom image might have been from Marvels series - I've no idea.
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 21 December 2018 at 11:35pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

I do mention J. Jonah and his use of Spidey's appearance to demonize him to his readership in my opening. 

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