Fans Reflect on Diverse Appeal When Spider-Man Turns 60

NEW YORK (AP) — Spider-Man fandom is in Tyler Scott Hoover’s blood — but not because he was bitten by an irradiated arachnid. His father had been collecting Marvel comics featuring the character since the 1970s.

“He gave me a lot of comics,” says Huber, 32, of Glen Burnie, Maryland. “It’s kind of like a religion. It would have been hard if I hadn’t been a Spider-Man fan.”

Spider-Man fans abound as they celebrate their 60th anniversary this month in the vast and imaginative world of comics, movies and merch. Some of those fans are diehards like Hoover, a professional Spider-Man cosplayer and model. But in the world of movies and comics, Black his Spider-Man is real.

Hoover is biracial — of black and white ancestry — and stands at 6 feet 2 inches. And his fandom story makes a point about New York City’s favorite super-powered wall crawler. That character’s appeal long ago transcended its first iteration as a white, unimposing orphaned teenager.

The Spider-Man character’s classic costume, complete with wide-open eyes and a spiderweb-patterned mask, is a key component of the character’s appeal across races, genders, and nationalities. Underrated smart pants that power up for good after a quick change into head-to-toe spandex.

“As I got older, I slowly but surely found out how relatable that character was,” says Hoover. I’ve had to work through hardships while doing things, and that kind of moral compass is especially powerful for impressionable minds.”

More importantly, Hoover notes that Spider-Man’s struggle to protect his homeland makes the character more believable than a superhero whose origin story involves wealth and influence. It’s no coincidence that we call him “your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.”

Created by the late Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, Spider-Man appeared in comics as early as June 1962, but the canonical debut date is August 10, 1962, in Marvel’s Amazing Fantasy #15. High school student Peter Parker, who was bitten by a spider during a science experiment, developed superhuman strength, the ability to cling to hard surfaces, and quick reflexes fueled by the ability to sense and anticipate danger.

But on his journey to becoming a superhero, Parker fails to stop the thief who killed Uncle Ben, leaving his adoptive aunt a widow. The character then strives to honor the final words of its debut issue. These words were later attributed to his uncle.

Racially and culturally diverse superheroes were generally absent from the mainstream comics scene during their first decades, but began to appear, especially at Marvel, after Spider-Man’s debut.

In 1966, Black Panther, also known as Prince T’Challa of the fictional reclusive African nation of Wakanda, became Black Marvel’s first comic book superhero. Debuting in the 1970s were characters such as Storm, the mutant goddess best known as a member of Marvel’s X-Men. Marvel’s once-imprisoned Black Harlemite, Luke Cage possesses superhuman strength and nearly impenetrable skin. Master martial artist Shang-Chi, one of Asia’s first Marvel superheroes. Red Wolf, a skilled marksman and first native his American Marvel superhero.

“When we think of superheroes, we sometimes think of billionaires in suits, brilliant scientists, or even the Norse gods,” says Marvel’s Voices podcast host and upcoming book My Super Hero. Is Black co-author Angelique Rochet.

Spider-Man, she says, flipped the idea of ​​mostly privileged humans using their wealth and power to become heroes. Recurrences of Spider-Man in comics and movies have appeared in multiple universes, the so-called “Spiderverses.” Teenage Afro her Latino Spider-Man Miles Morales has become very popular and has starred in her own feature-length animated film. Korean-American Cindy Moon, known as Silk, was bitten by the same spider as Peter Parker.

“Spider-Man means a lot to us, so we should always be open to possibilities,” says Rocher. “We should always hope and believe that there will never be a shortage of people willing to fight for what is right.”

In July, Spider-Man was inducted into the Comic-Con Hall of Fame at the annual convention in San Diego.

Thanks to the mask, Spider-Man was a safer choice for cosplayers who wanted to avoid die-hard purists, or who criticized others for deviating from the canonical representation of the superhero. , cosplay doesn’t have to be canon, says Andrew Liptak, historian and author of the book Cosplay, History: Builders, Fans, and Makers Bringing Your Favorite Stories to Life.

“Ultimately it’s about your relationship with the characters,” he says. “You literally wear your fandom on your sleeve.”

Liptak also says it’s unfair to expect fans of color to only dress up as superheroes who look or have the same skin tone as them.

In the recent movie “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” the villain Electro, played by Academy Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx, joked to Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man that he was surprised that Spider-Man wasn’t black. Whether or not that opens the door to a live-action Black Spider-Man in future films, Hoover says Spider-Man shouldn’t fit into a one-time appearance.

“Some people would argue that if you turn Spider-Man black, you can make T’Challa white,” Hoover says. “Spider-Man was never really defined by his ethnicity, but his social status and the struggles he went through are more important. There are many struggles in life that one must endure.” So it’s even more relevant to people of color and people of different ethnicities.

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