Spider-Man has been popping up in the movies since 1977, when Nicholas Hammond took on the role of Peter Parker/Spider-Man for a live-action television series that was later put on the big screen. But Marvel’s friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man has been appearing in comics for even longer, with his first appearance dating back to 1962 via the pages of Amazing Fantasy #15.
That first appearance detailed Spidey’s origins, from a mild-mannered teenager who is bitten by a radioactive spider, to a wrestler, and then finally a superhero. The story also explained the importance of power and responsibility and introduced Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben and Aunt May – two key character’s in the Spider-Man mythology.
But who created Spider-Man?
Spider-Man was the creation of two people – writer Stan Lee and artist and co-plotter Steve Ditko. The character was created for inclusion in a soon-to-be-cancelled comic book for Marvel Comics, with not much thought beyond.
According to Lee – in an oft-recounted story – he got the idea for Spider-Man when he saw a fly crawling on a wall, while some stories suggest it was Ditko who saw the fly. But between Lee and Ditko, the pair created an icon, with Lee providing the name and Ditko creating the costume.
Upon making his debut, Spider-Man proved to be an extremely popular character with readers, and this convinced Marvel to bring the character back for more stories via his own comic, The Amazing Spider-Man. The book made its debut in early 1963 and featured two stories, with one focusing on Spidey’s attempts to join the Fantastic Four and the other story introducing the villainous Chameleon.
Issue #1 of The Amazing Spider-Man was a hit with readers and the book quickly became a big seller for Marvel Comics. Over the course of the next few issues, the comic introduced many of Spidey’s most iconic villains, including the Vulture, Doctor Octopus, the Sandman, Electro and Mysterio, amongst others.
Steve Ditko remained as the artist/co-plotter of The Amazing Spider-Man for 38 issues, while Stan Lee continued as writer on the book until issue #100. While Lee often gets cited as the creator of Spider-Man, getting the character off the ground was very much a collaboration between Lee and Ditko.
And from that first appearance in Amazing Fantasy, Spider-Man went on to become a hugely successful character and the flagship star of the Marvel Universe.