Spider-Man. The Webslinger. The Wallcrawler. Puny Parker. Spider-Man. Stan Lee may have been on something there, though I'd still like to see what would have happened if he went for Dung Beetle-Man like he first envisioned.
Spider-Man is about power and responsibility. And ironically enough it's not about a man at all. It should really be called "Spider-Boy". As if you didn't know, Peter Parker is a lame loser who lives in Queens and gets picked on daily by the jocks in his too clean to be realistic NY high school. Then he gets bitten by a spider and things change. This is where I talk about the changes, not only in Peter himself, but in the original story of the man spider and his many comic book and movie retellings.
It all started out simply enough in the early sixties with an AMAZING FANTASY-like tale about a nerdy student who got bitten by a radioactive spider. This boy then gets some super duper powers like the ability to make gay costumes, the mastery of sticky string, and cosmic knowledge of the ins and outs of talking like a complete loser. Actually, everybody in the early issues of Spider-Man talked as if they were completely out of touch with not only real teenagers of the day, but the planet Earth in general. Stan Lee may have had some sweet ideas for his time, but he could not write for any character other than 60 year old men with bad haircuts and Hitler mustaches. Overuse of the words "groovy", "cat" (in reference to people), and "groovy lesbian fish eating cats" completely date the original webcrawler and still make people today ponder if teenagers in 1962 really did all have sticks up their asses and speak as if they were reading bad bad cue cards written by Rip Taylor on a stoner-boner trip. My parents refuse to tell me the truth.
Now, flash forward almost forty years. The original Spider-Man had aged only about 10 years, had gotten married, cloned (20 times too many), a new alien costume and some cool and some lame new super villains. For the most part though Peter Parker had begun to blow. The Gwen Stacy incident and the creation of Venom are the only cool parts that I can think of right now. That's only 2 plot points in over 40 years! that just ain't right. Anyway, somebody at Marvel Comics thought the same thing, but at least he had the ability to do something about it. He (whoever he truly is... I'm too lazy to look it up) decided to have the spandex-wonder rebirthed. Thus, Ultimate Spider-Man was created. And there was much celebration.
US-M started from scratch on the origin of the web designer. It's the 2000s and Piss Ant Parker is bitten by a spider that's been lab tested on by Osborn Inc. (the company owned by Peter's sort of friend's dad, Norman Osborn). This is what makes this series so much better than the original. The 60s comic book takes about 3 pages to chronicle Peter Parker's loser-ness and quick rise to web god. And all of his enemies are random encounters with nuts in even gayer suits. Where as the new millennium Spider story takes its time in setting everything up and totally revolves around that fateful arachnid bite. Because of that bite Norman Osborn turns himself into the Green Goblin. Because of the Green Goblin the crazed Doc Ock is fused with some mechanical arms. And because of Peter's callousness after getting the shaft in the wrestling ring his Uncle Ben gets a cap up his ass and the Spider is soon introduced to the Kingpin. Everything spirals out from there. Plus lots of people know who Spider-Man is from the very beginning. All in all US-M is off to a much better start than the original Amazing Spider-Man. And I'm especially glad that the overrated Fantastic Four don't pop up in every other issue.
Finally, on to the year 2002. We meet up with the rugged deliverer of the Evil Dead, Sam Raimi, and his crew of Tobey, Willem, and Kirsten. Their gift to the world of superhero cinema is in the form of Spider-Man the Motion Picture! We get one more brandtastic origin story (genetically enhanced spider bites Peter, Uncle Ben dies in a carjacking, Mary Jane is Peter's next door neighbor [which is perfect for some almost scary voyeristic moments], and the Green Goblin looks like a Power Rangers' reject who should be stomping through mini-skyscrapers instead of launching pumpkin bombs and missiles) with this 2 hour spectucular too. While the movie is not my favorite Spidey yarn, it is one of my fave comic book films of all time. Actually, that one scene with a wet Mary Jane jumping up and down in the cold cold rain puts it slightly above the X-Men into the top spot. Good stuff. Go see (though judging by its box office take you already have. Four times).
Back in my day, comic books were strange and kooky. The first Human Torch was an advanced cyborg bent on being the biggest flamer in the world. Superman was a freaky alien who could only "jump" over buildings and was greatly harmed by a glowing green rock. And let's not forget the Batman. The orphaned son of rich industrialists who put on panyhose and big ears to fight a clown and a bird man all around a gothic city. Classics, all of them.
Then the big gay 60s rolled around and the hippies of the day apparently needed some new heroes. I guess the bat and his boy lover weren't gay enough for those long-haired peace freaks, as the homo-erotic Spider-man was given a book deal. People were all like, "He swings, baby!" and "Those tights are giving me a penis wedgie, baby!" It was all very disturbing. Though to be fair, it was Peter Parker himself that got me into the sciences in the first place. It all started out back when I wanted to dissect the fruitcake to see what made the radioactive bug-boy tick. I still think he's chock full of insects and stuff just like the Oogie Boogie Man in the Nightmare Before Christmas. Now that Spider-Man is real (in the form of Tobey Maguire), I just might have my chance to cut the monstrosity open like a fish and attach some electrodes to his testes for some much anticipated experiments. MUCH anticipated.
Ho-lee-sheet! A man... with the powers of a spider?!?! What a fuckin' concept!.... about 70 years ago! Jee-zus, man, I mean what with all the hip-hoppin' human genetic manipulation goin' on in the world today, you just know we could make a REAL man spider that actually looked cool too and didn't needs ta be dressin' up in all that blue and red Dorothy-luvin' tights and shit. My man spider would look like a 7 foot tall tarantula with 16 arms (with genetic manipulation this be easily possible for evil Dr. Moreaus and their midget helpers). Big hairy fangs the size of 2 liter soda bottles would be hyper-rugged in biting off the heads of flying Nazi goblins and all too. Webs? My man spider be shootin' out webs from his fuckin' ASS. Webs from the wrist is all shat up. The MegaPlayboy man spider is the kind of bad ass muthafucka that sees a pussy-like vulture man and chews him up like Big League Chew! Then he stomps that crap-jockey Venom flatter than Mariah Carey's singin' voice. THEN he reaches out of the damn mofo comic and bitch slaps you till you don't know anymore! Take that, you web slingin', back door ringin' Parker! And sit on it!