Our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is officially 60 years old. On June 5th 1962, the wall-crawler debuted in Amazing Fantasy #15, and the rest is history. Spider-Man is easily one of the most well-known and profitable characters from comics. This is evidenced by the box office grosses of virtually any Spider-Man film. You have the toys, video games, multiple animated series, comics, and other avenues I’m probably forgetting to mention. So with all that being said, how do you celebrate the 60th birthday of a beloved icon?
When I think of Spider-Man, I reflect back to the 1994 animated series. [Editor’s Note: Pretty much every Spider-Man animated series is on Disney+!] I was 9 at the time, and I vividly remember the first episode, “Night of the Lizard.” Peter Parker’s wisecracks were front and center as was his relationship with Dr. Connors, the man who would become his reptilian adversary. I followed the show as much as I could but in later seasons, as singular stories expanded into arcs, I lost touch with how things were progressing and couldn’t make sense of some of the plot elements.
About two years ago, I went back and rewatched the series from start to finish. Sadly it didn’t hold up as well as I thought it would. Some of the dialogue was far too expositional, and many of the episodes had a pacing that felt rushed. It did, however, open up many avenues into other Marvel Comics characters like Doctor Strange, Iron Man, Punisher, and Blade. There was also the appearance of Morbius and his desire for plasma, since the writers couldn’t use the word blood in that context.
Along with that memory though is one of the Super Nintendo game, “Maximum Carnage,” based on the Spider-Man comic series and graphic novel of the same name. The 1994 title was something I always coveted, but never got my hands on until much later in life. Come to find out the game was way more difficult than it had any right to be and I wasn’t missing much.
But the PlayStation “Spider-Man” title released in 2000 was different. Developed by Neversoft using their engine from “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater,” the game was one of the first truly quality titles for old Webhead. The title would bring him a number of new fans, alongside a great version of his original animated theme song by Apollo 440.
Obviously there have been so many more highlights for Spidey following this time period, but for me at least, this is where it all began. This was a time period where the character had the chance to endear itself to me, and he did. When I would later go on to enjoy the Sam Raimi trilogy of films, or Spider-Man appearing in games like “Marvel Ultimate Alliance,” and eventually his own PS4 title. All of which ties back to those formative days of my Spider-Man appreciation. So on his birthday, those are the things I want to celebrate, the pieces of media that drew me into that world in the first place.
Here’s to many more years to come Spidey, Happy Birthday.