OLD GUY

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BECOMING

Chris R-1-92 Image by Christine Renney

Okay, so – do we really need to do this again? Well actually I think we do.

Peter Parker is a Grade A Science Student. Awkward and shy he is bullied and taunted by his classmates at school – they call him ‘weakling’ and ‘bookworm’.

Peter is bitten by a radioactive spider and he quickly develops super powers, and when I say quickly I really do mean quickly.
Stan Lee and Steve Ditko don’t waste time in establishing “The Amazing Spiderman”. He bursts forth from the pages of the first few strips fully formed. His costume, garishly colourful, is designed for the wrestling ring where Peter hopes to make some extra cash.
A wrestling promoter swindles Peter and refusing to help this man he lets a robber go free. When the same man murders Peter’s Uncle Ben, he learns that ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ and his work as a crime fighter begins. But the necessity to earn money is always at the forefront of his mind, especially now there is just him and his Aunt May.

In 1962 Marvel was threatened with closure. Lee and Ditko didn’t know how much time they had and if their latest character would survive. In fact, in Strip No. 4 “The Chameleon” Spiderman is no longer Peter Parker but Peter Palmer. What happened? Did Lee momentarily forget? Anyhow, it is certainly evidence that he and Ditko were working under some pressure and perhaps it helps to explain why the origin story is so rushed.

Of course “The Spiderman” did survive and Peter Parker is a teenager and his story is and has always been one of becoming. And it is good to know that he is still out there – striving to do more and to be better.