As May Parker once said, “Everybody loves a hero. People line up for them, cheer them, scream their names. And years later, they’ll tell how they stood in the rain for hours just to get a glimpse of the one who taught them how to hold on a second longer.”
In my life there have been quite a few times where I needed to hold on a second longer. Had Spider-Man not been a part of it, I’m not sure how many times I would’ve succeeded. Sounds dramatic, right? Maybe it’s an exaggeration, maybe it isn’t, but the point is, huge parts of my life have been saved by a fictional character who dresses in red and blue spandex and has a love life akin to that of a dating sim. If it sounds ridiculous, that’s because it absolutely is, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I don’t recall exactly when it was when I first met Spider-Man, but I have a vague recollection. It was one day in late 2002 or early 2003 when my family and I went to the store and for some reason, we picked up the DVD for the first Tobey Maguire movie. After that, the only memory I have of seeing that movie for the first time was the scene where Peter was climbing up his first wall before shouting “Woohoo!” and jumping across the Queens rooftops. After that day, any hope for me to not grow up into an absolute Spider-Geek was in vain, as I began to consume as much Spidey media as possible, and I don’t think I’ve ever stopped since that day.
As I started getting older and found myself going into Elementary and Middle School, I started to dive deeper into the character, and what better place to do so than the comics? I remember around ten to twelve years ago, my aunt would send me a classic issue from the Stan Lee & Steve Ditko era every month, and while I don’t have those issues anymore, they still held a special place in my heart. I think the first time I started reading comics to an insane degree was when I first read the Ultimate Spider-Man comics, as they connected with me on an unimaginable level. While things about the run are in somewhat poor taste and very dated, the tone and execution resonated with me as a teenager struggling with anxiety, social awkwardness, and coming to grips with my Asperger’s syndrome. I still have the trades I picked up from my old LCS back in 2013, and I should probably dust them off soon and relive some good memories.
As the films went on and rebooted twice, I never missed a single one. Even with the ones that were more sub-par, such as Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man 2, there was always something in them that I found enjoyment and resonance with, and that still carries over to now after the character debuted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Two of my favorite things in the world finally collided, and as I said in another article, I cried seeing Spidey in an MCU film for the first time. Of course, it hasn’t been perfect, just as every other adaptation hasn’t been perfect, but it’s still been a surreal and amazing journey with him in this universe these past few years, and even as I’ve made the jump from High School to college, I still never lost that sense of excitement and wonder when it came to this character and his stories.
I think one of the most emotionally cathartic experiences I’ve had when it’s come to Peter Parker and his whole world has been Marvel’s Spider-Man from last fall. The game as a whole came at an incredibly confusing and unsure time in my life, and it was something I absolutely needed. Last year felt like a period where every fan of the character was at the other’s throat, and along with transferring schools in order to save money, I felt somewhat hopeless and apathetic. Once this game came out, it felt like my love and passion for this character and franchise was reignited in a way I haven’t felt in a long time, and it was one of the most emotionally fulfilling experiences I’ve had with a game since The Last of Us. Even as an adult well into college, it felt like Spidey was still looking out for me, and I don’t think that’ll ever change. No matter how much hate and apathy there might be in the near future, my love and appreciation for this character will always stick around.
And after all of this love for the character in the past twenty years of my life, I’ve been given the privilege of reviewing his comics, and even having a podcast dedicated to the web-head and his ridiculous, insane, and bonkers world. I never thought I’d get the opportunity to do something to this extent, and it wouldn’t have been possible without this character being a part of my life. I wouldn’t have something to bond with my family over, or make new friends over, and so on and so forth. I remember back in Middle School I was made fun of for liking Spider-Man, which didn’t even embarrass or phase me. After all, why would I be embarrassed about something that’s made my life worthwhile on more than a few occasions. The fact of the matter is, I wouldn’t be who I am without Spider-Man, and I’d hate to see what I could’ve been without him looking out for me and teaching me to hold on a second longer.