Spider-Man

Spider-Man

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Publication History Spider-Man

Accounts of Spider-Man's creation have Stan Lee, Steve Ditko (the official creators), Jack Kirby, and Joe Simon claiming varying amounts of credit for the character.
Stan Lee said in the 1980s that the idea for Spider-Man arose from a surge in teenage demand for comic books, and the desire to create a character with which teens could identify. In his autobiography, Lee cites the non-superhuman pulp magazine crime fighter The Spider as an influence. In the documentary Stan Lee's Mutants, Monsters and Marvels and elsewhere, Lee says he was inspired by seeing a fly climb up a wall, although he adds that he has told the story of Spider-Man's origins so often he has become unsure of whether or not it is true. Lee approached Marvel publisher Martin Goodman to seek approval for the character. In a 1986 interview with the Detroit News, he described in detail his arguments to overcome Goodman's objections. Jack Kirby, in a 1982 interview, claimed Lee had minimal involvement in the character's creation, and that it had originated with Kirby and Joe Simon, who in the 1950s had proposed a character called The Silver Spider for the Crestwood comic Black Magic until the publisher went out of business. Simon, in his 1990 autobiography, disputes Kirby's account, asserting that the supernatural anthology Black Magic was not a factor, and that he (Simon) devised the name "Spiderman" (later changed to "The Silver Spider"), while Kirby outlined the character's story and powers.
Comics historian Greg Theakston says that Lee, after receiving Goodman's approval for the name Spider-Man and the "ordinary teen" concept, approached Kirby. Kirby told Lee about his 1950s Silver Spider/Spiderman, in which an orphaned boy living with an old couple finds a magic ring that gives him superpowers. Lee and Kirby "immediately sat down for a story conference" and Lee afterward directed Kirby to flesh out the character and draw some pages. "A day or two later", Kirby showed Lee the first six pages, and, as Lee recalled, "I hated the way he was doing it. Not that he did it badly it just wasn't the character I wanted; it was too heroic". Joe Simon concurs that Kirby showed the original Spiderman version to Lee, who liked the idea and gave Kirby the assignment, but who ultimately disliked the results in Simon's description, "Captain America with cobwebs". Lee turned to artist Steve Ditko, who had originally been scheduled to ink the new character. Ditko developed a visual motif Lee found satisfactory, although Lee ironically later replaced Ditko's cover with one penciled by Kirby. As Ditko recalled:
Joe Simon later elaborated that his and Kirby's Silver Spider became the basis for Simon's Archie Comics character The Fly, introduced in early 1959. Simon says Ditko recognized that Kirby's Spiderman was highly similar to the Fly, and designed his own original version, which Lee dubbed Spider-Man.[1c] Ditko's recollections in Comic Book Artist #3 (Winter 1999) were similar. Much earlier, in a rare contemporaneous account, Ditko described his and Lee's contributions in a mail interview with Gary Martin published in Comic Fan #2 (Summer 1965): "Stan Lee thought the name up. I did costume, web gimmick on wrist & spider signal". Additionally, Ditko shared a Manhattan studio with noted fetish artist Eric Stanton, an art-school classmate who, in a 1988 interview with Theakston, recalled that although his contribution to Spider-Man was "almost nil", he and Ditko had "worked on storyboards together and I added a few ideas. But the whole thing was created by Steve on his own... I think I added the business about the webs coming out of his hands".
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