On Spiderman

Power, Responsibility, and Pain

The Price of Being Spider-Man
By Paul Lytle

I hadn’t been born when Amazing Fantasy No. 15 hit the newsstands in 1962. I didn’t read it until it was reprinted decades later. By that time, the early Spider-Man comics were being collected in the Essential Spider-Man series, and volumes were being released quickly. I devoured them. I knew a little about Spider-Man beforehand, but I found something in those early stories that I was not expecting.

After about 100 issues, I had to the put the books down. I was depressed.

I couldn’t take it anymore! The world just dumped on Peter Parker every issue, and he never got a break. I wanted to go back in time to have a word with Spidey creator Stan Lee, and convince him to give the poor guy a date that was not interrupted by a super villain. (Don’t give me that look; time-travel is a frequent solution in comic books.)

Peter finally did have a date or two. And then he had a girlfriend, and a serious one at that. I was happy for the kid. I was excited for him. But at the same time, I was wary. You see, this girlfriend of his was not Mary Jane Watson, and everyone knows that he ends up with MJ.

Sure enough, the Green Goblin kills this girlfriend, causing Spi-der-Man to battle the Green Goblin to the death and (you guessed it!) be blamed for the murder of Norman Osborn, who was the alter-ego of the great maniacal murderer. This causes Harry Osborn, Pete’s best  …

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