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The History And Background Of Spider-man

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of the name Spiderman!

The first youngest superhero in the Marvel universe is one of the most popular in the World. Similarly, The Spider-man symbol may be one of the most famous logos in the world. This popular superhero is featured in a wide variety of everyday items from bedding to water battles to action figures. 

The likes of Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, and Jack Kirby came together to create the Spider-Man comic books that everyone knows and loves today. The first depiction of Spider-Man was drawn by Jack Kirby, but unfortunately, that version was lost. Afterward in 1962, Jack’s drawing was recreated by Steve Ditko where he illustrated Spiderman in the Amazing Fantasy #15. 

Ever since the 1960’s, Spiderman’s logo evolution has been intertwined with the progression of the character itself.  One of the most iconic and recognizable superheroes in existence has gone through quite a few modifications over the years.

Who is Spider-Man Exactly?

As far as comic lore goes, after his parents tragically die in an overseas airplane crash, 6-year-old Peter Parker moves in with his Uncle Ben and Aunt May in New York. Although quiet and shy, Peter was very smart, particularly at science, which led him to become an honor student at Midtown High School. His nerdiness makes him a target for some of his classmates to make fun of him, leading him to become a bit ostracized.

One evening, Peter went to a public museum where a demonstration on how to safely handle nuclear laboratory waste material was taking place. During the demonstration, a Common House Spider happened to be in the path of a particle accelerator’s beam and was struck. The now radioactive spider fell on Parker’s hand and bit him. Soon, Peter discovers that the bite gave him spider-like abilities and powers such as reflexes and strength. Parker also gained a “spider-sense,” also called “spidey-sense”, which alerts him to any pressing danger.

When Peter runs some errands for his Aunt after his first day of discovering his powers, he happens across a wrestling match, which awards a prize to anyone who can last in a ring with a professional wrestler. Intrigued, he goes to his high school to create a fluid that imitates a spider’s silk web and a device that would allow the fluid to shoot from his wrist in the form of a web. He also make shifts a  silkscreened costume design onto a body stocking and mask that went over his head. Using his newly acquired powers, Parker decides to take up the offer and easily defeats his wrestling opponent clad in his new Spiderman gear. He catches the attention of a television producer that offers him a spot on a variety show. He accepts and makes his TV debut as “The Amazing Spiderman” where he quickly grows into fame as this alter ego. 

One day during the taping of the  TV show, a robbery took place, but Peter chose not to stop the robber, too busy relishing in the adulation and newfound attention.

Days later when Peter goes home, he discovers that the same thief he could have apprehended at the Television studio tried to rob his uncle and aunt’s place, which resulted in his Uncle Ben being murdered during the raid. Grief-stricken, this drove Peter to realize that responsibility comes with power. He vowed to fight crime rather than chase fame. And thus, this was when Spider-Man was truly born. He becomes the first teenage superhero.

Peter began to use his powers to fight crime. When he enrolled in college, he met  Gwen Stacy, who became his first girlfriend that he fell in love with. 

Unfortunately, This relationship ends in tragedy when Gwen is killed during Spiderman’s battle against the Green Goblin despite his best efforts to keep her safe. This incident makes Peter more “closed off” for a while, fearing to reveal his true identity to those closest to him should his enemies hurt them. 

After Parker begins to heal from the loss of Gwen, he starts to go out with Mary Jane Watson, a model, and actress he had attended high school with. Although Parker wants to tell her his identity, he still fears that he’ll put her in danger. Eventually, Mary Jane reveals to Parker that she’d known for a while that he was Spider-Man, which helped strengthen their relationship and deepen his love for her. Parker proposes marriage, which  Mary Jane declines, and they soon stop talking for many months afterward.

In the ‘Secret Wars’ mini-series, Parker is kidnapped by the omnipotent creature named “The Beyonder”. This creature transports many of Earth’s heroes to another planet. On this planet, Parker acquires a  black version of Spiderman’s traditional costume, with an endless webbing supply that can change its shape through…thought! Parker returns to Earth with the costume and continues to tackle criminals in his new outfit.

When the costume behaves strangely, Parker sought help from the Fantastic Four’s Mister Fantastic, who first discovered the costume was a living organism and is trying to merge with Parker. He helped remove the costume by force, and kept it in the Fantastic Four headquarters for captivity. Sometime later, the symbiote would escape, complicating Parker’s life again and ultimately merging with Parker’s enemy Eddie Brock, creating the villain Venom.

After the introduction of Venom, Parker discovers that the totem-esque power of Native Americans is linked to his own powers. In a brutal fight with a creature named Morlun, Peter seemingly dies. But then, he is resurrected with even more powerful spider-like abilities. During  Parker’s epic fight with Morlun, his Aunt May found out that Parker is the infamous Spider-Man. With this news, she then becomes one of his biggest fans and strongest support system.

Peter soon runs into Tony Stark, also known as Iron Man. Shortly after, Stark takes Peter under his wing. Stark, who is looked at as a genius, also makes him a new suit that enhances his powers and shields him from live bullets.  In order to keep all of the superheroes in check, Stark introduced the Superhuman Registration Act. Under this Act,  Peter serves as the initiative’s ultimate poster boy by revealing his coveted identity to everyone.

Peter then leaves Stark’s coalition when he realizes that he’s not where he wants to be. He joins a rogue group of heroes in Captain America. The two groups fight against each other and Iron Man comes out on top. Peter goes into hiding and takes on his alter ego with the black outfit again. 

After many months of adventuring on his own, Spiderman is contacted by the Avengers due to their past work with them.  Around the same time, he reconnects with Mary Jane after believing her, and his Aunt May, was dead. Peter and Mary’s relationship is rocky as Peter tries to juggle his Spiderman identity. After a brief reconciliation, Mary Jane wants to leave Peter once more, saying that she needed time to be by herself. This is where the current state of their relationship remains.

Spiderman Logos Throughout the Years

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1963 – 1979

Originally, the Spider-Man logo was a simple “Spider-Man” wordmark written in a sans-serif font with all uppercase letters. The color scheme: Yellow with red detailing around the border. In addition, the “Spiderman” wording was somewhat curved downwards.

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1979 – 1985

During this 6 year tie period, the Spider-Man wordmark became more linear and used wider shapes. Instead of curving downward, the words curved slightly upwards. The color scheme shifted to white letters with red undersides.

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1985 – 1990

The Spiderman logo in 1985 became much stricter than in previous years. The wordmark replicated a real-life 3D construct (much like the one in the intro of 20th Century Fox). The logo is designed as if it were being viewed from above. The font used here is linear, and the letters are taller and more proportioned than the other versions of the logo. The colors were switched to red with yellow.

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1994 – 2005

This wordmark was for the ‘Spider-Man: the Animated Series’. The design was flat and the font upgraded to feel more like a spider – powerful and aggressive. The lettering is extra tall and jagged, covered in red outlines. 

2005 – Present

The most current Spider-Man logo was designed in 2005. This wordmark appears to pay more attention to clarity and symmetry. Although the logo isn’t perfectly linear as the first and last characters protrude downwards, creating a kind of arch.  Occasionally,  a small “Marvel” brand name appears above the Spider-Man wording.

Spiderman’s Other Logos And Emblems Evolution

Throughout the many variations of Peter Parker that we have been introduced to, the Spiderman emblem remains a constant throughout the years, regardless of the comic books, TV series, or Movies it appears in. 

Steve Ditko, alongside Marvel comic book illustrator John Romita, established the standard spider emblem that changed subtly throughout the character’s history and costumes but kept the same iconic look.

The original, and traditional, Spiderman colors are a combination of red, blue, and white. These colors are thought to be chosen to look patriotic. The Spiderman symbol, in most cases, is a black spider drawn on a  red background. As mentioned earlier, there are quite a few cases when Marvel has altered the characters designs, although the traditional designs are always kept in mind.

In the beginning, Ditko drew the insect’s legs straight, other times they were bent. What they all tend to have in common is that the designs were all black, and the legs poked out from the middle of the body. Fun Fact:  real spiders’ legs grow between the head and abdomen.

The original logo sat in the center of the Spiderman costume’s chest, which was on top of the webbing of the suit, and varied in size.  

Then in 1966, when John Romita joined the process, the emblem became more uniform. The body of the spider narrowed, both legs were curved, and black was replaced by blue. In the early 1970s, the symbol was changed again. Now, the body grew narrower, and the limbs were pictured as a fan.

In the early 1980s, Randy Schuller, a fan of Spider-Man movies,  offered to draw a new version of the logo. The Marvel Company that issued comic books bought the idea and the designers brought it to life. The superhero was wearing a black suit (to match his dark-sided alter ego) with a white spider on his chest. It grew to a giant size taking up most of the outfit and its legs wove around Peter.

As you can see, Spider-Man is one of the most popular comic book characters and superheroes of the Marvel universe. Spiderman and all of its properties have been loved by fans from all over the world for decades. 

The character is currently having another resurgence with the Spiderman cinematic series (Spiderman: Homecoming and Spiderman: No way Home) and gaining more admirers across the globe. Regardless of which version of Peter is wearing the suit, Spider-Man’s symbol and logo is a constant and iconic indicator of his ever-present legacy as years go on.

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