I’ve mentioned before that in recent years I’ve gotten pretty into the comic book world, particularly with the Marvel superheroes. But Spider-Man – aka Peter Parker – is the Marvel superhero who was my first big link to the comic world, before I even really knew anything about comics.
I’m too young for the original Spider-Man cartoon (although I’ve seen it and have an appreciation for the terrible goodness of it), but there was another cartoon in the 90’s that aired when I was plenty old enough to be falling in love with superheroes. I’m certain that I saw every episode of this particular series, and went on to watch a couple of spin-off series’ as well. At one point – though I was always more into prose than comic-style stories – I began collecting a s series of comics called “Slingers”, which featured four teenagers who adopted the four alternate persona that Peter Parker had come up with during a particularly rough time to be Spider-Man. And my enjoyment of the character continued on from there, with the movies, and then the remake, plus the video games that were periodically released all through my childhood.
The biggest reason that I liked Spider-Man, specifically, as a kid is that he was a kid too. Okay, sure, he was a teenager, but still. He was a young person who had to deal with school, a social life, dating, and all that other good stuff, while also being a superhero, constantly in mortal danger and having his good name besmirched by none other than his boss. It’s always great, as a kid, to be reminded that kids can be heroes too, and Peter Parker showed that in spades. He acted like a kid, what with the goofy banter and constantly trying to balance superhero life with a social life, but he also regularly saved peoples’ lives, thwarted evil, and made hard decisions. As a kid who also loved to write and create her own characters, those qualities really spoke to me.
These days I still enjoy watching Spider-Man cartoons, especially with the company of my daughter, who even at only three years old already knows that Doctor Octopus is a “really bad guy”. Damn right, sweetie. Damn right.