[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Amazingspiderman50.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:300:''"Though the world may mock Peter Parker, the timid teen-ager, it will soon marvel at the awesome might of... '''Spider-Man!'''"'']]

->''"Wealth and fame? He's ignored.\\
[[DoingItForTheArt Action is his reward.]]\\
To him...\\
Life is a great big bang-up\\
Wherever there's a hang-up\\
You'll find the Spider-MAAAAAN!"''

Considered to be Marvel's greatest superhero, Spider-Man is a comic book character, created by Creator/StanLee and SteveDitko. He first appeared ''"Amazing Fantasy''" #15 (August, 1962). The issue contained his origin story. Geeky OrdinaryHighSchoolStudent Peter Parker attends a scientific demonstration and is bitten by a spider made radioactive by the experimental device, passing on the proportionate strength, speed, agility, and senses of a spider. At first [[PersonalGainHurts he uses his power for self gain]]. After his Uncle Ben is shot by a mugger that Peter could have stopped, he learns that with great power must also [[ComesGreatResponsibility come great responsibility]], and becomes the amazing Spider-Man!

At its debut, this Creator/MarvelComics tale was a landmark in comic book characterization. He actually [[CharacterDevelopment seemed like a real person]], with day-to-day worries. Peter Parker was unpopular in his high school (though not without his supporting cast of friends). He and his aunt were poor, due to the death of their breadwinner. To get by, he had to sell pictures of his super-hero self to a man who only used them as a way to [[HeroWithBadPublicity smear and tear down Spider-Man's reputation]], in a nice inversion of the Clark Kent[=/=]{{Franchise/Superman}} situation.

[[ButtMonkey He couldn't seem to catch a break]].

Of course, he persevered, and with his powers, his native intelligence, and his nifty [[AppliedPhlebotinum web-shooters]], he went on to battle a bevy of strange supervillains. One of the best parts of Spider-Man's clashes with villainy was his [[TalkingIsAFreeAction nonstop fight patter]]. Even in the most dire of straits, Spidey could be counted on to deflate the {{mad scientist}}'s ego with a cutting remark, which made him everything from a DeadpanSnarker to a master of LampshadeHanging. Spider-Man was in many ways JackOfAllStats of the Marvel Universe. While he wasn't the fastest, strongest, smartest or most skilled hero there was, Spidey possessed enough of all these qualities to be able to handle a wide variety of situations and villains.

Another storytelling element introduced and popularized for the comic book medium by the able Spider-Man authors is the sub-plot, a StoryArc related to his personal life woven into the arc of his troubles with a particular villain. Some ongoing sub-plots were the troubles of Spidey's love life -- at various times, Betty Brant, Mary Jane Watson, and Gwen Stacy were all in the running; the identity of the Green Goblin and the troubles it brought to Peter's friend Harry Osborn; and Spider-Man being distrusted by the SuperHero community at large, leading to many LetsYouAndHimFight sequences. As time went on, subplots were also used to develop the supporting cast members by giving them ADayInTheLimelight.

Tropes regarding the series as a whole can be found [[Franchise/SpiderMan on the franchise page]].

The big draw of Spider-Man is that he has problems -- problems as a hero, problems as a man -- and, despite weakness, despite adversity, overcomes them, because he knows he has to. Among {{Superhero}}es, he's the regular guy trying to get by in a world of those who can crush planets between thumb and forefinger. In his best moments, Spider-Man is heroic enough that you want to be him, yet human enough that you think you ''could'' be him.
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There have been several seminal storylines, each of which defined the web-slinger during a certain era; these are the ones that are most often adapted into DerivativeWorks and referenced by later authors.

'''Green Goblin Reborn!:''' In 1971, the U.S. Department of Health approached Marvel and asked them to do an anti-drug storyline. But there was one little problem: UsefulNotes/TheComicsCode forbade drugs anywhere, both good and bad. Marvel decided to write a three-parter where Harry Osborn was shown to be popping pills and ignore Comics Code approval for those three issues. Along with ''ComicBook/GreenLantern[=/=]GreenArrow'' doing a heroin storyline the same year, this was one of the first signs of transition to the socially- and politically-conscious BronzeAge of Comics.

'''ComicBook/TheNightGwenStacyDied:''' By 1973, Peter Parker's life had settled down a bit. He was in a steady relationship with Gwen, and started getting some respect from the people around him... and then, they dropped the big one.

The Green Goblin, who had been revealed to be Harry's father Norman Osborn, kidnapped Gwen. Threatening her in the usual supervillain style, he dropped her off a bridge... and Peter couldn't quite save her. It was recently revealed that Spider-Man's web was the [[KilledOffForReal cause of her death]], as it caused her neck to break.[[note]]In ''The Physics of Superheroes'' by Professor James Kakalios, he explains that it really didn't matter whether or not Spidey had let her fall or caught her the way he did - if she'd hit the water she would still have broken her neck. However, later on in the comics and the first film, he's seen jumping off after a falling character and catching them mid-flight, then using a web to anchor himself. Assuming his arm's able to take more punishment because, hey, he's Spider-Man, this is entirely plausible (at least according to Kakalios), and so the angst may yet be justified. Considering that Pete's supposed to be some kind of wunderkind it's hard to see why he didn't understand that himself and spare the fanbase a lot of arguing - and the Green Goblin says something to the effect that she was already dead, which, considering HE'S supposed to be a genius too...[[/note]]

''Never'' before had a superhero failed to save their [[DistressedDamsel girlfriend]] from the villain's DeathTrap. Unlike many supporting cast deaths, this one had actual consequences. Peter's next door neighbor, kind and feisty Party Girl Mary Jane Watson, who had been one of Gwen's best friends, [[CharacterDevelopment became more serious and sensitive]], and drifted toward a romance with Peter; (though it was later revealed she had always loved Peter from a distance before they even met) the Green Goblin was dead, having accidentally impaled himself as he fought the furious Spider-Man afterwards. For the comics industry as a whole, this was pretty much ''the'' sign that the SilverAge was over.

'''The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man:''' Unlike the other stories here, this isn't a big, world-changing storyline. It's just a single issue (''Amazing'' #248), but it's well-loved as one of Spider-Man's biggest [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming Crowning Moments of Heartwarming]]. The main story is a fight against a guy named Thunderball, but the memorable part is the backup story where Spidey visits one of his fans and just spends time chatting, even revealing himself as Peter Parker (the kid loves the irony of how Peter sells pictures of himself to Jameson) and explaining how his failure with Uncle Ben drove him to crimefighting. It's only at the end that we learn that the boy is a LittlestCancerPatient with days left to live, wishing to meet his hero before he passed on.

'''The Alien Costume:''' In 1984, as part of the CrisisCrossover ''ComicBook/SecretWars'', Spider-Man got a new, alien costume that responded to his thoughts. Eventually, it was revealed that the costume was a symbiote who was attempting to permanently merge with Peter. He managed to drive it away by exploiting its AchillesHeel, sonic attacks and loud noise in general, whereupon it merged with a reporter who felt Spider-Man had wronged him and became the recurring villain Venom.

'''The Death of Jean [=DeWolff=]:''' In 1986, Spider-Man's friend, police captain Jean [=DeWolff=], was found murdered in her apartment. The hunt for [=DeWolff=]'s murderer becomes the impetus for an exploration of [[WhatIsEvil moral relativism]] among superheroes, the [[OffOnATechnicality flaws of the criminal justice system]], the [[{{Revenge}} desire for vengeance]], and the clash of values between the idealistic Comicbook/{{Daredevil}} and the pragmatic Spider-Man. This was Creator/PeterDavid's first professional ComicBook writing assignment, and is noted for subverting the comic-book stereotype of HeroicSacrifice in character deaths.

'''ComicBook/KravensLastHunt:''' The first Spider-Man story to be collected in hardcover (or trade paperback, for that matter), and one of ''Marvel's'' first collections. Kraven the Hunter sets out to prove that he's a better man than Spidey, and starts by shooting him and burying him. A multi-title story, and written in a somewhat experimental style.

'''MaximumCarnage:''' An event from 1993; Carnage recruits C-list villains into a LegionOfDoom, and Spidey recruits a number of heroes ([[MyFriendsAndZoidberg and Venom]]) to stop them. Mainly of note for being the highest-selling multi-title comic series in History (displacing ''CrisisOnInfiniteEarths'') until ''Comicbook/CivilWar'' - the reason for such a large mega-run was summarized by writer/E.I.C. Tom [=DeFalco=] as being a test to see how a multi-title series would function in the Spidey-verse, something that was tried before, but with a much smaller cast.

'''ComicBook/TheCloneSaga''': During the '90s, it was felt that Spider-Man had strayed too far from the original concept, gathering a bunch of unrelated cruft onto the premise. So, another Peter Parker showed up, and it was [[{{Retcon}} revealed]] that the Spider-Man we'd been following for the past twenty years was a clone. Through ExecutiveMeddling, the storyline became more and more unwieldy, until the whole thing was undone through a series of {{retcon}}s and quietly swept under the rug -- with the main consequence that the original Green Goblin was [[BackFromTheDead back among the living]]. (Oh, and providing a possibly-dead baby to become [[ComicBook/SpiderGirl Spider-Girl]] in an alternate timeline.)

'''ComicBook/OneMoreDay:''' End of ''ComicBook/JMSSpiderMan'' run. After Aunt May takes a bullet meant for him, Peter becomes so distraught that he's willing to make a DealWithTheDevil to fix things. But the price is amazingly steep... Editor Joe Quesada... Er, Mephisto wants to suck all the happiness out of Peter's life, and so demands his marriage to Mary Jane declared null and void. As side effects, Peter's identity (which was public since ''Comicbook/CivilWar'') is a secret once more and Harry Osborn is alive again. And of course, writers can start screwing with Peter's love life again.

'''OneMomentInTime''': A followup story (or ''[[FunWithAcronyms OMIT]]'', if you're so inclined), that showed exactly what happened on what was supposed to be Peter and MJ's wedding day, as well as how things fell apart between them after ''ComicBook/OneMoreDay''.

'''ComicBook/SpiderIsland''': An event story from 2011 which spanned all of the ongoing Spider-Man satellite books as well as much of the Marvel Universe. A mysterious viral outbreak grants the whole of Manhattan powers similar to Peter Parkers'. Anarchy soon follows, and things are complicated further as Spidey's old foe The Jackal resurfaces and takes advantage of the chaos with the aid of the enigmatic being known as The Queen. Peter saves the day with help from his fellow superheroes, Mary Jane, and his clone Kaine, and eventually all is right with the world... except in Peters', as his girlfriend Carlie Cooper breaks up with him. The aftermath saw Kaine acquire his own ongoing book series (''Scarlet Spider'') and set the stage for a future Peter/MJ reunion... sounds all well and good right?

'''ComicBook/SuperiorSpiderMan''': A 2012-2014 Spider-Man event that saw the ''Amazing Spider-Man'' title dropped and relaunched as the ''Superior Spider-Man''. Following on from the final story arc of ASM, "Superior" sees a new Spider-Man take up the power and the responsibility, only with a vastly superior intellect and a tendency not to pull Peter's normally reserved punches.
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