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From Comics

Though the world may mock Peter Parker, the timid teenager... ...it will soon marvel at the awesome might of...Spider-Man!
— Character's first word-balloons, on the cover of Amazing Fantasy #15, written by Stan Lee.

Like Costume Heroes? Confidentially, we in the comic mag business refer to them as "Long Underwear Characters"! And, as you know, they're a dime a dozen! But, we think you may find our Spiderman just a bit...different!
The Narrator, Amazing Fantasy #15 the first words in any Spider-Man story ever. Written by Stan Leenote 

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And a lean, silent figure slowly fades into the gathering darkness, aware at last that in this world, with great power, there must also come—great responsibility! And so a legend is born and a new name is added to the roster of those who make the world of fantasy the most exciting realm of all!
The Narrator, Amazing Fantasy #15, complete full closing caption. Written by Stan Lee.

Am I always to be thwarted, embarrassed, frustrated by Spider-Man?? I hate that costumed freak more than I've ever hated anyone before!...All my life I've been interested in only one thing—making money! And yet, Spider-Man risks his life day after day with no thought of reward! If a man like him is good—is a hero—then what am I??...Spider-Man represents everything that I'm not! He's brave, powerful and unselfish! The truth is, I envy him! I, J. Jonah Jameson—millionaire, man of the world, civic leader—I'd give everything I own to be the man that he is!
J. Jonah Jameson, Amazing Spider-Man #10, written by Stan Lee.

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Now you listen to me, Peter Parker...!! Even though I'm an old woman, I'm not a quitter! A person needs gumption—-the will to live—-to fight—-you mustn't worry about me so much, Peter dear! We Parkers are tougher than people think!
Aunt May, Amazing Spider-Man #18, written by Stan Lee.

That Peter Parker certainly is a nice boy! He's sincere—well-mannered—and devoted to his Aunt! Too bad there aren't many more young men like that! Too bad someone like him can't be an idol for teenagers to imitate instead of some mysterious, unknown thrill-seeker like—Spider-Man!
— From the end Issue #33, written by Stan Lee.

Mark Raxton: Man, what is so special about Peter Parker anyway?
Mary Jane Watson: Everything.
Ultimate Spider-Man, Vol. 1, Issue # 78, dialogue by Brian Michael Bendis

Mary Jane Watson: You're the tensest person I've ever met, Pete. I think that's what makes you so loveable. You always look like you're going to fall apart — like a Charlie Brown who's just had the football jerked away from him.
Peter Parker: That's the strangest compliment I've ever received, MJ. If it was a compliment.
MJ: Oh, it was, baby. It was.
The Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1, #141, dialogue by Gerry Conway

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Timothy Harrison: Geez, do ya have to be so hard on yourself? I know you messed up...but at least you've tried to make up for it.
Spider-Man: I'll be making up for it, for a long, long time.
The Amazing Spider-Man, Issue #248, "The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man", dialogue by Roger Stern.

Firelord: You dare...!
Spider-Man: What have I got to lose? You've already been trying to French Fry me all day because of some imagined slight to your precious little, alien ego! Well, I've had enough! Enough! ... You may be bigger, and far more powerful — but that's just not good enough, Mister! You'll never stop me...no matter how strong you are! I'm just too stubborn to know when to quit! I'll keep on coming back...keep fighting...until I find a way to beat you! To win! I won't give you, you hear? I won't I won't!!
The Amazing Spider-Man, Issue #270, dialogue by Tom Defalco.

"I'm Spider-Man — and if that means anything...it means, I DON'T GIVE UP!!"
Marvel Team-Up, Issue #66, dialogue by Chris Claremont.

There is no Spider-Man. He's a mask. A myth. A lie. Oh, sure, It'd be great if putting on a costume could miraculously change the man underneath. But it can't. I'm not Spider-Man. I'm just...Peter Parker...But they'll never understand that. How could they? How could anybody? Sometimes I wish I could get into their heads...see myself the way they see me. On second thought — maybe not...Wouldn't want to get too close to "the wall-crawling freak," would you? Wouldn't want to find out that he's as human as you are? As fragile? As scared of dying? That's what it's all about isn't it? Yesterday, Ned Leeds. Today, Joe Face. Tomorrow...Aunt May? Mary Jane? Me? Funny. I'm out there facing death every day as Spider-Man — But I never really think about it. Guess I don't let myself. Yet so many people I love have died before their time: Uncle Ben, Captain Stacy, Gwen...Do I think I'm somehow immune? I'm going to die. But not yet.
Spider-Man, Kraven's Last Hunt, captions, written by J. M. DeMatteis.

"His strength—! His speed—! Unbelievable! He is AWESOME!"

Titania: Impossible! Nobody can move that fast!
Spider-Man: Nobody else! Now, why does a woman who can lift locomotives find my humble talents so surprising? With a little room to operate, no one can lay a glove on me — not the X-Men, not the Absorbing Man, and not you! How do you think I've survived all this time?
Titania: When I get you, I'll—aggh!
Spider-Man: All you're going to get is frustrated... and eventually, thrashed!
Titania: No! It's not fair!
Spider-Man: But if we were fighting in a broom closet, that'd be fair, right?
Titania: Stop it! Stop it! Stop--!
Spider-Man: You ought to be happy, cuddles! You aspired to be a bully, and man, you're a classic! You talk tough when you got the upper hand, but when you're losing... well, that's when the little wimp-ette inside comes spilling out!
Titania: N-not fair...
Secret Wars #8, written by Jim Shooter

Johnny Storm: I don't believe it. How is it possible?
Peter Parker: Well there was this radioactive spider, and—-
Johnny Storm Not that. I mean, how can just one guy have it all? To grow up and have someone like your Aunt May there...to be this big hotshot photographer...to have a brain the size of Mr. Fantastic's...and the babes! Man, the girls I've seen you with! God, how I envied you. You always had everything going for you!
Peter Parker: What?!
Johnny Storm: Over the years, I even came up with a term for it. I called it 'the Parker luck'.
Spider-Man/Human Torch, Issue #5 "I'm With Stupid", written by Dan Slott.

There are, in fact, brief and fleeting moments when my life is totally awesome, yes.
Peter Parker, "To Have and to Hold", written by Matt Fraction.

Being a hero isn't just about punching the bad guys. Even if that's what we spend a lot of our time doing. It doesn't mean you only help the people you completely trust or act only when it's safe. Heck, sometimes it means you walk into a trap knowing it's a trap. Because there could be lives at stake. Great power, great responsibility. I know you've heard it a million times. But it's about more than just choosing to take action. It's about choosing to take on the risk. Sometimes you'll be wrong. Sometimes you'll swing straight into danger for no good reason at all. But you'll do it anyway, because there's the smallest chance that someone needs your help. And that's the responsibility you accepted when you put on that mask.
Spider-Man, Renew Your Vows, Issue #15, written by Jody Houser.

Spider-Man's a hero. I understand a lot of people are put off by his mask, and his...comedic sensibilities...but in my opinion? He's one of the greatest men I've ever known.
Captain America, Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #310 written by Chip Zdarsky.

From Movies

Whatever life holds in store for me, I will never forget these words: 'With great power comes great responsibility.' This is my gift, my curse. Who am I? I'm Spider-Man.
Peter Parker, Spider-Man

I believe there's a hero in all of us, that keeps us honest, gives us strength, makes us noble and finally allows us to die with pride, even though sometimes we have to be steady and give up the thing we want the most. Even our dreams.
May Parker, Spider-Man 2

Really? You seriously think I'm a cop, dressed in a skin-tight red and blue suit?
Peter Parker, The Amazing Spider-Man

Captain America: You got heart, kid. Where you from?
Spider-Man: Queens.
Captain America: Brooklyn.

You can't be a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man if there's no neighborhood. Okay, that didn't really make sense, but you know what I'm trying to say.
Spider-Man, Avengers: Infinity War

My husband Peter Parker was an ordinary person. He always said that it could be anyone behind the mask. He was just a kid who happened to get bit...He didn't ask for his powers. But he chose to be Spider-Man...My favorite thing about Peter is that he made us each feel powerful. We all have powers of one kind or the other and in our own way we are all Spider-Man, and we are all counting on you.
Mary Jane Watson, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

From Games

Venom, get ready for a world of PAIN!

Venom: Surf the web, Surf the web!
Spider-Man: Shut Up, Brock! We don't have time.

Writers' Opinions on Spider-Man

If you take a look at a current Spider-Man comic, you’ll find that he’s maybe twenty years old, he worries a lot about whats right and what’s wrong, and he has a lot of trouble with his girlfriends...Do you know what Spider-Man was doing fifteen years ago? Well, he was about nineteen years old, he worried a lot about what was right and what was wrong and he had a lot of trouble with his girlfriends.
Alan Moore, Blinded by the Hype, 1983, The Daredevils.

The stuff that happened with Spider-Man, that was revolutionary stuff too. Superman was always with Lois Lane. He never dumped Lois and took up with a new hottie. And you pick up Spider-Man and you start reading and it’s “okay, the only girl in this is Liz Allen, okay” and suddenly she’s not important anymore. And it’s Betty Brant and then suddenly you got Gwen Stacy and you got Mary Jane and it’s all very interesting, especially to a kid like I was at the time. A high school kid, a college kid. Time passed in Marvel comics, which was amazing for me at the time. I was a high school kid and Spider-Man was a high school kid. We were practically in sync. And then I graduated high school and went on to college, and Spider-Man graduated high school and went on to college...But then at some point, I got out of college—I got a Bachelor’s after four years and a Master’s after five—and then I was out of college and Spider-Man took, like, 15 years, I think, to get out of college. And he entered his early ’20s and kinda stayed there for 40 years or so.
George R. R. Martin, "The Marvel Life", 2012 Interview, DAPS Magic Interview.

Now many people would say that the biggest mistake of the Spider-Man continuity was the marriage. I would argue that things went askew earlier on with the Death of Gwen Stacy. One of the best stories ever written, but I think from that moment on Mary Jane and Peter were destined to get married. We had the perfect triangle between Gwen, Peter and Mary Jane. One which could have been exploited for years to come. No death=no marriage=no baby=no clones.
Howard Mackie, Interview

Unto themselves, the 1990s were hardly the best era for Spider-Man comics. Despite a number of classic and character-defining stories greeting the beginning of the decade by the likes of writers J.M. DeMatteis or even David Michelinie (on his better days), that era was plagued for years by Marvel resisting the simple conceit that Peter Parker was designed by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko to grow and evolve. And however slowly that has continually happened for the perpetually 20-something character, it nevertheless did happen. After creating the high school character in 1962, both Lee and Ditko were still on board when the web-slinger graduated in 1965. By 1978, he was out of college. Eventually he found several career paths, a brief and failed stint as a graduate student, and even settled down with longtime flame, Mary Jane Watson...For any Millennial born during or after 1987 (including this writer), Peter Parker and Mary Jane Parker were always a couple, and even during the worst stories, that was their strength. And few stories could be worse than the time that Marvel, or more precisely then Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada, finally freed themselves from the marriage in One More Day...If you haven’t read the actual miniseries, it’s not as bad as it sounds; it’s much worse...The old Marvel adage is that writing comic books is about creating 'the illusion of change.' Yet, unlike almost any other superhero, Peter Parker changed rapidly throughout his comic book career from boy to man, from amateur to professional, and finally from single to husband.
David Crow, Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows & How It Renews Peter Parker, 'Den of Geek', Sep 13, 2015.

Many, if you asked them...would say that [Spider-Man] is the experience of being a teenager. And it’s hardly unfounded...The high school years, and everything that comes with them, are indisputably at the center of the earliest adventures...Those earliest of stories are at the center of everything good about the character...but increasingly, they’ve become just as much the heart of everything that’s gone wrong...The Parker Luck, in those earliest days? Largely amounted to costumes shrinking in the wash, or misunderstandings with his girlfriend(s) You unmitigated cad...Almost as often as Pete wondering if he’s..."Why do I do it? Why don’t I just give the whole thing up?", the earliest stories end with him privately celebrating his victory, with things turning out A-Okay, or at least him breaking just about even. Even back before Gwen and MJ, he had two bombshells doing some 60s-females-in-comics-weeping over not being able to win his heart in the form of Liz Allen and Betty Brant, with Ms. Watson’s niece perpetually waiting in the wingsknown by readers to be gorgeous almost beyond words as far back as Amazing #25...and his late-night adventuring hardly seemed to get in the way of the studies that would net him a full scholarship to ESU...By the standards of the other costumed adventurers of the time his experiences were certainly unorthodox (which was, of course, the point), but from any objective standpoint the boy was leading a charmed life...But that's not something that can last. It was never really meant to last. There’s an endpoint to the story of Peter Parker, Teenage Superhero, by a team no less official than Stan Lee and Steve Ditko...He’s no longer Spider-Man, the Teenage Superhero, but Spider-Man the young adult...He’s about growing...the desire to reduce Spider-Man to an easily—repeatable equation...would be twisted into Loss and the Soap Opera dynamics...while self-sacrifice has long been part of the Spider-Man story...it’s gone past the point of all reason. It’s gone from Gwen Stacy dying...to Peter being the person people die around. It’s gone from Peter having trouble explaining himself to the person who can't be trusted with even the simplest tasks...in fact, he has become truly forgetful and neglectful a great deal of the time. He’s gone from a whiz-kid who has to take pictures of himself to pay the bills because of his aunt to the 250 I.Q. mega-genius who can barely scrape by, an empathetic naturally good-humored friend who can’t hold a relationship, a trouble-magnet whose luck once explainable by his own mistakes and misfortunes can at this point only be explained by witchcraft. He’s become the loser he was always afraid he was. What are we supposed to learn from this irresponsible schmuck, exactly?
David Mann, Spider-Man Was Never Just the “Loveable Loser” Fri, 2 May 2014, Sequart Organization

The biggest problem — in the future — would be that it would be hard to play some of these same notes again; that "Aunt May is too fragile to handle the truth about Peter being Spider-Man" or that "Peter needs to protect his secret identity in order to protect his loved ones" when we've seen both of those played out in print. In the latest issue -- out this week -- there's a bad guy who is on the trail of figuring out who Spider-Man is. How much suspense is there when, just two weeks ago, Spider-Man's identity being public knowledge was the status quo? After the marriage and the efforts made to undo it, why should we, as readers, believe any relationship he has in the future will ever lead to him getting married again? They're pretty much told the readers that Peter's life is never going to progress past a certain point.
Erik Larsen, on the Post-OMD Status Quo of Spider-Man

I've heard it said that Peter Parker's reason was that he was a nerd. Not true. Sure, some people thought he was anti-social or fixated on test tubes and formulas to the exclusion of real-life — but let's examine the evidence...He was good-looking. Even super-popular Liz Allan said so. He was even secretly stronger and more athletic (after the radioactive spider-bite) than Flash, which must have at last been comforting. And he wanted to join in with the crowd, have a normal high school social life, have fun.
Jim Shooter, Marvel Saga: The Official History of the Marvel Universe, #22.

Music Lyrics

Spider-Man, Spider-Man,
Does whatever a spider can!
Spins a web, any size,
Catches thieves just like flies!
Look out...
Here comes the Spider-Man!

Is he strong?
Listen bud,
He's got radioactive blood!
Can he swing from a thread?
Take a look overhead!
Hey, there...
There goes the Spider-Man!

In the chill of night
At the scene of a crime,
Like a streak of light
He arrives just in time!

Spider-Man, Spider-Man
Friendly neighborhood Spider-Man!
Wealth and fame,
He's ignored!
Action is his reward!

To him...
Life is a great big bang-up,
Wherever there's a hang-up,
You'll find the Spider-Man!
Spider-Man (1967) theme song, composed by Paul Francis Webster and Robert "Bob" Harris (recorded at RCA Studios, Toronto, 1967).


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