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Spider Man, the eternal youth of Spider-Man

2022-06-26T16:19:22.506Z

In June 1962 appeared in Marvel Comics the first adventure of the Weaver in the red and blue costume. Sixty years later, the hero is still experiencing heights of popularity. A success that he owes in particular to his unusual nature.



1962.

James Bond against Dr. No

is released in cinemas.

Ringo Starr joins the Beatles who record their first single.

And a strange hero emerges from between the pages of an American comic strip.

His name is Peter Parker.

Difficult at first sight to take it very seriously.

The bespectacled young student doesn't have the shoulders of steel or the riches of classic superheroes, until the bite of a radioactive spider grants the puny kid extraordinary abilities.

The bookworm becomes Spider-Man, Spider-Man, one of Marvel publisher's most popular characters.

Sixty years later, the high-flying success of the superhero has still not been denied.

A good fortune due in part to the eternal youth of the adolescent Spinner.

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This vigilante not quite like the others has never been so appreciated as today.

Released last December,

the film Spider-Man: No Way Home

was propelled in extremis to the top of the international box office in 2021, a feat in line with previous films devoted to Spider-Man.

But the cinema is not the only theater of his prodigies.

The

comic books

in his name are, year after year, among the best-selling Marvel comics.

Nostalgia helping, the original booklets, flexible, crumpled and old of more than half a century are now trading at gold prices.

$3.6 million, for example, for an issue of the first Spider-Man adventure, hotly contested in September in an American sale.

The cover of

Spider-Man 's First Adventure, in

Amazing Fantasy

issue 15

.

Released in June 1962, this comic strip is now particularly popular at auction, as shown here, at a Californian auction in November 2018. Robyn Beck / AFP

A layman would be hard pressed to explain the reasons for such enthusiasm.

Isn't one masked hero worth another?

Definitely not.

Between his dreary family daily life, his student life, his masked outings between the New York skyscrapers and his job as a photographer at the

Daily Bugle

, where he is lectured by his crisp boss, Peter Parker's routine has never nothing easy.

It stands out, above all, by its similarity to the daily life of readers – minus the aerial stunts.

Much more widespread today, this humanity of heroes is one of the most significant touches brought to American comics by Stan Lee, the screenwriter with golden ideas from Marvel.

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Reinventing the figure of the hero

“In the early 1960s, Stan Lee was looking for new ways to write comics, new angles of attack.

In 1961, with

The Fantastic Four,

he invented an atypical form of family, out of the ordinary.

And the following year, he will offer something even more daring,”

explains

Le Figaro

Aurélien Vives, editorial manager at Panini Comics.

The publisher released a ten-volume anniversary collection in the spring to celebrate Spider-Man's 60th anniversary, capturing several key moments from its long publishing history.

Such longevity has its reasons.

You have to pick up the thread of its genesis to grasp the enthusiasm of the Weaver because, as surprising as it may seem, the child acrobat almost never saw the light of day.

Stan Lee has often recounted, with forceful jokes, the creation of his most famous character.

"I had found what I wanted to do with my hero: I had his superpower, I had his name, but then I thought it would be funny to deck him out with a whole bunch of personal worries

. "

retraced Stan Lee, during an intervention given in 2017 at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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“Better still, I decided to make a teenager out of him!

, continued the editor enthusiastically.

There were no teenage superheroes back then, at least not to my knowledge.

Its publisher, Martin Goodman, however, had little taste for these innovations.

“He was like, 'Stan, those are the worst ideas I've ever heard.

People hate spiders.

Teenagers can only be sidekicks.

And you want him to be anxious?

But finally !

Superheroes don't have that kind of problem!”

Spider-Man then grazes the trash can.

Peter Parker must learn to juggle three lives: his hidden life, that of the superhero Spider-Man, his family life and his love life.

This precarious balance is one of the riches and novelties that the character brings.

Opposite, an excerpt from

Meanwhile

, published in May 2002 in issue 39 of

The Amazing Spider-Man

(1999).

Panini Comics

No matter: Stan Lee is stubborn, and slips his primitive Spider-Man on the cover of a then dying secondary publication,

Amazing Fantasy.

The issue appeared in June 1962. Stan Lee worked there with designer Steve Ditko to develop the hero's visual identity, including the preposterous costume and fully masked face - a rarity at that time.

“This collaboration is essential

, emphasizes Aurélien Vives.

Stan Lee is a very progressive person, while Steve Ditko is more misanthropic and objectivist, in line with

Ayn Rand

.

This tension between their respective vision of the world makes the character quite unique.

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Youth icon

The success of this first appearance of Spider-Man is overwhelming, and the hitherto reluctant director of Marvel Comics transforms the test into a series: thus is born the comic strip

The Amazing Spider-Man

.

In addition to the action and a earthy gallery of enemies, readers are drawn to this wacky tale of a college student who becomes an athletic superman overnight while remaining a little corny.

The metamorphosis recalls, in essence, the changes of puberty, and the passage to the adult world.

In the story

Spider-Man is no more!

, published in 1967 in number 50 of the series

The Amazing Spider-Man

(1963), Peter Parker is going through a deep crisis.

Convinced by the media that he may be more of a threat than a solution, he gets rid of his costume and puts his life away.

For a while, at least.

Panini Comics

“Spider-Man's extraordinary innovation, when it comes out, is its teenage hero.

The adventure is that of a somewhat bizarre youth, who does not feel in his place”,

summarizes Aurélien Vives.

Another recipe for success: marivaudages, a feature accentuated from 1966, with the arrival of John Romita Sr. in drawing.

Which of Gwen Stacy or Mary Jane will prevail in the tormented heart of the young hero?

"Between the mystery of his secret identity and love triangles, it turns a bit like a soap opera at times, we're not going to hide it

," breathes Aurélien Vives.

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This overflow of life speaks, finally, to the American youth of the 1960s. The soil is propitious.

The young baby-boomers born after the Second World War form a considerable contingent, in love with the counter-culture and thirsty for new models, far from dad's references.

Peter Parker is the misunderstood whipping boy and scapegoat of the newspaper and the media.

Many readers share this unease as countercultures flourish in America.

In an article published in September 1965 in the pages of

Esquier magazine,

Californian students thus listed Spider-Man - with Hulk - in the ranks of 28 revolutionary heroes, behind Bob Dylan and Che Guevara.

"He's one of ours"

, a student would then have summed up, reports the specialized media CBR.

Half a century later, its popularity is still undeniable.

Having become the sixth highest-grossing feature film in the history of the seventh art last winter, Jon Watts' latest

Spider-Man

film once again demonstrated the renewed fascination inspired by this high-flying hero.

And which sticks as well to the walls as to the skin of young people.

Source: lefigaro

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