New York Daily News

Swinging through 50 years!

- Ethan Sacks

For 50 years, Spider-Man has patrolled the panels of comicdom and kept fans’ Spider senses tingling. Here are some of the highlights — and some missteps:

Aug. 1962:

Nerdy Peter Parker and his costumed alter-ego, the Amazing Spider-Man, debut in “Amazing Fantasy No. 15,” courtesy of writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko.

Sept. 1965: Peter graduates from high school — kind of in real time.

Sept. 1967: The initial animated “Spider-Man” cartoon series starts the first of three seasons on ABC. The show has a theme song that still echoes in fans’ heads, and is the first of several animated Spidey shows.

May-June 1971:

Stan Lee and artist Gil Kane tackle the oncetaboo subject of illegal drugs in a story line for “The Amazing Spider-Man,” issues No. 96-98. June 1973:

In the controvers­ial story line “The Night Gwen Stacy Died,” Parker’s true love dies after she’s tossed off the Brooklyn Bridge (it’s the George Washington Bridge in the text, though) by arch-nemesis the Green Goblin. It’s a seminal moment in American comics.

Oct. 21, 1974: A live-action, non-speaking Spider-Man debuts on the children’s TV series “The Electric Company.”

Sept. 14, 1977:

The liveaction drama “The Amazing Spider-Man” TV series debuts on CBS, starring Nicholas Ham-

mond as a college-age Peter Parker (still employed at the Daily Bugle) and with minimal special effects. The show is canceled after two seasons.

Dec. 1984:

On the cover of “Secret Wars” No. 8, fans were shocked to see Spider-Man shed his red and blue tights for a new black costume. This was the comics’ equivalent of New Coke. The new threads turned out to be an evil symbiotic alien.

June 5, 1987:

Stan Lee officiates a mock wedding at Shea Stadium to commemorat­e the comic-book wedding between Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson. The union divides fans. Many prefer to see Spidey alone and miserable.

Thanksgivi­ng 1987: The Spider-Man balloon debuts at the Macy’s Thanksgivi­ng Day Parade.

Oct. 1994:

In an effort to get Spidey back to his roots, Marvel brings back a Peter Parker clone (Ben Reilly) from a ’70s story line — but then shocks readers by revealing that Peter was really the

clone. It’s a flagrant attempt to get Spider-Man single and miserable again. But when the readers became miserable, it turns out to be a Green Goblin “hoax.”

Nov. 14, 2001:

Just a few months after Sept. 11, Marvel rushed to produce a powerful issue where Spider-Man stands in the devastatio­n of the twin towers and tries to make sense of it all. Other than the logo, the cover is entirely black.

May 3, 2002: Director Sam Raimi brings “Spider-Man” to the big screen, with Tobey Maguire as the wall-crawling hero. The film nets more than $820 million. “Spider-Man 2” is released in 2004, and “Spider-Man 3” — a commercial hit but critical flop — hits theaters in 2007.

Nov. 2007: Peter’s marriage is cosmically undone in a controvers­ial “retcon” (that is, a redo of history). Once again, fans get to have Spider-Man nice and miserable again.

Nov. 28, 2010:

Previews for “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” begin on Broadway to almost universal critical gripes. But the show, which seemed destined to be a bust, is famously revamped and becomes one of the most lucrative shows on the Great White Way.

July 3, 2012:

“The Amazing Spider-Man” opens with a new man — Andrew Garfield — behind the mask.

 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States