Spider-Man’s relatable personal problems and responsibility-focused heroism set him apart from other superheroes since his 1962 debut in Amazing Fantasy #15.
Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s creative choices established Peter Parker’s character, including his bad luck and everyday struggles, which have evolved into darker storylines over the years.
Despite changes in tone and continuity, Spider-Man’s core values and ideals remain, making him one of the most enduring and popular characters in comic book history.

The Marvel Universe is built on heroes, but none can compare to Spider-Man. One of the most popular characters in comic book history, he has been around for more than six decades, but surprisingly, hasn’t changed much. From his first appearance to to the modern comics, Spider-Man has always been a hero focused on responsibility and saving others.

By 1962, Marvel was enjoying great success thanks to the creations of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Tasked with creating a new hero, and wishing to break conventions, Stan Lee decided to give Spider-Man both personal problems, and make him a teenager, both of which were uncommon for superheroes at the time. Naturally, the Marvel leadership decided it was one of the worst ideas they had ever heard, and Spider-Man was completely rejected. It wasn’t until Marvel planned to cancel the anthology series Amazing Fantasy and, wanting to get Spider-Man out of his system, Lee put Spider-Man in 1962’s Amazing Fantasy #15. The rest, as they say, was history.

Spider-Man’s First Comic: ‘Amazing Fantasy’ #15 (1962)

“Spider-Man!” by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

Looking back at Amazing Fantasy #15 by Lee and artist Steve Ditko, it’s presented as nearly a speed-run of Peter Parker’s entire history and origin story. Everything that people know about Peter can be seen first appearing in this single issue, unlike other characters like Batman, whose origin actually didn’t appear for several months after his comic debut. Reading the issue with knowledge of the character’s failed launch changes everything, since it seems as though Stan Lee knows this could be Spider-Man’s only appearance, and is working to get absolutely everything he planned into a single issue.

Amazing Fantasy manages to cram in how Peter Parker is viewed as a nerd and disrespected by his schoolmates, his visit to a science museum where he’s bitten by a radioactive spider, his loving relationship with Aunt May and Uncle Ben, the discovery of his powers, creation of his uniform, and the death of Uncle Ben to motivate his mission. This covers some of the most important cornerstones of Peter’s history, so it is an incredibly impressive feat that so much can be conveyed in just one comic. Especially since it is done in just eleven pages.

Fun fact: Lee initially took the character to artist Jack Kirby to further develop, before deciding to work with Steve Ditko instead. While Ditko created the interior art for the first
story, Kirby drew the cover for Amazing Fantasy #15 that would give readers their first glimpse of Spider-Man.


The Biggest Ways Spider-Man Has Changed Since His First Appearance

With over 60 years of history, Spider-Man has changed a lot – for better and for worse. Here are the most important changes in Peter Parker’s history.

Spider-Man’s First Comics Set All The Rules For Who He’d Become

Spider-Man Is One Of Stan Lee’s Most Enduring Creations

One of the defining aspects of Spider-Man’s character that Lee and Ditko establish in Spidey’s early story is that Peter Parker suffers from everyday problems. While characters like Superman, Batman, and Iron Man have personal problems to deal with, none of them were exactly relatable due to the sheer larger-than-life aspect they embodied. Just for fun, Lee and Ditko refreshed Spider-Man by giving him real problems that the average teenager could relate to. These include things as simple as being unable to chase Doctor Octopus out of Brooklyn because Peter can’t afford a train ride out of the city.

In the end, as Spider-Man’s popularity grew, the adventures he went on became a lot darker, and more intense. While Peter started out as just a young teenager who worried about homework as much as he did supervillains, things would eventually be taken to more extreme lengths.

These dark storylines began with Peter accidentally causing the death of his first love, Gwen Stacy. They would eventually escalate to Peter losing more friends and loved ones, and even horrific experiences like getting his eyes torn out by the villain Morlun. But while these may be extreme examples, they are still born out of one main element that Ditko and Lee established from the very beginning: nothing ever goes right for Peter Parker.

Spider-Man Stories Have Changed Dramatically From His First Struggles

Peter’s Everyday Problems Are Now Almost Always Life-Threatening Or World-Ending

It’s an infamous fact in comics that Peter Parker has bad luck. This story element was originally introduced by Ditko and Lee to show that sometimes, no matter how hard someone tries, life just doesn’t go their way. It’s a small touch of realism that helped Peter become relatable. However, as his comics have become darker and darker over the years, it’s become something of a curse for the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.

Reading Spider-Man’s stories of today, it seems like nothing ever works out for Peter Parker. Like, literally nothing. From losing his friends, to being unable to be with the woman he loves, Peter’s life has gone from balancing life and school to simply trying to stop his life and city from falling apart. It’s a pretty dark change for what was once a fairly light-hearted character. But if joining the Avengers and protecting the world are seen as promotions in the Marvel Universe, then Spider-Man’s dramatic shift from the relatable loser Stan Lee envisioned is, if nothing else, an alternative perspective on ‘how great it is to be a superhero.’

Spider-Man Still Upholds The Ideals He Was Created With

No Matter How Dark Things Get, Peter Remains The Hero He’s Always Been

Spider-Man has remained one of the most popular characters in comic books because of the simple ideals that Stan Lee and Steve Dikto put forth more than 60 years ago. A lot of complaints about Spider-Man’s comics today are that he hasn’t really developed or changed much since his early years. While Peter Parker was originally allowed to grow up, go to college and even get married, now he seems to be stuck in the same cycle.

That’s what makes it so fascinating to look back and see that Stan Lee and Steve Dikto were able to define everything about the character, and make the world fall in love with him, in Spider-Man‘s first dozen pages.


Spider-Man is the name given to several individuals who have employed a spider-moniker throughout Marvel Comics. Typically gaining their powers through a bite from a radioactive spider, the different Spider-Man heroes employ super-strength, agility, and intellect while utilizing webbing to swing and tangle up their foes. The most notable of these Spider-Men is Peter Parker, who remains one of the most popular superheroes throughout the world.

“}]] Spider-Man has changed a bit over the years.  Read More