Spider-Man Collectibles That Will Have You Climbing the Walls
The other underwear heroes hog so much of the attention that we hardly get to talk about one of the most unique and original comic heroes of all time. Spider-Man broke the comic book mold in so many ways. Just listen to the late Stan the Man Lee speaking at UCLA telling how Spider-Man got started:
Note the deliberate breaks with tradition Stan made here:
A teenage superhero hadn’t been done
He would have a vulnerable, human side
Modeled after a spider, to which some people have a phobia
Motivated by personal passion and vision, rather than market focus groups
In the early Golden Age of comics, the superhero field was a bit more narrow. You had flying bricks like Superman. But Superman is kind of hard to identify with; he’s an alien, and he has so many ways that he’s invulnerable that you really can’t get invested in his adventures. You have Batman, a bit more identifiable, but he’s a super-billionaire who can basically buy his way into power. Most of us aren’t in Batman’s tax bracket, so we don’t identify so much with him.
But Peter Parker is just this average joe-blow. He accidentally comes into his powers, and then they shape and alter his life. He originally had no holy motivation to fight crime; his first thought was to be a performing stuntman to earn money and fame. Even well into his superhero career, he has to be mindful to keep a camera clicking to get photos of his adventures so he can sell them to the Daily Bugle – because he still has to sweat paying the rent. Peter Parker is a working-class man, the first time we had a hero who was a believable everyman.
So that’s where we start, with punk Spider-Man. Being a rebel in so many ways, Spider-Man is the Marvel hero with the closest affiliation with punk rock culture, which was all about rebelling against authority and defining your own path in life. This is a “Spider-Verse” alternate universe version of Spider-Man, AKA Hobart Brown, a homeless teenager from an even lower rank of life who couldn’t even afford college. He can rock a guitar too, when he’s not bashing villains over the head with it.
The Ramones are one of many punk rock bands to do a cover of the definitive Spider-Man theme song from the eponymous series. Yeah, how many punk rock songs are there about Superman? Huh? Suck it, Clark Kent!
Here’s a figure to celebrate another aspect of Spidey we don’t see often in a superhero: the cute boyfriend potential. This playful pose captures some nerd relationship goals. We would all like a partner who accepts the whole package, including the geeky side. Spider-Man is one of the few superheroes who is comfortably “out” with their romantic partners. And Mary Jane Watson is not only comfortable with that, her boyfriend’s alternate persona has even grown on her.
Mary Jane has since risen above the usual damsel-in-distress comic female to become a developed character in her own right.
Spider-Man has always been a hero that gets by with a little help from his friends. Lacking his own resources save his powers and wits, Peter Parker often gets help from close friend Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man, another superhero who fights crime more with cash and technology than intrinsic powers. The iron spider suit represents a particularly beloved point in the MCU, where Spidey joins the Avengers and becomes a part of something bigger than himself for a change.
Of course, sharing screen time with the unbeatable Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark is the cherry on the sundae. Tony Stark is kind of like the Elon Musk stand-in of the MCU, and Downey plays it like he was born for it.
This is one of the few posts where you will see us pay attention to (sigh) Mysterio. This guy with the crystal ball for a head is basically what would happen if Adam Savage from Mythbusters became a supervillain (don’t anybody tell him I said this). The hammy and theatrical Quentin Beck is a practical SFX artist driven out of business by the rise of CGI (I know I’m wrong but my version is better), hence forced to turn to a life of crime when you’d think he could make a living in Hollywood. Or even on the Las Vegas strip, since they’re always in the market for a stage magic act. I dunno, Mysterio always seemed kind of gimmicky, but he’s grown in popularity after a turn in the MCU.
Mainly because his reality-bending illusions make him the Freddy Krueger of Marvel villains. It hasn’t been until recently that somebody finally brought Mysterio together with the possibilities of the character.
Finally, we have the classic Spidey you know and love, hopping this aesthetically gritty chunk of graffiti wall. This is a tribute to Spider-Man’s roots: The mean streets of New York City. Along with all of his other distinguishing characteristics, Peter Parker is one of the most street-wise Marvel heroes. His down-to-earth character and pragmatic common sense often lets him follow plans that escape some of his more lofty, ivory-tower colleagues.
Perhaps that’s why he’s so prolific in Internet meme culture. Yes, the above video references the “Spider-Man pointing at copies of himself” meme. We could go on all day, but it’s about time to web-sling out of here.