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In June 1962 Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created Spider-Man and Peter Parker. He first appeared in 1962’s Amazing Fantasy #15 and has since been featured in numerous stand-alone comics, feature films, television shows, video games, amusement parks, fashion, and more. The Web-slinger is more popular than ever, evidenced by his most recent film Spider-Man No Way Home easily reaching the top 10 biggest films of all time globally. Along with 3 other blockbusters featuring the character. And by Spider-Man being the most searched for fictional character on Google this year. Millions every month want to know more about Peter and his unique alter-ego.

Spider-Man is officially turning 60 this year, and Marvel Comics has announced two major new Spider-Man stories to celebrate that upcoming milestone, including the final chapter in the Spider-Verse trilogy.

First, Marvel is paying tribute to Spidey’s first adventure with Amazing Fantasy #1000. This oversized anthology issue features stories from both Marvel veterans like Dan Slott, Jonathan Hickman and Rainbow Rowell, as well as newcomers like Veep creator Armando Ianucci and novelist Anthony Falcone. Even The Sandman co-creator and novelist Neil Gaiman is returning to the Marvel Universe to pen a new story.

Marvel has released a new series of amazing variant covers celebrating Spider-Man’s 60th anniversary.

Beginning in August, the Beyond Amazing comic cover series features Spider-Man on a number of upcoming Marvel titles and celebrates the character’s long history and influence over pop culture. The series includes an Ozgur Yildirim cover for Moon Knight #14 (on sale Aug. 3), a Mark Bagley cover for Avengers #59 (on sale Aug. 10), a Leo Castellani cover for Captain America: Symbol of Truth #4 (on sale Aug. 24), a Javier Rodriguez cover for Miles Morales: Spider-Man #41 (on sale Aug. 24), a Tim Levins cover for Wolverine #24 (on sale Aug. 24), a John Romita Jr. cover for X-Men #13 (on sale Aug. 31).

Hasbro has also released a special Anniversary Marvel Legends Spider-Man action figure. Look at those joints! It’s hard to match Spidey’s superhuman flexibility and balance but I think modern toys get close.

From the first stories, the focus was on Peter Parker as much as Spider-Man. This was unusual for the time and helps keep the character fresh. An orphan raised by his Aunt and Uncle, Peter is an outsider. There’s always a new personal problem Peter has to deal with, and that can reflect our current world. Aunt May, his secret identity, school, money woes, are all updated every few years so Peter is always current, a kid we can relate to. An underdog who somehow found a way to win. And then there’s the multiverse.

Spider-Man is actually the name of multiple superheroes from the Marvel Comics Multiverse. The Multiverse allows different versions of every planet and individual to exist simultaneously. The original and most well known is Peter Parker created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko originating from the Earth-616 universe. These alternates include the books and movies starring Miles Morales, and Spider-Gwen. All told there are almost 100 distinct characters who take on the role of Spider-Man in their World. The 70s Marvel Comics anthology series What If? began the practice of expanding the multiverse to include fantasy versions of Spider-Man.

As many permutations of Spider-Man as there have been have not diminished the awesome achievement that the character himself has become. Spider-Man, like the men and women who created the universe in which he lives, now inspires new generations of fans and creatives who carry that torch forward.

Spider-Man’s greatest superpower is staying relevant and loved.

As the Man himself would have said:

Excelsior!

Alternate Spider-Man characters, including Cosmic Spider-Man

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David Raiklen
David Raiklen

David Raiklen wrote, directed and scored his first film at age 9. He began studying keyboard and composing at age 5. He attended, then taught at UCLA, USC and CalArts. Among his teachers are John Williams and Mel Powel.
He has worked for Fox, Disney and Sprint. David has received numerous awards for his work, including the 2004 American Music Center Award. Dr. Raiklen has composed music and sound design for theater (Death and the Maiden), dance (Russian Ballet), television (Sing Me a Story), cell phone (Spacey Movie), museums (Museum of Tolerance), concert (Violin Sonata ), and film (Appalachian Trail).
His compositions have been performed at the Hollywood Bowl and the first Disney Hall. David Raiken is also host of a successful radio program, Classical Fan Club.

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