Spider-Man is the Best Superhero


Will Archer, Editor in Chief

For as long as I can remember, I have loved Spider-Man. As a kid I always loved his stellar power set. Superman was boring because he was too strong; The Avengers weren’t popular yet; Batman was always cool, but he didn’t have any powers; and the idea of web slinging was honestly just the coolest thing ever to me. Nearly every day I would suit up and reenact my life as the masked crimefighter. I still love Spider-Man’s power set, but now my appreciation of Spider-Man goes much deeper, and focuses on the amazing character work and innovative storytelling.

Peter Parker is such a good character because he’s an ordinary person put in an extraordinary situation: he has superpowers and knows that it’s his responsibility to use them for good.

However, like any ordinary person, his actions in and out of costume have consequences for his life, and that’s where the audience is really able to relate to Peter. Whether he does the right thing or the wrong thing, and no matter how high concept his adventures are, Spider-Man is always grounded by the effects those adventures have on his normal life. Where Superman’s life as Clark Kent is rarely affected by his heroism, and Batman’s life as Bruce Wayne barely matters to him, and the Avengers just don’t have secret identities, Peter works overtime to maintain his double life and still fails constantly. He misses curfew, he cuts class, and occasionally he has to abandon homecoming to beat up his date’s dad.

It’s literally Peter’s job to be the writer’s punching bag and all the best Spider-Man media stays true to this fact: Into the Spider-Verse’s Peter B. Parker is divorced, pudgy, and aging, Spider-Man 2’s Peter loses his powers, his best friend hates him, he can’t pay his rent, he gets fired, he’s failing his college class, and the love of his life is getting married to his boss’ son. Talk about rough. But just like any normal person’s life, occasionally things go right and it’s the little things that keep Peter going, like the exhilaration of swinging through the city at high speeds. That combined with a superpower that his spider bite didn’t even give him: his indomitable willpower, which is really listed as one of his powers on the Marvel Wiki.

Oftentimes people forget that before Spider-Man, there was no such thing as a relatable hero: Peter was the first hero to have the same problems as his readers, even though he fought crime in his spare time. By keeping Peter a person that the audience can relate to, it communicates that anyone could be Spider-Man, because Peter Parker is just an imperfect person trying to do the right thing.