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  1. #46
    The King Fears NO ONE! Triniking1234's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    Why did Spider-Man and Fantastic Four get their own TV shows while other properties only got shorts in an anthology?
    Those two properties had the most world building at the time. Avengers and X-Men were crap.

    Other than that is was Captain America, Iron Man or Thor.
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  2. #47
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozymandias View Post
    To be fair, this wasn't exclusive to Peter. Johnny also went to college, as well as Jean, soon after. Everybody was getting older, along with the audience.
    Exactly. And of course sales shot up when the characters got older and sustained through there.

    I mean the elephant in the room nobody wants to talk about is how the concept of 'Spider-Man as a teenager' or even to a lesser extent, 'Spider-Man is supposed to be a schmuck' was astroturfed into existence in the 90s and 2000s. It was never ever a true part of the appeal of Spider-Man or an essential reason for his popularity.
    -- In the 90s, Marvel Corporate and Marvel Editorial commissioned a slew of stuff to create more teenage Spider-Man content than ever really existed in the classic period -- Untold Tales of Spider-Man, Spider-Man Chapter One, Ultimate Spider-Man, Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane.
    -- Until Greg Weisman's Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon (which is great and Weisman intended to age up the characters in later seasons, so I am not saying he's part of the problem) every single Spider-Man cartoon had him as a college student and adult.

    This was the time that Marvel editors, like Maoist lackeys in the Cultural Revolution, started repeating "thought-terminating cliches" like "putting the genie in the bottle" or "Spider-Man is about youth" and what they were doing is manufacturing a formula that didn't really conform or fit the comics that Lee-Ditko actually wrote, basing their judgment on office rumor and gossip and unsourced quotes (like Ditko supposedly was opposed to Spider-Man graduating, or Stan Lee would have kept Peter in high school if he knew he was successful, both of which are laughably off-base based on what they actually did). And in the process what you have had is a largely reduced conception of what Spider-Man as a character can be. Not that there's not been great stories and stuff that came out, or that USM isn't a great comic or anything...but if you keep that as default or ideal, you are basically limiting and fencing in a character who wasn't so before.

  3. #48
    Radioactive! Spiderfang's Avatar
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    He was different from the other big names of Marvel and DC at the time, you could say he was a lot like Bat-Man (no killing, no special powers, analytical and very smart) and Superman (modest upbringing, super strength, newspaper/media job) and his snarky/jokester personality he donned while dealing with his rogues made him standout from other big name heroes. He was a nice third option for people who weren't into Bat-Man or Superman, or Captain America or Hulk. I'm gonna get meta for a moment here and also say that the Spidey merchandise definitely helped drive interest in the character over the years, even when he didn't have a major comic event or movie coming out, the Spider-Man brand always had a pretty strong market.
    The city I once knew as home is teetering on the edge of radioactive oblivion

  4. #49
    Condescending Member manymade1's Avatar
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    Basically, he's a mascot character with a cool design to reel in new fans, but he also happens to have really good stories for people that actually want to read the comics.

    It also helps that his power set makes him a pretty adaptable hero. Whether he's fighting regular humans or OP aliens with the Avengers, the story can be written in a way where you can see him realistically struggle but still come out on top. He's strong but without being too OP.

  5. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triniking1234 View Post
    Those two properties had the most world building at the time. Avengers and X-Men were crap.

    Other than that is was Captain America, Iron Man or Thor.
    You'd have to define world building and what that meant to the execs making the decisions.

    I'd wager that it would have had more to do with Fantastic Four and Spider-Man being Marvel's best selling comics at the time.

    But why was Spider-Man one of Marvel's best selling comics?

  6. #51
    Fantastic Member tv horror's Avatar
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    Wheat cakes nuff said.
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  7. #52
    Incredible Member Ozymandias's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    This was the time that Marvel editors, like Maoist lackeys in the Cultural Revolution, started repeating "thought-terminating cliches" like "putting the genie in the bottle" or "Spider-Man is about youth" and what they were doing is manufacturing a formula that didn't really conform or fit the comics that Lee-Ditko actually wrote, basing their judgment on office rumor and gossip and unsourced quotes (like Ditko supposedly was opposed to Spider-Man graduating
    Even the 2007 "In Search of Steve Ditko" gave voice to that particular one. Reading the Ditko run, it didn't look like he was biding his time, before concluding the Doctor Strange story-line. Later though, the last five issues, can be seen as almost superfluous, except for the Norman bit. I doubt it was any particular giving incident that prompted his departure, same thing with Kirby, same thing with Steranko, I suspect Lee slowly "grew" on you.

  8. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Let's see...
    -- A character with a simple one-sentence powerset (man with spider-powers) versus a character with a complex powerset (human being with a magic ring that he points stuff at to produce green constructs with his imagination).
    -- A character with a full body-suit in bright colors that allows a child of any race to picture themselves behind versus a character who is mostly white human or creepy alien in some weird green-black uniform.
    Eeeeeh, not so sure that's the reason. Mostly because you could make the argument that Green Lantern has those same traits you say Spider-Man has. Instead of "human being with a magic ring that he points at stuff to produce green constructs..." you could JUST say "human given the ultimate alien weapon" or "guy with a magic ring."

    You could also make the argument that anybody could be a Green Lantern because, well, the very concept of the Green Lantern Corps is that it recruits more than one person. It's not just Hal Jordan. Its John Stewart and Guy Gardner and Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz and Kyle Rayner, etc. etc. etc. The mythos lends itself to the idea that you could also be chosen as long as you can overcome great fear.

    So, obviously, I think the reason for Spider-Man's popularity lies elsewhere.

  9. #54
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    Spiderman is a lot more popular than Green Lantern, though.

  10. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rosebunse View Post
    Spiderman is a lot more popular than Green Lantern, though.
    Yes. Obviously. The issue we're dealing with though is why. Or is there really just not much of a reason besides he's got an appealing look and some really good stories.

  11. #56
    Incredible Member Ozymandias's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeeguy91 View Post
    Eeeeeh, not so sure that's the reason. Mostly because you could make the argument that Green Lantern has those same traits you say Spider-Man has. Instead of "human being with a magic ring that he points at stuff to produce green constructs..." you could JUST say "human given the ultimate alien weapon" or "guy with a magic ring."

    You could also make the argument that anybody could be a Green Lantern because, well, the very concept of the Green Lantern Corps is that it recruits more than one person. It's not just Hal Jordan. Its John Stewart and Guy Gardner and Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz and Kyle Rayner, etc. etc. etc. The mythos lends itself to the idea that you could also be chosen as long as you can overcome great fear.

    So, obviously, I think the reason for Spider-Man's popularity lies elsewhere.
    Almost to the day five years ago, I started a thread with this same exact title, and I gave four reasons and change. I should've emphasized the power set one:

    His power set was nicely chosen. He had all the characteristics of a spider, which offer a lot of possibilities for action scenes, but without the weirdness. Instead of having as many eyes as necessary to accomplish 360 degree vision, he's granted some sixth sense. The web spinning could also turn out to be icky, so that part is left out and replaced by mechanical means. The end result was someone halfway between street-level and really "super", a character which offered great flexibility when it came to fight all kinds of adversaries.
    Powers like that of Green Lantern, are abused by lazy writers who end up using them as a variation of the Deux Ex Machina device.

  12. #57
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Ultimately the character design and concept of the character -- the look of the character, the way they fight, move, and interact in their world -- have a bigger say than anything else. The Adam West Batman TV show is still to this day, a defining version of Batman. Both on original run and in syndication it served as a first exposure to Batman for a lot of young people and kids. Now here's the stuff the Batman TV show didn't deal with -- Batman's origin, Joe Chill, Bruce training with ninjas, and so on. It didn't deal with the origins of Bruce and Dick Grayson, or any of the villains. What it got right is that Batman is a rich dude with cool gadgets, cool car, and who always gets out of jams with the right tools from his utility belt. The Adam West TV show absolutely got right Batman's concept and design, and it got the gimmicks of all his villains...Penguin is bird-brained and bird-themed, Joker uses gags and other stuff to hide darker schemes, and so on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zeeguy91 View Post
    Eeeeeh, not so sure that's the reason. Mostly because you could make the argument that Green Lantern has those same traits you say Spider-Man has. Instead of "human being with a magic ring that he points at stuff to produce green constructs..." you could JUST say "human given the ultimate alien weapon" or "guy with a magic ring."
    In the case of Green Lantern, he was the least popular character of DC's Second Tier, i.e. behind The Flash and Aquaman respectively in the Silver Age, leave alone the trinity. The biggest thing people knew about him was his phobia with the color yellow. His biggest moment in comics was Geoff Johns' run, at least for a time. And until Geoff Johns, the concept of the Green Lantern "overcoming fear" and so on was never a real part of it. It was a ring given to people for some vague unspecified reasons and that just made them space police.

    So, obviously, I think the reason for Spider-Man's popularity lies elsewhere.
    I agree. I don't think anyone can say perfectly why Spider-Man became as big as he did. And remember the scale of the achievement. Superman came out in 1938, Batman came out in 1939, Spider-Man came out in 1962. Spider-Man didn't just became big, he became as big as Superman and Batman in a very short period of time. In 1976, just 15 years or so after his first appearance, he had a crossover comic with Superman and treated as an equal in that story...that literally never happened before. It never happened with Fawcett's Captain Marvel (the character who outsold Superman in the 1940s and was the #1 super in that decade). No other character since Spider-Man has had that level of transformative success.

  13. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    In the case of Green Lantern, he was the least popular character of DC's Second Tier, i.e. behind The Flash and Aquaman respectively in the Silver Age, leave alone the trinity. The biggest thing people knew about him was his phobia with the color yellow. His biggest moment in comics was Geoff Johns' run, at least for a time. And until Geoff Johns, the concept of the Green Lantern "overcoming fear" and so on was never a real part of it. It was a ring given to people for some vague unspecified reasons and that just made them space police.
    Okay. But how does that relate to what we were talking about? This isn't a referendum on Green Lantern (though it is worth noting that GL apparently is one of DC's most consistent properties). Instead, I just pointed out that some of what you said made Spider-Man so popular could also be applied to Green Lantern. So, what was the x-factor that made Spider-Man one of the three most beloved characters of the superhero genre, alongside Superman and Batman? Whereas Green Lantern, while being popular among comic-readers, is still limited to that audience?

    Personally, I think it was a few x-factors, some of which also make Batman and Superman popular. Like Batman, Spider-Man had an amazing gallery of rogues and like Superman, Spider-Man also had a very strong cast of supporting "civilian" characters.

    However, as someone else pointed out, I think it was also the fact that Spider-Man represented the "third option" that wasn't captured by Superman and Batman. Almost every character before him was either a Superman-level character like Captain Marvel or Wonder Woman or a Batman-level character like Green Arrow or Captain America. And, honestly, who could realistically become an icon in either of those two spheres when Superman and Batman already filled those roles? Spider-Man, however, was the "hybrid" that had powers like Superman but could still realistically operate as a street-level character like Batman. In other words, he occupied in the space between the two in a way that was almost unprecedented.

    I agree. I don't think anyone can say perfectly why Spider-Man became as big as he did. And remember the scale of the achievement. Superman came out in 1938, Batman came out in 1939, Spider-Man came out in 1962. Spider-Man didn't just became big, he became as big as Superman and Batman in a very short period of time. In 1976, just 15 years or so after his first appearance, he had a crossover comic with Superman and treated as an equal in that story...that literally never happened before. It never happened with Fawcett's Captain Marvel (the character who outsold Superman in the 1940s and was the #1 super in that decade). No other character since Spider-Man has had that level of transformative success.
    I mean, Superman and Batman became pop-culture icons relatively shortly after their debuts. Superman debuted in 1938 and was a phenomenon by 1940. Spider-Man was just unique in that he came along much later than Superman and Batman.
    Last edited by Green Goblin of Sector 2814; 02-20-2020 at 01:15 AM.

  14. #59
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeeguy91 View Post
    However, as someone else pointed out, I think it was also the fact that Spider-Man represented the "third option" that wasn't captured by Superman and Batman. Almost every character before him was either a Superman-level character like Captain Marvel or Wonder Woman or a Batman-level character like Green Arrow or Captain America. And, honestly, who could realistically become an icon in either of those two spheres when Superman and Batman already filled those roles?
    Remember, that in the 1940s, Fawcett's Captain Marvel actually outsold Superman, and he was the biggest superhero in comics in that time. Captain Marvel aka Billy Batson was the guy. Captain Marvel also flew in comics before Superman did, Marvel also had other stuff that Superman copied (not coincidentally DC hired Otto Binder, writer of the Fawcett stuff to DC).

    So the idea that Spider-Man occupied a third space that others couldn't claim doesn't track.

    Spider-Man, however, was the "hybrid" that had powers like Superman but could still realistically operate as a street-level character like Batman. In other words, he occupied in the space between the two in a way that was almost unprecedented.
    We also need to keep in mind, that Batman in that era wasn't really a "street-level" character. Batman in the 40s and 50s largely was an oversized adventurer fighting grandiose comic book schemes. We also need to remember that until Tim Burton's 1989 Batman, Bruce Wayne's primary mode of traversal was the Batmobile. The modern idea we have of a "street-level vigilante" i.e. a dude who slouches on rooftrops and parkours across the city was something Spider-Man and Daredevil both did far before Batman.

    In fact, you could argue that was an element where Batman took inspiration from Spider-Man (and Daredevil, specifically Miller Daredevil). That's something people rarely talk about, the influence Spider-Man had on other comics.

  15. #60
    The King Fears NO ONE! Triniking1234's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    You'd have to define world building and what that meant to the execs making the decisions.

    I'd wager that it would have had more to do with Fantastic Four and Spider-Man being Marvel's best selling comics at the time.

    But why was Spider-Man one of Marvel's best selling comics?
    World building was probably the wrong term but those two had more content to work with compared to the other books at that time.

    As for why Spidey became a best-seller that would be hard for our generation to answer since we weren't around.
    "Cable was right!"

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