These days, Peter Parker needs no introduction. As Spider-Man, he’s been a Marvel Comics mainstay for almost 50 years, and has been in virtually every storytelling medium available, even a daily newspaper comic strip. The Spider-Man comic, at first glance, may seem a bit simple in execution when compared to any of the other stories he’s in, but I personally have no problem with how the strip is handled.
One thing that makes a character enduring to audiences over long periods of time is the ability to grow and change. Comics in book form are not written or drawn in the same manner as they were in the 1960’s or 1970’s because at that time a majority of the readers were teenagers or younger. As the audience has matured so did the writing, as well as the characters and the situations they find themselves in. In the 1980’s and 1990’s more complex situations and characters began appearing in long-running series…but perhaps that’s a topic for another blog.
The Spider-Man strip has been criticized by some fans as “the worst Spider-Man of all.” I’ve had the chance to go back and read some of those early comics and daily strips from my childhood, and realized that even with all of the warm memories I have of the newspaper strip, they’re not a completely satisfying look at the character for me anymore. I want something more interesting, yet that doesn’t make it a bad strip. But it’s me who’s changed, not the strip.
I remember with great fondness the Spider-Man daily strip and the early comic books when I was first learning to read, and to this day I feel that they deserve some of the credit for keeping me interested in what I was in front of me at that young age. I feel that I still enjoy it on those terms, and I would gladly place the daily strip in front of any children of mine.