Publication Date: 2010-12-01
Date Submitted: 2010-07-22
Announcement ID: 177690
Call for Essays: Spider-Man, Spider-Women, and Webspinners: Critical Perspectives
Edited by Robert G. Weiner and Robert Moses Peaslee;
When Stan Lee and Steve Ditko first penned a short story about a young man named Peter Parker who gets bit by a radioactive spider and becomes the hero known as Spider-Man, little did they know they would be creating the most popular super-hero in history (next to Batman). Like most “happy accidents,” the creation of Spider-Man almost did not happen. It was initially a throw away a story in a magazine that was getting cancelled anyway.
Stan Lee and Steve Ditko had hit upon a character that was different from all the others and one that everyone could relate to. Peter Parker (Spider-Man’s alter ego) was a teenager who had money/girl/family problems that he continued to struggle with even though he had “amazing” powers. He was in high school and had to learn some hard lessons of life. When Parker first got his powers, he used them to make money and get fame. But when he failed to stop a burglar who would eventually kill his Uncle Ben in a robbery attempt, he learned that “with great power, comes great responsibility.” Since Stan Lee wrote those words in 1962, they have become the most quoted comic book words in history and have served as a cautionary note pertinent far beyond the boundaries of the comic or film frame.
Since 1962, there have been no less than 10 different titles featuring Spider-Man, 5 different animated series, a live action series, animated movies, a live action series in Japan, and 3 very successful movies grossing a total of $2.4 billion and breaking box office records
The editors are seeking articles of around 4-6,000 words (No LONGER) discussing the phenomena of Spider-Man or its off-shoots related to the comics, films, animated series, games, television series, history etc.
Some possible topics to be addressed include
• The real meaning of “with great power comes great responsibility” and Uncle Ben’s life and influence on Peter Parker
• Dr. Octopus almost marrying Aunt May
• May Day Parker, Spider-Girl and the alternate universe
• Spider-Girl as a fan driven title
• J. Jonah Jameson and his hatred of Spider-Man
• Spider-Woman the first female off shoot
• The various Spider-Girls
• How did Amazing Fantasy 15 change the world?
• The Death of Aunt May
• The Clone Saga
• The various Spidey costumes: Black, Red/Blue/Maroon
• Venom and Carnage: Why did these particular villains become the most popular of all Spidey Villians?
• Spider-Man’s role in Civil War
• The Gwen Stacy affair
• Spider-Man’s uneasy relationship with the police
• The Green Goblin (Norman Osborne) and his love/hate relationship with Peter Parker
• The various Goblins: Green Goblin1&2/Hobgoblin/Demigoblin (What ties them together? Differences?)
• The artistic style of Steve Ditko
• The roots of Spider-Man (The old pulp hero The Spider)
• The writing of Gerry Conway
• The art of John Romita Sr. and John Romita Jr. on Spider-Man
• The New Fantastic Four-Spider-Man, Ghost Rider, Hulk, and Wolverine
• The relationship between Madame Web and Spider-Man
• Spider-Man’s role in the New Avengers
• The work of J. Michael Straczynski on the title
• How did Todd McFarlane change the Spider-Man world both through his art and writing?
• The first Marvel/DC crossover-Spider-Man meets Superman
• Why was the live action Spider-Man television series a big flop?
• Spider-Man 2099-A different kind of Spider-Man
• Comparisons between Nicholas Hammond and Tobey McGuire as Peter Parker
• What kind of creative licenses did the movies take that differ from the sequential art stories? How were they similar?
• Zombie Spider-Man
• Mary Jane comics and novels: teen romance in the Spider-Man world
• Spider-Man as an ideal children’s hero
• Spider-Man fan films and fiction
• Spider-Man as an ethical gauge for human behavior
• One of the first Super-Hero record albums: Spiderman: Rock Reflections of a Superhero
• The Scarlet Spider-who is he? What is his role in the Spidey universe?
• The Ultimate Spider-Man: What are the similarities and differences between the Ultimate version of the writing of Brian Michael Bendis on Ultimate Spider-Man
• Spidey Super Stories: An experiment in reading for children
• Spider-Man overseas? Why do the Europeans love Spider-Man as much as the Americans? What is his universal appeal?
• Mattie Franklin (Spider-Woman 3) and her relationship to J. Jonah Jameson as a surrogate father
• Peter Parker’s sister?
• The Red Skull and the killing of Peter-Parker’s parents
• Spider-related groups and societies: Spider Society; Webcorps
• Kraven the Hunter and his desire to be like the Spider
• J.M. DeMatties and the death of Kraven the Hunter
• The Vulture: A senior citizen as a villain
• The relationship between Captain America and Spider-Man
• Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends an animated series featuring Firestar and Ice-Man
• The Spider-Man family of heroes
• John Jameson and the Man-Wolf
• The Transformers: Spidey meets a Hasbro trademark
• The upcoming Spider-Man movie reboot
• Spider-Man as a barometer of the various historical periods in which he appears.
• The psychoanalytic aspects of Spider-Man, Peter, Mary Jane, etc.
• Spider-Man, Marvel, and the structure of the entertainment industry
• Spider-Man as ideology or counter-ideology
• Spider-Man, -Woman fandom and audience practice
• Spider-Man online
• Spider-Man as an urban (or particularly a New York) dweller
Please send 200 word abstracts by November 1st 2010 to
Final papers will be due December 1st 2010. No exceptions. Please note the submission of an essay does NOT necessarily mean publication in the volume. The editors are striving to put together as tight a collection as possible with many diverse viewpoints covering all aspects of Spider-Man’s career. Authors are also expected to follow the editor’s style guide and be willing to have their work edited.
Robert Moses Peaslee
Department of Electronic Media and Communications
Texas Tech University
Texas Tech University Library
Texas Tech University Library