Spider-Man: If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be me

I wasn't a confident person and my parents didn't believe in me, but Spider-Man taught me to be at peace with...

Jibran Khan July 01, 2012
Life is hard to explain to say the least. Being good doesn't necessarily mean that everything will work out well. In fact, it almost never does. Reality hits you hard but you have to keep your chin up and move on. These are the life’s lessons I learned, neither from my father nor from my high school teacher. I learned them from the amazing Spider-Man.

But to be precise, this article is not about Spider-Man per se. It’s about the guy behind the mask. You know, the nerdy and not so popular Peter Parker.

Growing up, I was never a confident person. My parents didn't really believe in me. I had trouble talking to girls, wasn't a part of any popular clique, was only mediocre in sports as well. My interest happened to lie in everything others never found interesting. I was destined to be a loner and for a long time had trouble accepting that fate.

It was during this time that I first started reading Spider-Man comics and after reading a few issues, I realised that he was like no other superhero I had ever read before.

This blog is a tribute in the honour of Spider-Man’s 50th anniversary.

The origin

In the 40's and 50's, super heroes were always grown, muscular men and the younger heroes only acted as either sidekicks or as part of a superhero team.

Peter Parker was none of that. He was just like you or me; a nerdy high school teen who just wanted society to accept him for who he was.

His life turned around when he got bitten by a radioactive spider and quickly inherited the sense and agility of a spider.

But what is a person to do when he is suddenly blessed with super powers? Just like any other average person would have done, Peter decided to cash in on his powers and went on to becoming a TV personality. For a short while, things worked out perfectly for him.

But tragedy struck as his selfishness turned on him. The thief that he decided not to stop earlier in an encounter, ended up murdering his beloved Uncle Ben and thus, Peter learned the harsh lesson of life;
"With great power, comes great responsibility".

Later on in the series, his secret identity cost him almost everything that was precious to him. His dream to work in the field of science was left incomplete so was his dream of love. In other words, any chances of him having a ‘normal’ life seemed almost impossible.

But still, he never lost hope. He never gave up being a superhero because he knew helping others was the right thing to do no matter how bad things got.

He was the only superhero I could relate to, regardless of me not possessing any heightened senses like Spider-Man, he was my idol.

The dynamic duo

Stan Lee and Steve Ditko - creators of Spider-Man - transformed fantasy to reality. They elaborated that super heroes were, like real human beings, flawed as well.

This formula of ‘flawed super heroes’ worked brilliantly for Marvel comics. It brought a level of realness to the character and people started to get inspired.

Spider-Man became an instant hit with the teenage demographic back in 1962. Stan Lee’s sharp dialogues and Ditko’s fluid artwork brought something new and different to the comic genre; and its influence is still being felt today in the comic book Industry.

Speaking of influence, Spider-Man’s costume itself brought new innovations in the world of comics. Intricately detailed red and blue costume, full facial mask, large blank eyes; these illustrative characteristics were relatively unseen before in relation to a superhero.

As the duo went on with their monthly series ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’, fans kept growing and in a short span of time, Marvel comics was rivaling DC Comics in terms of popularity.

Unfortunately, Ditko left ‘The Amazing Spider-man’ after the 38th issue. The reasons for him quitting are not clear as there are only hearsay stories and conjectures over the event. This, however, did not stop Spider-Man to excel towards the A-list of superhero comics.

The Legacy

Many years have passed since I read my first Spider-Man comic; I guess it's because life got busy as I grew up.

I've completed my education now and have managed to fall in and out of love with women. I have decided on my career path as a filmmaker- against my parent’s wishes, of course. In the midst of all the happenings of life, I have always somehow felt the shadow of Spider-Man right behind me. As if it's my very own muse.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Spider-Man and my affection for the character has only grown and prospered over the years. Yes, like Peter, I am still the nerd I was back then but I now have found courage within myself that helps me face reality.

Achievements and disappointments are just part of our life. We must learn to accept them and keep hoping for a brighter future. I am proud to admit that a certain superhero taught me all this and has helped through my not so high moments.

With the new Spider-Man film just around the corner, I wish all the best and hope for it to be able to create a new generation of fans.

So, here is to another 50 years of our friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man!

Read more by Jibran here.


Jibran Khan An independent filmmaker who has worked on numerous short films and has taught Film Theory at Szabist University. Currently he is studying Media Arts and Design at the Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany. Follow his Youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwSdyPZ_htZng0Ec-2cmlgg
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Shamim Manzar | 11 years ago | Reply Dear Jibran, As I know you and your creative style of handling the situation tells me that your inspirations are gathered a lot from your reading and interpreting the literature. Spider-Man is living with us, telling us not to think of the deprivation of your freedom, just do it. In my opinion you have paid the tribute to a common man, BRAVO. I must admire the lucidity in your style of writing. You make us understand the bitter reality of life and at the same time bring the people at the level, from where they can start living.
reminiscing | 11 years ago | Reply brilliant flash back ... laudable! deserves a pat on back
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