- Friday, September 15, 2006
In my earliest of memories I see myself kneeling at the foot of a child’s bed, screaming for dear life. I am in the bedroom of a friend and he is draped in a cape (in reality, a towel he’d somehow managed adhere over his shoulders), his fists are anchored to his hips, and he is proclaiming that I should not fear… he will “save me.” Nearby his brother is giving our little world of make-believe a narration. “Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…”
Well, you get the picture.
My childhood was partially filled with superheroes - from the colorful pages of comic books to the small screen in our family room and the wide screen at the local theater. We Americans, it seems, have been fascinated by the notion that there is something otherworldly that can take an ordinary man or woman and turn them into a more powerful being.
We, as Christians, are equally as fascinated, but we don’t need Marvel® Comics to either entertain or fascinate us. We have holy heroes found within the very Word of God.
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
I have, for the purpose of this article, spent hours learning about Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spider-Man®. Other than a general past knowledge and the current movie I’d watched while flying cross-country, I really knew very little. That which I have now learned has left me quite captivated!
Spider-Man was created by Stan Lee (writer) and Steve Ditko (artist). He had his first appearance in mid-1962. The most unique thing about Spider-Man was not that he could produce and throw both organic and synthetic webs but that his story begins when he is just a teenager.
Spider-Man comics began with Peter Parker experiencing the typical problems of young men in high school: girls, work, money, popularity (or, in his case, unpopularity), etc. But as Spider-Man, he'd come to fight extraordinary villains such as Carnage, Vulture, The Lizard, Green Goblin, and Doctor Octopus. Not your common day in shop class, for sure.
Peter was raised by an extended family. While attending a science exhibition he had the “misfortune” of being bitten by a radioactive spider which gave him superhero abilities such as wall-crawling, strength and agility, and extra-sensory “spider-sense.” Unbeknownst to him, on the night he changes from an average boy to Spider-Man for the first time; his metamorphosis is witnessed by Mary Jane Watson, the visiting niece of the lady next door. She will eventually become his wife amidst a storyline that today’s soap opera writers would kill for.
As I have studied the life of Peter Parker, I have been enthralled by the storyline his creators wove for him (pun intended). Interspersed with fighting evil, Peter lives out a life of love and loss, including the “death” of his and Mary Jane’s baby. Avid readers experience his life's journey from timid teen to college kid to married professional who has superpowers and the wit and wisdom necessary to save the world.
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