Origins and Evolutions: Spider-Man

In 1962, Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko captured lightning in a bottle when they unleashed Spider-Man in the pages of Amazing Fantasy #15. The origin story could have been Spider-Man’s one and only appearance. However, the fan response to Spider-Man was so positive that he was quickly given his own comic book series that endures to this day. Subsequently, Spider-Man has become one of the most iconic superheroes of all-time, on the same level as Batman or Superman.

Over the years, Marvel has updated certain aspects of Spidey’s origin story. Brian Michael Bendis and artist Mark Bagley modernized the webslinger’s early days in Ultimate Spider-Man. But the core elements of his past are almost always intact. During a science field trip, a high school student named Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider. Almost overnight, he gained the enhanced strength and agility of a spider, as well as his seemingly supernatural “spider-sense.”

Regardless of genre conventions, Spider-Man didn’t instantly put on a costume and fight crime. Peter wasn’t born a hero, he was forged by tragedy. His first instinct was to cash in on his newfound powers for fame and fortune. In a moment of profound arrogance and anger, Peter refused to stop a fleeing thief. That came back to haunt Peter when the same man later murdered his beloved Uncle Ben.

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Faced with the enormity of his loss, Peter realized that “with great power, there must also come great responsibility.” Those are the words that Peter lives by, as he continues to protect the innocent as the Amazing Spider-Man. And thus, a legend was born.

Throughout his five decades in comics, Spider-Man has had one of the best ever superhero costumes. Although even Spider-Man has had a few outfit changes, the classic look has largely been retained. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a look back at some of the most memorable Spider-Man costumes to see his evolution in action.