Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
Many comic strips go through a process to become succeeded. First they start with simple comic books and when it becomes popular, the comic strips become a television series. When the television series is making their way to the top, it finally becomes a movie for young children who idolize the superhero. Not only that, because the character was shown for such long time, they appeal to larger audiences who idolized the character since they were young and the young children who was exposed to the character at that time. One example is Spider-Man, a character that by his job to fight the criminals and protect the innocent. He is considered one of the favorite super heroes of America along with many other countries as well. Larger audience through its long time series and appearance to the audience loves spider-Man.
Spider-Man is a popular character known in many countries for people of all ages. The adventures of Spider-Man started in 1962 in a comic book named Amazing Fantasy. Then, he began to appear in the comic strips section of the major newspapers in America. Later, Spider-Man was introduced on many television shows as well as animated cartoons. Spider-Man quickly became a popular character in the United States and many other countries as well. For example, Japan has created their own version of Spider-Man as a television series. Today, the popularity of this superhero in America continues with his own movie. One key that makes Spider-Man a successful character is that his adventures take places in New York City, one of the famous and important cities in the United States. Not only that, many readers began to relate to the character and his realistic teenager problems like peer pressure, girls, parent struggles etc.
Peter Parker is the real name for the person under the mask of the Spider-Man. Parker was a brilliant student in high school, though he was the most unpopular boy at the school. One day, he went on a field trip to see spiders and gets bitten by one of super spiders. The spider gave Parker its amazing spider-like abilities. With these amazing abilities to fight, Parker uses his abilities for his own good such as fighting bullies and earning money. When Parker discovers the truth about his uncle’s death, he felt guilty for his uncle’s death. The same burglar that he did not stop during his show was the person that murdered his Uncle Ben. From that experience, Parker was born as a hero who fights against many criminals who disturbs the peace in New York City.
Even though Parker mention from the beginning of the movie, “This story is all about a girl next door”, the story is about Parker rather than the girl next door, Mary Jane. Spider-Man begins from high school life of Parker and Mary Jane. Before Parker was charged with spider-like abilities, he was a nerd and a joke of the school. His peers did not want to be around him or be friends but make fun of him and bully him around. Rather, a masculine, tall, handsome jerk was more popular than Parker and had Mary Jane as his girlfriend. When Parker gains these spider-like amazing abilities, his physical appearance changed dramatically as well. His eyes sights no longer needed glasses and he gained muscles and was stronger than his peers. After Parker gained his powers from a super spider, his appearance was more sharp and stronger than before. Even though Parker is still a same person underneath, now he is a superhero who is going to protect the world from harm and hide his identity to protect his loved ones rather than earning popularity. This is something that everyone dreams about. Becoming a superhero to be loved by everyone and saving the world with strong power that no one else has.
Parker and Mary Jane talks about after high school graduation, moving to a city to achieve their dream as a photographer and an actress. It is something that every teenager dreams about. They dream about moving out from the parents’ house and be independent to struggle for their dream in a famous and big important city where people do not know them but treat them equal as an adult. As a teenager, anyone can relate to this struggle especially when you are not happy with your parents’ relationship to each other and constantly being yelled at by your parents for nothing like Mary Jane.
Because of this similarity of the characters and the audience, it is easily accepted by the audience and loved by them. After high school, Mary Jane and Parker separately move to New York City, a famous, important and busy city in America. Life in New York City was not as beautiful and glamorous as they have imagined, but they are happy because they can strive for their dream without their parent interfering about everything they do. They have become adults just like any teenagers’ dream; they are independent.
Spider-Man shows the lives of the people in the United States. As for Peter Parker, Spider-Man has a very complicated life. First, he studies in the college a major of Science; Peter even studies at his grand mother’s hospital to be a Spider-Man to save the innocents. Second, Parker is always late to work and gets fired several times. Now, Parker works for the newspaper company as a freelance photographer who takes photos of Spider-Man even though his boss, J. Jonah Jameson, hates Spider-Man. Third, Peter needs to keep his eyes on his girl, Mary Jane because she is the love of his life and needs constant attention to save her whenever she is in trouble. With these examples from Spider-Man’s life, are described an example of what are the daily lives of the people in the United States. Many people have many assignments in their everyday lives. For example, young man has the responsibilities of take care his job, his classes at the college and his family. This is an ideal life that people expect from each other to live as well as a fantasy that these stable lives will make them feel happy. Older generation sees this as a common sense that people should live this way. The younger generation looks up to these moralities and dream of living them.
Everybody know Spider-Man as a super hero who fights the villains to save the day, but nobody knows the person behind the mask is Peter Parker. In the United States, many persons use different names for their identifications. Some of them like to be call by a nickname or by the last name. Moreover, Spider-Man shows that the American people keeps their lives in secret, they don’t trust in anyone, even their friends and families. Peter Parker does not want anybody to know he is Spider-Man because his life would be on danger. The same thing occurs with many people, who live in the United States, they do not want to share their personal information to strangers because they fear of being in danger.
Spider-Man, besides of presents the lives of the American people, famous cities of the United States, young people in a relationship and the double identities of the American men, he also shows that the families in America live separated. It is the truth that many television shows such as The Brady Bunch shows that in America the family lives together and happy on a big house, but during the recent years the traditional family does not live together. It occurs because the life of the major cities in America is expensive for a big family stay living together. Spider-Man presents his life as an orphaned boy because his parents died when he was a child. Peter spent his childhood and his adolescent years with his uncle and his aunt. Parker shows that no all persons live with their parents in the United States. Moreover, Spider-Man gives the idea that many American families have their members separated because they have a good job or education in another cities.
The streets of the United States are been describing in the film, Spider-Man. The superhero has adventures everyday on the streets of New York fighting against criminals who do not leave the innocents alone. It proves that the streets of America are dangerous, with many criminals who make the street unsafe for all the citizens. The villains that appear in the adventures that Spider-Man has represent the diverse type of criminals that have the United States. Many of those villains were good persons in the past and for specific reasons such as the loss of a loved one, a fatal accident, or the rejection from others, they became villains. For example, Mr. Osborn was a successful and famous scientist who wanted to create the most advanced weapons in United States until he faces difficulties with the financial problems and opposing scientist who asks for more time and experiment. Mr. Osborn experiments with his own body and starts to use his powers towards his own goods. His good personality was shown at the end again by mentioning “Don’t tell Harry,” (his son). In the real life, many of the most wanted criminals in America were normal people in the past and for the reasons shown before they are now dangerous. Spider-Man also suggests that the Americans can have two faces, the responsible people, and the deadly criminal. The superhero shows to the public from different countries that people in America have to defend themselves with the delinquency if they want to be alive.
The American icons give to people from other countries all things that show the United States as a great place to live. Spider-Man is one example of what America is. Places, people, young couples, family members separated, street, and the privacy on some people are shown by this superhero. Spider-Man is more than an American icon; he is America by his adventures.
Spider-Man the movie has not been changed since its first appearance as a comic strip in their representation of the characters and their characteristics. Many films shows the changes in their representations to fit the audience and their acceptance but Spider-Man has not and is still being accepted because it has been along for a long time with its same characteristics.
Mary Jane is a character who is the love of Spider-Man, Peter Parker. She is a red hair beautiful girl who dreams of being an actress someday living in New York to audition for plays. Mary Jane is constantly saved by the superhero and very feminine. She is easily hurt by other characters and in danger because of her relationship with Parker. “Mary Jane’s femininity is constantly exploited by her appearance,” (A Necessary Fantasy, 413) said Dudley. For example, Mary Jane was almost raped on the street in raining night and Spider-Man comes to save her. Her clothes were soaked in rain and her breasts were shown through her clothes exploiting her femininity.
Mary Jane works at a restaurant where her uniform and sexual appearance is constantly exploited. When she runs into Parker, she is ashamed of her place in real world but is easily accepted through Parker’s eyes. “What’s with her red hair?” (New Media Age, 21) said Carter exploiting Mary Jane’s dyed red hair that does not look real but also exploits the stereo typed fantasy of a red hair girl that was used in the comic book reappearing in the movie. The film is based on the comic book with the same characters, there fore, they still carry the same stereotypes from the 1962 which had difference audience in mind when it was created.
At the funeral of Mr. Osborn, Mary Jane practically throws herself to Parker showing her love towards Parker without realizing Parker is Spider-Man. For Mary Jane’s safety, Parker refuses her love and offers her friendship instead. Again, Parker would have accepted the love of his life if he was the past Parker without any masculine powers but it is different after being a Spider-Man who saves the innocents. Parker is strong enough to refuse her love for her protection. It takes more strength to refuse what you wanted all your life than fighting a villain. Parker did say the story of his life is all around a girl next door.
“Even the evil villain knows who to and not to kill,” (Online Reporter, 2) expresses the opinion about Parker’s aunt. Parker’s aunt is traumatized by the Gobbler’s appearance when she was praying to go to bed. Even after Gobbler’s appearance, aunt still continues to pray to show her religious faith. By doing so, she does not die rather goes to the hospital for her traumatizing experience. Today’s film, it doesn’t matter if you pray or not, you usually die. Parker’s aunt is a good person who loves people and carries the tradition of ideal American family qualities. Even the evil villain realizes that and do not attempt to kill her.
Because of Spider-Man takes place similar to the real world where people are living their own lives and disturbed by criminals, it is being recognized as a good setting. Also, character such as Parker and Mary Jane, audience can relate to the problems that they go through and have struggles with. With Parker’s change as a Spider-Man is a fantasy that people are dreaming about, audience is pulled into the screen to relate and become that character when they are watching him fight the evil criminals to save the innocents. Spider-Man exploits the characteristics of each character exaggerating their genders, it brings back the way the audiences were accepting in 1963. But as older generation watches the film, they go back to the way they were taught and thought in 1963. The younger audience is exposed to this ideal of femininity and masculinity and accept them as their goal and idolize the characters dreaming the same romance and excitements. Even though many years has passed, the film is going back to where it started with their representation of characters to pass them down to the younger audiences to repeat the cycle of dreaming their future gender characteristics of being extreme feminine and masculine.