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Why everyone loves Spider-Man
Lessons anyone can learn from our friendly neighborhood web-crawler
I’ve loved Spider-Man ever since I was a kid. One of my favorite pictures is of 6-year-old me in Spider-Man pajamas pretending to web-crawl up a doorframe (included at the end of this article). Even now, my favorite movies are the Spider-Verse movies; I even bought the OG Jordan 1s released in collaboration with the second film.
I’ve never really thought about why I like Spider-Man until I played the most recent Spider-Man video game: Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. Video games create an immersive experience unlike any other medium. I’ve watched the animated series, read many of the comics, and seen all the Spider-Man movies, but it wasn’t until playing through this most recent video game that I began to think about what Spider-Man means to me.
When most people think of Spider-Man, they think of this quote:
“With great power there must also come — great responsibility!” -Amazing Fantasy #15, later attributed to Ben Parker
While deep, this applies to almost no one. Very few people will have enough power in their lifetime to find this quote applicable and, let’s face it, most of the people who do don’t heed Ben Parker’s advice. The message behind Ben’s quote is simplified into something more meaningful in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2:
“When you help someone, you help everyone.” -May Parker, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2
This is the quote that made me realize why everyone loves Spider-Man: Spider-Man learns lessons that apply to everyone, no matter their circumstances or stage of life. When we follow his journey of becoming a hero, we find ourselves transforming as well – feeling inspired to become better versions of ourselves and making our own neighborhoods a little friendlier. Aunt May’s insight here is more than just quotable; it is also a simplification of a complex lesson: The small things we do add up to make a big difference.
Helping others is a theme across every Spider-Man iteration. Both Peter Parker and Miles Morales understand the impact they can have because of their abilities, and they show us the immense burden of responsibility they feel because of it. We see that despite their bravery and resilience, even they need help sometimes. This is especially prevalent in the comics where the help Spider-Man’s friends provide him ends up being just as important as the help he provides New York City1. Spider-Man is a reminder to readers of what it means to be human by constantly trying to be something greater.
Recently, I was feeling very discouraged about my writing. I tend to write each week about whatever is at the top of my mind. While I usually write about self-improvement and the world of tech, top-of-mind writing means I don’t write about a single topic. I started to doubt the value of my writing.
Around this time, I had a friend text me saying he really enjoyed my writing. It meant a lot to me, so I thanked him and explained the feelings I just shared with you. He actually liked that I write about whatever topic I feel is important. He’s been wanting to get into the habit of writing, but felt like he had a lot of ideas on very different topics. He had the same concerns about writing about multiple topics, but my writing had helped him worry less about it.
I had been focusing too much on the size of my impact, instead of just helping someone. The goal of my writing is to help others become better people. If I’m able to help even one person achieve that, then my writing is worth it. This goes for anyone creating content: if you can help just one person with the things you create, then the work you put into them has been worth it.
If you’re feeling the way I was, you’re not alone. If you’re doubting yourself, realign your focus. Surround yourself by supportive people. Rather than thinking about how to help everyone, think only about what you should do to help the next person.
Even Spider-Man needs to be reminded of his self-worth. He shows us that even someone who spends all their time helping others isn’t always confident that they’re doing the right thing. The beautiful thing about Spider-Man is we get to witness him work through his self-doubt and become something greater. Isn’t this what we’re all trying to do?
Miles Morales puts our relationship with Spider-Man best:
“Anyone can wear the mask. You can wear the mask. If you didn’t know that before, I hope you do now.” -Miles Morales, Into the Spider-Verse
This is why I love Spider-Man. We’re shown that being powerful isn’t required to be able to make a difference. In fact, it isn’t one large effort from a single person that helps the most people; it’s the small actions everyone takes each day. When you help someone, you help everyone. Just like Spider-Man, we need to realize that we aren’t perfect; but what we can do is enough as long as we choose to do it.
Thanks for reading! As a reward for reading to the end, below is the picture of 6-year-old Logan climbing the doorframe like Spider-Man:
In case you missed it, last week I wrote about a conversation I had with an excellent tech writer about how to better content and help more people. He explained 4 incredibly helpful lessons he’s learned as he has built a community of almost 200,000 subscribers. Here’s the full piece explaining these lessons:
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This is why I didn’t like Sam Raimi’s Mary Jane. She was useless. In the comics, she helps Spider-Man. MJ in the MCU and even Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man 1 and 2 were more indicative of how MJ is. This is also why I love the characters of Ganke Leed and Ned Leeds.