Spider-Man is a fictional character, a comic book superhero that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer-editor Stan Lee and writer-artist Steve Ditko, he first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15 (cover-dated Aug. 1962). Lee and Ditko conceived the character as an orphan being raised by his Aunt May and Uncle Ben, and as a teenager, having to deal with the normal struggles of adolescence in addition to those of a costumed crimefighter. Spider-Man's creators gave him super strength and agility, the ability to cling to most surfaces, shoot spider-webs using wrist-mounted devices of his own invention (which he called "web-shooters"), and react to danger quickly with his "spider-sense", enabling him to combat his foes.

When Spider-Man first appeared in the early 1960s, teenagers in superhero comic books were usually relegated to the role of sidekick to the protagonist. The Spider-Man series broke ground by featuring Peter Parker, the high school student behind Spider-Man's secret identity and with whose "self-obsessions with rejection, inadequacy, and loneliness" young readers could relate. Unlike previous teen heroes such as Bucky and Robin, Spider-Man had no superhero mentor like Captain America and Batman; he thus had to learn for himself that "with great power there must also come great responsibility"—a line included in a text box in the final panel of the first Spider-Man story but later retroactively attributed to his guardian, the late Uncle Ben.

Marvel has featured Spider-Man in several comic book series, the first and longest-lasting of which is titled The Amazing Spider-Man. Over the years, the Peter Parker character has developed from shy, nerdy high school student to troubled but outgoing college student, to married high school teacher to, in the late 2000s, a single freelance photographer, his most typical adult role. In the 2010s, he joins the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, Marvel's flagship superhero teams. In a 2012–2014 storyline, Peter Parker dies while his mind is in the body of his enemy Doctor Octopus; Doctor Octopus then lives on inside of Parker's body, taking the role of Spider-Man in The Superior Spider-Man. However, Parker returned to his body in April 2014. Separately, Marvel has also published books featuring alternate versions of Spider-Man, including Spider-Man 2099, which features the adventures of Miguel O'Hara, the Spider-Man of the future; Ultimate Spider-Man, which features the adventures of a teenaged Peter Parker in an alternate universe; and Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, which depicts the teenager Miles Morales, who takes up the mantle of Spider-Man after Ultimate Peter Parker's supposed death.

Spider-Man is one of the most popular and commercially successful superheroes. As Marvel's flagship character and company mascot, he has appeared in many forms of media, including several animated and live-action television shows, syndicated newspaper comic strips, and a series of films starring Tobey Maguire as the hero in the first three movies. Andrew Garfield took over the role of Spider-Man in a reboot of the films. Reeve Carney starred as Spider-Man in the 2010 Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. Spider-Man placed 3rd on IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time in 2011, behind DC Comics characters Superman and Batman.

Read more