Origins of the character
The character of Spiderman was created by legendary comic book writer Stan Lee in 1962. After taking his inspiration from pulp magazines, Lee wanted to create a hero that would strike a chord with the growing audience of teenage comic book readers.
Lee decided that Spiderman would be the alter-ego of teenage boy Peter Parker, who would face problems in his everyday life just as the readers did. After Parker is bitten by a radioactive spider he gains super powers, but is warned by his Uncle that “with great power comes great responsibility”.
Spiderman’s first appearance came in August 1962, in Marvel’s Amazing Fantasy 15, written by Lee and drawn by artist Steve Ditko. It was one of Marvel’s most popular issues, and the character was given its own title in 1963 with the launch of ‘The Amazing Spiderman’.
The character has since appeared in comic books, several animated cartoon series’, a live-action television series, four films and a Broadway musical.
Spider-man’s first appearance in Amazing Fantasy 15 is one of the world’s most valuable comic books. In March 2011 a near-mint condition copy was sold at a ComicConnect auction for $1.1 million. The previous record price for an issue of the comic had been $227,000, set in 2007.
In May 2011 a copy of Amazing Spiderman #4 was sold by Heritage for $77,675.
In July 2004 Heritage sold the original Steve Ditko artwork for a complete 22-page story from Amazing Spiderman #10 for $161,000.
Other Heritage sales include a page of Ditko artwork from Amazing Spiderman #13 showing Spiderman battling his enemy Mysterio for $14,375, and the John Romita Sr./Mike Esposito cover artwork for Amazing Spiderman #41 featuring the introduction of the ‘Rhino’ sold for $58,650.
The first Spiderman action figure to appear on the market was the Captain Action Spider-Man in 1967. The figure was actually a Captain Action figure made by the Ideal Toy Company which included a Spiderman costume.
Its extreme rarity means that in mint-condition the figure is valued at around $20,000.
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