Stan Lee Documentary Reveals We Almost Didn’t Get Spider-Man

in Marvel, Movies & TV

Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson) in 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' (2018)

Credit: Sony Pictures Animation/Marvel

In the new Disney+ documentary STAN LEE (2023), the main face of Marvel reveals that Spider-Man, his most beloved character, almost didn’t exist.

Andrew Garfield (left), Tom Holland (middle), and Tobey Maguire (right)
Credit: Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios

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Whether you prefer Tom Holland, Tobey Maguire, or Andrew Garfield, it cannot be denied that Spider-Man is awesome. The alter ego of Peter Parker, Miles Morales, Pavitr Prabhakar, and many more is the most popular movie superhero of all time, grossing more money at the box office than any other hero.

It’s genuinely hard to imagine a world without your friendly neighborhood Web-Slinger. That’s why it’s so surprising to learn that the character was shot down almost as soon as Stan Lee pitched him back when he first started working in comics.

Stan Lee Snuck Spider-Man Into Comics

Stan Lee Painting
Credit: Abijith Ka Wikimedia Commons

Related: Tom Holland Gives Fans Hope for ‘Spider-Man’ Reunion

In the Disney+ documentary STAN LEE, the former Editor-In-Chief at Marvel Comics revealed that his boss at Timely Comics, Martin Goodman, hated the idea when Lee pitched him back in the 1960s.

According to Lee, “I walked into the publisher, Martin Goodman, and I said, ‘I have an idea for a book called “Spider-Man” about a teenager who has a lot of problems.’ This time Martin wouldn’t go along with me,” Lee continued, “He said, ‘Stan, I’m surprised at you. A hero can’t be a teenager. A teenager can only be a sidekick! And you say you want him to have problems? Don’t you know what a superhero is?’ He was the boss, and I couldn’t put ‘Spider-Man’ out.”

gwen stacy hailee steinfeld with miles morales shameik moore across the spider-verse
Credit: Sony Pictures

However, Stan Lee had a workaround. Timely Comics was canceling a series called Amazing Fantasy. In the final issue, Lee snuck Spider-Man in at the end and featured him on the front cover since “nobody cares what you put in the last issue.” Because Spider-Man was in the comic, the final issue became a huge success.

Naturally, Goodman had a change of tone. “Later, when the sales figures came in, Martin came running into my office. He said: ‘Stan! Do you remember that character of yours, Spider-Man, that we both liked so much? Why don’t you do a series of him?’ After that, I felt I can do anything.”

The rest, as they say, is history. Spider-Man has continued to be a success, with the massively popular Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023) in theaters now.

What changes would you make to Spider-Man? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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