Spider-Man’s Creators Share Their Favorite Web-Head Stories
Spider-Man is an important character to many, and the people creating this game certainly consider themselves among that group. We spoke with the writers and developers of Spider-Man on both the Insomniac and Marvel side to learn their favorite stories, and why they love the character so much.
Jacinda Chew – art director
My favorite thing about Spider-Man, in general, is just in every single instance, it’s about him being an underdog, and I think that is something that is relatable. The fact that he is not without his faults and he is always dealing with his personal life. In our game he has Aunt May, a complicated relationship with MJ, and then he has to protect the city as well. I find those stories to be very compelling. It’s something I think Insomniac is good at with Ratchet and Clank and Sunset Overdrive. We love the underdog story.
Christos Gage – writer, Marvel
I have a couple. One is The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man, which is like a half of an issue story around 248, but don’t hold me to that, of Amazing Spider-Man. It’s a really moving story about this kid that Spider-Man drops in on who he read about in the newspaper who collects newspaper articles – he’s like the world’s biggest Spider-Man fan and they talk about his career and it’s really fun. It’s this wonderful story of a kid getting to meet his hero and at the end the kid says, “Can you tell me who you really are? I promise I won’t tell anyone,” and Spider-Man says, “You know I really can’t do that,” and the kid says, “Yeah, I understand,” but he pulls off his mask and reveals who he is and then Spider-Man leaves and you see him reading end of this article about the kid and you learn the kid is dying of cancer, and you see Spider-Man crying and it’s a really powerful story. And that to me encapsulated the humanity of Spider-Man really well.
And then there is the classic Steve Ditko and Stan Lee issue 33 where he is trapped under the heavy machinery and he’s in an underwater base that is filling with water and he tries two or three times to get out, but he can’t do it and then he finally does it. Then there is another from when I was kid that’s about Spider-Man fighting the juggernaut, which is an X-Men villain who is literally unstoppable, and he just does not stop Spider-Man is getting his butt handed to him, but he just does not give up. I think that is a crucial aspect of Spider-Man in that he just does not give up. He may not be the strongest; he may not be the toughest; he may not have the most cosmic powers, but he just doesn’t give up. He keeps coming back and trying to do the right thing and I always found that very inspiring.
Bryan Intihar – creative director
I think about things like Kraven’s Last Hunt and even things like Back in Black where you can see how strong and angry Spider-Man can be. I was thinking about it and what really resonates with me and there is a story called Spider-Man Blue where it’s a Valentine’s Day and he is thinking back on his relationship with Gwen and what I love about it so much is it’s that moment where it’s as much a Peter Parker story as it is about Spider-Man and that’s something we’re really trying to do here. You really see the relatability and the vulnerability and the heart of the character and that is something, for us, that has been absolutely crucial to get right. It’s some of those examples of something that is really important to me that we’re trying to carry through with this game.
Yuri Lowenthal – actor, Spider-Man
It’s been a while since I have connected with the comic books themselves. I would have to say, in my childhood, there is a very special place for the original Ralph Bakshi Spider-Man cartoon because it was so weird! I almost look back at it sometimes like a fever dream thinking, “They couldn’t have possible been telling the weird stories they were telling with Spider-Man as the main character!” So that goes back deep for me. That’s probably, for me deep inside, the seminal Spider-Man, even though as I got older the stories got much more complicated and I started reading the comics and they got darker and more interesting – even with all that, that Spider-Man was my Spider-Man growing up.
Jon Paquette – writer, Insomniac
I know people like to rag on the Raimi movies, but let me tell you – there is a love for the character that you can tell is in there. Even in the third one, which admittedly was kind of sh***y. Even there, there is a love and you can feel the boyish charm and love for Spider-Man and for Peter Parker. It’s funny, Bryan and I joke a lot. There is that scene, I think it is in the first movie where Aunt May is having the garage sale and she says, “I believe there is a hero in all of us.” That can be really hokey, especially when you read it on the page it’s really hokey, but there is something about the love for the character that just comes through in those movies. We’re definitely trying to do something like that – not the schmaltzy part of it. We’re definitely a little more adult – but, we all have such a love for the character that that part of the movies is important.
We also read Kraven’s Last Hunt, and that’s such a tour de force of storytelling. Everyone says it is one of their favorite Spider-Man comics and when you back and read it again you realize why, because it is such a well-told story. Honestly, there are not a lot of stories in the games that were that great because a lot of them were movie tie-ins, and I am not going to go and rag on any games, but I don’t know if there was a game that really tried to do a lot with story as opposed to just focusing on game mechanics and that kind of stuff. We weren’t really inspired, story-wise, by too many games, but definitely inspired by the Raimi movies – at least me personally – and the comics. I think everybody on the team has a different answer for that question.
Ted Price – president and CEO, Insomniac Games
My favorite aspect is that he shows his human side frequently. Whether it’s in the movies where you see him taking off his mask and being Peter for a little while, or his vulnerability during combat in the latest movies. Actually getting hurt, or seeing his suit getting ripped – those are the kinds of things that make me, personally, interested in Spider-Man as a hero, and I think that’s because we can all identify with the struggles he goes through and the choices he has to make and the fact that he’s not invincible.
Bill Rosemann – executive creative director, Marvel Games
He is my number one favorite superhero and character literature. I was lucky to discover him when I was very young. Saw the re-run of the 1960s cartoon when I was like four or five. Walked into my second grade book fair. Picked up … it was Pocket Books. They did a reprint, they did three volumes, they did the first 20 issues and that was it. The switch was flipped and I said, “This is my guy. This is my thing. This is my medium. This is what I love.” I wanted to be Peter Parker. He had a job in the city! He had a moped and got to ride around! He got to go on dates. I want to do that! And he’s Spider-Man! I related to him. This guy looks like me. I relate to what he’s going through. Anyway I could get my Spider-Man – dolls, action figures, cartoons, underoos, and Halloween costumes. He was my guy. Anytime I would move around I would find where the nearest comic shop was. No matter what was going on I would always kept tabs on him so he was this constant denominator in my life and then I got to read the new comics and they started reprinting the older stuff and I got to go back and read all that and fill in the gaps. Now here I am many years later.