The larger than life canvas of the big screen has always been a wonderful playground for Comic book superheroes. During the 80s Superman and Flash Gordon took on the world and the universe. The 90s belonged to Batman and his Batmobile. Recently the X-Men exploded onto the big screen. Now Spider-Man turns the box-office upside down with his first celluloid adventure.
DID YOU KNOW?
The current value of the early Spider-Man comic books is a testament to the enduring popularity of the Spider-Man legacy. Collectors lucky enough to own some of the rarer issues can expect a big return should they decide to sell portions of their collection. For example, the August 1962 issue of Amazing Fantasy #15, featuring Spider-Man's first appearance as well as the death of Uncle Ben, has an estimated value of $25,000. Amazing Spider-Man #1, published in March 1963, is gauged to be worth around $18,000. Other memorable Spider-Man installations include Amazing Spider- Man #25 (June 1965), in which MJ makes her first appearance, and Amazing Spider-Man #14 (July 1964), in which we are first introduced to the Green Goblin.
HOW IT HAPPENED
In 1962, 17-year-old Stan Lee found his inspiration when he spotted a fly on his walls. He thought of a hero who could crawl up wall and needed a name, running down the list of names like 'Crawl-Man', 'Insect-Man', 'Fly-Man', before hitting on 'Spider-Man'. He wanted his hero to be different and made Spider-Man's alter ego Peter Parker, an orphaned teenager - someone with financial and dating problems and general 'normal' woes that contrasted with his cosmic clashes. When he discussed the idea with his publisher Martin Goodman he was told that it was the worst idea he had ever heard. Goodman told Lee that people hated spiders and that teenagers can only be sidekicks. Goodman eventually let his cousin and artist Steve Ditko slip the adventures of Spider-Man into the last issue of 'Amazing Fantasy'. Months later the figures revealed that the edition was a top seller. Said Goodman: "Stan, you remember that character that we both liked? Why don't we make a series out of him?"
79-year-old Stan Lee, who never saw a future in comics when he was a teenager, still writes the Spider-Man newspaper strip and is finishing a series with former rival DC Comics in which he rewrites the origins of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and other DC heroes. When asked why he does not retire, Lee said: "When you retire what do you do? You say, 'At last I can do all the things I've wanted to do'. Well, I'm already doing the things I always wanted to do. Why would I stop?" He delights in films, watching one every night at dinner with Joan, his wife of 54 years. Director Sam Raimi even gave Lee a cameo appearance in the film - rescuing a little girl during the Green Goblin's attack on Times Square. For once, Stan Lee got to play the hero.
The screenplay was written by David Koepp, who was born in Wisconsin and went to film school at UCLA. He lives in New York City and is the writer-director of the films ""Stir of Echoes," "The Trigger Effect" and "Suspicious."" Koepp has also served as writer or co-writer on "Panic Room," "Snake Eyes,"The Lost World: Jurassic Park," "Mission: Impossible," "Jurassic Park," "Carlito's Way," ""Death Becomes Her," "Bad Influence" and "Apartment Zero."
When director Sam Raimi was twelve years old his parents gave him a gift that changed his life. There was only one gift to give a passionate Spider-Man fan. They had an artist paint a picture of his comic book hero, which still hangs above his bed in the house he grew up in. That is why the task of bringing a new breed of Spider-Man to life 40 years after he was first introduced to the world was an important task for Raimi, who couldn't resist the challenge of bringing the world-renowned Marvel comic character to the big screen. Raimi's interest in filmmaking began as a youngster in Michigan, where he directed his own Super 8 films. Later, he left Michigan State University to form Renaissance Pictures. Known for his imaginative filmmaking style, richly drawn characters and offbeat humour, Raimi collaborated with Robert Tapert and Bruce Campbell on the cult classic 'The Evil Dead', written and directed by Raimi. This horror film became an immediate cult hit at the Cannes Film Festival, and led to the equally impressive 'The Evil Dead lI Dead By Dawn'. Raimi then proved his mastery over the mainstream fantasy thriller genre, writing and directing 'Darkman', which he followed up with 'Army of Darkness', a comic sword-and-sorcery fantasy, he co- wrote (with Joel and Ethan Coen) the feature film 'The Hudsucker Proxy', and also directed the western 'The Quick and the Dead'. Most he recently directed the supernatural thriller 'The Gift', the acclaimed suspense thriller 'A Simple Plan', and the baseball homage 'For Love of the Game'.
BRINGING THE FILM TO THE SCREEN
"I was concerned about treading on sacred ground with Spider-Man, because he means so much to so many people, to 40 years of readers and fans,,"' says Raimi. 'I feel a terrific responsibility as a long-time fan myself, and I concentrated on the things that I felt were true about the character-to capture the spirit and soul of Spider-Man-and to tell the best story that we possibly could. At the story's core is this young man who is a good person, but flawed like any of us-and he tries to do the best he can. Although it's a small story of a young boy who learns what it is to become a responsible young man, the canvas is very large. We hope that people will enjoy the action and the adventure, but that they will also be able to relate to the ordinary young man who experiences love, loss and betrayal as he finds himself in an extraordinary circumstance. For me, the strength of the character has always been that he is a real person-he's one of us. He's gone through junior high and high school, he's a bit of an outsider, he can't get the girl, he's broke... then an extraordinary event happens to him, and he becomes a superhero-but he still has to do his homework in the evenings." For Sam Raimi, the pleasure of bringing Spider-Man to the screen is beyond measure. 'It has been a dream come true for me to direct Spider-Man, and I hope that audiences will like the fact that the actors, the writers and the whole production team tried to stay true to the spirit of what made Spider-Man the comic book so great."
RETURN TO HOMEPAGE