Written by Luke Heine
SDSU History Major / Honors College, 2021
Every fan of comics knows Peter Parker, that friendly neighborhood wall-crawler who brought the teen hero from sidekick to center stage. Bitten by a radioactive spider, he gained new powers and hard lessons on responsibility since his debut in 1962’s Amazing Fantasy #15. Since then, he’s leaped from the comic book page to stardom on the silver screen, with recent entries including “ Far From Home” and “Into the Spider-Verse.” Long story short, you probably are pretty familiar with the guy. Let’s take a look at the cover of his first issue where it all began.
“Introducing Spider Man.”
Amazing Fantasy (Marvel Comics) #15 (Aug. 1962)
What a cover! But wait, something’s strange; it’s spelled “Spider Man” not “Spider-Man” – isn’t it spelled with a hyphen? Maybe the first page of the issue can help us out a bit.
There it is. Maybe just a misprint? But wait (there’s more)! Check out the bolded name of our web-slingin’ star in that big yellow text box. How’s it spelled? Spiderman – one word, no hyphen. So which one is it? Well, I think our next move is to look to the late great Stan Lee, co-creator of the hero with artist Steve Ditko. In a 2010 tweet, Stan Lee puts an end to the debate once and for all: “Spidey’s official name has a hyphen — “Spider-Man.” Know why? When I first dreamed him up I didn’t want anyone confusing him with Superman!”
So there you have it folks: “Spider-Man” is the correct spelling. That’s sure to be a fun bit of trivia to pull out at the next party you attend; I’m sure it’ll make you as popular as Peter Parker! Or, better yet, swing by Special Collections at the SDSU Library and browse through some of the web-slinger’s adventures yourself. For more information about SDSU’s Comic Arts Collection, check out this research guide.