It’s been six decades since Peter Parker first appeared, changing the face of superhero comics forever, and at C2E2 on Saturday afternoon, fans and pros alike celebrate his birthday. (He doesn’t look a day over 25! Well, depending on who’s drawing him, at least.)
Amongst those scheduled to appear in this hour-long Spider-centric saturnalia are artists Skottie Young and Mike del Mundo, and current Amazing Spider-Man inker Scott Hanna. Expect to learn some secrets about all-time classic webhead adventures past, present, and maybe even future!
Popverse is going to be sharing all the latest information over the web – sorry, couldn’t resist – right here on this liveblog, so keep this page bookmarked to stay up to date. If you’re too busy rushing your elderly aunt to the hospital or the wheatcake store, though, you can always come back when it’s all over to read the whole thing as it happened.
Interested in checking out what else Popverse is up to this weekend in Chicago? Make sure you read our comprehensive C2E2 coverage guide.
Our live coverage of this event has finished.
I hope all of you are feeling amazing, spectacular, and even Web Of out there today. We're just minutes away from the first of two Spider-Man panels of the day, because you can't keep a good arachnid down.
And we're off!
Up on the stage are Mike del Mundo and Skottie Young. "I'd like to point that the two guys who showed up to the Spider-Man panel are cover guys," Young jokes.
What was del Mundo's first exposure to Spider-Man? "Do you remember the Double Trouble Spider-Man stuff? It was printed in Canada, it was a safety awareness comic," he says to laughs from the audience. "Mike loved safety as a kid," Young jokes.
"Wait until Mike gets to his DARE material," Young says. His own first exposure to Spider-Man was watching Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends as a kid. "It's funny now, now that I understand everything else. My version of Spider-Man has a fireplace that turns into a computer lab."
"I was too young to actually remember it, but I did watch that ridiculous live-action show that was on," Young adds. Nicholas Hammond, bet you didn't expect a shoutout this early in the panel.
Was there one particular moment that made them Spider-Man fans? Del Mundo says that it's Todd McFarlane and Erik Larsen's work. "People sleep on Erik, man," Young says. "Remember Erik's Sinister Six stuff?"
Skottie Young says that Zeb Wells and Kaare Andrews' Spider-Man/Doctor Octopus: Year One mini really drew him back into the character. "We read all these books about these middle aged dudes, and we're like, you should really be able to deal with these feelings. But Spider-Man makes sense! He's a kid!"
"He actually worried about getting a job. Clark Kent has a job, but he kind of clowned on that job. Peter had to actually get to work," Young says, talking about the working class appeal of early Spider-Man stories.
Favorite Spider-Man villain? "I love Doc Ock because I think he looks ridiculous," Young says. "Doc Ock, the original one with his triangle glasses, it's like, why? Why did you need the arms on your back?"
Young is talking about why Spider-Man 2 makes no sense. "He wants to... evilly give free energy to the world?"
Young on the Vulture: "I love that kind of stuff. Why is this old man dressed as a bird?"
Young is talking about Superior Spider-Man, which was "a cool story, a cool dynamic." Said it was really fun to watch happen in the writer's room, as all the other creators were surprised about what was planned.
Del Mundo: "The best part of that whole run was when Doc Ock realizes Peter's been holding back that whole time."
Del Mundo's favorite villains? That would also be Doc Ock. "I always like drawing his bowl cut. I always hated the arms because there's so many, but I love drawing that guy."
Fans are talking about their favorite Spidey villain. Green Goblin, "the OG" gets a shout out for being the opposite to Peter Parker, as does Venom. "Just like Green Goblin, he's the anti-Spider-Man. I love how they're designed, and how they challenge Peter's version of morality."
Another fan says that they got into Spider-Man through the '90s cartoon and their favorite villain is Kingpin. "It was weird to see this big fat guy give Spider-Man a problem." "There's also a determination to Kingpin," adds Young. "I always thought it was his determination that gets him over on everybody. He's amazing in [Into the] Spider-Verse, holy cow. Did I say holy cow? I'm so old."
Norman Osborn gets another vote from the crowd. "I didn't realize how personal his vendetta is against Peter Parker," the fan says.
Shockingly, someone mentions Ben Reilly as their favorite villain! (What?) "I think he's underrated," says the fan. "Also, sleeveless blue hoodies are amazing!" says Young.
Who's the best Spidey girl? The crowd audibly goes "OOH."
Both del Mundo and Young agree: It's Mary Jane. "I didn't read the comics at the time it was Gwen," Young says. He adds that he also loves the MJ from the current MCU movies.
A fan says that Aunt May is the best Spider-Man girl. "You can kill Gwen, MJ can go away, but Aunt May is here to stay. She's the original golden oldie." Another fan says that everyone is sleeping on Cindy Moon, AKA Silk.
Why is Silk ignored in favor of Spider-Gwen? "Spider-Gwen had a hoodie!" says Young. This is clearly the key to comics success.
Felicia Hardy and Ultimate Kitty Pryde are also volunteered by the crowd as great love interests for Spider-Man.
Who do the panelists love from the supporting cast? Young remembers Peter's roommates from the Paul Jenkins/Humberto Ramos run. "I loved the dynamics of that. It was cool to see Peter interact with people his own age," he says. "For that brief period, I got to look through the window of him being a young person with friends who weren't trying to beat the bad guy."
Del Mundo says that his favorite is Aunt May. The panel's unnamed host (sorry, unnamed host) names J. Jonah Jameson, because he's almost officially the greatest Spider-Man supporting character. Yes, I'm biased, but I'm doing this liveblog.
Curt Connors from the animated series in the 1990s gets a shoutout from the crowd - he gets to be a father figure who encourages Peter, even as he accidentally creates the series' main villains. Someone else calls out Robbie Robertson, deservedly.
Someone yells "FLASH THOMPSON" to applause. "He was a total jerk, but he found his way!" is the argument, which is hard to argue with. Also, he lost his legs, people, and still went on the do the thing. You have to respect that.
Miles Morales gets suggested as someone's favorite supporting character. (He's a supporting character? He's Spider-Man!)
What's the secret to Spidey's longevity? "It's one of the best character designs of all time," says Young. "Visually? It's perfect. When you start to eff with it, you're playing with dynamite. Why? Why? It just works." He also says that the character teaches a lifelong lesson about the important of making decisions and taking (great) responsibility.
Spider-Man changed Young's life, because it was a Spider-Man series that was his first full-length mini for Marvel. "That character changed my whole life. That's the power of things that people make up. It can change people's real life forever."
Del Mundo says that Spider-Man can transition through different styles, and not every character can do that. "Anyone that touches Spider-Man will work, I think." It allows the character to be reinvented without a redesign.
"He's also very easy to draw. Those webs hide everything," del Mundo says. "Those webs make you look so good," Young says.
"My go-to for Spider-Man... he has to be a spindly kid. I think people will always draw Peter like that, but for whatever reason, when the costume goes on, people draw him like he's 42 and dieseled," says Young. "I think when you put the Spider-Man costume, he gets to be an asshole."
"I love that Spider-Man puts the mask on, and is like, I'm going to clown on you right now," Young adds. He's the smartest guy in the room.
Fan questions! What's the best Spider-Man team up? "It's got to be Spider-Man Deadpool for me," del Mundo says. "They kind of juxtapose each other in so many ways." Young says that the Spider-Verse team-ups do it for him: "I have watched Into The Spider-Verse seven trillion times."
A sudden arrival on stage: it's Stephen Wacker, summoned by Skottie Young! "This is going to get me in trouble," Wacker says.
"The best team-up Spider-Man's had is Stan Lee and Steve Ditko," Wacker says to raucous laughter. "What a kiss-ass," says Young.
Other than the original costume, what's the best costume? "Cyborg Spider-Man" says del Mundo immediately. "That's a crazy answer!" says Wacker. Young says "little manga Spider-Man." Wacker gets the win, though: "I love the FF with the bag on his head."
Who is Spider-Man's best friend? "Would you separate Spider-Man from Peter Parker?" asks Wacker. No-one knows who to answer. "The person I think he could connect with, but they've not done enough stories, is Ben Grimm," says Wacker. "I think for Pete, his best friend's got to be Aunt May, as corny as that is."
"The recent comics that made Randy more important have been great," Wacker says, who asks the fan who asked the question if he has an answer, and he suggests Daredevil, much to everyone's approval.
Wacker's talking about Stan Lee pitching him a story. "He wanted to do the first time Spidey met the Fantastic Four, and I was like, it's Stan, this'll be great! And then I thought, wait. That's Amazing Spider-Man #1."
Panelists are plugging their current projects: Skottie Young is writing Strange Academy for Marvel and Twig for Image Comics, which Wacker says is the "best book out there right now." Young also says "two million more baby comics, because I love money!" Del Mundo is talking about 3 Worlds/3 Moons. He's also just finished a Spawn arc, he doesn't know when it'll be released. Wacker is the editor-in-chief of 3 Worlds/3 Moons, and he plugs the new Zeb Wells run on Amazing Spider-Man, "because this is a Marvel panel."