Is Spider-Man Marvel's Best-Selling Scientific Flop?

The Amazing Spider-Inaccuracy
Stan Lee introduced his concept of a super hero with the powers of a spider to an unenthusiastic Martin Goodman, the publisher for Marvel comics, who thought readers would not be able to connect with such a hero. But Stan Lee with his infinite wisdom introduced Spider-Man in comic that was schedule to be canceled. Ironically this turned out to be one of Marvel's best-selling issues. Spider-Man was a very well written character because the teenage fans of Marvel comics could relate to him in ways that comic book writers had never attempted before. 
Lee is known for creating amazing personalities for his characters, but oftentimes he ignores the scientific basis for their powers. Spider-Man is no exception to this practice. The Science of Superheroes begins by explaining the only power of his that is not impossible: his ability to climb walls. Though the radioactive spider is implausible, radioactive insects have been discovered in garbage form nuclear plants, so radioactive arachnids should be possible. Anyways, there is a possibility that Peter Parker could have developed the hairs which hunting spiders have on the ends of their legs that allow them to climb walls, but every other power does not even relate to spiders. They are not particularly fast for their size, nor are they known for being strong. Spiders also do not have any sort of extrasensory detection device for detecting danger, so Peter Parker's "Spider-sense" has no scientific basis. 
While Spider-Man may have been the top selling comic book series for Marvel, its success is not due to the sturdiness of the science surrounding his origin. Regardless of its scientific stability, Spider-Man is my favorite comic book and I believe the writing is too exciting to disregard the series.


  1. I take it you were reviewing Ch. 5 of The Science of Superheroes? That would have been helpful to mention. Pretty short review.


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