The birth of the web, Spider-man's web.


Sara, here visiting the Library of Congress, I've been privileged to see some incredible things:

The Gutenberg Bible, George Washington's diary, but today Spider-man.

Tell me what we have here today.

This is the first time that Spider-man appeared on the pages of a comic book, the original drawings for it.

Now, let's look at what you just said.

These are the original drawings.

This is the actual artwork that Steve Ditko laid to paper.

The immortal Stan Lee picked this up, read it, and approved it.

Stan lee actually wrote the story, and you can see on the pages here a dialogue between Stan and Steve.

For example, this panel here where Peter Parker has his powers.

He doesn't know what they are.

He leaps out of the way of a car.

And you see here written, "Steve, make this a sedan, "no arms hanging out.

Don't imply wild, reckless driving."

Just so I understand, the story about a guy bitten by a radioactive spider who can walk up walls, that's all okay, but we should not imply reckless driving.

It's so interesting.

I mean, Spider-man is such a part of our culture.

This is the foundation story.

it seems like it's carved in stone, and then you realize that it just was sort of a everyday creative dialogue between the two of them.

This was in the last issue of "Amazing Adult Fantasy", which they had changed the title to "Amazing Fantasy."

So let's put in an 11-page story about this amazing kid who gets bitten by a radioactive spider, develops amazing skills, but it was just one of four stories in the issue.

Now, do you get folks acting like they're in the presence of celebrities when they're in the presence of these pages?

I have personally never experienced as many people having their photographs taken with the art.

Sara, there are a lot of people who are Spider-man fans and who consider themselves authorities on the very first appearance of Spider-man, but now we're gonna see something that I think I can promise pretty much no one has ever seen, and that is what the initial splash title looked like before the one that we see right here.

As you can see, there's a lot of white-out around here and a photomechanical banner.

This is an archaeological excavation of the first appearance of Spider-man.

Here's what the title looked like initially, Steve Ditko's first pass at the Spider-man title.

Yeah, it's very webby.

You want to give the last quote?

"And so a legend is born "and a new name added to the roster"of those who make the world of fantasy the most exciting realm of all."

Well, you can just leave me here with these pages.

Really, I'm fine.

I'll just stay right here with my Spider-man pages.

Take down the lights and go home everybody.

Thank you. Good night.

Sara Duke, Curator of popular and applied graphic art, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.