Life usually doesn’t fit into nice neat little lists, but that doesn’t keep me from trying. Welcome to my Tuesday 10, where I try to fit the messiness of life into a list of ten.
It’s no big secret that I love super heroes. Anyone that knows me very well at all can tell you that. I have loved super hero mythology as long as I can remember. And while my favorite member of the long-underwear club is Captain America, his frequent ally and fellow Avenger Spider-Man is a close second. I’ve been collecting and reading Spider-Man comics longer than I’ve even known what a comic is. Spider-Man turns fifty this month and to honor this colorful character this week’s Tuesday 10 is a list of ten things I learned from Spider-Man.
1. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t: I grew up in an age when the good guy always beat the bad guy, a cliche of modern story-telling that just doesn’t hold up well in real life. Spider-Man was the first super hero I can remember that actually lost about as often as he won.
2. Never, under any circumstances put on clothes if you don’t know where they came from. Also, there is never a good reason to wear your underwear on the outside of your clothes.
3. It’s good to have a sense of humor, but a joke at the wrong guy’s expense might hospitalize you.
4. Sometimes willpower is better than muscles: Numerous times throughout his fictional history Spidey has reached the peak of his physical ability, and had to rely solely on inner-strength to prevail. A powerful physique can never surpass the will of the one who wields it.
5. Life is sacred: unlike a lot of fictional “heroes” Spidey doesn’t kill his enemies, ever. That doesn’t mean his stories haven’t faced their own moments of intense tragedy, but they are never senseless acts of killing perpetrated by the wall-crawler as a facade for heroism.
6. Clones, symbiotes, deranged editors-in-chief, SONY Pictures, and emo dancing montages are all Spidey’s worst enemies.
7. If you want to tell good stories they need a moral core, an identifiable hero, and a mounting conflict.
8. Editors-in-chief have way too much control.
9. Money affects everything in this life.
10. Power and responsibility: Spidey’s costumed career took a turn for the heroic when his Uncle Ben was gunned down by a thief he had refused to stop in an earlier robbery. This event set the tone for a phrase that is as inseparable from the Spider-Man mythos as web-swinging, with great power comes great responsibility. If you have the ability to do good for someone, or the ability to prevent evil from happening, you have a moral obligation to intervene. This is a philosophy that is stated very plainly in the New Testament–James 4:17.
11. Stan Lee is a nerd’s best friend. ~ Excelsior!