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Yes, Mary Jane (what happened to Virginia?), there is a Spider-Man.
According to Newswise, that’s what pop-culture guru and associate humanities librarian for Texas Tech University Libraries Rob Weiner set out to prove in an article published in the International Journal of Comic Art.
In much the same way that editor Francis Pharcellus Church proved the existence of Santa Claus in his famous 1897 New York Sun editorial, Weiner contends that Spider-Man and his costumed peers have entered mankind’s collective consciousness, filling a shared need for heroes.
“When I started reading graphic novels, I was struck by the fact that stories about Spider-Man or Batman and Superman could have as many plot twists and turns as any story by Shakespeare, Stephen King or Leo Tolstoy,” he said. “I was struck by how good some of the writing was for these so-called “kiddie” books, and that somehow these archetypical characters like Spider-Man were replacing Odysseus and Zeus as part of modern mythology.”
A copy of Weiner’s article is available as a pdf upon request, or a copy of the journal can be purchased at the International Journal of Comic Art.