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Was Spider-Man's Origin Inspired by an 'Archie' Comic?

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Captain Sprocket User avatar

Posts: 433
Click here to read "Follow the Bouncing Ball" from ARCHIE #126, with a publication date of March 1962. Harry Lucey drew this story that appeared on the stands five or six months before AMAZING FANTASY #15. (AF15 had a cover date of August, but states September 1962 in the indicia.)

minton User avatar

Posts: 53
Location: Temporarily Returned to Hagerstown, MD

Interesting! So was this the first story ever of the now-standard origin story of radioactivity accidentally conferring super powers? The Comet and the Flash were both scientists whose concoctions accidentally gave them their powers, right? I don't think there was implied radioactivity, though. In movies of the fifties, radioactivity was waking up dinosaurs and making insects grow huge. Those cast a negative light on nuclear experimentation and probably reflected anxiety about it. When was the first appearance in popular culture of the idea of radioactivity giving beneficial superhuman powers? Was this it?

I liked when Simpsons' Radioactive Man cried out "I'm becoming . . . radioactive!"

Captain Sprocket User avatar

Posts: 433
From the blog I am Kyle's self-indulgence: "After [World War II], however, the world truly had something to be afraid of. The detonation of atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki showed to the world the awesome destructive power of atomic energy. The mysteries of this new power held people all over the world in fear for all of the cold war to follow. It should come as no surprise that this fear manifested itself in popular culture. Films, comics, and science fiction novels depicted post-apocalyptic worlds; Godzilla became a by-product of nuclear weapons testing; and superheroes gained a new source of extraordinary abilities. Spiderman is bitten by a radioactive spider. The Hulk is transformed by a bombardment of gamma radiation. The Fantastic Four acquire powers from cosmic (presumably radioactive) rays. Daredevil is blinded by radioactive waste. Like the chemical accidents that transformed the heroes of the Golden Age, the volume of radioactive superhero origins during the Cold War reveals a country's tenuous attitude toward the effects of atomic research." (

The Captain has not been able to find any pre-ARCHIE #126 mention of radioactivity in comic book super hero origins, so there could be something to this story!