PENGUIN CLASSICS MARVEL COLLECTION DISCUSSION QUESTIONS BY BEN SAUNDERS FOR THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN
1. The most famous line in Spider-Man’s origin story is that “with great power there must also come great responsibility.” But is this a lesson Peter only needs to learn once—or do we see Stan Lee and Steve Ditko returning to this theme in later stories as well?
2. In what ways is Spider-Man’s origin different from that of other super heroes?
3. Peter’s traumatic loss of Uncle Ben is what finally forces him to pick up the mantle of the hero, but he continues to be plagued by doubts about his actions and motivations. Look for examples of Peter expressing ambivalence or rejecting the heroic role throughout this collection. What do these moments reveal about his character and personality, and about the challenge of heroism in general?
4. In what ways can we read Peter Parker’s early adventures as allegories for the pain of adolescence?
5. Spider-Man is noted for his compelling rogues’ gallery. Why do you think Lee and Ditko’s villains have proved so lastingly popular with readers?
6. What kinds of “real-world” fears and threats do villains such as Doctor Octopus, the Sandman, the Green Goblin, and Mysterio potentially represent or emblematize?
7. Steve Ditko’s artistic style is highly idiosyncractic—it’s almost impossible to mistake his work for that of anyone else. Only Ditko looks like Ditko, but it can be surprisingly difficult to describe his technique. What adjectives can you come up with to capture Ditko’s drawing style, his approach to figures, his use of posture, his line work, his slightly skewed perspectives, etc.? How does Ditko’s style help create the world of Spider-Man?
Learn more about the Penguin Classics Marvel Collection here