50 Years of The Amazing Spider-Man: Marvel’s Mascot Swings Onto Gadgets, Games, Apps & Social Web!
Superhero season is in full swing with a refresh of the DC Comics brand and a clash of two mighty Marvel super-teams erupting from the pages of popular publications. The Avengers have also led the charge on the big screen and the final concluding part of the Dark Knight trilogy arrives in a few shorts weeks – thus solidifying 2012 as the Year of the Superhero!
Another hero we all know and love has another reason to celebrate. And not only are we excited to see his latest movie adventure hit cinemas this weekend but this year we also celebrate 50 Years of The Amazing Spider-Man!
Your Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man first appeared in print in the August 1962 issue of Amazing Fantasy by Marvel Comics as the creation of legendary writer Stan “The Man” Lee and since that time Peter Parker’s web-slinging alter ego has battled foes such as Venom, Doc Ock and of course his arch rival the Green Goblin. He’s also been a member of both the Avengers and the Fantastic Four and has spread his web across other popular media including movies in the 60s and 00s, as well as cartoons and TV shows through the decades. In recent times Spidey has stepped over into the realms of digital and technology related media including video games, social networking and apps for our smartphones and gadgets. The Gadget Helpline has picked out a few of our favourites for Spider-fans to enjoy and for new believers to swing straight into the action!
VIDEO GAMES VIGILANTE:
Since the modern-age Spidey movies exploded onto screen starting in 2002 the video games have played an important part of both the publicity and expanding the fan experience and one of the top Spider-Man games was launched on Playstation 2 and original Xbox in support of the first in the trilogy. Featuring the voices of the film’s actors including Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker and Willem DaFoe as Green Goblin the game was a free roaming epic adventure, bigger than any Spider-tie-in before it and which allowed gamers to train their Spider-skills and explore the vast urban landscape of New York City. The gameplay followed the storyline of the movie and also introducing other foes from Marvel Comics’ history including Vulture, Scorpion and Shocker.
Two more games followed in the same format and the tradition continues with a new game for PS3 and Xbox 360 in support of The Amazing Spider-Man 2012 movie. The free-play is massively expanded and the visuals are richer with a realistic style of play which means gamers actually get to feel like they are experiencing everything their hero does as we train and fight with him, learning to use abilities such as Spider-sense and a variety of web-attacks to face up against the movie’s big bad – The Lizard. Like previous games, this one adds a number of famous villains that don’t appear in the movie, including Rhino, and a marvellous addition to the game is Spider-Man creator Stan Lee, himself a playable character with all the same super-powers as his famous character!
An honourable mention must go to The Amazing Spider-Man for Nintendo Game Boy which was released on the handheld in 1990 – a side-scrolling platform offering based around Peter Parker’s attempts to save his girlfriend Mary Jane from the clutches of the Sinister Six (an evil team-up of Spidey’s worst villains) and a much played childhood game for this blogger!
THE APP-EALING SPIDER-MAN:
Just as the movie world of our beloved hero has evolved, so have our gadgets and keeping up with current trends The Amazing Spider-Man now has launched his own range of apps!
First up, there’s The Amazing Spider-Man AR (augmented reality) app available for popular Android smartphones and tablets as well as Apple iPhone and iPad. This one allows comic book movie fans to get closer than ever to old Webhead through their device’s camera and this super-software tool. A number of locations have been specially selected to host “markers” – visual cues which when viewed through a gadget will bring to life a 3D animation and exciting interactive features. Finding these markers can also award you with achievements that can be shared on Facebook or Twitter. The Amazing Spider-Man AR app can be downloaded now from both the Apple App Store and Google Play – and it’s completely free of charge!
Another app based on the soon to be released retelling of The Amazing Spider-Man origin story is the Mobile Game which is also available for both Google gadgets and Apple devices. The game, like the console version, allows you to explore five districts of a three dimensional New York City and battle bad guys in 25 immersive missions based on the storyline of the new movie. Gameplay is enriched by combo attacks, climbing, web-swinging and upgradable attacks all bolstered by the slick visuals optimised for mobile platforms. Available now through Google Play and the Apple App Store this exciting Spidey-spin-off costs just £4.99.
If you like what you’ve seen of The Amazing Spider-Man and want to explore historic comics or expand your horizons in the Marvel Comics Universe there’s a handy official app which is free to download and allows you to purchase the latest issues of popular series such as Avengers vs. X-Men, Wolverine, The Incredible Hulk and classic Spidey stories such as Secret Wars and the Death of Gwen Stacy.
There are over 3500 digital titles to choose from each costing no more than a regular printed copy off the shelf of your local comic book store (average $3.99). The beauty of the Marvel Comics app is that you can grab the comics anytime, anyplace and enjoy them in lavish colours on your Android or Apple iOS smartphone or tablet’s screen with fluent animation between the drawn panels and pages. Comics bought stay on your Marvel.com account meaning if you want to pull a previously bought copy out of your personal library it’s there to read when you want it! The Marvel Comics App is available for both Android and for Apple iOS.
Your Socially Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man:
It’s hard to have friends when you’re the target of villains such as the Green Goblin, Venom and now the Lizard! But naturally Spider-man is no stranger to the social-web (get it?) and fans of his big screen adventures can keep up to date with all the latest trailers, screenshots and red carpet interviews on The Amazing Spider-Man official Facebook Page and Twitter. A current trend in support of Hollywood blockbusters is the “viral” – a socially spread internet campaign which expands on a movie’s storyline and themes with websites and videos.
The makers of The Amazing Spider-Man have also leapt onto this trend for their new movie creating oscorpindustries.com. The website is purely fictional and is based on the company which has involvement in the transformation of Peter Parker into Spider-Man. It’s worth checking out some of Oscorp’s videos featuring Rhys Ifans in character as Dr. Curt Connors – before he becomes the Lizard in the new movie. There’s also the Daily Bugle YouTube channel which features a report on the appearance of the masked vigilante Spider-Man!
The Amazing Spider-Man begins his big screen adventure once again in 2D, 3D and 3D IMAX on July 3rd and the printed legacy of Marvel’s trademark superhero is still going strong fifty years after his published appearance!
Video Credit: IGN.com