The Amazing Spider-Philosopher!

Texas Tech Associate Humanities Librarian Rob Weiner is getting another high-profile scholarly article published

Yes, Mary Jane, there is a Spider-Man.

At least, 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.

A note to comic buffs: don’t get too wrapped up searching the skyline for web-slinging do-gooders just yet.

However, there’s good news for anyone who’s ever picked up a Spidey comic or just worn one of his T-shirts: thanks to you, Spider-Man has found life outside of comic-book pages.

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.”

Snooping around mankind’s collective consciousness for humanity’s new archetypical heroes is a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it…

Rob gave a talk about this topic at the Lubbock Comic Book Expo back in May, so it’s great to hear that he was able to turn the talk into something that folks outside of Lubbock will get to read and enjoy.

No Comments

  1. Sado Said,

    July 1, 2009 @ 11:19 am

    I wouldn’t necessarily say they’re new archetypes. The originals just weren’t built with technology in mind.

    Perseus and Batman have quite a few similarities (orphaned heroes). The difference is that rather than technological, the origin of Perseus’ gear is divine.

    Not that the storytellers of that day had any idea how to “invent” BS technology like a helm of invisibility.