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Happy Birthday Spider-man

By Jamil of Jamil's Comic

Spider-Man turns 50 this year. He is without doubt the biggest superhero icon since the golden age of comics (Superman and Batman both came in 1938). Marvel Comics, its publisher, is celebrating his birthday and it is wonderful that his new movie 'The Amazing Spider-man' is coming out later this month.

Peter Parker, a typical American teenager, burst into the scene of comics in 1962 when in the last issue of Amazing Fantasy (#15), writing legend Stan Lee experimented with the concept of a teenage superhero as the main character. Peter was young high school student, living with his grandparents and facing typical teenage problems: money, girls, being labeled as geek and picked on by peers. But he was different. Bitten by a radio-active spider, he had gained the 'proportionate strength of spiders, could shoot webs and climb walls.'

Always popular in the sales charts, some of the best stories and best creative people have worked on his titles. The initial era of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko (co-creator) shaped the folklore of Spider-man, introducing such icons of his life as his tragic first love Gwen Stacy, his flame Mary Jane Watson and a host of villains including Green Goblin, Doc Octopus, Sandman and the Lizard. Following on from Steve Ditko, John Romita took the helm as the artist with Amazing #39. He is considered by many to be the definitive Spider-man artist. And with Stan Lee, some of his stories are classics, including the death of Gwen Stacy and the drug abuse stories that ran without the Comics Code of Authority seal.

Spider-man's popularity is evident in the fact that in 1976 Marvel gave him a second title, 'Spectacular Spider-man'. He was given a third title in 1985 by Peter David with 'Web of Spider-man'; and after a sales shattering run of one of the most influential Spidey artists Todd McFarlane in Amazing Spider-man, Marvel decided to go for a fourth title, simply called 'Spider-man' in 1990. Spider-man #1 remains one of the highest selling issues in comics history.

During the 80s John Romita's son JRJR joined as the artist with Roger Stern in Amazing; and they had an amazing run on this title. Then Ron Frenz took over. His run saw Spiderman first donning the black costume (first seen Secret Wars #8 although Amazing #252 hit the newsstand first). The black costume would of course, turn out to be Venom - the most popular villain in the 90s. The 90s also gave a shock return to the clone of Spider-man (presumed dead in Amazing #151). As it turned out, there was not one clone of Peter, but several. The evil genius Dr. Jackal had successfully cloned Gwen Stacy too. At one point, Peter believed that he was the clone, and started calling himself Ben Reilly. One clone, at least, is still roaming about today, as the Scarlet Spider.

Here's to you Spider-man. Thank you for the wonderful stories. We are looking forward to years and years of great stories from you. 'Nuff said.

This submission was weird. And it stood out because of its absurdity - reminding us of Alice in Wonderland. Next week we have Water's Edge as our topic. All submissions need to be sent in to ds.risingstars@gmail.com by Sunday noon. Word limit: 350-500 words. Good luck.

Cheshire Cat

By Niladry Sabir

At the end of the day, we have two people here. One is called DevilMayCryLikeBabies. The other? Well, you wouldn't really need to know. So, DevilMayCryLikeBabies was bored. What was DevilMayCryLikeBabies supposed to do? Since this write-up has only one other character, it would go to the other character.

All right, let's name the other one Eggs.

DevilMayCryLikeBabies and Eggs set off on a journey to find a Pokemon. Yes, a Pokemon. But in the middle, they met a rabbit and a turtle. DevilMayCryLikeBabies decided to go to sleep like the rabbit and Eggs kept on staring at the turtle. No, this isn't the story where the turtle wins the race. This is the story where Eggs stares at the turtle while the turtle decides to sleep as well. Or move. Eggs couldn't find the difference, because really, the turtle was too slow. Like a snail, but that's another story where the snail gets stuck on the wall and no one notices.

The days went on and on, until the day DevilMayCryLikeBabies woke up to find Eggs hopping around. But Eggs was not a rabbit. So, inspired by the idea of the non-rabbit, DevilMayCryLikeBabies decided to jump around too.

Hop and hop and hop they went, until they came under a tree. From there, they looked up to see something purring at them. It was the Cheshire Cat. Eggs wondered how they knew that it was a Cheshire Cat, but they just did. The Cheshire Cat said something insignificant, for none of us, not even DevilMayCryLikeBabies, could understand the Cheshire Cat's tongue. What did you think this was? Alice in Wonderland?

So they all sat down under the tree and they sang a song. Yes, a song. It was the most glorious song they had ever heard. So amazing that it could've been used in the cartoon versions of this story had the rabbit and turtle actually finished the race, or if the Cheshire Cat could be understood, if Ash Ketchum actually grew up for once, or if Eggs was actually...eggs.

This song, was what they discovered as magic. It made DevilMayCryLikeBabies want to cry...like babies. It made Eggs want to become Humpty Dumpty. It made the Cheshire Cat want to grin.

What could the magical song have been? We wouldn't know. None of them could talk.
For this author, though, she could only guess this 'most magical' song to be:

Soft kitty, warm kitty
Little ball of fur
Happy kitty, sleepy kitty
Purr, purr, purr
Truly beautiful. Purr.

Disclaimer - I do not own the song, nor the characters you recognise as awesomely (or in any other way) famous.



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