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The original creation of Marvel Comics executive Stan Lee and Marvel Character designer Steve Ditko, Spider-Man first appeared in 1962 in the last issue of the failing "Amazing Fantasy" comic book. It was such a hit that "Amazing Fantasy" was renamed the "Amazing Spider-Man," and it reappeared in March 1963. Since then, Spider-Man has gained worldwide fame, growing into one of the most popular superheroes of all time.

"There have been hundreds of millions of Spider-Man books sold over the years worldwide—I cannot think of one country which has not embraced the character. Even if people aren't familiar with all aspects of his story, Spider-Man is such an identifiable and beloved icon says executive producer Avi Arad.

The current value of the early Spider-Man comic books is a testament to the enduring popularity of the Spider-Man legacy. Collectors lucky enough to own some of the rarer issues can expect a big return should they decide to sell portions of their collection. For example, the August 1962 issue of Amazing Fantasy #15, featuring Spider-Man's first appearance as well as the death of Uncle Ben, has an estimated value of $25,000. Amazing Spider-Man #1, published in March 1963, is gauged to be worth around $18,000. Other memorable Spider-Man installations include Amazing Spider-Man #25 (June 1965), in which MJ makes her first appearance, and Amazing Spider-Man #14 (July 1964), in which we are first introduced to the Green Goblin.

The task of bringing a new breed of Spider-Man to life 40 years after he was first introduced to the world would fall on the shoulders of celebrated director Sam Raimi and a talented team of artists.

Raimi couldn't resist the challenge of bringing the world-renowned Marvel comic character to the big screen. He had been a fan of the character since childhood; for his twelfth birthday, his parents had an artist paint a picture of Spider-Man that is still hanging above his bed in the house he grew up in. Eventually, he met with Columbia Pictures to discuss the high profile project:

"I went in and I explained to them my love for the character," recalls Raimi of his meeting with Columbia Pictures executives, "and about my respect and admiration for what all of the great Marvel writers and artists had created over the years. The next day I received word that I was selected for the job."

Although Raimi did not hesitate to jump into the fray, he did have concerns about bringing the beloved icon to the screen.

"I was concerned about treading on sacred ground with Spider-Man, because he means so much to so many people, to 40 years of readers and fans," says Raimi. "I feel a terrific responsibility as a longtime fan myself, and I concentrated on the things that I felt were true about the character—to capture the spirit and soul of Spider-Man—and to tell the best story that we possibly could. For me, the strength of the character has always been that he is a real person—he's one of us. He's gone through junior high and high school, he's a bit of an outsider, he can't get the girl, he's brokeā€¦ then an extraordinary event happens to him, and he becomes a superhero—but he still has to do his homework in the evenings."

Producer Laura Ziskin was thrilled with the choice of Sam Raimi to direct Spider-Man: "He is a great visual storyteller, and he has a terrific sense of how to put the pieces together to build a compelling action sequence, while maintaining the integrity of<

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