With Great Power…

When my dad was younger, he was a huge fan of comic book superheroes. The X-Men, Avengers, Batman (sometimes)…and of course, Spider-Man. While he favored the X-Men, he told me stories of how he watched all the cartoons from the ‘80s on up while catching up with the Super Friends and the X-Men animated series. When he had kids and got older, he passed that knowledge down to the one person who would appreciate it: me.

Hi, my name is Aaron, and I am a comic book fan. Most importantly, I am a Spider-Man fan. I have been all my life. Yes, I admire Batman too, but Spider-Man has been, and probably always will be, my favorite superhero.

“So why do you like Spider-Man?”

There’s a combination of phrases and words that I could say that would answer this question more efficiently.

“I love the movies!”

“I love Tobey McGuire!”

“Oh man, Andrew Garfield owned the role!”

“Tom Holland killed it!”

“I used to watch the cartoons and play the games!”

Needless to say, all of the above are answers I’ve heard from other people and answers I’ve given myself. I’ve pretty much seen every movie, TV show, comic, and video game there is to see about the Web-Slinger. In my dorm room sits a huge collection of Ultimate Spider-Man, Amazing Spider-Man, Spectacular Spider-Man…the list goes on.

I could potentially excite you with every first appearance of the major characters, or regale you with the origin story for the millionth time, or, even better, tell you how inaccurate some of the multimedia products are from the comics. I could be typical and tell you everything.

“So why do you like Spider-Man?”

I believe in the message that he carries. The message that says Spider-Man is a man who is hated by those around him, yet still does the right thing. The message that says Peter Parker is an orphan who was raised by his Aunt May and Uncle Ben as if he was their own son. The message that says Peter found true love and lost it in the death of Gwen Stacy. The message that says that no matter who lives or who dies, no matter how much one suffers at the hands of goblins and octopi, or even your own mistakes, that you cannot rise up again to fight the good fight.

So I learned these lessons early on in my life and took them with me to school. Kids would always pick on me and call me “Spider-Freak” because of my apparent fanboy tendencies. I would often try and tell girls how cool Spider-Man was, and they would walk away faster than the Flash. Even my own parents grew concerned with how much of an impact they thought Spider-Man had. My dad, despite introducing me to this world of comics, kept asking me to “grow out of it” and “get in the real world.”

What he didn’t realize was that the real world for me was kind of a nightmare. I was bullied, sometimes physically. I was ridiculed, sometimes abusively. I was pranked, spat on, and made an outcast. Between that at school, my home life was not much better. My parents, despite their best intentions, were fighting constantly about money and about their situation. Many times occurred where it seemed like they would divorce. My sister turned from a nice, sweet girl into someone I didn’t even recognize. The real world was unforgiving and cruel.

But I was smart enough to realize that Peter’s life was no cakewalk either. He too was bullied in high school and had to hide his true identity so as to not endanger Aunt May’s life. He too had money issues that led to him finding different ways to make money. He too had family who, albeit were kind, still found ways to not be there for him or better yet, couldn’t relate to him. And when Gwen died, he felt that he lost a piece of himself and that he failed. But the good news is that he still kept going.

“So why, oh why, do you like Spider-Man? Why not Batman? He’s so cool. He has gadgets and toys and can kick butt and can beat Superman. Why Spider-Man?”

I look them right in the eye and say it’s because “with great power, comes great responsibility.”

That phrase embodies everything that I want to do in my life. It’s my mission statement and mantra. I want to know that if I have the power to do something, and the ability to do it, I should use it to help someone else. My past is my past and that will never change, but my future is mine to control. My life is in my hands and in that I can start to spin new stories and new ideas that will help me reach out to others. My power is in my mind, body, and spirit. My responsibility is to be able to help others around me achieve their goals. It’s why I want to start a publishing company. It’s why I network with fellow writers and artists. It’s why I teach boxing. It’s why I work with publishers to help others bring their works to light. If I have the skills and the powers, what right do I have to withhold them?

At the end of the day, that is what I believe. I know that it is not easy. I realize it is sometimes hard. I know that there are days when you either want to put your costume in the trash or start wearing a symbiote. But remember this: you have the power, you are the light. Your city needs you, and it cannot shine without you. Others may see you and discredit or try to destroy you, but you must understand that they will not win in the end. Your destiny is waiting for you in the future. So as you walk off silently into the night, as you contemplate your next step, remember this invaluable lesson: that when there is great power, there must also come great responsibility.


Crazy Train” is a Baylor Mug production that will be written twice a month. We talk about real world issues using fictional characters. In addition to that, I’ll give you all classic comic strips to read and enjoy before each article. Basically, this is the place to nerd out, to review, and to talk about all the things that bother you. “Crazy Train” is a wild ride…will you join it with me?

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