“Spider-Man” is typically spelled with a hyphen separating the words “Spider” and “Man,” and while other Spider-Man heroes have followed this rule over the years, Marvel has now introduced a new wall climber who breaks this rule. .
It seems that Peter Parker, the main Spider-Man of Earth-616, was eliminated at the end of Spider-Man #3. Parker and the other Spider heroes had gathered to save the Spider-Verse from the villain Shathra, who has turned many of the Spiders of the Multiverse into her wasp-like minions and seeks to destroy the others. Parker was supposed to be the “Chosen One” and turn the tide of the fight for the Spiders, but in his absence they found a possible replacement: Spider-Man, a.k.a. Peter Palmer.
Written by Dan Slott and illustrated by Mark Bagley, Spider-Man #4 features Palmer as the wall-crawler of Earth-616 Beta, a prototype version of the main 616 universe drawn in the style of old Marvel comics. This “Spider-Man” is portrayed much like how the character debuted in 1962’s Amazing Fantasy #15, and even references that Spider-Man got his start as a television star in his first comic book appearance. However, when he is called “Spider-Man,” he reacts by saying, “You say that too slowly. He is Spider-Man. One word. No breaks in between.”
Why does Spider-Man have a dash?
In the inside pages of Amazing Fantasy #15 and early Amazing Spider-Man comics, “Spiderman” without the hyphen is actually how the hero’s name is spelled in some cases, while the titles and other pages use “Spider-Man”. In 2010, Spider-Man co-creator and Marvel icon Stan Lee explained why the hyphen was added to Spider-Man’s name, and that it was done to distinguish the hero from DC Comics’ Superman . Lee shared on Twitter, “Spidey’s official name has a hyphen: ‘Spider-Man.’ Do you know why? When I created it I didn’t want anyone to confuse it with Superman!”.
Not only does Palmer’s introduction make some callbacks to Marvel history, but it pits him against Parker and underscores the differences between the two. Early in Spider-Man #1, Parker points out that his superhero name has a hyphen, telling some villains, “You said that too fast. He is not “Spider-Man”. There’s a dash in there.” He even goes as far as singing a parody of Spider-Man’s theme song, singing out loud: “Hyphen-Man! Hyphen-Man! He does everything a dash can do!”.
In addition to Slott and Bagley, Spider-Man #4 is inked by John Dell and Andrew Hennessy, colored by Edgar Delgado, and lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles. The main cover of the issue was done by Bagley and Delgado, while the variant covers were done by Humberto Ramos, Delgado, John Cassaday and Laura Martin. The issue is on sale now at Marvel Comics.