Spider-Man (Peter Benjamin Parker) is a fictional superhero in the Marvel Universe. Created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko, he first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15 (Aug. 1962), and has since gone on to become one of the most popular, enduring and commercially successful superheroes worldwide, and is arguably Marvel's most famous character. When Spider-Man first appeared in the early 1960s, teenagers in superhero comic books were usually relegated to the role of sidekick to the series' main character -- Robin to Batman, Aqualad to Aquaman and Speedy to Green Arrow. The Spider-Man series broke ground by featuring Peter Parker, a teenage high-school student to whose "self-obsessions with rejection, inadequacy, and loneliness" young readers could relate. Spider-Man has since appeared in various media, including several animated and live-action television series, syndicated newspaper comic strips and a successful series of films.
Marvel has featured Spider-Man in several differently-titled comic book series, the first titled The Amazing Spider-Man. Over the years, the Peter Parker character has developed from shy high school student to troubled college student to a married teacher and a member of the superhero team the New Avengers. A BusinessWeek article listed Spider-Man as one of the top ten most intelligent fictional characters in American comics. In the Spider-Man film series, the character is portrayed by actor Tobey Maguire.