Brian Michael Bendis was in a grocery store one day when he heard a child's cry.
The comic-book writer turned around, and there was a 2-year-old boy endlessly excited by a little plush toy ofMarvel Comics' famous wall-crawling, web-slinging superhero.
"He didn't know who Peter Parker was, he didn't know what Spider-Man was. But he just was attracted to it," says Bendis, who writes Marvel's Ultimate Spider-Manseries.
That kind of enthusiasm has been shared for 50 years by everyone from toddlers to elders, who devour the adventures and misadventures of Peter Parker and his masked alter ego.