It’s become so ubiquitous that you almost don’t see it anymore — but there’s no real reason for Spider-Man to have a hyphen. So why did Stan Lee put that little “-” in? Just to drive the grammar police nuts?
Nope, it turns out Excelsior had a pretty good reason for that one, and it dates all the way back to when he created Peter Parker’s alter ego in 1962. At the time, DC’s Superman was one of the biggest funny books out there, and Lee was worried his new hero (who wears those similar blue and red colors, and has a name that starts with an “S”) would be glossed over as too similar.
That was when he inserted the hyphen, so the cover of Spider-Man comics would have the two words broken up to create a look distinct from Superman. The difference essentially persists to this day, as Spider-Man is among the only major superheroes to have a hyphen randomly inserted into his name. Think about it: Batman, Superman, Wolverine, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern. What do they all have in common? No hyphens.
Lee explained his reasoning in a Twitter post back in 2010, excerpted below:
As aggravating as it might be to some people now, the gimmick apparently worked — and now Spider-Man is a property that rivals Superman himself.
Hyphen or not.
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