Infamous Spider-Man Thanksgiving Day Balloon Photo Goes Viral Again

At 29.1-feet tall, 78-feet long, and 37.8-feet wide, Spider-Man is one of the larger balloons in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade -- but size doesn't matter when you have love, right? Of course, we're talking about the infamous 2012 incident in which Ol' Webhead ended up with his face pressed into the posterior of the Uncle Sam balloon on the night before the parade, giving fans in Manhattan an opportunity to steal a shot that would pop up every Thanksgiving from now until the end of time. Because it's that time of year, the photo made the rounds again yesterday, baffling and entertaining fans on social media for the eighth year in a row.

It probably just went kinda viral again because it's Thanksgiving, and if there's anything you can predict on Thanksgiving, it's that the internet will talk about Spider-Man having his way with Uncle Sam and Woodstock going cannibal. But it can't hurt when famed comedian Gilbert Gottfried tweeted out the photo, seemingly thinking it was new.

The current Spidey is not the first one that's ever been there; the hero has been a consistent presence in the parade since the '70s -- which makes sense, given that both Spider-Man and his publisher Marvel Comics are rooted firmly in New York City.

As former Marvel editor-in-chief Jim Shooter reminisced on his blog a few years back, he played a key role in creating the first Spider-Man balloon for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Shooter became involved when Marvel's VP of Business Affairs Joe Calamari called him, ironically enough, just a month after he was fired from Marvel. Calmamari told Shooter that Macy's was set to debut a Spider-Man balloon for that year's Thanksgiving Day Parade, but production kept stalling in the designing stages. Knowing that Shooter understood "3-D things, toys and such," Calamari asked the former Chief if he would consult on balloon's production.

As Shooter recollects, "Marvel had provided reference to the Macy's balloonatics, but Joe didn't like what they'd come up with. He'd brought John Romita, Sr. in to advise them, but, he said that hadn't helped. His assessment was that John (and comic book artists in general) were okay when it came to two-dimensional drawings, but just couldn't deal with 3-D things, like balloons."

Calamari and Shooter drove out to Macy's balloon studio. When they arrived, Calamari warned Shooter that the Spider-Man balloon sculptor carried a massive ego, and was difficult to work with. After seeing the Spider-Man balloon, which had the proportions of a chubby baby, according to Shooter, Shooter told the sculptor that he needed to reconfigure the entire balloon. When the sculptor wouldn't budge, Shooter realized why he had been brought in even after John Romita Sr., celebrated Spider-Man illustrator, had consulted on the project (see the the resemblance?): Calamari wanted him to play bad cop with the sculptor.

He went on to describe the arduous process of negotiating a workable deal with the sculptor, which according to the controversial Shooter basically involved a lot of yelling at one another.

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God only knows what Shooter would have thought of the Uncle Sam photo. But we're betting J. Jonah Jameson would have loved it.