Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee has taken to social media to praise Avengers: Infinity War star Tom Holland, calling the 21-year-old actor “a great Spider-Man.”
I think @TomHolland1996 is a great Spider-Man. He is the exact height and age I envisioned when I first wrote Spider-Man. Spidey was never supposed to be too large. How is my friend Tom doing?— stan lee (@TheRealStanLee) May 19, 2018
“He is the exact height and age I envisioned when I first wrote Spider-Man,” Lee wrote on Twitter Saturday, tagging Holland in the post. “Spidey was never supposed to be too large. How is my friend Tom doing?”
In a subsequent tweet, the 95-year-old former Marvel Comics editor-in-chief recalled his difficulty in getting the teenaged superhero published because of his relation to the eight-legged creatures:
“Never give up on your dreams,” Lee wrote. “When I first wrote Spider-Man my publisher said I was crazy because people hate spiders and insects and he was not going to publish it. But I never gave up, until it was published.”
Lee expanded on what his publisher branded “the worst idea” in a 2015 interview with BBC Radio 4, saying, “My publisher said, in his ultimate wisdom, ‘Stan, that is the worst idea I have ever heard.’”
“‘First of all, people hate spiders, so you can’t call a book Spider-Man,’” Lee recounted. “‘Secondly he can’t be a teenager — teenagers can only be sidekicks. And third, he can’t have personal problems if he’s supposed to be a superhero — don’t you know who a superhero is?’”
Publisher Martin Goodman eventually agreed to allow Lee and artist Steve Ditko to premiere the character in Amazing Fantasy #15, as the mag — then titled Amazing Adult Fantasy — was due for cancellation.
Spider-Man proved so popular and financially successful for a then-newly minted Marvel Comics he received his own series, The Amazing Spider-Man, just seven months later.
The character quickly became Marvel’s flagship superhero and in 2014 Spider-Man was named the highest-grossing licensed character, with products earning $1.3 billion in global retail sales — figures that outsold even the Avengers ($325 million in 2013) more than four times over.
In numerous interviews Lee has credited a fly on the wall as the initial inspiration for the wall-crawler.
“I couldn’t think of any new super power,” Lee told the NY Daily News in 2012. “And then I saw a fly crawling on a wall. And I said, ‘Boy, it would be great if I could get a superhero who could stick to walls like an insect.”
After cycling through the names “Insect Man,” “Stick-to-Wall Man,” and “Mosquito Man,” Lee dreamed up “Spider-Man.”
“Then it hit me,” Lee said. “I thought of Spider-Man, and that sounded scary and dramatic - and as we often say, the rest is history.”
Spider-Man’s six solo films since 2002 have earned an unadjusted $4.84 billion. Lee has famously made cameo appearances in all six films.5comments
Holland’s high school-aged Spider-Man — the first to operate in a shared universe populated by other Lee co-creations like Iron Man and the Hulk — recently featured in Avengers: Infinity War, now the fourth highest-grossing movie of all time and the highest-grossing superhero movie in history.
Holland next stars in Avengers 4, out May 3, 2019, before his second Spider-Man solo swings into theaters July 5, 2019.