When I was growing up, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends was one of my favourite TV programmes. It was a cartoon that featured Spider-Man, Iceman and Firestar and I loved it.
There was something about this group of heroes that captured my imagination. All the way from the villains they fought against to the adventures they went on, there wasn’t a minute of each episode that didn’t engross me. I soon became a mega Spider-Man fan. My mom has told me more recently that I was so obsessed, I’d shoot my own pretend webs at people.
One of my earliest and fondest memories was when Spider-Man made an appearance at a local Radio Rentals shop. It was probably the most exciting moment of my very young life. The actual Spider-Man – Peter Parker himself – was visiting a shop nearby me and I couldn’t wait to meet him. I totally believed that it was the real man and my dad told me a few years later that he even had an American accent, despite this being in Staffordshire. So therefore, it must have been the real Spider-Man.
I got his autograph on a special card that has his image on and I treasured it for years.
Thirty years on and I’m still a huge fan. I love Spider-Man’s amusing comments, determination, intelligence and all round entertainment factor. He’s not faultless and far from immortal, and Peter Parker struggles to make the balance work, but what’s not to love?
Writing my Superhero
My idea for Emmett the Empathy Man, my fourth novel, was totally separate to my love of superheroes. Empathy Man came more from an idea about how I’d wished so many times that someone would come and sort my life out for me. But as soon as I started to think about comics, I knew I had to add in lots about Spider-Man. I particularly enjoyed writing the ongoing debate about who would win in a fight: Spider-Man or Superman. I’m sure you can’t imagine who I was cheering on!
I also spent far too much time on a sequence where the main characters debate what super power they’d like to have. Writing novels is very hard, but sometimes you can have the most amazing fun. I’d like to thank Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends for setting me on a journey of escapism that sparked my imagination from a young age. I’ve been lucky enough to meet my hero and I’ll never forget it. Because in Radio Rentals that day it must have been the actual Spider-Man, right?