”With great power must also come great responsibility.” That’s been the pearly nugget at the heart of the Spider-Man legend for 38 years — and, really, a valuable lesson for everyone. For instance, take this review of Net sites inspired by Columbia Pictures’ forthcoming adaptation about the Marvel Comics superhero: Do you realize how hard it is not to use wordsmithing powers for evil and milk this for every bad Web pun possible? Example: Boy, the Web sure is crawling with sites about Spider-Man, the movie!
Lame? Sadly, yes. But what else is there to do? Director Sam Raimi (”The Evil Dead”) and his Peter Parker, Tobey Maguire (”Wonder Boys”), won’t begin shooting until January 2001. In fact, according to the clock on Spider-Man Hype’s homepage wall, we’re more than 500 days away from Spider-Man’s May 3, 2002, movie debut. Still, that hasn’t stopped a world of webheads from — sorry — spinning madly.
? Casting Call: Spider-Man! This site is devoted exclusively to tracking the film’s casting progress. Click on the comic book cutouts of familiar Spider-Man characters, get info, analysis, and speculation (”Happy Days”’ Marion Ross as Peter’s beloved Aunt May? Genius!). Simplistic and lo- fi, it nonetheless exudes authentic freaks and geeks passion. You can just picture this guy meticulously cutting out comic panels with dull bladed scissors, scanning those images late into the night. B
? Down With Organic Webshooters Maybe the geekiest site ever. See, in the comics, Spidey used mechanical webshooters to fire stringy webs. But rumor has it that in the movie, our hero will generate this sticky stuff naturally. Heresy! Hence, this spiffy looking protest site, complete with manifesto, petition, and updates on media coverage. Guaranteed to be the face of obsessed fandom once the movie hits — and if the rumor proves true. B
? Spider-Man Hype! This one’s the CNN of Spider-Man’s Internet world. ”Titanic” James Cameron’s legendary film treatment, acclaimed comic artist Alex Ross’ controversial (and rejected) character designs, alleged reviews of David Koepp’s screenplay — it’s all here, well organized, and neatly packaged. True, much of the same can be found on CountingDown.com and Fandom.com — you know, the professional fan sites. But Spider-Man Hype! — maintained by a multinational cadre of Spidey loyalists — wins on its by the fans, for the fans cred. And if that doesn’t move you, did we forget to mention there’s a near naked pic of ”Urban Legend”’s Alicia Witt — a rumored candidate to play Peter’s redheaded gal pal, Mary Jane — on the homepage? A