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Why Spider-Man's Name Has A Hyphen, According To Marvel's Stan Lee

What's in a name, really? Well, an awful lot if it involves a hyphen, especially in the case of legendary web-slinger Spider-Man. Dare to miss the hyphen, and face the wrath of comic book fans who will be quick to correct you. It's nothing that Marvel itself is a stranger to, either: even the "X-Men '97" trailer made the mistake with Spider-Man's name. But why did the late, great Stan Lee, who co-created the wallcrawler with artist Steve Ditko, throw that annoying little punctuation mark in the name in the first place? Well, according to Lee, it was to avoid any potential mix-up with DC Comics' Superman, a hero who happened to wear a similar red and blue combo.

Back in 2010, Lee took to X (formerly Twitter) and explained, "Spidey's official name has a hyphen — 'Spider-Man.' Know why? When I first dreamed him up I didn't want anyone confusing him with Superman!" 

'Nuff said, Mr. Lee. It's a detail that was also applied to other heroes in the MCU, of course, with the likes of Ant-Man, Spider-Woman, and other members of the Spider-Verse, like Spider-Ham and Spider-Gwen. But strangely enough, while the Man of Steel might have never had a hyphen, his good friend and much broodier DC Comics colleague in crimefighting actually started out with one before it disappeared altogether.

Batman was a hyphenated hero, but not for long

While Superman has always taken to the skies with his name intact, Gotham City's protector once had a moniker similar to Marvel's hyphenated hero. In Detective Comics #27, Bruce Wayne's alter-ego first appeared as "the Bat-Man." By the end of Detective Comics #28, it was completely phased out, and the Dark Knight was simply "Batman," From then on, keeping the name as one word was a shift that stuck.

But it is strange that for Spidey and a lot of other insect-related heroes from Marvel, the hyphen has always been there, when really it should have appeared in a lot of other places. What about other heroes that have "man" or "woman" in their name? Why isn't Arthur Curry's alter-ego written as "Aqua-Man" instead of "Aquaman," and why has the "Super-Man of China," aka Kong Kenan, earned the hyphen when the original hero he takes his name from has remained untouched?

While those names might be up for debate, Spidey's hyphen really is part of what makes him so iconic. That little line really is among the many brilliant ideas that came out of the amazing, spectacular, incredible life of Stan Lee. For more web-related info, why not swing by to check out more Spider-Man facts you may not know?