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Huckleberry Finn, Holden Caulfield and…Spider-Man? Literature’s great teenage characters

in Fiction by

The modern-day superhero may have started with Superman in 1938. But the superhero as we know him—the first to be truly considered a “character” in a literary sense—was unveiled in 1962, in the most unlikely circumstances, when a radioactive spider bit a shy, bookworm of a teenager in the pages of Marvel Comics’ Amazing Fantasy #15. That was when Spider-Man was born. Spider-Man was a marked departure from teens who had preceded him in the comic book pages. He was, in fact, not a man, but a boy—or a young man, at least. Until 1962, most comic-book teenagers were sidekicks to their grown-up counterparts—Robin to the adult Batman, or Bucky to Captain America. (Unlike the Bucky made famous in the…

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