In 2022, Spider-Man celebrates 60 years in the pages of Marvel Comics. That’s right: the world’s favorite web-slinger—the secret superhero identity of teenage science-whiz (and lifelong New Yorker!) Peter Parker—is entering another decade of crimefighting. Marvel is celebrating this major milestone with the publication of the 900th issue of The Amazing Spider-Man, which also features another of the city’s great institutions: The New York Public Library!
The new issue, just published on July 27, 2022, features Peter Parker in an extra-special story called "Better Late than Never!" in which he returns a stack of overdue books to the Library after discovering that we've canceled all late fines forever (we really did this). Turns out Spider-Man's a wide reader! Whether it's classic novels by Douglas Adams and Ernest Hemingway or must-read nonfiction like Robert A. Caro's The Power Broker, Peter's checked out so many books over the years that we wonder if he might have been bitten by a radioactive bookworm... But more importantly, it's clear that having a library card has played a crucial part in helping Spider-Man to keep New York safe. His checkout history, including books about snakes, special effects, and electricity reveals the background reading he was able to do at NYPL to find out how best to fight villains including the Lizard, Mysterio, and Electro!
That’s not all that happens, of course. Rumor has it that Spider-Man also swings across Fifth Avenue to make an appearance at a storytime at the Children's Center at our newly renovated central circulating branch, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL)... but no more spoilers!
We'll leave you with the indisputable conclusion of Marvel Comics executive editor Nick Lowe, who writes in his introduction to the special NYPL story: "Libraries (and librarians) RULE!"
Spidey Sightings at The New York Public Library
Meanwhile, this isn't the first time Peter Parker has visited the Library. Throughout the comic’s history, NYPL has made regular appearances both as a New York City landmark and a source of inspiration and research. While the Library can’t claim to have any back issues of the Daily Bugle in our archives, we do have a very wide range of comic books to borrow from branches across the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island—including the following six titles from Spidey history, all of which feature a building on 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue that might just be familiar to readers…
Images Courtesy of © Marvel
Get More: Comic Books at NYPL
NYPL Recommends: 50 New Must-Read Comics! Our expert librarians and staff read over 400 comic books to select 50 top reads published in 2021. Whether you're a first-time comics reader or a die-hard fan, you'll find something to love here.
Explore blog posts from our expert librarians and staff that dig deeper into the world of comics, graphic novels, and manga.
As well as comic books, The New York Public Library offers an extensive collection of titles that shed light on the historical significance of comic books and graphic novels and the impact they have had on American culture. Find out more with this LibGuide.
Special thanks to Antonio Cuneo, a senior librarian at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL), for his expert contributions to this post.