Spider-Man celebrates his 50th anniversary in 2012, and the official 50th anniversary issue, No. 692, will be released Wednesday.
In that issue, Spider-Man will get a sidekick. As reported by Fox News, a 15-year-old named Andy Maguire will receive powers in a way that will seem familiar to longtime Spidey fans.
In the story, an invention of Peter Parker's malfunctions and zaps Andy Maguire, who is visiting Horizon Labs on a field trip. When Andy develops powers, Peter's sense of responsibility leads him to mentor the teen.
“Part of it is that Spider-Man is grown up,” Axel Alonso, editor-in-chief of Marvel Entertainment, told Fox News. “He's older, more seasoned, but young at heart. He's still a young man, but he's been around. It's interesting because it flips the paradigm. Teen hero Spider-Man is now responsible for this teen hero sidekick. He's responsible because one of his inventions caused this kid to get his powers. He's directly responsible for the responsibility this kid now has with his new powers. He feels he has a responsibility to make sure this kid walks the right path, which won't prove easy.”
Andy Maguire shares a first name with the actor currently playing Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield) and a last name with the previous holder of the role (Tobey Maguire).
The “Alpha” storyline will continue in “Amazing Spider-Man” No. 693. Though Peter Parker is now taking on a teen sidekick, Spider-Man himself is notable as one of the first teen heroes to headline his own comic book.
Peter Parker was introduced in 1962's “Amazing Fantasy” No. 15 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. A regular series, “The Amazing Spider-Man,” followed. The character has starred in multiple animated series, a live-action television series, and four major motion pictures. Millions of comic books starring Spider-Man have been sold.
Marvel's also been celebrating the Spider-Man anniversary with the miniseries “Spider-Men,” the first time that the regular Marvel Universe has crossed over with Marvel's “Ultimate” universe, created in 2000.
Spider-Man's alter ego Peter Parker met his counterpart in the Ultimate Comics universe, Miles Morales, in a crossover that began this June.
The death of the Ultimate Comics Peter Parker was Marvel's best-selling comic of 2011; Morales replaced Peter Parker as Spider-Man in the Ultimate Comics line shortly after.
The Ultimates imprint is separate from Marvel's bigger universe; the original Marvel Universe Peter Parker continues his adventures in “The Amazing Spider-Man,” published twice a month.
Morales is a half-black, half-Hispanic New York teen whose debut issue set digital sales records for Marvel.
The five-issue story is by writer Brian Michael Bendis (Avengers vs. X-Men, Ultimate Comics Spider-Man), artist Sara Pichelli (Ultimate Comics Spider-Man) and cover artist Jim Cheung (Avengers vs. X-Men).
“This year is the 50th anniversary of Spider-Man and we're so happy that the stars aligned for us to tell a Spider-Man story that nobody has ever seen before,” said Bendis in a news release.
Four issues of the five-issue miniseries have been released.