spider-man pointing meme

Meme History: Spider-Man Pointing, a meme fifty years in the making

From a 1960's cartoon show to meme we're all familiar with online more than half a decade later.

 

Kyle Calise

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Posted on Dec 28, 2023   Updated on Dec 28, 2023, 3:21 pm CST

How did a scene from a half-century-old TV show become a key element in modern-day Hollywood marketing?

This is the story of a meme born from the 1960s Spider-Man animated series, a show that could have been just another forgettable Saturday morning cartoon. Here’s a dive into meme history.

Spider-Man Pointing Meme: The History

Spider-Man, one of the most enduring comic book heroes, has weaved his way through various media formats over the decades.

But in 1968, the creators of the original Spider-Man cartoon unintentionally birthed a meme that would stand the test of time: the Spider-Man Pointing at Spider-Man scene from episode 19, ‘Double Identity.’

In Body Image

The episode featured a new villain, Charles Cameo, whose superpower was impersonating others, including Spider-Man himself.

Going Viral Half a Decade Later

Fast forward 43 years to February 5th, 2011. A user named disco posted an image macro from this ’60s cartoon on Sharenator, marking the first proper instance of the meme:

In Body Image

Over the next few years, it slowly grew in popularity, spreading from FunnyJunk to 9GAG, and then to Reddit and Twitter.

The meme’s real surge in popularity came when it reached Black Twitter and the hip-hop community, who used it humorously to comment on similarities they observed.

In May 2016, a pivotal moment occurred on Reddit when a user posted the image in reaction to a meeting between rappers Future and Desiigner, earning over 1,400 upvotes.

In Body Image

This was the turning point for the meme, as it began to reach a broader audience. Pointing Spider-Man became the internet shorthand for moments of irony or similarity.

While it’s not the only Spider-Man meme out there, it is the most successful. Its ubiquity has led to its inclusion in new Spider-Man movies and video games.

Pointing Spider-Man in Pop Culture

In Body Image

The meme was reenacted in ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,’ worked into the promotional materials for ‘No Way Home,‘ and even featured in the 2023 Spider-Man video games.

The meme’s self-referential nature, where the old Spider-Man seems to point forward in time to the new, and the modern-day Spidey points back, encapsulates the enduring appeal of this iconic character and the timeless humor of his animated counterpart.

For more Meme History, watch this space and subscribe to our YouTube channel to watch new episodes as they become available.

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*First Published: Dec 28, 2023, 3:20 pm CST