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.’
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:
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.
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
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.