When I was growing up, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends was one of my favourite TV programmes. It was a cartoon that featured Spider-Man, Iceman and Firestar, and I loved it.
There was something about this group of heroes that captured my imagination. All the way from the villains they fought against to the adventures they went on, there wasn’t a minute of each episode that didn’t engross me. I soon became a mega Spider-Man fan. My mom has told me more recently that I was so obsessed, I’d shoot my own pretend webs at my sister when she annoyed me.
One of my earliest and fondest memories was when Spider-Man made an appearance at a local shop. It was probably the most exciting moment of my very young life. The actual Spider-Man - Peter Parker himself – was visiting a shop nearby me and I couldn’t wait to meet him. I completely believed that it was the real man and my dad told me a few years later that he even had an American accent, despite this being in Staffordshire. So, therefore, it must have been the real Spider-Man.
I got his autograph on a special card that had his image on and I treasured it for years.
Thirty years on and I’m still a huge fan. So much so, my sister (who I no longer shoot webs at), arranged for Spider-Man to make an appearance at my hen do. He really came! Everyone wanted their picture with him, but he was there for me. The reality that it was my friend dressed up is completely irrelevant. Spider-Man came to my special event. He remembered me.
Writing my Superhero
When I'm not shooting webs or chatting with my hero, I write novels. I've always believed in writing about what you know, so I decided to write a romantic comedy that heavily featured the protagonists' love of superheroes. Just like me. One of my favourite scenes is where they argue about who would win in a fight: Superman or Spider-Man. Bet you can't guess who I was cheering on!
The book is called Emmett the Empathy Man, and the idea was actually inspired by a flippant comment I made one day to some friends about how I wish a superhero would come and sort my life out for me. From there, Empathy Man was born.
It was the best fun to write. I spent far too much time one day on a sequence where the main characters debated what super power they’d like to have. Even better that I was writing a comedy. I had a lot of scope to come up with some crazy ideas! Who said writing a novel is hard?
I’d like to thank Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends for setting me on a journey of escapism that sparked my imagination from a young age. I’ve been lucky enough to meet my hero (twice) and I’ll never forget it.
© Lindsay Woodward 2021-07-29