Spider-Man as a character has always felt evergreen, but back in 2010, he was a huge topic of discussion. Sony had just announced their plans to reboot the Spider-Man films — and with casting underway, many fans wondered whether this new Spider-Man could turn over a new leaf for the franchise. “Community” actor Donald Glover famously expressed interest in portraying Peter Parker in the new films, launching an impromptu Twitter campaign. Glover’s campaign began on Twitter — culminating in the infamous “#donald4spiderman” hashtag — and even bled into an episode of “Community.” In the season 2 premiere, “Anthropology 101,” Glover’s character Troy appeared in Spidey pajamas. Despite the brevity of the scene, it offered major fuel to the campaign … and to a fair bit of the “anti-woke” backlash. Still, it was clear that fans wanted a bit of diversity in the Spider-verse — if not with its original hero, then at least with a new character.
Though it was Andrew Garfield, not Glover, who played the famous webslinger in “The Amazing Spider-Man,” Glover’s efforts actually inspired bigger, more lasting change. Bendis spoke to USA Today about the inside joke in “Community,” and how it gave him the fuel to create the franchise’s first Black Spider-Man. “I saw [Glover] in the costume and thought, ‘I would like to read that book,'” Bendis recalled. “So I was glad I was writing that book.”