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To illustrate a particular point about the evolution/stagnation of the superhero genre, I've been trying to find a particular origin story that I thought I read on Kent Orlando's "Unca Cheeks the Toy Wonder" website long ago. The problem is, that original website is long gone, and though parts of it have been preserved, those parts don't match what I thought I remembered reading.

I'm going to describe it as I remember it, but I'm quite aware my memory may be flawed:

The superhero described was MLJ/Archie Comics' "The Web" -- specifically the 60s revival of the Golden Age character, a revival written by Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel. As related by Orlando, his hero origin was basically: he was in a house alone when criminals who meant him harm came in. He called the police. The police came and caught the criminals. This triggered a Profound Insight about how interconnected everyone is, and so he decided to put on a costume and fight crime as The Web.

Besides my faulty memory, there's other reasons why this might not be the actual real origin of The Web:

  • "Unca Cheeks" wrote primarily for entertainment, and frequently went off on short (or not-so-short) excursions into counterfactual scenarios for humor value. (e.g., "Having given his arch-enemy all the information needed to defeat his plan, Baron Monstro orders his henchmen to perforate Ace-Man with bullets. No! Wait! That's what he would have done if he were competent. Instead, he leaves his enemy in the supposedly unescapable deathtrap...") It's possible that the 'origin story' I remembered reading was merely one of these flights of fancy, not the actual character origin.

  • I've caught some errors from Unca Cheeks before. (Gomi, from the late 80s limited series "Fallen Angels", is not the most memorable character, so perhaps it's forgivable to misremember the character as having no superpowers, forgetting his destructive telekinetic blast. But when you correctly remember that the character's "name" is the Japanese word for "garbage", calling the character "Goshi" which does not mean "garbage" is just poor research.) Cheeks might have similarly been garbling the actual origin story, due to a failure to check what he thought he remembered.

Is this the actual origin story of this character? If not, is there another character that it matches?

  • The first part is a good character-identification question. The second part is a recommendation question, which we don’t do. Try asking about it in chat, though: you might get some good ideas! – Adamant Aug 11 '17 at 1:11
  • I've taken the liberty of adding in the quote you were talking about – Valorum Aug 11 '17 at 9:21
  • Please don't edit questions in such a way that you actually destroy the question asked. You didn't add "the quote [I was] talking about", you added a quote that you thought matched my description -- and you erased my description in the process. If my question had been "Is the actor in this photo actually Humphrey Bogart?" would you remove that photo and substitute a different photo of Bogart? – afeldspar Aug 11 '17 at 14:22
  • I had actually found that quote in my own research; it was not sufficient to answer my question because it lacked the important details I was trying to verify. – afeldspar Aug 11 '17 at 14:31
  • @afeldspar - If you found it in your own research, why did you say that you couldn't find it or that it was no longer available? The website in question is neither gone, nor inaccessible. – Valorum Aug 11 '17 at 17:14
7

As seen in Zip Comics #28 (which you can read online here), John Raymond was inspired by the arrest of his brother to become a criminologist and a Professor of Law

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Later, his brother decides to get revenge on him, cutting his phone lines before attacking him in his home. With the lines cut, the police are unable to call him and send a squad car, who promptly subdue and capture his brother.

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John decides that he should use his detective skills and understanding of "the web" (of coincidences that always lead to a criminal being caught) to his advantage and become a superhero.

  • @RDFozz - The nagging wife was added later. She's a major part of his life and gets more and more shrill over the years, right up to the point that the writers realised that that really wasn't acceptable any more. Then they made her a superhero in her own right – Valorum Aug 11 '17 at 17:02
  • Note, of course, that this is the Web's original origin, from 1942; According to Wikipedia, the 60's Web was probably the son of the original; there's no reference to an origin, so presumably he's either the original, or simply knew about and assumed his father's identity. (@Valorum - looked this up after posting orig comment; deleted and replaced wiith this (as it cleared up the "nagging wife" memory - she evidently became "Pow Girl")). – RDFozz Aug 11 '17 at 17:04
  • This is definitely the character I had in mind. I thought he was saved because he called the police, rather than because the phone lines were cut, but otherwise, it's everything I remembered reading. Thank you! – afeldspar Aug 11 '17 at 17:55

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