With Great Power: How Spider-Man Conquered Hollywood during the Golden Age of Comic Book Blockbusters

If Hollywood had a superhero throne, Spider-Man would be perched upon it. As the most popular superhero in the world, the web-slinger plays a pivotal role in three of the six highest-grossing film franchises in history: the Marvel Cinematic Universe; the Avengers quadrilogy; and the Spider-Man movies themselves.

Spidey has come a long way since Marvel guru Stan Lee first concocted him in 1962, but until now his cinematic journey has not been fully documented. The wall-crawler’s history in Hollywood is a saga filled with failed attempts, behind-the-scenes squabbles, franchise reboots, corporate intrigue, and a host of A-list names—including, of course, stars Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland. With Great Power is a lively and memorable account of the character’s rise to box-office supremacy, revealing how his movies continue to influence the comic-book adaptations being made today. Drawing on exclusive access to and extensive interviews with directors, actors, producers, and screenwriters, veteran film reporter and author Sean O’Connell here gives the inside scoop on how Spider-Man clambered his way to the top of Hollywood’s superhero heap.


"Sean O’Connell’s With Great Power is a perfect example of how pop culture, comic books, and even specific characters transcend cultural differences."

The Cosmic Circus

“A hugely entertaining and informative chronicle of the big screen history of everyone’s favorite web crawler from Queens. This is a Spider-Man book by a fan for fans!”

Josh Horowitz, MTV/Comedy Central

“From the Spider-Man projects that didn’t swing to arguably the greatest film achievement in history, Sean helps the reader understand how it all unfolded. There will never be another Spider-Man book like With Great Power.”

Scott King, Forbes.com

“Clones? Alternate timelines? Parallel realities? The behind-the-scenes history of the Spider-Man movies has them all beat for head-spinning complexity, and Sean O’Connell arrives just in time to untangle that web.”

Douglas Wolk, author of Eisner Award-winning All of the Marvels

“O’Connell spins a web that readers will find hard to put down. Excelsior!”

Bob Batchelor, author of Stan Lee: A Life

"The love for the Spider-Man character, in all of his various media, is apparent from the very first page. [...] This book has certainly made me want to dig into anything and everything Spider-Man"

Jeff Randle, co-host: Marvel Cinematic Universe Podcast, co-creator: Stranded Panda Podcast Network