Many residents have encountered a person this summer who does whatever a spider can – if that spider’s abilities are to skateboard, ride a bicycle and make people smile.
Individuals in Waterloo, Red Bud, Sparta and other nearby towns have reported sightings of a man dressed as the superhero Spider-Man in recent weeks.
This person was often riding a bike or skateboard, but would stop to greet citizens and take pictures with children and adults alike.
The Republic-Times spoke with this friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, who identified himself as the wall crawler’s secret identity Peter Parker, last week to learn more about his recent activity.
The young man, who said he was in his 20s, said he started dressing up as Spider-Man and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle about a year ago in San Diego.
“It was just random, honestly,” Parker said of why he started the antics.
He continued dressing up as the heroes, though more often as Spider-Man because the suit is easier to put on and more people like the web-head, when he went to Maine.
While there, an individual approached him about his shenanigans.
“Someone told me they thought I could bring a lot of happiness to people as Spider-Man,” Parker said. “They said, ‘you could really make difference.’”
So, Spidey became something the young man would do to help brighten people’s day.
When Parker came to this area, he decided to continue his superhero adventures.
“This is a good opportunity to spread happiness,” he said. “I just want to spread joy. It’s all just me trying to be nice.”
After being on the coasts, Parker came to this area because he is from here and his family still lives here.
He declined to give more personal information because he does not want his actions to become about him.
“I’m not here for personal fame,” Parker said. “It doesn’t matter who Spider-Man is. It’s the premise of Spider-Man.”
In this case, that premise is that Spider-Man is a character people – especially children – love and makes them happy.
Parker encouraged anyone who sees him to take a picture with him or chat. He does not charge for photos or for appearing at any event he is able to attend.
He said he understands parents might be concerned, since his identity is unknown and his actions a out of the ordinary, but he assured them he is not a threat.
Parker pointed out that he has been pulled over multiple times by police.
“If I was a pedophile or a criminal or whatever, I would have already been arrested or told to stop doing this,” Parker noted.
Waterloo Deputy Police Chief Jeff Prosise confirmed that this Spider-Man has been checked out and cleared by the department.
“We’re aware of who he is and are not concerned about the public’s safety,” Prosise said.
To help accomplish his goal, Parker played catch with children in Red Bud Thursday night.
“If I got to play baseball with Spider-Man when I was a kid, it would have blown my freaking mind because I saw all those movies of him saving the world,” Parker explained.
On Sunday, he Spider-Manned a lemonade stand at Moody Pharmacy in Sparta, the proceeds from which he planned donate to the American Cancer Society. The stand raised $477.
Although he bikes or skateboards to those events, Parker assured his fans that he does not overheat in his suit, despite many thinking the heat would be more of a threat than even the Sinister Six.
Parker said the suit allows for a good breeze and he drinks plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Residents can ask Parker about tips for staying cool and other questions for at least the near future, though he is not sure how long he will stay in the area.
He has visited 40 states and would like to see the other 10, including maybe as Spider-Man.
With his roots in this area, however, Parker said this probably will not be his last stint in the region.
“If Spider-Man leaves, you’ll always see him again,” he said.
To follow Spider-Man’s adventures, follow “Spidey Senses” on Facebook. He can also be messaged there if individuals would like to see if he is available to come to events.