Welcome to the five hundred and fifth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the first five hundred (I actually haven't been able to update it in a while). This week, it's an all Spider-Man edition! Does Marvel allow the University of Richmond to use "Spidey" as its mascot? Did the famous jazz musician Charles Mingus play on the theme song to the 1960s Spider-Man animated series? What major aspect of Spider-Man's history didn't actually show up until over a year into Spidey's existence?
NOTE: The column is on three pages, a page for each legend. There's a little "next" button on the top of the page and the bottom of the page to take you to the next page (and you can navigate between each page by just clicking on the little 1, 2 and 3 on the top and the bottom, as well).
COMIC LEGEND: Marvel Comics allows the University of Richmond to use "Spidey" as their mascot.
COMIC LEGEND: Marvel Comics sued the University of Richmond over the school using "Spidey" as its mascot.
This is a rare one, this one involves two distinct and opposing legends and they're BOTH false!
Reader Rory O. asked, in response to that legend:
I recently was discussing mascots with a friend and he said that Oregon is the only school that Disney has allowed to use one of their characters as a mascot. However, since Disney bought Marvel don't they also have an agreement with the University of Richmond (Spiders) and Spiderman. I apologize if I read this in your column ages ago and that's why it's bouncing my brain but is that true? Does UR have permission to use Spiderman?
More recently, reader Bill P. wrote in to ask:
Did Marvel threaten to sue the University of Richmond for their (red and blue) spider mascot's name being too similar to a nickname of a certain webslinger? And is that why they changed the name?
The answer is neither.
The University of Richmond's sports teas have been known as the Spiders for over 100 years.
A few years back, though, they decided to revamp their current mascot, who was nicknamed "Spidey"...
Fans got to choose between three options for the Spiders mascot. The first option was to keep the original mascot. The other two were between a "realistic" spider (their words)...
or a "tough" spider...
The tough one won. However, while they were going through the effort of coming up with their new mascot, they discovered that the unofficial nickname for the mascot over the years, Spidey, was actually a trademark owned by Marvel. So they also let fans choose the name of the new mascot, as well.
Eventually WebstUR was agreed upon for the name and the "tough" spider was the design choice...
So no, Rory, the University did not have permission from Marvel to call their masoct "Spidey." However, Bill is also wrong, since Marvel did not actually actively go after the university, either, the school figured that they should avoid any problems themselves.
Thanks to Rory and Bill for the suggestions!__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Check out my latest TV Legends Revealed at Spinoff Online: What famous Simpsons guest wouldn't do the show if they made fun of him?__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Did a famous jazz musician perform on the theme song to the 1960s Spider-Man animated series?