It’s long been known that times of crisis not only bring out the worst side of people, but also their best, and the story of Mike Justman is but one of many which reaffirms this ancient adage.
Based in the town of New Berlin, Wisconsin, Justman spends his days wandering the streets dressed as the friendly neighborhood superhero, Spider-Man, in order to cheer up kids who are stuck inside because of the quarantine.
“It may not be the Daily Bugle,” Justman writes in one of his latest Tweets, “but Spidey man the front page. Spent my day off meeting kids in quarantine and participated in a car parade for a kid’s birthday. Surprised him with a really cool Spiderman balloon. All in a days work…”
It may not be the Daily Bugle, but Spidey man the front page. Spent my day off meeting kids in quarantine and participated in a car parade for a kid's birthday. Surprised him with a really cool Spiderman balloon. All in a days work… pic.twitter.com/YmiLb4BpWq
— Mike Justman (@Mike_Justman) April 10, 2020
Over the weekend, I dressed as Spider-Man and spread positivity and kindness to children in our city during these unfortunate times. It was a fantastic experience that really made the kids smile. Will I do it again? Keep an eye out for Spidey in a Civic 🙂 pic.twitter.com/y9pZ8QMcDx
— Mike Justman (@Mike_Justman) March 30, 2020
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Justman may not be a prominent scientist working in some remote lab to craft a vaccine for the virus, but he’s doing what he can to make the time leading up to that moment a little more bearable, and in that regard, he’s a perfect foil for the hero he’s imitating.
Various Spider-Man stories, including a number of comics, Insomniac’s latest PS4 game, and Tom Holland’s live-action adaptation for the MCU, see Peter Parker in conflict with the world around him. On the one hand, he wants to help the Avengers save the Earth, but on the other, he’s just a kid, and should, as Tony Stark tells him, focus on being a “friendly neighborhood” kind of hero.
More often than not, though, the small-scale community work turns out to be more meaningful than eliminating world-ending threats like Thanos or Ultron or Loki, and that’s because, by staying local, heroes like Mike Justman (or should we say, Spider-Man) can have a clear and immediate impact on those they interact with.