Photo courtesy International Spider-Man
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Exclusive: An in-depth interview with TikTok’s International Spider-Man

Known for his popular TikTok's and strong Instagram presence, International Spider-Man talks about revealing his secret identity and explains his noble mission after his unmasking — becoming Mental Health Spider-Man.

Spider-Man has inspired countless individuals across the planet since his emergence within the pages of Marvel Comics.

As many know, Spider-Man is a fictional superhero created by legendary writer-editor Stan Lee and phenomenal writer-artist Steve Ditko. His first appearance can be found in Marvel’s anthology comic book “Amazing Fantasy no. 15,” which was published in August 1962.

Traveling Spider-Man, also known as International Spider-Man, has been bringing joy to Instagram, Twitter and TikTok users alike. He also runs a successful branding campaign at the International Spider-Man Store.

“My plan in the beginning was to grow as a traveling Spider-Man, hence ‘International Spider-Man,’” Spider-Man said. “Then maybe, within a year of starting my page, I’d do a face reveal and become a hero nobody is really doing on social media.”

When asked about his inspiration for donning the famed webbed red and blue super suit, Spider-Man stated that since he travels a lot it’d be fun to be recognized as the wall crawler across the planet. However, Spider-Man’s plans for true heroism lies within his plan post face reveal.

“TikTok definitely helped me grow,” Spider-Man said. “I decided to try going anonymous as Spider-Man on social media and see how it would go.”

Since his emergence on social media, many subscribers have speculated the web slingers’ true identity. 

“I have over half a million [followers] on TikTok and people think I’m someone and some people are sure that I’m someone and the rest think I’m someone else,” Spider-Man said.

One popular fan theory is that the person underneath the famed Spidey mask is the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) Spider-Man actor Tom Holland himself. However, I’m not entirely sold on that story, but we’ll just have to wait for the influencers’ reveal. 

“It’s hard to keep my identity to an extent,” Spider-Man said. “It’s not so much like the comics where I have villains that will come after my loved ones, but it’s hard because there are so many things I want to do that would require me to use my face or my real voice. It’s so hard sometimes.”

Spider-Man said he’s nervous about his unmasking.

“Most cosplayers just entertain, some even visit children in hospitals and whatnot, but me… well, for starters, I don’t want to be called a ‘cosplayer,’ I’m just Spider-Man.”

After his upcoming reveal, Spider-Man looks to take on an entirely new genre of heroics — mental health awareness. 

“After taking off the mask I wanted to let down my walls and become vulnerable with my audience,” Spider-Man stated. “[I want to] tell them my story of hardship, and then become a Mental Health Spider-Man.”

Mental Health Spider-Man will discuss mental health and happiness while helping people thrive in life. He’s looking to represent those without a voice. 

“With great power, comes great responsibility”

Ben Parker

According to Spider-Man, he has the power to do the right thing and sees it as his responsibility to do so. The masked social media star struggled with depression early on in life. He’s looking to help those who are also struggling with mental health.

“When I was maybe 10 years old I started to stress about being bullied,” Spider-Man stated. “Then when I was 11, that’s when the unknown sadness started.”

International Spider-Man mentioned that his depression hit hard at 14, when he first started high school.

“During my first week of highschool I felt so horrible, I cried every day and even left early most days because I couldn’t compose myself,” Spider-Man said. “Then I realized I had depression.”

Spiderman lived his life with crippling depression for three years, his sadness just worsening. Then came rock bottom.

“Everything in my life was going bad and one night an argument triggered everything inside of me,” Spider-Man said. “I stormed out the door and walked. I just kept walking. Then I found myself walking up an overpass, climbing over and sitting on the freeway sign as cars sped passed under my feet.”

He sat and cried on that overpass, his face soaking his hands.

“The next thing I knew, first responders were stopping traffic, there were cops all over, an ambulance and a fire truck,” Spider-Man said. “Someone had been walking on the overpass and called the police.”

After spending the night in a hospital he was transferred to what he believes to be a children’s psychiatric hospital. 

“I was ‘51-50’d,’’ he said. “The very first night I was there, when it was time to go to bed, they locked the doors and I stood there in the cold dark room with the lights off and my roommate who creeped me out laying in their bed. [That’s when] I realized I don’t belong here.”

According to Spider-Man, that very moment is when he realized he lacked perspective. 

“I took advantage of all the good things going on in my life,” Spidey said. “It was simple. I’ve been taking [the good things] for granted. I could simply come home whenever I wanted after school, I could leave and go out to get something as simple as fresh air.”

According to Advanced Psychiatry Associates, enjoying minimal daily tasks can be very beneficial when battling depression. 

“In that [Hospital] I couldn’t even go downstairs to eat in the middle of the night whenever I wanted,” Spider-Man said “It doesn’t take much to become a little happier. It’s all about perspective. So I promised myself, once I got out of there, I would never ever try to kill myself again.”

He was slated to remain at the hospital for 72 hours but ended up staying for a week.

“From that point on, I spent every moment of my life prioritizing nothing but my happiness,” the web slinger said. ”If it didn’t make me happy, or contribute to my happiness, I wasn’t going to let anything or anyone make that difficult for me.”

The following three years were a struggle for International Spider-Man. 

“Things seemed to even get worse at times,” said the wall crawler. “I would have arguments and even break things in my room, even though I’ve never been a physical guy.”

According to Spidey, he refused to let anything stop him from reaching his happiness goal. 

“Every time someone, or something would make me sad and would usually make me keep to myself, I didn’t this time,” Spider-Man said. “I took control and didn’t stop until things got better”

He was tired of the cycles going nowhere.

“Friction creates fire and I want to create warmth and light with fire, not burn down a forest.”

International Spider-Man couldn’t comment specifically on how long his happiness philosophy has been working due to fans possibly determining his secret identity prematurely, but he did mention that he’s in his twenties. 

“It’s been years now,” he stated. “Not very long. I’ve come so far, my mentality has skyrocketed and so has my career. I’m only getting started but I love everything I do now.”

Spider-Man noted that a key to reaching his happiness goal was “not only living for the weekend.”

“[I made] my life during the week a little more enjoyable,” the webbed hero stated. “Then a little more, then a little more. Now I make it just a little more enjoyable whenever I can.”

Spider-Man spent much of his time searching for motivational speakers, videos and literature mentioning Gary Vee was the best he’s ever come across. 

“Motivational videos and speakers [are] all so bland,” he commented. “Gary Vee was blunt and real. To the point.”

Vee’s work, and a year of therapy, was what pulled Spider-Man up from his rock bottom.

When asked what he’d say to those struggling to seek out help because they’re embarrassed, scared or think they can solve problems alone, Spider-Man said, “I don’t want to tell you what everyone else is going to say and only tell you that everything is going to be okay.”

“I want you to actually remember what I say when I say this,” Spider-Man said. “Whatever it is you are afraid of, judgement, failure, wasted time, you have to learn to change your perspective on any thought that you have.”

According to Spider-Man, this is the key to “happiness before happiness.”

“I call it that because, while trying to reach my goals of what I would call ‘happiness,’ I do what I can now,” he said. “For example, I stopped living for the weekends. Instead, I started doing things every day to make my entire week meaningful. In any way possible.”

Spider-Man mentioned that the main focal point to remember is perspective.

“Some people don’t have what you have,” Spider-Man stated. “Some people would give anything to be able to do something as simple as going out to eat whenever they want, hanging out with their friends whenever they want, or even leaving the house to get some fresh air when they want.”

There are two things Spider-Man tells himself during hard times.

“If my parents died today, would I care so much about whatever it is I’m stressing about? No? Okay then let it go,” he said.

The second internal commentary Spider-Man would give himself during a conflicting time would involve the emotional battle.

“Yea I’m struggling, but at least I have [happiness], at least I’m here and at least it’s possible for me. I’m on my way,” Spidey said. 

Spider-Man understands some might have their individual limitations. 

“When your surroundings are toxic, you must fill your insides with positivity,” Spider-Man said. “If you can’t leave home, plug in your earphones and listen to nothing but positivity.”

Spidey advises that If you spend half your day with social media, learn how to do positively. 

“Watch productive videos, learn about your own happiness, how to build a better life, minimalism, whatever it may be,” Spider-Man said. “You just have to do whatever you can to prioritize your happiness and push out the toxicity from your life.”

International Spider-Man has had numerous people reach out to him just because they “initially want to say hi,” but then they open up to me because he’s Spider-Man. 

“Usually they apologize and try to stop but I always make them open up more because I know bottling it up won’t benefit them,” he said. 

Stan Lee once said that the reason Spider-Man is so popular is because he’s relatable, and this Spidey agrees.

“I needed Spidey in my life when I was a kid and he gave me hope,” International Spider-Man said. “In every comic I read he was living out mine and every skinny boy’s fantasy of being stronger, of being free of the body I was born into and that swinging sensation of flight.”

One thing he admires most about Spider-Man is his all out innateness for good.

“Upon receiving his power, unlike most who have become corrupted, he used it for good,” Spider-Man said. “I think we all wish that we had the courage to stick up for ourselves more, to stick up for a loved one more, or even a stranger you see being mistreated and Peter Parker has inspired me to feel stronger, he made me braver, he reassured me that my doing the right thing, it’s worth it, it’s worth the struggle, it’s worth the pain, it’s even worth the tears, the bruises and the blood.”

Spider-Man wants people to come to his page and leave feeling like a better person.

“As of now I’m still keeping things lighthearted, but as Peter Parker grows, my page will be more serious, vulnerable, and grounded,” He said. “I want to be more of a beacon of hope for people.”

Spider-Man also spoke about the character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). 

“Marvel wants me for nine movies, three in high school, three in college and three as an adult,” Spider-Man said. “I think the fans will find lots of growth in my character arc.”

According to Spider-Man, the MCU made him very young to allow today’s generation a chance to grow along with the character.

“I believe there’s a hero in all of us, that keeps us honest, gives us strength, makes us noble and finally allows us to die with pride. Even though sometimes we have to be steady and give up the things we want the most. Even our dreams.”

Aunt May in Spider-Man 2 (2004)

International Spider-Man has big plans after his unmasking and will definitely go on to impact numerous lives in a positive way, just like his comic book counterpart, 

“[Spider-Man] has inspired all of us, he has saved lives, he saved my life,” Spidey continued. “For that, I owe everything to Spidey and Stan Lee.”


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National Suicide Prevention Hotline

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They’re committed to improving crisis services and advancing suicide prevention by empowering individuals, advancing professional best practices, and building awareness.

National Suicide Prevention LifelineHours: Available 24 hours.

Languages: English, Spanish. 

1-800-273-8255

Zack Benz

Zack Benz has been a fan of the Daily Planet since he was eight years old. The Daily Planet has always been a beacon of hope for him and it’s his life’s mission to make it shine in a similar light to so many around the world. Zack graduated with a degree in journalism and art from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2019.

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