hyphen usages

Freeguy,

The simple answer is that the creators of Spider-Man (not "Spider-man"; the "M" is capitalized) chose to spell the name with a hyphen, and the creators of Batman and Superman did not.

If you had a daughter and wanted to name her after the Russian Empress Екатери́на, but in English, you could name her Catherine, Katherine, Cathryn, Kathyrin, or any of dozens of other variations on the spelling.

DocV

Doc V posted:

The simple answer is that the creators of Spider-Man (not "Spider-man"; the "M" is capitalized) chose to spell the name with a hyphen, and the creators of Batman and Superman did not.

Greetings,

DocV and I have come to answer this question at almost the same time. If I hadn't had to log in to make this post, I wouldn't have even seen his post. I think his answer is great. I, too, was going to point out the need for the capital "M" and the fact that, because it is just a name, the creators of Spider-Man could do whatever they wanted.

That said, before I read your question, Freeguy, I had totally forgotten that Spider-Man had a hyphen in his name, but I believe that fact struck me, too, the last time I went to see a Spider-Man film. Interestingly, there are plenty of people who refer to Spider-Man in published writing who are not aware of the hyphen. From the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA):

Spiderman: 210
Spider-Man: 873
Spider Man: 15

I poked around on Google a little and came upon this very interesting video, in which four distinct theories about the hyphen are proposed. In case you have a hard time understanding the narrator's Australian English accent, I'll summarize the theories proposed in the video. It should be kept in mind that Spider-Man was originally "Spider Man" -- an open compound.

Theory 1: The creators of Spider-Man wanted to give greater emphasis to the "man" part of his name, to stress the fact that the superhero was also a man.

Theory 2: The creators of Spider-Man were worried that Spider-Man might be confused with Superman and therefore wanted to give Spider-Man's name a distinctive look.

Theory 3: The creators of Spider-Man were concerned about a potential copyright-infringement suit by the creators of Superman.

Theory 4: There was an earlier "Spider Man" (pre-Peter Parker), whose creators were affiliated with a different comic company, and the creators of Spider-Man needed to show that their Spider-Man was different.

Your answers are great.

One of my students said that we say Spider-Man because the actor has all the features of a spider. But in Superman and Batman, the actors are just strong. The actor of Batman does not have the natural ability of a Bat.

 

What do you think?

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