Neal Adams considers the origin of Spider-Man, and what it meant to comics at the time:
A weakling kid is bitten by a radioactive spider and decides to become…a circus performer? Yes, that’s right, Peter Parker is more interested in using his “gift” to find a paycheck, not a damsel in distress.Until, with all his power, his weaknesses cause him to fail to save his Uncle Ben. Soft monsters as superheroes. Not sparkly-toothed-born heroes…but flawed monster heroes. Then came the incredible Steve Ditko. Was this man born to draw Spider-Man? A multitude will say “Yes.” Marvel had found a third creator who got it, who totally understood the concept: Flawed monster heroes. It was a new idea, born out of a touch of coincidence, a touch of history, a massive amount of brilliance of some of the greatest comic book creators since Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.
The idea of Spider-Man as a “flawed monster hero” is one that’s particularly resonant, reminding us that – no matter how mainstream and cuddly that the character has become, Spider-Man started out not only as an outsider, but as a horror story made good. It’s a shame that that aspect of the character has become lost through familiarity, I think.