by Chris Haire
Wanna know what would really happen if you were bitten by a radioactive spider or caught ground zero at a gamma ray bomb explosion, then head on over to Mania.com to find out.
Here's a taste:
Origin Story: Mild-mannered nerd Peter Parker gets bitten by a radioactive spider.
Comic Book Consequences: Come on, you've seen the movies.
What Would Have Happened in Real Life: Again with the radioactivity? It's a wonder that Marvel legend Stan Lee lived long enough to create all of these characters, since he seemed to be under the impression that leaping at, getting exploded by or otherwise having your body submersed in radioactive waste was a one-way ticket to sprouting wings, buying dance tights and lifting Buicks over your head. It'd be easy to dismiss this as the ignorance of the '60s, but as early as the 1920s it was pretty well established that chronic exposure to atomic radiation caused cancer and leukemia. So it's not that everyone thought atomic radiation was awesome, so much as it was just Stan Lee-fixing himself uranium rod sandwiches and standing in front of the mirror flexing.
Anyway, yeah: The alpha particles, beta particles and gamma rays in radioactive material destroy living cells by breaking their chemical bonds and disrupting the cell's genetic instructions. Despite what Stan Lee tells you, this is bad. Peter Parker dies.