Chicago Spider-Man spotted in New Eastside

Had it not been for a schoolyard bully- ing incident, we wouldn’t have Spi- der-Man adorning unexpected sights in Lakeshore East.

What startles passersby is that this Spi- der-Man doesn’t behave like a street per- former with an obvious means of cashing in on his act. He’s been spotted on the tops of bus stops, fire hydrants, news- stands, railings, hanging off light posts, overpasses and bridges in the area. I first heard about him from Kumush, an Uber driver taking me home earlier this year. He coyly asked, “Hey, have you ever seen Spider-Man in your neighborhood?”

Chicago Spider-Man Joshua Marks perches on top of a Millennium Station elevator. Photo: Ben Cirrus

That conversation set me off on a months’ long search that led to many stories of sightings by residents, but no leads to unmask our superhero. It wasn’t until I was strolling home mid- May that I spotted Spider-Man on top of the Millennium Station accessibility elevator on the northeast corner of the Chicago Cultural Center—there he was on his first outing of the season!

His story begins with a bullying in- cident in a Chicago Public School in Logan Square. Kids picking on Joshua

Marks threw his bag on top of the ledge over one of the building entrances. You could say, “Mozart Elementary School at 2200 N. Hamlin Avenue is where this Spider-Man was born,” says Marks, 33.

Marks stayed there wondering what to do. If he asked the school staff for help he could be called a tattletale, risking more bullying. After a while he concluded that he should solve the problem on his own, and proceeded to examine what he had to work with to retrieve the bag himself.

This brings us back to how I saw Marks creatively make his way down from the top of that unusually tall elevator structure. If you saw him up there, you’d have the same thought…how did he get up there?

For now while out and about in the city, Marks wants to “prove his skills and motivation,” and in the process spread positivity and smiles. He supports him- self partially by performing at children’s birthday parties.

He eventually intends to build publicity for himself and his troupe to the point that they can start a non-for-profit organization to entertain sick children in area hospitals as a full-time job. He says if he can help them “forget their pain” for a few seconds, it will all be worth

it. The Chicago Spider-Man’s parting message on his way up another seem- ingly impossible climb was that “we can all be heroes by being the best version of ourselves.”

More information about the Chicago Spider-Man can be found at the Chica- go Spider-Man Facebook and Twitter pages.

— Ben Cirrus, Community Contributor

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