Friendly neighborhood Spider-Man brings smiles to kids during the pandemic

Move over, Tom Holland, there’s a new web-slinger in town.

Mike Justman of New Berlin, Wisc., has found a super way to uplift his community during the coronavirus pandemic. The freelance artist and guest service leader at a gas station found his stride as a real-life hero by dressing up as Spider-Man to bring smiles to children in his hometown.

Justman, who also coaches for his daughter’s soccer team, was making signs for a 2-year-old’s car parade birthday party when an idea came to mind.

“Wouldn’t it be kind of cool if I stepped it up a little and dressed as Spider-Man?” he asked his wife, Jill. 

Justman and his daughter had dressed up for Halloween as Spidey and Spider-Gwen, so he had everything he needed to take on the role. He posted on Facebook that he would be making some stops as the superhero and, with his wife behind the wheel, Justman traveled the town as Spider-Man. The community was so thrilled that he was flooded with requests to come out again the following day. 

<em>Spider-Man lands on top of his Honda Civic. (Photo courtesy of Mike Justman)</em>
Spider-Man lands on top of his Honda Civic. (Photo courtesy of Mike Justman)

Justman fully embraces his inner web-slinger and likes to show up on top of his Honda Civic to surprise the kids. Justman says that when he jumps off the roof of a car and lands in a “superhero pose,” the kids get excited and exclaim, “This is really him!” 

<em>He also perfected his Spider-Man poses, making for excellent photoshoots with smiling children. (Photo courtesy of Spidey's daughter Mia)</em>
He also perfected his Spider-Man poses, making for excellent photoshoots with smiling children. (Photo courtesy of Spidey's daughter Mia)

What started as a way to cheer up children in his own community quickly spread to nearby areas, and Justman has been spinning his way through many small towns and locations throughout Milwaukee.

“It has definitely gotten bigger than we ever thought it would be,” said Justman.

Parents began to spread the word about the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Without needing to seek out gigs, word of mouth led to increasing opportunities for Justman to take on his superhero persona. 

As he brought joy to so many children, Justman began to receive unsolicited donations. Justman used those funds to offer support for his neighbors. He didn’t want a monetary reward but he knew what he wanted to do with it.

Spider-Man partnered with Jester Fun Entertainment, a local company that makes balloon displays for birthday parties. The company is one of many that has seen a decline in business due to COVID-19. When Justman gets donations, he uses them to buy balloons from the local shop. Spider-Man then brings those balloons to children who are celebrating their birthdays in quarantine.

Justman says the best part of being Spider-Man is that he gets to “make a difference in these kids’ lives.” 

“Any kind of difference I can make that is positive is always important to me,” Justman says, and he hopes others are also looking at ways that they can help their communities as well. 

<em>Justman, as Spider-Man also offered some simple and uplifting advice during this difficult time: “Stay positive, stay safe, and stay super.” (Photo courtesy of Mike Justman)</em>
Justman, as Spider-Man also offered some simple and uplifting advice during this difficult time: “Stay positive, stay safe, and stay super.” (Photo courtesy of Mike Justman)

For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC’s and WHO’s resource guides. 

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