Spider-Man 2099 (1992) #1 by Peter David.

Fandom Rallies Behind ‘Spider-Man 2099’ Creator as He Struggles With Healthcare Debt

After five years of patiently waiting, we’re getting the highly anticipated sequel to Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse. The first film ended with a tease of Spider-Man 2099, a.k.a. Miguel O’Hara, played by Oscar Isaac. While we’ll see this Spider-Man in just a few weeks, the co-creator (alongside Rick Leonardi), Peter David, is struggling to survive. This is partly due to this nation’s lack of support for those with health issues.

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In addition to Spider-Man 2099, David is known for his work on Hulk, Captain Marvel, and various X-Men. Outside of Marvel, he made a name for himself contributing (in comics and TV) to Young Justice, Supergirl, and Ben 10. While he sometimes puts his foot in his mouth, he’s quick to reevaluate bad takes (like comments on Roma discrimination). Unfortunately, the last decade of David’s life has seen him dealing with a series of health issues. These have bled into financial issues, between the aftermath of a 2012 stroke and a divorce that resulted in the veteran comic writer opening a Patreon to supplement his income.

These issues came to a head in late 2022, when the strokes (and aftershocks) worsened. Because of this, voice actor and makeup/prop artist Graham Murphy helped Peter’s wife, Kathleen David, set up a GoFundMe.

Support pours in

Peter David at the 2011 New York Comic Con.
(© Luigi Novi / Wikimedia Commons)

Since initially posted on November 26, 2022, Kathleen, with Murphy’s aid, updated supporters over 20 times. According to the campaign post, his insurance through his work at Marvel has been a “lifeline.” However, anyone who has had a family member go through one major accident or a series of health issues knows insurance coverage is just one aspect of the financial struggles that can follow. Via the GoFundMe, fans and peers gave the Davids the funds to make their home accessible. This includes things like ramps and widening doorways for Peter’s wheelchair. That’s where the (currently) $150,825 in donations comes in—all from fans and colleagues!

You have made it able for me to put in a ramp and some other things in the house taht he needs. You have kept this roof over out heads, food on the table, out cars street legal, and out cats [with] food and litter.

For that Peter and I will be eternally grateful.

Miguel O'Hara aka Spider-Man 2099 in Across the Spider-Verse
(Sony Pictures)

The campaign got another significant boost in attention via Low Brow Studio—an animation house best known for Cyanide & Happiness and Adam Ruin’s Everything—when they retweeted about David’s needs on May 5, 2023. Following this latest surge of support, an update via Peter reads in part:

I am hoping to be able to walk soon and resume my normal life so I can return to writing comic books, novels and other forms of entertainment for you.

My goal is to return to the life I left behind.

You guys are one of the biggest things I miss.

America’s GoFundMe Economy

That retweet from Low Brow Studios was driven by the rumored box office projections for Across the Spider-Verse set at making $85 million. The context that the creator of this character is struggling to survive while studios can make millions leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth. David isn’t the only comic book creator struggling to get by while studios execs are bank-rolled by these creations. Also, this isn’t just character creators and writers, but also artists whose work is adapted from panels to screens and film posters with no credit or compensation. (And live-action films profit more!)

Film/TV writers make better than those who work in comics on their residuals, because at least they have some. That’s pathetic to consider when writers of the WGA, for example, are making pennies quarterly for hit shows—and why they’re rightfully on strike at the moment!

While it’s great that David got this help, this is not a feel-good story. In 2021 alone, 33% of all GoFundMe campaigns are tagged as medical campaigns. This includes stories like David’s, who is at least has insurance. Mutual aid is essential and important to engage with. However, no one should go into debt for meeting basic needs. This includes housing, food, and education alongside medical care, let alone in one of the richest nations of the world—for very terrible reasons, mind you.

(featured image: Marvel)

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Alyssa Shotwell
(she/her) Award-winning artist and writer with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. She began her career in journalism in October 2017 when she joined her student newspaper as the Online Editor. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 & Oxygen Not Included.