INTERVIEW: Spidey Steve AKA Steve Custer

Steve Custer is a man on a mission. A very unusual mission. He’s an actor, a trapeze artist and a children’s hospital volunteer… but that’s not all. He is SpideySteve, a passionate Spider-Man fan who believes he would be the perfect choice for the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Spidey. Read on to find out about his campaign…

A Place to Hang Your Cape: So, first of all I’d love to know what inspired you to create this campaign?

Steve: The SpideySteve campaign started about a month after the Sony/Marvel deal as I was making a new Spider-Man Costume; I wanted to make a new suit that was better than my last attempt, which was honestly abysmal. I finished sewing up the suit and after looking at myself in the mirror, I walked downstairs to show off my red & blue duds to my girlfriend, and I said, “I’m Spider-man and I have a crazy idea.”

We both agreed I was madcapped insane, but that with my acting experience, love of comic books, trapeze classes, and hospital volunteering, I had to give it my best shot, thusly the SpideySteve campaign was created.

I named the campaign SpideySteve since that was the AOL screen name my father gave me when dial-up internet connection was hot.

AP2HYC: You’ve obviously been a massive Spidey fan for a long time. Why does this character appeal to you so much?

Steve: Spider-Man/Peter Parker has always appealed to me because he’s been identifiable and relatable to me. He represents the everyday person trying to do what’s right with his powers, even at the cost of his own life. He’s not rich, has to balance his work with his accountabilities, and he pays the price constantly when he neglects one of those responsibilities. Quite the opposite of most heroes, he has terrible luck – girl problems, acne, family issues, and job struggles that include a boss who slanders him constantly. In other words, he’s not perfect, and despite his shortcomings, he’s always fighting to come out on top being optimistic and helping others. Having the best quote ever as your motto doesn’t hurt either; he embodies incorruptible hope against all odds.

I learned how to read with my Father on Spider-Man comic books. We’d read the dialogue together; he would read the villainous monologues as I’d interject the heroic quippy banter. As I grew older, I used to read the same books to my younger brothers; reading those asides and dialogue bubbles likely inspired me to study theater for my career. For this reason, especially since my father’s passing, Spider-man has always had my back.

AP2HYC: If you personally were the real Spider-Man for a day, what would you do?

Steve: If I was the real Spider-Man, at first I’d probably squander my powers selfishly like he did, trying my luck in sports with the NBA or NFL, web slinging to the top of the Chrysler building, or maybe just lay low saving a few kid’s balloons and keeping my powers secret. One of the best parts of Peter Parker’s story is that it took such a tragic example to make him realize that the power wasn’t his to use or not use as he saw fit — his power came with responsibility.

If I was the Marvel Cinematic Universe Spider-man, I’d make a career of being Spider-man instead of becoming a Hollywood actor. I’d obviously want to finish my work on the films, but from intermittently to permanently, I’d want to make a career of continuing my hospital volunteer work lifting the spirits of youth in various patient care units. Instead of keeping it local to my area, I’d be able to broaden my network worldwide continuing to help youth while also donating my time, resources, and effort to opening local and live stage theatres.

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AP2HYC: You volunteer in hospitals as various superheroes, can you tell us more about that? How did you get into it? What’s it like seeing the children react to meeting their favourite hero?

Steve: I got into volunteering at the local hospitals around Washington D.C. by fortune and mishap actually. I was on my way out the door wearing my version one Spidey suit to go read books to kids at my local comic book store when I ran into my next-door neighbor. She questioned me, “Why are you wearing a Spider-Man costume? It’s not Halloween, ye know.” We both laughed, and after telling her my purpose, she invited me to come to the Hospital where she is a Child Life and Care Specialist. I’ve been volunteering and bringing my friends and colleagues with me ever since.

The first time I went to Children’s National Medical Center, I considered myself fortunate to be wearing a mask as Spider-Man; I saw the kids in there and my heart was breaking. I was so overjoyed seeing the smiles of the kids, I was crying. Seeing these real-life little superheroes, some fighting for their lives, was incredible. The therapeutic boost, toys, balloons, conversations and smiles I was able to offer them as Spider-man was everything. I’ve continued doing this work ever since and I’ve had friends who’ve joined me as well; we have a visit planned this upcoming Friday for Free Comic Book Day to give comic books to youth at Children’s National Medical Center.

AP2HYC: And finally: what is it that would make you the best choice for Spider-Man?

Steve: I believe I would be the best choice for Spider-Man and Peter Parker because although I look like Peter and am a passionate fan, I’m not the A-list actor looking for a job wanting this role, and to join the Avengers, I am the working class hero; the everyman actor doing his best to break into Hollywood with a grassroots effort. I financed this project myself. I did not want this to be a Kickstarter or Gofundme asking for people’s money. I’m doing this for people to support a dream, and to put an underdog into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There’s nothing I like more than an unknown actor playing a role like this. It makes it more interesting I think, that way you’re not expecting them to be ‘Amazing’ or terrible.

I have many, many failed projects under my belt, and have spent far more than I have ever made on creative endeavors. It’s just the way it goes. But at the same time, I gotta try to put myself out there unashamed. I think that’s what Peter Parker would approve of.

“Anyone can win a fight–when the odds–are easy! It’s when the going’s tough–when there seems to be no chance–that’s when–it counts!” – Peter Parker, Spider-Man

To support SpideySteve, check out his website here!

About the author

Grace Davis