Five Real-Life Spider-Men

Spider-Man. You and I know he's just fiction. But some people out there are not so sure.

Jem Stansfield (host of BBC1’s “Bang Goes The Theory”) got tagged with the label "The Real Spider-Man" when he built a couple of suction pads capable of sticking to walls. Check out some photos, videos and more details.

Here's another guy they're calling the "real life Spider-Man". Bit of a stretch perhaps, he's simply a rickshaw driver in New York who does a few stunts with his rickshaw cab.

Meanwhile, scientists at Cornell University (also in New York, naturally) have created a prototype version of a suction device based on a surface tension technique used by a beetle. Once again, their goal is to create climbing boots that could allow "real-life Spider-Men" to walk up walls. Of course, for funding purposes it would be ideal if those real-life Spider-Man would work for the military. The U.S. army has more money than Peter Parker.

No round-up of "real life Spidey" would be complete without mention of Alain Robert, the "French Spider-Man. Here's a recent video of Alain climbing a building in Hong Kong.

Of course, none of these Spider-Men are actually doing anything particularly heroic. They're all motivated by scientific curiosity, the search for fame and excitement, or the desire to score a hefty dollop of government funding.

If you want real-life crime-fighting Spider-Man, you'll need to check out this last story from The Sun newspaper featuring a costumed Spider-Man stopping a would-be thief.