Snapshot: Leopardon’s Return Before Spider-Verse (Ready Player One)


Hello! Welcome to Snapshot, where we take a quick look at cool things related to all things Spider-Man.

This week’s Snapshot brings Japanese Spider-Man’s (Supaidaman) giant mech to the spotlight. If you don’t know who or what that is, think of a giant robot that Supaidaman could summon using a bracelet that had the size and power of (perhaps) more familiar giant robots such as Voltron or the Power Ranger’s Megazord. Even better, take a look at the picture below to get an idea.

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The Spider-Verse comic event that featured every Spider-Person ever brought Leopardon back into the forefront of the Spider-Man world as a trump card in the battle against the Inheritors, but another story featured the powerful mech before the 2014 Marvel Event. That story was a novel called

Ready Player One.

Ready Player One is a 2011 novel by the author Ernest Cline; the overview of the story is as follows:

"In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines—puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape."

Little did I know when I started reading the book that a certain name would pop up.

Warning: Spoilers for Ready Player One ahead, proceed at your own risk.

At one point in the story, the main character gets his hands on a very powerful artifact, which in the virtual world are legendary items of incredible power. In this case, his artifact was an action figure replica of Leopardon. In a particularly awesome sequence, the protagonist calls upon the power of the robot for the first time:

"“I removed the twelve-inch Leopardon robot from my avatar’s inventory and set it down gently on the runway… As I suspected, the robot was actually a powerful magical item. It hadn’t taken me long to figure out the command word required to activate it. Just like in Toei’s original Supaidaman TV series, you summoned the robot simply by shouting its name… “Leopardon!”I gazed up at the towering robot… every feature of the original Japanese mech had been recreated, including its giant gleaming sword and spiderweb-embossed shield… As I seated myself in the captina’s chair, I spotted a silver control bracelet in a clear case on the wall. I took it out and snapped it onto my avatar’s wrist… As soon as the robot was clear of my hangar, I shouted “Change Marveller!” into to control bracelet. The robot’s legs, arms, and head folded inward and locked into new positions, transforming the robot into a starship known as the Marveller.”"

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This except (shortened) reveals only the intro part of Leopardon’s role in the story, but it’s an amazing homage to the robot, from the decal detail, the shout-out to Toei and their TV series


, and the accurate description of the robot. The complete picture of the robot and its uses is completed with the mention of the silver control bracelet, and the transformation of Leopardon into its star-ship form -compare the descriptions to the picture of each of these things above. I thought this was a cool addition to the other references in this book, and it came as a pleasant surprise to a Spider-Man fan such as myself.

That concludes this snapshot, and if you’re interested in 80’s pop culture, Anime, and Spider-Man, I’d recommend this book in between your readings of Amazing Spider-Man. ‘Til next time Spider-Fans!

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