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How Community Helped Inspire A New Version Of Spider-Man

In the world of mega comic book screen adaptations that we live in today, it's easy to assume that it's always films or TV shows that are finding inspiration from the comics, not the other way around. In fact, this couldn't be any further from the truth, as movies and shows have proved just as influential to comics. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the creation of the Joker's trademark pointed smile was inspired heavily by the 1928 silent film "The Man Who Laughs" starring Conrad Veidt. Similarly, you can spot the influences from classic Universal Monsters such as Dracula and the Wolfman in some of the most iconic superhero characters, from Batman, to the Hulk, to the Invisible Woman, and more (via ComicBookHistorians.com).

One recent example of a show that not only inspired but birthed an entirely new version of an iconic character is the NBC sitcom "Community." The show, which follows the exploits of a suspended lawyer named Jeff (played by Joel McHale) who must attend community college, features a key moment that would end up aiding in the creation of one of the most recent yet beloved versions of Spider-Man in today's pop culture.

An inside joke by Donald Glover helped create Miles Morales

According to an article by USA Today and backed by Collider's 2010 reporting, Donald Glover, who stars in "Community" as Troy Barnes, started a Twitter campaign to be cast as the next version of Spider-Man for "The Amazing Spider-Man." The role would eventually go to Andrew Garfield, who would play the main character in Marc Webb's duology.

As an inside joke, a quick scene of Troy waking up in Spider-Man pajamas is included in the "Community" Season 2 premiere episode "Anthropology 101." The brief moment would capture the imagination of writer Brian Michael Bendis and go on to influence the creation of Miles Morales in the "Ultimate Spider-Man" comic series. Bendis told USA Today, "He looked fantastic! I saw him in the costume and thought, 'I would like to read that book.' So I was glad I was writing that book."

The Spider-Man connections to this moment don't stop there. The "Community" episode's director, Joe Russo, would go on to co-direct several MCU installments with his brother Anthony featuring the webhead, including "Captain America: Civil War," "Avengers: Infinity War," and "Avengers: Endgame." Glover was able to appear in a Spider-Man project when he played Aaron Davis, who is Morales' uncle in the comics, in "Spider-Man: Homecoming." Coming full circle, the "Community" scene is then featured as an Easter egg in a scene featuring both Davis and Morales in the Oscar-winning animated film, "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse."