Story highlights

Comic book legend Stan Lee draws Spider-Man for a boy with autism

8-year-old Jamel Hunter is a fan of the wall-crawling hero

CNN  — 

It was a story that moved Stan Lee, the creator of many of the best-known superheroes in history, into action: a Spider-Man-loving boy with autism named Jamel Hunter.

According to the New York Times, a December Times article about the child, who reportedly didn’t say a word until he was in preschool, caught the eye of one of Lee’s neighbors, jazz musician Corky Hale.

That would be the same Stan Lee who co-created Spider-Man (as well as Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, the X-Men and so many other Marvel characters).

The Times story described how 8-year-old Jamel, who loves Spider-Man, had a birthday party at an East Harlem community center. The place was full of Spidey images. His struggling mother put everything she had into the party.

Upon hearing the tale at his home in California, Lee decided to pitch in.

“After hearing of the boy’s situation, how could I not?” he told CNN.

Lee decided to draw a sketch of Spider-Man for Hunter. Lee, it should be noted, isn’t an artist; Spidey was first drawn by Steve Ditko. But he can do the character in a pinch.

New York Times writer Michael Wilson delivered the drawing to Jamel, with Lee’s signature in the corner.

“(Spider-Man) is a teenager, not an adult so (young people) can relate to him,” Lee explained.

“He has many of the problems they themselves have, such as not enough money.”

Lee’s act of generosity captured the hearts of many on social media this past weekend.

CNN’s attempts to reach Jamel’s family were unsuccessful.