Today in 1962, Spider-Man first appears in comics.

We know what kind of influence this character has had on comics, movies, cartoons and really entertainment as a whole.

But did you know a Spider-Man comic also helped lead to the creation of the first ankle monitor?

Specifically, it was the August 9, 1977 edition of Spider-Man that ran on the comics pages of newspapers all across the country.

Spider-Man learns in the strip that the villainous Kingpin had been tracking his movements with radar through an ID bracelet that even the super-powered web-slinger couldn’t remove!

A judge in New Mexico named Jack Love read the comic, and he thought a tracking bracelet would actually be useful in his line of work.

He reached out to a number of electronics companies, and eventually connected with engineer Michael Goss.

The device Goss developed went around a wearer’s ankle.

It sent out a radio signal every 30 to 90 seconds.

Meanwhile, there was a receiver connected to the individual’s phone line.

If the person wearing the monitor moved more than 150 feet away from that receiver, the telephone line would send a message to a computer at Goss’s office.

It could also send messages if someone removed the ankle monitor or turned off the receiver.

The idea was that a judge could offer home confinement to a person awaiting trail as an alternative to sitting in jail.

Judge Love was the first live tester, wearing the Goss-Link for three weeks before offering it as an option to defendants in court.

There had been other attempts to build similar devices before this, but it was Love’s idea and Goss’s design that eventually went mainstream.

And, we should mention, it became the subject of controversy, with civil liberties advocates criticizing the use of surveillance devices as a part of the criminal justice system.

One thing everybody agrees on: the fictional electronic bracelet that Kingpin used against Spider-Man didn’t work out so well for him.

I mean, he’s not called The Amazing Spider-Man for nothing.

Manhattan is home to the Grolier Club, a society of passionate book lovers. One of them just put together an exhibit called A Century Of Dining Out.

It’s a collection of vintage menus showing how food, restaurants and American society changed between the 1840s and the 1940s.

I’ll have one of everything.

How Spider-Man Led to the Invention of the Prisoner Ankle Monitor (Gizmodo)

NYC Exhibition Extols the Charm of Restaurant Menus (Hyperallergic)

Back our show on Patreon

Photo by : : w i n t e r t w i n e d : : via Flickr/Creative Commons