Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man
May 2, 2014

Despite garnering the worst reviews of any Spider-Man movie in history, box-office analysts expect The Amazing Spider-Man 2 to do big business over the weekend. The Spider-Man franchise has evolved into a billion-dollar business, which is all the more impressive when you consider the character's humble origins in the pages of Marvel's Amazing Fantasy #15 just a little over 50 years ago.

Where did the idea for Spider-Man come from? In a 2009 interview with Kevin Smith, creator Stan Lee described the character's origins:

"In superheroes, the most important thing is to get a new power. And you run out of powers. A guy can fly, a guy is strong — what's left? I figured, if a guy can stick to walls like an insect. So I run down a list of names: Insect Man didn't have it, Mosquito Man wasn't dramatic... finally, I hit on Spider-Man. Spider-Man. Man, that sounded dramatic to me. […] When I proposed the name to Martin, my publisher... Now, he had been on board with everything, the Fantastic Four, the Hulk. He thought I could do no wrong. So I told him about Spider-Man, and he said, 'You're crazy, Stan. People hate spiders. You can't do a book called Spider Man. And you want him to be a teenager? Teenagers can only be sidekicks."

Learn more about the origins of Spider-Man in the video below. --Scott Meslow

The hunters become the hunted
12:27 p.m. ET
Screenshot / NBC

What would Bambi look like with bulging muscles and an entourage of woodland gunmen? That's the question Saturday Night Live answered with a The Fast and the Furious meets Disney reboot staring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as the titular orphaned deer.

"When I was a boy, they took away my mother," Johnson says in the faux trailer. "Now it's time for them to pay — dearly." —Jon Terbush

Iran and the bomb
11:51 a.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday assailed the emerging details of a nuclear agreement intended to curb Iran's nuclear program.

"This agreement, as it appears, confirms all of our concerns and even more so," he said.

The U.S. and Iran have three days left before the deadline to reach a framework deal.

This just in
11:21 a.m. ET
Alex Wong / Getty Images

Arab leaders on Sunday announced a tentative agreement to create a joint military force to combat violence and extremism in the region.

"We recognize the clear challenges in the Arab world and the need to take measures to combat them," Nabil al Araby, chairman of the Arab League, said on the final day of the group's summit in Egypt.

The announcement came days after a Saudi-led coalition began launching airstrikes in Yemen against the Houthi rebels who have overrun the country and forced President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee.

Developing story
10:27 a.m. ET
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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) said Saturday his state would move to "clarify" the intent of a controversial so-called religious freedom law that critics contend will allow businesses to discriminate against gays.

"I support religious liberty, and I support this law," Pence told the Indianapolis Star. "But we are in discussions with legislative leaders this weekend to see if there's a way to clarify the intent of the law."

The law, which will go into effect in July, bars the state from enacting legislation that could "substantially burden" the ability of people and businesses to practice their religious beliefs. Several high-profile businesses and figures have expressed concern over the law, or threatened to boycott the state.

Developing story
8:54 a.m. ET
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Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot believed to have deliberately crashed a Germanwings airliner last week, sought treatment for a vision problem that could have been psychosomatic and impacted his ability to fly, according to investigators. In addition, investigators on Saturday revealed they found antidepressants while searching Lubitz's home earlier in the week, though it was not clear whether the medication factored into the crash.

Also this weekend, a woman who identified herself as an ex-girlfriend of Lubitz told a German newspaper that the 27-year-old co-pilot once vowed to do something so dramatic that "everyone will know my name and remember."

March Madness
7:47 a.m. ET
Gregory Shamus / Getty Images

The Kentucky Wildcats are back in the Final Four for a second straight year after holding off Notre Dame's upset bid on Saturday.

The undefeated Wildcats did not miss a shot in the final 12 minutes of the game, and then watched as a potential game-winning desperation three sailed over the rim. They now sit just two games away from a perfect season.

Also Saturday, the Wisconsin Badgers punched their ticket to the Final Four with a convincing win over Arizona. On Sunday, Michigan State and Louisville will meet and Duke will take on Gonzaga to determine the final two teams in the national semifinal round.

Germanwings Crash
March 28, 2015
Patrick Aventurier/Getty Images

A spokesman for Lufthansa, Germanwings' parent company, told NBC News on Saturday that the airline will distribute initial payments to families of up to $54,450 per victim in the tragic Tuesday crash of Flight 9525.

"This is to offer the families immediate support to help them in this major change in life," Boris Ogursky said. "They shouldn't have to face a financial problem, and they need not worry about paying it back."

Family members have been flying into France from more than a dozen countries; Lufthansa is also covering transportation and living accommodations for those affected. German investigators believe co-pilot Andreas Lubitz intentionally crashed the Germanwings plane into the French Alps on Tuesday, killing all 150 people on board. He appears to have hidden the fact that he had been receiving psychiatric treatment for more than a year from the airline; investigators searching his home found a ripped-up doctor's note authorizing Lubitz to take time off from work due to an illness.

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