NEW YORK, N.Y. – A costumed Spider-Man accused of slugging a police officer in Times Square says its superhero and comic characters are key ingredients of the flavour of the Crossroads of the World.

Junior Bishop spoke after a brief, procedural court appearance Thursday. He said Times Square’s costumed characters, ticket agents and others who interact with passers-by “make it what it is.”

He says children enjoy seeing him and other costumed figures, and “it’s all positive.”

Bishop was arrested Saturday on assault and other charges. Police said the 25-year-old punched an officer in the face after being told to stop hassling tourists to give him more money than they offered for photos with him. He denies demanding more money.

Recent reports of costumed characters behaving boorishly have spurred calls for regulation.