REAL NAME: Peter Benjamin Parker
AFFILIATION: The Avengers
FIRST APPEARANCE: Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962)
After the death of his parents, Peter Parker was raised by his Aunt May and Uncle Ben in Queens, New York. An intelligent but awkward child, Peter lived a lonely life as an outcast. However, after attending a science demonstration, Peter’s life was forever changed, as a bite from a radioactive spider gifted him with amazing abilities. Now super-humanly strong, fast and agile, Peter realised he was able to do ‘whatever a spider’ could, such as cling to any surface and sense danger with his intuitive ‘spider-sense’.
Tired of being the underdog, Peter chose to use his powers for personal gain, and became a television personality, the ‘Spider-Man’. Using his great intelligence to craft technological web-shooters to enhance his spider-themed motif, Spider-Man became an overnight sensation. However, the fame quickly went to his head, and after refusing to use his powers to stop a robber, Peter was faced with the defining moment of his life, as that very same robber would later murder his Uncle. Learning the truth behind his uncle’s words; that ‘With great power there must also come great responsibility’, Peter shed his life of fame and turned to a life of heroics, and begun juggling school, super-heroics and freelance photography work taking pictures of Spider-Man for J. Jonah Jameson and the Daily Bugle; a paper that continually branded the hero a ‘threat’ and ‘menace’.
Spider-Man’s most prominent foe is Norman Osborn; a deranged scientist-turned-costume criminal who paired his enhanced strength with ‘pumpkin bombs’ and a mechanical glider. As the ‘Green Goblin‘, Norman’s feud with Peter reached a new high after he caused the death of Peter’s first love, Gwen Stacy.
Vying for the status of Spider-Man’s arch-nemesis is Otto Octavius, better known as Doctor Octopus, another scientist, with four mechanical tentacles. In his ongoing efforts to defeat Spider-Man, he has often teamed with other criminals such as the (self-explanatory) Sandman, the electrokinetic Electro, the ‘special effects wizard’ Mysterio, the relentless hunter Kraven and the winged thief Vulture.
A third contender for the title of Spider-Man’s most dangerous foe came into being after Spider-Man and various other super-heroes battled a being known as the Beyonder on an alien world. During the conflict, Spider-Man came upon a new, black costume, which he brought back to Earth, only to discover the costume was a living entity. Abandoning the symbiotic costume due to its corruption of his mind, Peter was forced to face off against his former suit after it bonded with fellow photographer and Peter’s rival, Eddie Brock. Together, the pair became known as Venom, the murderous vigilante.
However, Peter’s most dangerous foes are not physical beings, so much as they are his truly terrible luck and crippling sense of responsibility. It was a combination of these that lead him to make a series of bad choices during the first Superhero Civil War, publically unmasking in order to support Iron Man and the idea of super-hero registration; in the wake of a new level of fame, Peter’s aunt was victim to an assassination attempt, which lead him to, in turn, make a deal with a demon – restoring the life of his elderly aunt, in return for his marriage to the second love of his life, Mary-Jane Watson, being wiped from existence. This change in reality regressed Peter to more of an amateurish, underachiever than his married self.
But despite the odds seemingly always being stacked against him, whether that be thanks to ‘the Parker luck’ or his endless array of poor life choices, Peter has made some big things of his life in recent years.
These big changes came about after a particularly nefarious plot by Doctor Octopus. Realising that the continued beatings suffered at the hands of super-heroes was leading him to an early grave, Ock secretly began mapping Peter’s brain across the course of a year, using said map to implant his mind into Spider-Man’s body, and leaving Peter to die in his withered old form. With Peter ‘dead’, Otto became the ‘Superior Spider-Man’, attempting to prove himself Peter’s better by doing a better job as Spider-Man than Peter ever did. In time, however, he realised that the world needed the real Spider-Man, and was forced to relinquish his new body back to a revived Peter.
After claiming his body back from Doctor Octopus, Peter was surprised to find that Ock had finished Peter’s degree and started up a company in his name. Under Peter’s watch, ‘Parker Industries’ became a global conglomerate, with Peter becoming the poster-boy for cutting-edge technology, and an act that suggested that Spider-Man was his personal bodyguard as he travelled across the globe (a shtick he copied from Iron Man). For a time, he even used his considerable wealth to fund the Avengers, allowing them to operate out of his central headquarters in New York.
As is always the way, however, Peter’s new life began to crumble after Doctor Octopus was revived and returned to a life of villainy, hoping to reclaim Parker Industries. Destroying the company in order to keep it out of the hands of Octavius, Peter suffered ridicule for several months before bouncing back as the new Science Editor of the Daily Bugle.
Now faced with a weird new status quo, wherein Peter Parker is hated while Spider-Man is beloved, Peter continues to follow his uncle’s creed that with great power comes responsibility, no matter what people think of him.
CURRENTLY APPEARS IN: Amazing Spider-Man, Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man, Spider-Man/Deadpool