Orphaned at a young age, Peter Parker was raised by his aunt and uncle, May and Ben Parker, in Queens, New York. A socially retiring young man, he developed his scholastic side, concentrating especially on the sciences. During a trip to a scientific exhibit, Peter is bitten by a radioactive spider, and incident which grants him a variety of spider-related powers, including greatly enhanced strength and reflexes, increased durability and healing, and the ability to cling to surfaces as he chooses. While Peter initially attempts to use his new capabilities to make money on the professional wrestling circuit, he soon has to confront much deeper issues in his life. After Peter neglects to stop a burglary in progress, thinking that he need not get involved, the criminal involved ends up killing his Uncle Ben. As a result, Peter vows to use his abilities to fight crime, motivated by his Uncle’s words, “With great power there must also come great responsibility.” Equipping himself with wrist-mounted web shooters of his own design, he becomes Spider-Man.
Through high school and college, Peter battles a number of criminals and superhuman enemies, all while helping support his aunt and his education as a photographer for the Daily Bugle newspaper, and while publisher and chief editor, J. Jonah Jameson, works to discredit Spider-Man, often using Peter’s own pictures. In college, he meets and falls in love with Gwen Stacy, a fellow student. Tragically, Gwen is later killed by Peter’s enemy, the Green Goblin, an event that becomes a touchstone in Peter’s life. Before this relationship, and afterwards, Peter pursues an on-again, off-again relationship with Mary Jane “MJ” Watson, a childhood acquaintance.
At one point, after some travels in space related to the Beyonder’s Secret Wars, Spider-Man returns to Earth with a new black costume that enhances his abilities and generates its own webs without the need of separate devices. It soon turns out that this new costume is in fact a symbiotic alien life-form, and Peter has to rid himself of it, lest he lose control. In doing so, however, he creates one of his most powerful enemies, as the symbiote goes on to bond with a number of other individuals, and spreads further, creating monstrous foes like Venom and Carnage. Around the same time, Peter and MJ are married and, after MJ is attacked by Venom, Peter gives up his black costume (now simply cloth), since its appearance frightens his wife.
In recent years, Peter has supported himself in civilian life as a public school science teacher, while MJ has pursued a successful modeling career. While the couple fall on some rocky times, they remain together to this day. Peter’s life as Spider-Man has undergone a number of changes, especially related to recent events in which he confronts the vampire-like Morlun, who sees Peter as somehow related to a supernatural spider-spirit. Battling Morlun, Peter is maimed and apparently killed, but after a period of hibernation in a cocoon-like shell, he returns with enhanced strength and a number of more obviously spider-like powers, including organic web spinnerets.
During the crisis of the Super-human Registration Act, Peter initially takes the side of Tony Stark, and reveals his identity to the larger world. However, he comes to regret his decision, and his allegiance to Stark, and turns against him. This turns Peter and his family into fugitives, during which time May is seriously wounded in an assassination attempt, leading Peter to re-don his black costume.
Revealed his true identity to the Avengers in New Avengers (volume 1) #51.
Created by Steve Ditko & Stan Lee. Has an Ultimate-universe counterpart [see Spider-Man (Ultimate)].
- Amazing Fantasy (1962) #15
Spider-strength, spider-reflexes, spider-agility, a spider-sense that warns Spider-Man of pending danger and allows him to detect his Spider-tracers, and a spider-like grip that enables Spider-Man to cling to walls and climb most surfaces with his extremities. More recently acquired powers, which he lost after the events of “One More Day”, included organic web spinnerets, retractable spikes protruding from his forearms, the ability to see in the dark, and the ability to use his webs to detect changes and movement in the surrounding area.
Spider-sense useless against those wearing alien symbiote that once formed his costume [see Venom (Eddie Brock)].
1. John Romita, Sr.
7. Mike Zeck
- “With great power comes great responsibility.”
- “I’m three days away from you finding me running around Times Square in nothing but my web-shooters and my mask whooping it up about power and responsibility.”
- “My spider sense is tingling”
- “After walking in on Aunt May and J. Jonah Jameson Sr: “Must. Wash. Brain…!””
- “I’m just your friendly neighborhood Spiderman.”