Finally we come back to Marvel Comics, with one of their most known and popular superheroes: Spider-Man. Recently, director Marc Webb posted the first official picture from The Amazing Spider-Man 2, with Andrew Garfield reprising his role as Peter Parker. This time, the hero will wear a brand new suit, more similar to the comicbooks’ classic one than the other one from the previous movie. The superhero was first portrayed by Nicholas Hammond in the cult tv series The Amazing Spider-Man, with the hero donning an embarassing costume and throwing ropes. Recently, he received a better (even if criticized) prortrayal with Sam Raimi‘s trilogy, featurin Tobey Maguire in the leading role. Now, let’s see together who one of the most popular superheroes of all times is in the comics.
Peter Parker was the son of Richard and Mary Parker, two undercover CIA agents who hid their true job even from their family and friends in order to protect them. When Richard and Mary were killed in an airplane crash (actually planned by the second Red Skull), young Peter went to live to Forest Hills, New York City, with his uncle Ben and his aunt May. Since a very young age, Peter proved to have inherited his father’s intelligence and gift for science, and became an extremly brilliant child, fascinated by anything related to science. Peter was quite nearsighted and was forced to wear big eyeglasses; raised by putative parents much older than the average, he also dressed in an old-fashioned way for a boy his age; these traits, along with his incredible intelligence, made him quite unpopular at school, and the more he got high appreciations from his teachers, the more the other students bullied and mocked him. He grew up to be very shy and lonesome. When he was a student at Midtown High School, his science class was invited to attend a scientific demonstration sponsored by General Techtronics Corporation, about handling lab’s nuclear waste materials. During the demonstration, a spider was irradiated by the particle accelerators the scientists were using, and it bit Peter just before dying. At first, Peter didn’t feel anything but an annoying prick, but on his way home, while avoiding a car that was about to run over him, he jumped almost to the rooftop of a nearby building, sticking to the wall without any support, and crashing a lead chimney like it was paper-made in an effort to lift himself. He discovered that the spider’s bite had granted him the proportional strength, speed and agility of a spider, and even some sort of sixth sense, which he would have called Spider-Sense, that warned him of incoming threats and dangers. For the shy and unpopular Peter Parker it was finally payback time.
A 16 years old guy with superpowers doesn’t think of helping people for first, usually, and Peter made no exception. He encountered an ad offering a remarkable prize in money for whoever could stand on a ring for three minutes with Crusher Hogan, a professional wrestler. Peter presented himself on the ring, wearing a mask so that nobody could have recognized him in case of defeat; while everybody laughed at him at first, looking at his skinny figure, he was soon acclaimed the moment he vanquished Hogan. A tv producer, who was watching the show, convinced the boy to sign a contract and to become a tv star with his own show: Peter agreed, designed a costume and a mask, built special web shooters that allowed him to look even more similar to a spider and created a stage name, Spider-Man! He became a star in no time, and grew more and more arrogant and selfish. Despite his success, he hid from Aunt May and Uncle Ben what was happening to him, and scorned every attempt from his putative parents of talking to him. On a night, after his show, he bumped into an escaping thief, and, ignoring the security guard’s shouts, he let him go, believing it wasn’t any of his business stopping criminals. His fame rose higher and higher, but one night, coming back home, he found his beloved uncle Ben murdered. Since the police had the burglar who killed Ben holed up in a warehouse, Peter, with his Spider-Man persona, went there, and while confronting the criminal, he found out that he was the same thief he let escape some nights before. Crying over his immaturity, he finally understood the meaning of his uncle teaching: “With great power, there must also come great responsibilities“, and decided he would have used his powers for helping people instead of himself. He abandoned his tv career and became a masked superhero, while Peter Parker entered university and got a job as a freelance photographer at the Daily Bugle (actually he cheated in getting the job, since he sold J. Jonah Jameson, the Spider-Man-hater editor, pictures of Spider-Man, so of himself). Since that first night as a hero, many things happened, and Spider-Man entered the Avengers, saw his first love Gwen Stacy killed by his worst enemy, the Green Goblin, married the beautiful Mary Jane Watson, got cloned by the mad scientist Jackal and many other things. In every adventure as Peter Parker or as Spider-Man, anyway, he never forgot Uncle Ben’s words, those same words that could have saved Ben’s life, if he only listened to them before.
Peter Parker is a good man, always trying to do his best in every situation he finds himself in. Unfortunately, his double life as a superhero often puts his private life in danger, and he made himself quite a reputation for being always late and not exactly reliable for his friends. He’s a brilliant scientist, with a great talent with chemistry, physics, mechanical engineering and many other fields; as Spider-Man, he adds his brilliant mind up to superhuman strength, agility, speed, stamina and durability, accelerated healing, heightened reflexes and his Spider-Sense. He built many gadgets to help him in his crusade, the most famous of which are the web shooters, that allow him to move rapidly swinging from a skyscraper to another, and the Spider-Tracers, small bugs he uses to track enemies or allies. Spider-Man is a worthy hero, who deeply understands the implications of having superhuman powers, and always puts everything of himself into protecting everyone, fighting his sense of guilt for not being able to do so everytime he can.