May Reilly

auntmayfilmIn the meanwhile, also the first trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has been released, and we get our first look at two other characters, both of them old acquaintances. Let’s start with the oldest one: Aunt May, portrayed by Sally Field in the youngest version of the character so far. She first appeared in the 1977 pilot film portrayed by Jeff Donnell, and again during the series played by Irene Tedrow. She was also a major character in Sam Raimi‘s trilogy, portrayed by Rosemary Harris; during the three films, she shows to know more than she pretends to about her nephew’s double life. Anyway, in the new movie series she’s portrayed as the keeper of many secrets belonging to Peter Parker‘s parents, and maybe this time she’ll reveal something of what she knows. Let’s see together who one of the sweetest old ladies of the Marvel Universe is in the comics.

May Reilly was born in a middle-class family in BrooklynNew York City. Her parents weren’t exactly a balanced couple, and they quarreled every day, for every single reason, often violently. May spent her childhood trying to act as a mediator between her parents, only to be scolded in turn by each one of them. Eventually, her father left home, and May thought (feeling guilty because of auntmaycomics1it) that her life would have been better. She couldn’t have been more wrong: her mother felt abandoned, and blamed May for her husband’s “escape”. May’s adolescence was even worse than her childhood, with her mother opening a true psychological war against her; the only thing she could think of was to break free of that life, swearing not to entrust her happiness to anybody but herself ever again. As a young woman, she met two men she fell in love with: Ben Parker, a honest salesman from Coney Island, and the beautiful and mysterious Johnny Jerome, a gambler who seduced her treating her like a princess. Despite her promises to herself, May, feeling loved and apreciated for the first time, felt for Johnny, and accepted his proposal to escape together. Ben, however, truly loved May, and did some researches on his rival, exposing him as a robber and a killer. May, informed, broke up with Jerome just in time, and finally accepted Ben’s proposal.

During their betrothal, Ben’s parents often entrusted the man’s younger brother, Richard, to them, leading them to dislike the presence of young children, since it spoiled their relation. When May and Ben finally got married, they decided not to have kids, and to live one for the other only. When also Richard got married with a girl named Mary, they had a son, Peter; since they were often outside the country for work (unkowingly to Ben and May, they were S.H.I.E.L.D. agents), they often entrusted Peter to his uncles. May and Ben had got old in auntmaycomics2the meanwhile and they had realized how big a mistake they had done deciding not to have children of their own; Peter was felt like a blessing to them, and they welcomed him with open arms and heart. May was approached by Mary, once, as she asked the woman to take care of Peter if anything ever happened to them: May fully understood the responsibility it required, but she promised anyway. When Richard and Mary got killed by the Red Skull, May and Ben decided to adopt Peter, and to raise him as he was their son. In her husband and her nephew, May finally found the family she wanted, loving and being loved unconditionally and without any kind of violence. The three of them grew up together, with May and Ben learning to open themselves and Peter becoming a teenager. When Ben was killed by a burglar, May committed herself to Peter’s care, and promised to her dead husband she would have been a mother for him that he could have been proud of.

May Reilly-Parker is a strong woman, forged by years of family abuses and home violence. She is deeply bonded to her husband, Ben Parker, who she loves with all herself, and even more to Peter, her nephew and adoptive son, who she has devoted all her life as a middle-aged and then elderly woman to. Despite appearing as a frail old lady, May is stronger than what most people, even Peter, think, and can endure everything in the name of her beloved ones.

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11 Comments

  1. […] in the Army, and immediately after came back home to take care of Richard. He fell in love with May Reilly, a beautiful girl from Brooklyn, but he didn’t have quite the time for girls and started […]

  2. […] photo. In the first movie, she appeared at the very beginning, leaving little Peter with Ben and May and then fleeing with her husband Richard from unknown enemies, never to be seen again because […]

  3. […] similar to the comics’ one. He didn’t do much in the movie, he only informed Peter and May Parker that the true killer of Ben, a man named Flint Marko, had broke out of jail. He later appeared […]

  4. […] more as a father than as a big brother to him. He was taken care of even when Ben started dating May Reilly, and the presence of a kid during their dates led Ben and May to the decision of never have […]

  5. […] feelings, but Parker, got down because of Betty Brant breaking up with him and worried for Aunt May‘s health, didn’t even notice. Eventually, Gwen learnt of Peter’s old aunt’s […]

  6. […] 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 […]

  7. […] to retrieve them. Redwing joined Kitty Pryde‘s dragon Lockheed, the enchanted frog Throg, Aunt May‘s dog Ms. Lion, Speedball‘s cat Hairball and later Ka-Zar‘s sabretooth […]

  8. […] New York, Curt became friends with Spider-Man, and helped him in more than one occasion: he cured May Parker when she was poisoned with radiations, and he developed a special acid to destroy Rhino‘s […]

  9. […] City: MJ had grown into a beautiful teenager, and Anna wanted to introduce her to her best friend May‘s nephew, hoping that the two youngsters would have gotten along. MJ wasn’t interested […]

  10. […] his real self. He named himself “Ben Reilly”, taking Uncle Ben‘s first name and Aunt May‘s last one. He spent months on the streets, deeply depressed, often sick; once, while going […]

  11. […] Peter Parker: he was a kind young man, and Betty admired him seeing how he took care of his old Aunt May, and even for the way he stood up for his ideas when he questioned J. Jonah Jameson for what he […]


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