Seymour O’Reilly

Nearly every student we see in Spider-Man: Homecoming has a history in the comics, and the skinny guy seen in the gym, the one who believes Spider-Man wears a mask because he’s horribly disfigured, makes no exception. That’s Seymour O’Reilly, portrayed by J. J. Totah. He’s seen just a couple of times as a member of Liz Allan‘s group, and in the comics as well he’s nothing more than a background character, who received a name many issues after his first appearance. The only memorable thing about his entire publication life is his end, the appropriate one for an unberable punk like him: let’s see together.

Seymour O’Reilly was born in QueensNew York City, possibly in Forest Hills. When he was a kid he had many friends, among which Peter Parker: he was even one of Peter’s best friends, attending his eleventh birthday party (one of Peter’s best memories of his childhood)…quite ironic, considering that he became one of Peter’s greatest torments in Midtown High School. As a teenager, in fact, Seymour became, as well as many of his old friends, quite obsessed with popularity, and he chose the easiest way to obtain it: to stick to the most popular, funny and energetic guy in school, Flash Thompson, and to become his “yes man”. When Flash chose the “bookworm” Parker as his favourite target, Seymour turned on his former friend, and started tormenting him, hoping to gain Flash’s approval for it. He didn’t lose an occasion for provoking or taunting Peter, and from making fun of his interest for science to teasing him while other kids beat him, he always had something sharp to say to him…always hidden behind someone else’s back, of course. Obviously, when Flash became the greatest fan of Spider-Man, the new hero in town, Seymour followed him in this new passion, and he was (almost) in the first line cheering for the hero as he battled Sandman in Midtown High’s corridors. Ironically, he mocked Peter Parker (who actually was Spider-Man) immediately after because he ran away from a fight with Flash. His highest moments in life were probably when he organised a prank on Peter, helping Flash to dress as Spider-Man to scare him, and when he obtained an official boxing match between Parker and Flash…even if this one didn’t end exactly like he had imagined.

With Seymour repeating over and over to Flash not to end the fight too quickly, O’Reilly was quite shocked in seeing Parker knocking his hero out with a single punch, but he eventually accused Peter of cheating, accusing him of hitting Flash when he wasn’t even looking, distracted by the havoc created by the Living Computer. All Seymour’s life was limited to school, and all his school’s life was connected to Flash Thompson: his only “evasion” were his fishing trips with his grandfather to Empire Lake. Considering this, it was almost inevitable that he turned out to be nearly the only one from his class to never grow up: even after graduation, he remained the stupid, arrogant bully he had always been. He grew old, he became a grown up man, he got himself a tattoo on his right arm, but he remained a childish prick. During the first reunion of Midtown High School he attended to, he even tried to stick a “Kick me” sign onto someone’s back, with the only result of receiving a well-earned punch to the face. Accomplishing pretty much nothing in life, Seymour kept living as if he was still in high school, mantaining the same attitude and the same social rules, something that became blatant during the following Midtown High reunion. This time, Peter Parker attended along with his wife…the beautiful super-model Mary Jane Watson: this was simply wrong for Seymour’s perspective, and he grew extremely jealous of Parker, who dared to break the social rules he had been living all his life following. He gathered two other bullies of the old times, Charlie and Ernie, to punish him, and tried to give Parker a wedgie, but Peter easily fended them off. His pranks were interrupted by Angelo Fortunato, the new Venom, who broke in wanting to kill Spider-Man…and Seymour saw in amusement as Peter Parker revealed himself as the hero. Before he could even think of telling this to someone else, Seymour had his neck broken by Venom, who used him as a projectile against Spider-Man. A pathetic end for a pathetic man.

Seymour O’Reilly is a mean-spirited young man, a coward who lives as a parasite on other people’s popularity and strenght and who imposes himself only over the weak and defenseless ones. Even as an adult, he’s still the dumb and overbearing bully he was as a kid, a man who lives in the past just because he’s unable to get a real life after high school.

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