Brian McKeever (Tiny)

The last student spotted in Spider-Man: Homecoming is Tiny McKeever, portrayed on screen by Ethan Dizon. In the movie, he’s the short Asian guy who’s playing chess while Ned Leeds does his best to sneak around in stealth mode, without much success; he also appears at the end, interrupting an emotional moment between Peter Parker and Happy Hogan walking out of the toilet. In the comics, Tiny is pretty different, a bully who torments Peter in high school, who learns to grow up as a different man. Let’s see together.

Brian McKeever was born in an unspecified part of New York City. Not much is known about his family, apart from the fact that his father was a heavy drinker, who was drunk most of the time. Constantly frustrated and unsatisfied with his life, Brian’s father used to vent all his grudge on his son, beating him up as often as he could. Brian, who felt ashamed because of it, never revealed any of it outside his house, and on the opposite he acted cool, becoming a bully and doing to people weaker than him everything his father did to him, a sort of self-defense that was aimed to protect him from the world. Growing up into a bulky and athletic young man, he was nicknamed “Tiny”, and always hanged out with the coolest guys around. When he arrived to Midtown High School it took little for him to emerge from the crowd; it would have been easy for him to become the “top bully” in the food chain, but there was someone fitter than him for the position: Flash Thompson, a guy more handsome, more athletic and more charismatic than he was. In Flash, Tiny recognised a kindred spirit, and even if the two of them never shared words on the secret they hid at home, they both knew they were living the same situation, so they got along quite well, becoming the best of friends. Tiny McKeever accepted to be in Flash’s group, and he followed him as a “leader”, supporting him in all his pranks and in all his adventures, whether it meant chasing after pretty girls or humiliating poor losers and nerds, especially Peter Parker.

Quite ironically, tormenting Peter Parker became a turning point in Tiny McKeever’s life. The more Tiny, Flash and their gang mocked him and humiliated him, the less Peter minded them at all, doing his best not to let the bullies to get under his skin. His strenght and self-confidence was admirable, and Tiny was the first to realise that the scrawny boy with big spectacles had more guts and self-confidence than he or Flash ever had, and he started to respect him. He was quite amused, actually, when he found himself being helped by Peter himself, as he was about to flunk the year and Parker helped him with his homeworks to raise the grades. Obviously, Midtown High had its rules, and Tiny couldn’t show to the others his feelings for the “loser” were different, but when Jason Ionello, another bully from his gang, stole Parker’s clothes when he was to the gym, it was him who chased him and took the clothes back to Peter. Then, his father’s abuses became even worse, as well as his alchoholism, and Tiny was forced to drop school and to find himself a job, being hired at a diner called Goin’ Fast. His life perspective wasn’t exactly rosy, but then something unexpected happened: Spider-Man came battling the Scorcher right where Tiny worked, and he lent a hand to the hero to defeat the pyromaniac villain. Spidey thanked him, and gave him a couple of advices that seemed aimed directly at Tiny, as if the hero knew his personal history. Inspired by Spider-Man, Tiny came back to school, ignoring his father’s demands, and was warmly welcomed by his friends, Flash especially. He managed to finish high school, and he was later hired as security chief at Empire State University. Maybe not as beautiful or popular as he was as a kid, Tiny was nevertheless happy, since he had finally managed to be his own man away from his father’s shadow.

Brian “Tiny” McKeever is a frail and insecure young man, who tries to hide his secret life of abuses and beatings with an attitude reflecting the one of his violent father. More mature than his peers, he’s ready to see through his and others’ appearance, and to change his life for the better with the proper help. The only thing he needs, is someone able to see the “true” Tiny behind the facade he’s built, and to hold out a helping hand to him.

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