You may think you know Marvel’s infamous webslinger, but in reality you have no idea. Being Marvel comics’ poster boy granted the superhero with great power even greater responsibilities, as the ups and downs he’s faced as a character haven’t always been accurately represented.
While we’ve all been relentlessly retold the origin story since his big screen debut in 2002, there are still many poignant aspects of Peter Parker’s story that haven’t been shown much love. His work life, relationships, passions and interests are all things fans deserve to know.
With news of the movie franchise getting rebooted for the third time, comic book fans can only hope that the studio will get it right this time around and embellish the Spider-Man we haven’t all become familiarized with yet. Coming up are fifteen lesser known facts of one of the most popular comic book characters of all time. Which one of these do you think we’ll see in the next Spider-Man film?
15. He Joined The Fantastic Four
They don’t call him your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man for nothing. “A friend in need is a friend indeed” is perhaps the superhero’s motto, as when his pals from the Fantastic Four were in a clutch, he gladly lent a helping hand or two.
The passing of founding team member Johnny Storm left the roster open for a new super-powered team member to join the ranks. Thanks to Reed Richards’ close ties with the webslinger, he was happy to fill in and help form the Future Foundation. As apart of his initiation, he was awarded a new Spidey-suit based on unstable molecular technology.
14. He Was A TV Star
Parker always did have a face that was made for the camera. Despite being somewhat short-lived, Spider-Man was quite the attraction on late night television. After he gained recognition in his underground wrestling match against Crusher Creel, fans demanded more of the Amazing Spider-Man.
He would perform various impressive feats and gags on live television specials, coining his identity as a stunt-man long before he was recognized as a superhero. This would all later change, however, when his apathy for crime-fighting would result in the death of his Uncle Ben. After this well-known tragedy occurred, Parker decided to hang up the life of glitz and glamour.
13. He’s Considered one of the Greatest Minds in the Marvel Universe
Sure he’s been depicted as your average high school nerd, but has anyone stopped to question how smart he really was? Calling Peter Parker a regular science buff might just be the understatement of the year, as he’s countlessly proved his mental aptitude to rival that of Tony Stark or even Reed Richards.
While his most notable invention will forever be his versatile web-shooters, Parker’s resources were later expanded with his access to Horizon Labs, allowing him to create some of his most iconic Spider-Armors. In more recent years, he’s ascended to earning his doctorate and owning his own facility, Parker Industries.
12. He Could Once Make His Own Natural Webbing
Many fans are familiar with the trend of drawing from comic books for material to make film adaptations, however it often works in reverse. Those that remember the first film iteration of the character will recall the organic web shooters that arrived complimentary of the radioactive spider bite, along with many other signature abilities.
While the original comic book lore tells the story of Parker creating synthetic web-shooters, a later iteration of the comics saw the hero inherently growing his own under his wrists. This was all tied into a failed storyline that saw Spider-Man transform into a real giant spider with enhanced abilities. It was thankfully later abandoned and saw Parker back with the mechanical shooters fans know and love.
11. He Didn’t Only Work As A Freelance Photographer
In case you didn’t realize, being a crime-fighter is tough, especially when you don’t earn at least a full-time salary. While most fans attribute Parker’s early life as freelance photographer with the Daily Bugle, his careers later in adulthood are rarely ever mentioned.
Later years would see Parker working as a high school science teacher, which would then land him a position at Horizon Labs before establishing his own company. More current readers will now find Spider-Man working as a professor at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning on a bid from the now deceased Wolverine.
10. His Identity Was Made Public
So much for being a masked vigilante. While most of Parker’s early years of being Manhattan’s doer of justice consisted of his identity being undisclosed, he once deemed it necessary to publicly out himself as Peter Parker on a live news broadcast.
Perhaps not one of his brightest ideas, but due to his alliance with Iron Man in the Civil War comics, he decided to support the Superhuman Registration Act by being one of its pioneers. This decision quickly turned on him once villains began to target his loved ones, resulting him to later side with Captain America. After these events had passed, it appeared that almost everyone forgot about Parker’s little publicity stunt, thanks to a little help from ol’ Dr. Strange.
9. There’s Evidence That Supports Him Being Jewish
Marvel has never been the type to openly speak on their character’s religions, and for good reason. Although it has never been confirmed in the comics, it has been implied that Parker may have in fact been a Jewish man.
One very poignant clue is the random Yiddish speech references that pop up in his text, such as his “oy” remarks. Also, a large percentage of Spider-Man’s writers have been Jewish, including his sole creator Stan Lee. Fact or fiction, the Jewish actor that most recently portrayed the character, Andrew Garfield, seems to concur with the character’s rumored religion.
8. He’s A Ladies Man
Disregard all those false representations of Parker being some kind of introverted nerd, as he’s already beaten out most of his super-powered counterparts in the battle of romance. This sly webslinger has caught all kinds of females up in his web, and while the movies have commonly only depicted his relationships with Gwen Stacy or Mary Jane, there have been many other very notable flings that he hasn’t been rightfully credited for.
Way before there was a Gwen, Parker had it deep for Betty Brant, a pretty young thing that unfortunately didn’t work out due to the death of her brother. Spider-Man was also heavily affiliated with the villainous Black Cat, a complicated relationship that challenged his morals as well as his heart.
7. He Has Died Multiple Times
These are comic books, and bad things happen to coveted characters just to draw a collective response from their dedicated audience. Spider-Man unfortunately wasn’t exempt from this trend and suffered some traumatic deaths throughout his history that some fans still cannot forget.
Most of his deaths have resulted in long, drawn-out battles with his most formidable nemeses in a desperate struggle to save the ones he loves. There has been some good that has come from Parker’s death, as it has allowed Marvel to reboot the franchise to the Ultimate Spider-Man Universe, allowing new and old readers to enjoy the character the way he was intended.
6. He’s Taken On The Roles Of Four Different Identities At One Time
Apparently just being one superhero isn’t enough to protect the city of Manhattan. This becomes ever so necessary when Spider-Man gets framed for murder, prohibiting him from traversing the city in his signature red and blue outfit.
In enacting a very intricate scheme to help clear his name, Parker took on the roles of criminals Ricochet and Dusk, and countered them with the heroic roles of Hornet and Prodigy. Each persona carried their own signature costume, weapons, and abilities, making each indistinguishable. After the murder framing fiasco blew over, fans got the chance to see Spider-Man don each of the roles again one time or another.
5. His Parents Worked For S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents
Remember those parents that never really got spoken about much? Well, there’s definitely a reason to bring them up now. The early iterations of the comics revealed that both his parents were spies working under the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization.
The two were tasked with infiltrating Red Skull’s stronghold. Their mission, however, would unfortunately end early when the villain sabotaged their plane. Meeting on the field, the two fell in love and had Peter shortly afterwards. Realizing their secret lives would only endanger the life of their son, they left him to be raised by his aunt and uncle.
4. He Has A Clone
This particular story arc was fairly short-lived and for good reason. It was unsuccessful and is largely attributed to Marvel filing for bankruptcy in the ’90s. With the comic book company seemingly running out of ideas for Spider-Man, it was someone’s bright idea to totally pull a 180 on everyone and reveal that Peter Parker isn’t actually Peter Parker.
Instead, his perceived clone was the original who has been living under the name of Ben Reilly for a number of years. Somewhere in this convoluted tale, Mary Jane becomes pregnant, and Parker moves to Portland. They later cleaned up this whole messy plot by putting the blame on the Green Goblin.
3. His Girlfriend Cheated On Him With His Arch-Nemesis
Fans of the popular comic book relationship between Gwen Stacy and Peter Parker may want to skip this entry. While the blonde-haired beauty may have appeared to be the sweet, innocent daughter of a NYC police chief, a very controversial flashback moment in the comics would completely shatter this perception.
Gwen’s secret affair with Norman Osborn a.k.a. the Green Goblin, would soon come to light upon the discovery of their twins mutated by the goblin serum. They would later find and try to kill Spider-Man as they believe him to be their true father. It’s uncertain if it’s the cutthroat betrayal or the disturbing age gap between the two “lovers” that provide the cringe-worthy feel of this buried storyline.
2. He Was Mind-Controlled By Doctor Octopus
Now this one may not seem out of the ordinary for the tentacled evil genius, but what really separated this event from the doctor’s evil acts was the amount of time he spent inside Peter’s body. By effectively switching minds with the superhero, Doc Ock spent the better half of a year’s worth of comic issues as Peter Parker.
While this may sound like the worst thing to ever have happened to the hero, it could also be debated as a gift in disguise. Under Parker’s identity, Doctor Octopus was able to earn him his first doctorate, found his own company, and do away with some his most troublesome villains permanently, all in attempt to be considered the “Superior Spider-Man.”
1. Spider-Man’s Sperm Is Radioactive
Parker couldn’t have signed off on this when that radioactive spider bit him. Radioactive sperm is a side-effect of his inherited abilities that have only been touched on once in the dark comic book story of Spider-Man: Reign.
In the comic book, an aged Peter Parker is seen picking up his costume once again to save a corrupted NYC. Upon uncovering Mary Jane’s corpse, the hero is shown mourning over the loss of his love, blaming it all on himself and the sexual fluids he passed on to her, giving her cancer. As sad as the tale is, it also raises the question as to who else has the webslinger doomed to a death via radioactive sperm.