Characters : Randy Robertson

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Background

As typical of the Parker Luck, Peter got off on the wrong foot with Randy Robertson after Robbie Robertson told his son that Peter was the Big Man on Campus at Empire State University. Randy and his friend, Josh, were going to protest the conversion of a low rent student dorm into a private housing facility for visiting alumni. Peter felt pushed by Josh to take part in the protest and he over reacted to the pressure. Peter left, to calls from the crowd that he was a coward.

Keep in mind, this story was published in 1969, so this was before people were so sensitive about things. Here is the dialog between Randy and another African American student right before the protest.

  • Unnamed Student: "Hey, doesn't Robertson's father work for the Daily Bugle? Who wants the son of an Uncle Tom marchin here with us?"
  • Randy: "You say that again and I'll...!"
  • Josh: "Look, cool it, y'hear? We got a job to do. Randy's a soul brother--and don't forget it!"

Good luck seeing that kind of dialog today. Anyway, the students think that the only way to get their dorm back is to make the news, which they do, thanks to Robbie and J. Jonah Jameson at the Daily Bugle. The ex-dormitory is being used to house the Tablet of Time, which gives Josh the idea to steal it to use it as a bargaining chip to make the dean listen to them. Peter, who is working with the Tablet, says its a bad idea and Randy agrees. Wilson Fisk shows up to steal the Tablet for himself, thinking that the police will blame the students for the artifact's disappearance. He planned to gas the protesters to sleep and be gone by the time they woke up. He and Spider-Man fight it out and Randy tries to tackle Fisk, who bats him away. Spidey goes to check on Randy and Kingpin blasts the wall with his laser cane, sending rubble falling onto the students. Spidey manages to protect Robertson, who ends up in police custody with the other protest leaders.

The police question Randy in the interrogation room, with Jameson outside calling them anarchists. Captain George Stacy isnt so sure about that. The police want to know why, if the students were not working with Kingpin, they chose the same time to be at the exhibit hall. Randy resents the implication. Robbie is at his son's side, asking how he got involved in the protest. Randy blurts out "Don't you see? Cant you even understand? I have to be tougher--I have to be more militant--because of you! You've become part of the establishment--the white man's establishment! I've got to live that down!"

Eventually, the dean agrees to let the students have their dorm and grants the protesters amnesty, as they had nothing to do with the theft of the tablet. Afterward, Robbie has a talk with his son, telling him that maybe its not a bad thing to be militant in such a difficult world. Robbie warns him that without an education, he's an unarmed soldier. Randy asks about the other black men that have degrees and got nowhere. Robbie says that he cant promise anything. At that moment, JJJ barges in, enraged that Robbie allowed news articles that made Spider-Man look good. Robbie stood up to his boss, which impressed Randy. Randy is impressed that his father stood up to "a racist like him" and Robbie says that Jonah is no racist, just a blowhard. Randy still held Peter is high regard, despite his refusal to take part in the protest. He defended Peter from another student when Peter walked past them without hearing them call to him.

Randy next showed up at Gwen Stacy's birthday party, but left before Peter arrived. This was a good thing, as he was suffering from the flu and delirious. The flu weakened his spider powers and made him confess to being Spider-Man in front of Harry Osborn, Captain Stacy, Gwen and Mary Jane Watson. Randy started to cool on Peter, after he invited him to a protest about air pollution. He didn't give Peter time to come up with an excuse why he couldn't go (Peter wanted to go looking for Doctor Octopus) and said maybe everyone was right and Peter Parker only cared about Peter Parker.

Randy showed up several issues later to go to an off Broadway show featuring Mary Jane. He arrived shortly after Spider-Man rescued a stoned African American teen from falling off a roof top. He complains about how drugs have been hurting the black community and makes comments that don't go over very well with Norman Osborn. Norman says it isn't his problem or responsibility, which Randy takes offense to. They eventually settle down and enjoy the show, until Norman starts to recognize a closet in the theater and later becomes the Green Goblin.

After Spider-Man returns from the Savage Land (and battling Kraven the Hunter and the monstrous Gog), he see's Randy at another protest at the Bugle. The protesters want the Bugle to focus more on minority rights and helping the common man and less time covering "the adventures of Ka-Zar and some costumed weirdo." Jameson shows up shortly and gets into an argument with one of the protesters and shoves him into the wall. The crowd turns on Jonah and only Randy tries to calm them down but to no use. Spidey pulls JJJ from the crowd and webs him to a fire escape above the crowd, much to their amusement. Potential bad blood between Randy and Jonah was averted when Jameson led a protest of his own against police cameras posted around the city, on the grounds they violated privacy. They even marched side by side.

Randy was often around as Peter's friend and not just as a protester. He and the gang tried to comfort him after Gwen was murdered, he and Glory Grant showed up at the Christmas party where Harry and Liz Allan announced their engagement and donated unwanted items to furnish his new apartment. He also showed up at Aunt May's funeral.

Randy followed his father's advice about education and graduated from Empire State University. He then went on to graduate studies in social work at Pittsburgh State University, where he met his future wife, a white Jewish woman named Mandy Batavides. The marriage didn't last long after they moved to California and Randy came back to New York. Back in New York City, Randy vigorously defended his father after he was sent to prison for a crime that was committed by the gangster Tombstone.

Randy and Peter became room mates after Peter lost his apartment (which was paid for by Mary Jane's modeling and was far out of Peter's pay grade) after MJ was thought to be killed in a plane crash. Randy started dating Glory Grant and Peter had a flirtation with Jill Stacy, cousin of Gwen. As Peter's room mate, Randy became a target of the Green Goblin. Osborn had drugged Peter's toothpaste with a mind altering drug, forcing him to act as the Goblin. While under the influence of the drug, Peter (dressed as the Goblin) attacked Randy and Glory while they were on a date. Only Peter's inexperience with the glider saved the couple from serious injury. They soon after ended their relationship.

Randy had less luck avoiding danger when he became a rival with Phil Urich for the affections of Norah Winters. Urich was also the Hobgoblin and saw an opportunity to take out his competition during an attack on the Bugle from Alistaire Smythe's spider slayers. He knocked out a support beam which toppled onto Randy, badly hurting him. He recovered and quickly went back to being Norah's boyfriend and camera man.

That didnt last for long, after the Jackal and the Queen introduced spiders into Manhattan, which gave spider powers to anyone they bit. Randy was one of the bitten, which proved useful when Hobgoblin came to kill him once and for all. Norah didn't try and help Randy during the fight (a satchel of pumpkin bombs lay at her feet, which she hadn't noticed) as she was too busy getting pictures of the fight. Randy finally fought off the Hobgoblin and broke up with Norah for being too focused on getting the story to save him. He later showed up at the Bugle, where he progressed to stage two of the mutation: changing into a man spider. He, along with the rest of New York, was cured by the efforts of the scientists at Horizon Labs, Spider-Man, Mister Fantastic and Anti-Venom.