Ben Parker

File Photo
Attributes
Eyes:

Blue

Hair:

White

Height:

5' 9"

Weight:

175 lbs

Powers
Abilities:

Ben Parker was a wise and loving parent.

Strength Level:

Normal human strength for his age and build.

Summary
Citizenship:

U.S.A.

Created By:

Stan Lee, Steve Ditko

Current Occupation:

Retired

Education:

Completed High School

Former Bases:

Forest Hills, Queens, New York

Former Occupation:

Former Carnival Barker, subsequent occupation unrevealed.

Known Allies:

Mary Parker, Peter Parker

Known Confidants:

May Parker, Peter Parker

Known Relatives:

May Parker (wife), Richard Parker (brother), Mary Parker (sister-in-law), Peter Parker (nephew)

Legal Status:

No criminal record.

Marital Status:

Married

Place of Birth:

Brooklyn, New York

Real Name:

Benjamin Parker

Usual Bases:

Forest Hills Cemetary

Background

The first we learned about Ben is when he was a carnival barker back during a recession. He was a confident and out-going man, but wise and honest - a truly decent human being. He had one sibling, a younger brother named Richard. Ben was attracted to May Reilly and warned her that her boyfriend, Johnny Jerome, was a dangerous "cheap hood." May told him he was jealous and walked away to meet with Johnny. He was also much wealthier than Ben and May came from a modest background. After returning home from the carnival, May's father said he had heard that Ben Parker worked there. May told him that Ben did work there but she was with Johnny. Jerome was waiting for May in her window and he proposed to her but said they had to do it quickly. When May asked what was wrong, Ben was there to tell her that John and his friends had robbed a jewelry store and shot an old man. Johnny didn't have time to waste, and as he jumped from May's apartment, he was shot by the police. May was comforted by Ben. (Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #4)

They dated, as young men and women of the day did, although their relationship was hampered by the continual presence of young Richard Parker, who Ben was forced to care for. It was the resentment of Richard's presence which persuaded May and Ben to take the decision to live a life unhindered by children of their own.

After their marriage, Ben sought more stable employment in the textile industry, while his brother married a young woman named Mary, who like himself was in the U.S. secret service. Richard and Mary would frequently go overseas, and leave their only child Peter in the care of Ben and May. After one mission, Richard and Mary did not return, turning Ben and May into somewhat reluctant parents.

Peter soon showed himself to be a brilliant young boy, though somewhat sensitive. Ben struggled to find ways to boost the confidence of the young Peter Parker. The two would watch baseball games, supporting the Cubs. Ben provided Peter with a box of Golden Age super-hero comics, found in the attic from his own youth. Peter had few friends at school, and Ben was more than Peter's caregiver - he became the young boy's closest confidant.

"Skin Deep"

When Peter was in high school, the only kid that was less popular than him was Charlie Weiderman. Charlie got beat up by bullies every day and felt like there was no one he could talk to, except Peter. Charlie was filled with rage and Peter knew that he was going to do something stupid. As the same bullies harassed Charlie the next day, Peter saw that he had a pocket knife with him. Peter "tripped" into Charlie and made him drop the knife before he could use it. The knife was seen by the coach and Peter confessed that it was his, to prevent Charlie from doing something stupid. Peter was taken to the principal and after Ben was called, Peter was lucky to only get two weeks detention. Peter had said the knife was his uncle's, and Ben lied to protect his nephew. On the way home, Ben wanted to know what really happened. After Peter finished talking, Ben told him he did the right thing in protecting the bullies.

Later that day, Charlie ran to the Parkers home begging for help. Someone had slashed the bullies tires and they were after him. They followed Charlie to Peter's house, wanted Ben to hand Weiderman over and he refused. When the teens rushed him, he quickly kicked their butts, thanks to what he learned in army basic training. They left, and Ben asked Charlie if he cut their tires. He denied it and Ben didn't believe him. He gave Charlie a half hour hour to stay and left the bullies leave but after that, was never to see Peter or come to their home again. (Amazing Spider-Man #516)

"Spider-Man!"

One fateful night, a few days after the events which saw the creation of Spider-Man, a burglar entered the Parker household and killed Ben Parker. As we all know, that same burglar had formerly robbed the TV station at which Spider-Man had appeared. The young web-slinger had the chance to halt the criminal, but had declined through selfishness. Pursuing the criminal and realizing the connection, Peter was devastated that his earlier inaction had caused the death of his beloved Uncle. (Amazing Fantasy #15)

"The Gift"

As May was dying after a stroke (it turned out that the woman wasn't really May, but a genetically modified actress), Peter's long lost clone, Ben Reilly (who took Ben's first name and May's maiden name as an identity), had returned to New York. Ben Reilly had learned that May was dying and wanted to see her one last time. Peter and Ben had teamed together, despite their discomfort with each other, several times after Ben had come back. There was just enough trust between them that after Ben showed up at May's home, he and Peter went to the back yard to talk. Reilly took a moment to remember how he had climbed the tree in the yard as a six year old and couldn't climb down. Uncle Ben climbed up to get him, and then couldn't get down either. May had to get the fire department to get them out of the tree and Ben Parker was completely embarrassed. Of course, none of those memories were really his, just implanted in him in a lab. (Amazing Spider-Man #400)

"Happy Birthday"

After Spider-Man and Doctor Strange had defeated Dormammu and sent his Mindless Ones back to their dimension, Strange found a gift for Spidey in his cloak. It was a small box with a note inside that said, "You have five minutes. Spend them as you wish." He then heard Ben's voice behind him saying that he and May had just had a fight and he had just returned home. As he entered the front door he thought he heard a gunshot, which didn't make sense to him. Ben said it really didn't matter because he was glad Peter was there. Peter wanted to ask Ben for forgiveness and he said there was nothing needing to be forgiven. Ben said he would only be disappointed if Peter didn't fight for the kind of life that he wanted. He didn't want Peter to settle for less because he was afraid to do it, or to ever walk away from what he believed. Peter told him that he hadn't and Ben said that he had been taught right and his life had meaning. Ben then asked if Peter was happy. Everyone has pain in life and will suffer but at the end of the day, is that person happy? Peter briefly thought of all of his enemies but told his uncle that he is happy and has a good life. Ben told him that that is all that matters. They said that they miss each other and Ben wanted Peter to take care of May. Peter promised and then Ben was gone. Peter then went back to the apartment and to Mary Jane. (Amazing Spider-Man #500)

One editor's theory

Ben was a generous man, and gave a loan to a co-worker at the textile factory so he could go to college. The college refused to let Colm Mulligan enter, because he was too late with payments. Ben gave him the money anyway. A few hours later, Ben was dead. (Spider-Man Unlimited #10 vol. 1)

May discovered that Peter was Spider-Man after she walked into his apartment bedroom and found his battered body in bed. On the floor was the bloody and torn Spider-Man costume, destroyed after his first encounter with Morlun. After steeling herself for a while to prepare for confronting him, she came back to the apartment. Peter eventually confessed to her that he was Spider-Man and was responsible for Ben's death. May told him that no, she was the one responsible. They had had an argument that night of his death and he went outside to stop it. May considered telling him to come back inside because it was a silly argument. She didn't do it, Ben went for a walk and while he was out he was shot. Both Peter and May had been silently carrying guilt for years. (Amazing Spider-Man #38 vol. 2)

(She didn't say what the argument was about, but the Parkers were never rich. Maybe she didn't like that he gave Mr. Mulligan the money. Just an idea.)

"The Final Curtain"

One winter, Peter went to visit Ben's grave. He was able to talk to his uncle and knew exactly how Ben would answer. When Ben asked why Peter wasn't wearing the gloves that May knit for him, Peter said they cut off circulation at the elbows. Peter remarked how May always hated their snowmen, even though they were legendary in the neighborhood. She always had the same reaction: "You pair of twits!" When Ben asked what was the real reason Peter came to visit him, Peter said the pressure of being Spider-Man, and May now knowing his secret, was a heavy weight. He hoped that he was treating Mary Jane fairly and how he never really tells her how much he loves her. He never did it for Gwen Stacy either. He wants to make the world a better place, but there are so many nasty people.

Ben told Peter that he was always going to be someone like Spider-Man, regardless if he hadn't died or the spider hadn't bitten him. It's just the kind of person that he is. Ben hated to see Peter beating himself up over the past. He was killing himself inside with guilt over Ben, Gwen, George Stacy and everyone else that he feels that Spider-Man should have saved. Peter had to forgive himself and be with the people he loves. His deceased loved ones would be waiting for him. After Peter left, May came to visit the grave. She found Peter's scarf around the tombstone and some odd snowmen nearby. (The Spectacular Spider-Man #27 vol. 2)

"Down Among the Dead Men"

After Peter admitted to May that he was Spider-Man, they spent a day reminiscing about Ben. After Ben's murder, people told May that she needed to move out or she'd always be reminded of her husband's death. They said she would always see him smoking a cigarette while making his awful potato omelets in the kitchen, or peeing with the bathroom door open. In the end, May said she had more good memories in the house than bad. Later, Peter was teaching a class when another teacher told him he had a phone call. He was soon at the cemetery, standing over the crushed tombstone of his uncle. The groundskeeper assured him it was probably done by dumb kids, but Peter's phone rang and a voice told him that he knew he was Spider-Man. The voice then insinuated that May had been kidnapped. (Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #1) The voice and kidnapper was eventually revealed to be the Scorpion. (Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #9)

"The Clone Conspiracy"

Ben's grave was desecrated a second time, this time by Ben Reilly. (Reilly had died years prior at the hands of the Green Goblin but this was a perfected clone of Reilly.) In his unstable mind, Ben was acting as his creator, the Jackal, and was cloning everyone whose death Peter felt responsible for. This included criminals and friends alike. After Peter learned that Ben was the one behind the mask, Reilly explained that New U Industries was better than cloning. The dead might as well have never died to begin with. Ben knew that Peter felt guilt over any death, so this was the ultimate way to erase his guilt...and provide emotional blackmail. Ben showed Peter their uncle's coffin. (The Clone Conspiracy #3)

After seeing in awe all of the dead that Ben had "resurrected," Peter knew that Ben would never actually bring their uncle back. Reilly had cloned them without hesitation but not Parker, because Ben Reilly knew that Ben Parker wouldn't approve. Knowing that Spider-Man wouldn't be swayed, the Jackal ordered the cloned supervillains to kill him. (The Clone Conspiracy #4)

After the Jackal was beaten, Peter went to Ben's coffin. S.H.E.I.L.D. agents arrived to confiscate the technology, and they allowed Spider-Man five minutes alone. While Peter knew Ben would approve of what he did, he still wished his uncle were there. (The Clone Conspiracy Omega #1)

Image Gallery

Appearances

Cover Date Appearance Information
Dec 1992 FB: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #370 (Story 1)
Aug 1975 FB: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #147
Jul 1997 FB: Flashback - Untold Tales of Spider-Man #Minus 1 (Story 1)
Year 1968 FB: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) Annual #5 (Story 1)
May 1989 App: Spider-Man: Parallel Lives
Year 1968 FB: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) Annual #5 (Story 1)
Dec 1992 FB: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #370 (Story 1)
Year 1995 FB: Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) Annual 1995 (Story 1)
Aug 2000 FB: Peter Parker: Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #20
Jan 1999 FB: Peter Parker: Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #1 (Story 1)
Aug 2000 FB: Peter Parker: Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #20
Jul 1997 App: Flashback - Sensational Spider-Man #Minus 1
Jul 1997 App: Flashback - Peter Parker: Spider-Man #Minus 1
Jul 1997 App: Flashback - Amazing Spider-Man #Minus 1 (Story 1)
May 1989 App: Spider-Man: Parallel Lives
Aug 1962 App: Amazing Fantasy #15
May 1989 App: Spider-Man: Parallel Lives
Jan 1980 FB: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #200
Dec 2003 App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #500
Feb 2005 FB: Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #9

Thanks To

 The assistance of the Marvel Chronology Project is gratefully acknowledged.

 Some of the above information is extracted from the various versions of the Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe and the more recent Marvel Encyclopaedias.