Spider-Man, Characters & Events

 In: F.A.Q.

This section answers FAQs about Spider-Man, and the events and characters from the various comics, books and shows in which he has featured.

Who Created Spider-Man?

Amazing Fantasy #15 and Amazing Spider-Man #1-38 are credited to Stan Lee Editor & Writer, and to Steve Ditko as Plot, Pencil & Inker.

Stan is by far the more popularly known of the two, since he has maintained a very high public profile. Ditko on the other hand is a very reclusive figure. In spite of that, Ditko has a significant following.

The question is sometimes asked about Jack Kirby's input. Kirby was a major figure in comics at the time, and was originally proposed to work on Spider-Man at the time he was being proposed for Amazing Fantasy #15. In the end Kirby created the cover for that issue, but Ditko was the artist for the actual story. Al Sjoerdsma did a little digging on this topic, and came up with the following. Al writes:

I, too, have heard these claims about Jack Kirby being the true creator of Spider-Man. (And I am very sensitive to the lack of credit Jack has been given at Marvel.) I contacted several sources trying to get the full scoop but never got a satisfactory answer. Then I stumbled on an article in "Starlog Movie Magic Presents Spider-Man and other Comics Heroes" (just published in May in the wake of the movie madness) entitled "Strange Origins of Spider-Man" and written by Will Murray. Here's what the article states, in a nutshell:

Stan wanted to write a super-hero series starring a teen-ager. He asked Jack Kirby to develop one. Jack came back with a concept that he and partner Joe Simon had once discussed... a feature called "The Silver Spider" that Jack thought should be called "Spider-Man". (And, actually, it sounds like the idea predated Jack and Joe. According to the article, Jack Oleck and C. C. Beck created a series called The Silver Spider that Harvey Comics rejected in 1954.)

Anyway, in 1958 Joe Simon took his and Jack's Spider-Man concept and created The Fly who was secretly orphan Tommy Troy who became the adult Fly when he rubbed a magic ring. Simon later said, "Kirby laid out the story to Lee about this kid who finds a magic ring in a spiderweb, gets his powers from the ring and goes forth to fight crime armed with the Silver Spider's old web-spinning pistol." Stan asked Jack to develop the Spider-Man idea but along more realistic lines. Jack drew the first few pages but Stan wanted a less "super-hero" approach so he brought in Steve Ditko.

Steve redesigned the costume, got rid of the web-gun. Steve also recognized the similarity to Joe Simon's The Fly. He told Stan this and Stan told Steve to redesign everything... only keeping the name Spider-Man. The article says that "Ditko pencilled and inked the premiere Spider-Man tale from a verbal plot provided by Lee." It concludes with prior quotes from Stan, Jack, and Steve.

Stan: "I have always considered Steve Ditko to be Spider-Man's co-creator."

Jack: "Steve was the one who, in my estimation, developed Spider-Man, kept him going and kept him selling."

Steve: "No one person did or could do it all or claims to be the creator. No one mind or hand created the Marvel-published Spider-Man."

Steve's quote is true but when you consider that Spidey does not get his powers from a magic ring, does not have a web gun, does not have the costume Jack designed for him and that all of the subsequent additions to his character and history (for the first three years) were developed by Stan and Steve, I think it is safe to give Jack props for his input but credit Stan and Steve as the co-creators of Spider-Man.

What's Peter's middle name?

Aaron Hoffman wrote to inform me that:

In the March issues of Marvel Comics in "Stan's Soapbox", Oliver M. Villar of Jacksonville, Florida writes:

"I found Peter Parker's middle name! In "Web of Spider-Man" #19, on page 15, Peter hands a lady a birth certificate that says 'Peter Benjamin Parker'."

Stan responded that this was something he did not even know.

Did Spidey rescue MJ in the 90's TV Show?

Kind of. After he beats Spider-Carnage with the help of a number of Spider-Men from other alternate universes, Madam Web says that he inclined to some happiness and takes him to find Mary Jane. You never actually see this happen or see them reunite, but it's implied. If you wanted a happy ending, this is as close as you can expect to get.

What girlfriends has Spider-Man (or Peter) had?

Ok, here's a quick list to get us started:

  1. Betty Brant
  2. Gwen Stacy
  3. Mary-Jane Watson
  4. Cissy Ironwood
  5. Debra Whitman
  6. Felicia Hardy

Additions will be greatfully accepted!

Did Peter and Ben join in the Onslaught final battle?

At the end of Peter Parker: Spider-Man #72, Ben Reilly (Spidey at the time) and Pete (who had just regained his powers) took off for the climactic fight in Central Park that readers saw in Onslaught: Marvel Universe.

They never appeared in the actual issue, and it was never explained why they missed the fight.

Who is Mr. Hyde?

Marvel kindly posted a "try-out" story on their web-site, inviting fans to write a comic story featuring Mr. Hyde. Unfortunately, they gave fans no information about who this character was. Fortunately, after fielding dozens of emails on the subject, Spider-Man gives you the "Beginner's Guide to Mr. Hyde".

Calvin Zabo was a scientist who was obsessed with the novel "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", and was convinced that the formula it told about was real. Zabo turned to criminal ways to obtain the knowledge and equipment necessary, but eventually discovered a formula which turned him into a superhuman powerhouse (albeit a pug-ugly one) who could lift over 50 tons.

His first and primary opponent was the mighty Thor, but he has mixed up with Spidey on occasion (see ASM #231, 232, and 433 - also the Get Kraven limited series). Other foes he's faced include the Hulk, Ghost Rider, Captain America and Daredevil.

Who is Tara?

The same Marvel "try-out" story that mentions Mr. Hyde also tells you to include in the story one of Mary-Jane's Model friends, named "Tara". Folks often write to ask if we can tell them what issues Tara appeared in, or give them a picture of what she looks like.

Well, the answer is, "Nope". Nobody here has managed to identify any appearance of Tara, other than the recent mystical Bangladeshi heroine who enlisted Spider-Man to help fight the Virus created by AGK Corporation, and we're pretty sure that's not the one they mean.

So I'm pretty sure that Marvel intended you to have complete artistic freedom when it comes to Tara. She can look however you want her to look, and acts however you think a model should act.

Is Byrne's "Chapter One" Official Spidey Continuity?

Once upon a time, Marvel cared greatly about "Official" continuity, but these days, things are far more flexible. During the dismal couple of years that Byrne and Mackie basically controlled Spidey, they used Spider-Man: Chapter One to re-write Spidey's early years... for no obvious good reason.

Unlike Untold Tales (which slipped between the gaps) and Ultimate Spidey (which truly started afresh), they published a patch-up retelling, which added nothing but confusion to Spidey's past. Despite stiff resistance from Spidey fans, Byrne and Mackie attempted to add the stamp of authority to their clumbsy reinvention by bringing aspects of Chapter One into the modern tales.

Most long-term fans just tried to ignore the whole fiasco, and waited until it just faded like a bad dream... which it mostly has. I, and many other students of Spidey just try to pretend it never happened.

Did Mary Jane really have an affair?

MJ did once have a tiny little fling with a slimeball named Jason Jerome - one of her fellow actors when she was working on the daytime drama 'Secret Hospital'. But really, it was very superficial. She soon realised how much she loved Peter, and how much of a scumbag Jerome was.

It happened in Spectacular Spider-Man, starting in Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #166 and coming to a conclusion in Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #172.

Did Mary Jane really take up smoking?

Yes, Peter discovered in Amazing #361 that Mary Jane had taken up smoking again (she used to smoke in school). It was a reaction to the stress of all the problems that the two of them were having at the time.

She gave up in Amazing #385, when Peter took her to see Nick Katzenberg in hospital, as he lay dying of lung cancer.

Is Liz's Surname Allan or Allen?

It's Allan. But it has frequently been incorrectly written as Allen, so I'm not surprised you're confused.

Did Gwen Stacy's Neck Snap or not?

Yes, Amazing #121 when the Green Goblin threw Gwen from the top of the Brooklyn Bridge and Spidey's web halted her, Gwen's neck was broken. Check out the 'snap' sound effect in that issue.

Just to confirm things, in Amazing #125 Roy Thomas wrote in the letters column quote: "It saddens us to have to say that the Whiplash effect she underwent when Spidey's webbing stopped her so suddenly was, in fact, what killed her. In short, it was impossible for Peter to save her. He couldn't have swung down in time; the action he did take resulted in her death; if he had done nothing, she still would certainly have perished. There was no way out."

Furthermore, from Amazing #207 quote: "Spider-Man is [momentarily] paralyzed remembering a similar situation when his beloved Gwen Stacy died... her neck broken from the abrupt jerking stop when a strand of webbing halted her fall."

Finally and most recently from Peter Parker: Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #50 Peter tells May how he feels that he accidentally killed Gwen by snapping her neck with his webbing when he tried to save her. But May tells him that Gwen's death was in no way Peter's fault despite that fact.

The confusion occasionally arises that some reprints of #121 have removed the sound effect, either because of reader sensitivities, or because for a few years there was a move within Marvel to leave the question of Gwen's death a little more open - suggesting that maybe she had already died "from the fall" before the whiplash hit her. But that was a passing foolishness and the facts are now settled. She may have lost consciousness before she died, but Gwen did indeed die of a broken neck.

Who said "With Great Power comes Great Responsibility?"

This first appeared at the conclusion of Amazing Fantasy #15 in the annotative text of the panel. That is to say, Stan Lee first wrote those words as a voiceover.

In 1987 in Spider-Man vs. Wolverine #1, writer James C. Owsley had Peter claiming that they were Uncle Ben's words. In February 2002, writer J. Michael Straczynski also attributed these words to Ben in Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #38, and a few months later in June 2002 the Spider-Man Movie showed Uncle Ben saying these words to Peter, which fixed the idea in most people's minds.

 In: F.A.Q.