Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Happy 50th: Spider-Man's Best Characters

     Peter Parker wouldn’t be the same person he is today if it weren’t for his friends and family and the impact they’ve made on his life. Supporting characters are key when it comes to superheroes and Spiderman has one of the best casts of characters.

“Circle Of Friends”
      In the early issues Peter didn’t have what we would consider “friends”, just witty banters between Flash Thompson. Flash was the bully, the arch-nemesis of Peter Parker but ironically Spiderman’s biggest fan. Liz Allen was the coolest girl in school; completely unattainable by nerds like Peter, yet she was the first girl to fall for him, unfortunately at that point Peter only had eyes for Ms. Brant. Harry Osborn was introduced after Peter graduated high school, but quickly became Flash’s friend before Peter’s. Peter and Harry eventually became roommates, for a little while anyway, with all the expenses paid by Norman Osborn. Gwen Stacy was also introduced in his college days and soon had to compete for Peter’s affections with Mary Jane Watson. Peter and Gwen dated for a while, and just when everyone thought she would become the future Mrs. Parker, she was killed. Long after that, MJ became his new girlfriend, becoming the first member of Peter’s “circle of friends” to discover his secret identity. MJ and Harry, and even Flash are still present in the comics today and Peter has a new girl in his life, Carlie, who recently obtained some new spider-powers thanks to the Spider-Island story arc.

“How To Run a World-Class Newspaper”
     Betty Brant was Peter’s first love, but ended up dumping him after being tired of competing with Liz Allen. She went on to marry reporter Ned Leeds of the Daily Bugle, who then became the new Hobgoblin. Betty always seemed to have something going wrong in her life, beginning with believing that it was Spiderman who killed her brother, which made things even more complicated between her and Peter. But she has moved on to become a professional reporter and may finally have her life on the right track.  While the majority of Manhattan’s population, including most of the Bugle’s staff, see Spiderman as a menace to the city, Joseph Robbie Robertson, editor for the Bugle, has always trusted and been grateful for all the help Spiderman has done. Even with all the accusations and rumors of the wall-crawling menace, Robbie has always been a loyal friend to both Peter Parker and Spiderman. Jonah Jameson on the other hand isn’t very fond of either of them. He always questioned how Peter got his Spidey photos (not that he shouldn’t, they were pretty spectacular) and he never gave him enough credit. He has always seen Spiderman as a criminal, constantly trying to pin crimes on him or even hiring scientists to potentially kill him, one of which led to the creation of the Scorpion. At one point J.J had a heart attack and Spiderman was forced to save his life. Old J.J was still a little ungrateful, but was glad to know he was there.

“Surrogate Parents”
      With Peter’s parents gone, Aunt May and Uncle Ben were required to take on the role of his new parents. They raised him with good values and proper manners, teaching him valuable life lessons, like a certain saying that every fanboy has memorized. Uncle Ben’s death acted as the main reason for Peter to drop his selfish thinking and start a career in crime fighting, and it was Aunt May who continued to take care of him.

      Doomsday & Beyond continues to celebrate Spidey’s 50th birthday when we examine his best story arcs, storylines and individual issues, so stay tuned.

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