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The 10 Lowest Points in Spider-Man’s Career

What would you do if you grew four extra arms?

by
Pierre Comtois

Bio

June 5, 2014 - 8:00 am
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Peter Parker’s life hasn’t been easy and as everyone knows, it wasn’t made any easier after he received the proportionate strength of a spider in Amazing Adult Fantasy #15 (reprised in Amazing Spider-Man #1). When we first meet him on the opening splash page of his origin, Peter is in the process of being mocked by his peers including long time scourge Flash Thompson. Walking away in tears, Peter’s shoulders are slumped in dejection as he makes his way to the science hall for an exhibition that’s destined to change his fortunes forever. But being granted super powers does Peter no good as he soon discovers. They only complicate his life as he’s forced to hide his identity beneath a full face mask and becomes the object of fear and suspicion by the general public.

Thus is launched an exciting secret life as a super-hero but one that further alienates the lonely teenager from the rest of society. Unable to share his secret with anyone and fearful that if his identity as Spider-Man were ever revealed, it would be too much for his Aunt May’s weak heart, Peter lives a life apart, his powers at once cutting him off from others while granting him a kind of personal freedom that only anonymity can provide.

Created in 1962 for Marvel Comics by writer/editor Stan Lee and artist/co-plotter Steve Ditko, the Spider-Man character was imbued with fully human feelings and failings right from the start. Lee had begun the trend with the Fantastic Four the year before but really turned up the heat with Spider-Man as he and Ditko turned Peter Parker into a real hard luck charlie whose shoulders often seemed too narrow to bear up under the weight of the problems he was given.

But it was those problems that proved to be the key to the character’s popularity and one that has driven a string of recent films to huge monetary success. But those films have been a mixed blessing for fans of the comics. While managing to endear Spidey to general audiences, their jumbled continuity has only served to rob the original stories of the power of those special moments. So, as a special service to PJ Media visitors, here are the most significant, life altering events in Spider-Man/Peter Parker’s life, events that over the years have served to enrich the character while keeping his life from becoming too ordinary. Some have been featured in the movies while some still wait their chance at being adapted:

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All Comments   (6)
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"What would you do if you grew four extra arms?"

What would you do if you grew up?

3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
Certainly a consideration, but if not by intention or design and maybe just by accident it draws a certain segment of the population to other important articles on this site and exposes them to some of the better posters like cfbleachers and Fail Burton? Wouldn't that be a positive thing?
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
What would I do if I grew four extra arms? In no particular order:

1) Middle fingers for all!

2) 168 rounds in about tens seconds. (Pro tip - go with 28 per mag to reduce jams.)

3) Wait, I thought this was a family site?

4) It sure will make my slapfights with the Punisher even more hilarious.
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
The backlash about the marriage retcon was a culture war thing for me. Stan Lee and Jim Shooter had that old school 'heroes put a ring on it' attitude that I guess I had too. Remember, Peter still dates the supermodel. He still has her move in and keep house for him for years, and risk her life, he just doesn't marry her.

When the retcon eliminated the marriage, it meant that this young married couple we'd been rooting for for years was actually a young living together couple. And Quesada's reason for ending the marriage that 'you can't write interesting stories about married people' just made me mad.

It's a generational thing. I could see during the flame war that people were talking past each other. I think that the Peter Parker who married Mary Jane is more heroic than the Peter Parker who let her move in and live with him for years. But for younger people, that statement doesn't make any sense. There's no difference between married and unmarried cohabiting couples.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Scarlet Spider clone saga was clearly an attempt to rectify #4, Peter Parker's marriage to Mary Jane - which, I agree, was a horrible mistake.

I never understood the backlash. Comic book fans are willing to accept all sorts of ridiculous plot developments, and the idea that the Peter Parker who married Mary Jane was a clone is at least as plausible as the eventual solution they came up with (#8, Mephisto).

At least the clone story brought up some interesting backstory possibilities for all the stuff the real Parker had been up to as Ben Reilly, when he THOUGHT he was a clone.

One other thing - Marvel should have kept the black alien costume.
On second thought, that would eliminate Venom and Carnage, two of the only interesting villains Marvel has come up with in the past twenty years - so maybe not.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
On the whole, a good list. Maybe "2) The Death of Gwen Stacy" and "6) Death of Norman Osborn" should be combined as they happend (IIRC) back-to-back on the same story arc. Meanwhile, I also seem to recall the writers got plenty of hate mail for the Death of Jean DeWolff story arc.

And as for "4) Peter Parker’s marriage to Mary Jane Watson" as a low point, I note that Parker's regular flirtations with the Black Cat, plus Mary Jane going on a party bender while flirting with a lot of men shortly before the wedding, were set ups that would be consistent with "a comic book character whose career thrives on bad luck" plot compication. However, writers didn't seem to take the bait. On the other hand, Aunt May's near marriage to Doctor Octopus, now that was awkard.

At least I think we can agree that the end of the Spider-Buggy doesn't rate.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
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