Follow TV Tropes


Characters / Spider-Man: Love Interests

Go To

This page is for all the girls Peter has been with in the past and present of the Spider-Man comics, by order of appearance in the comic books.

    open/close all folders 

    Elizabeth "Liz" Allan 

Debut: Amazing Fantasy #15

Liz Allan is one of the first romantic interests for Peter in the Midtown High School. Unfortunately (or fortunately) for Peter, she is Flash Thompson’s girlfriend at the time and thinks next to nothing of Peter. However, after she hears an ailing Peter had donned a Spider-Man costume in order to save Betty Brant from Doctor Octopus, she develops a crush on him and clash with Betty Brant. By this time, however, Peter's interest has waned considerably, as he notes that Liz never showed any real interest in him until he began dating Betty Brant, and assumes that Liz's feelings are little more than a schoolgirl crush. At the graduation ceremony, Liz admits her feelings to Peter, and says she has come to accept the fact that they are unrequited.

See Spider-Man: Schoolmates for more info.


    Elizabeth "Betty" Brant

Debut: The Amazing Spider-Man #4

Peter's first girlfriend. She starts off as Jameson's personal secretary, a position she took after her mother's death, which made her drop out from high school. She starts dating Peter shortly after he starts selling pictures of Spider-Man to the Bugle, attracted to his serious and formal, yet sweet demeanor.

However, Peter's life as Spider-Man started to put a heavy strain on their relationship, especially after her brother got killed by accident during a showdown with Dr. Octopus. Eventually, they break up, although they stay on friendly terms and their relationship evolves into a more sibling-like one. A few years later, she marries Bugle reporter Ned Leeds, who at first looked like he could provide Betty the quiet, uncomplicated married life she was looking for. However, her marriage is a bumpy one due to Ned's constant work overseas, and she leaves him during a long assignment in Paris. Feeling alone, Betty tries to get back together with Peter, who at the time had just broken up with Mary Jane (for the first time), but Ned follows her back to New York and puts a stop to it.

Eventually, she manages to work things out with her husband and save their marriage, but their life together gets utterly destroyed during one of the first Hobgoblin sagas, in which Ned died and Betty almost went insane. However, she was able to recover; after that she decided to become a journalist herself.

Currently, she's one of the Bugle's boldest reporters and has a relationship with Flash Thompson.

  • Alliterative Name: Betty Brant.
  • Betty and Veronica: Literally the Betty to Liz's Veronica.
  • Clear Their Name: She cleared the name of her dead husband, Ned Leeds, when she revealed that Roderick Kingsley was the real Hobgoblin (Ned was brainwashed in believe to be Hobglobin by Kingsley).
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: She was really afraid of losing Peter to other girls during her earlier years. The fact that she got to see and meet MJ before Peter made her gulp since she knew that nobody would beat her.
  • Damsel in Distress: She has a habit of being abducted by supervillains. She was also this in an earlier comics issue, when she was kidnapped by the Brainwasher and held hostage alongside her father.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Betty suffered a complete mental breakdown after the news of Ned's death reached her and suffered denial believing him to still be alive. In her state a young recruiter from the Cult of Love was able to persuade her to join their faction under a leader called the Teacher where she was programmed in their ways. The Teacher turned out to be nothing more than a con artist conning people out of their possessions. Fortunately Flash and Spider-Man figured this out and saved Betty, though she lost everything she owned and had to take up residence with Flash Thompson.
  • First Love: To Peter. Many people often consider Gwen Stacy to be Peter Parker's very first love, forgetting that Betty Brant dated him long before he met Gwen.
  • Important Haircut: Got a page-boy cut after her brother died.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Betty's new career and she easily rivals Lois Lane for her skill and fearlessness.
  • Lost in Imitation: She's Peter Parker's first girlfriend but don't expect to see that in too many adaptions since the idea of a high school student dating a secretary is a bit squicky (should be noted in the original comics she was younger than Peter because she had to drop out of high school to work but that's not really a thing anymore) though various adaptations play with it. In the Raimi films, she obviously has a fondness for Peter and is sort of his cheerleader while JJJ bullies him. Also, Peter has a crush on her in The Spectacular Spider-Man, but she turns him down gently because she's too old for him (in this adaptation, Peter is 16 and Betty is 20).
  • Operation: Jealousy: Betty originally started dating Ned Leeds to make Peter jealous, but he was too busy to notice and eventually she fell in love with Ned for real.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Her current relationship with Peter. She consider him her best friend.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: While their relationship didn’t last too long in the comics, ‘’Spider-Man (1967)’’ had her as Peter’s main love interest note .
  • Satellite Love Interest: During her relationship with Peter. See the trope below for more information.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: In the early days of the comics, this was her defining characteristic. She didn't want to date any badboys or daredevils (her constantly-in-trouble brother having destroyed any patience she might have had for such nonsense). She just wanted a simple relationship. This was the source of her attraction to Peter. When Peter, from Betty's perspective, started exhibiting bad boy traits, she dumped him.
  • Sympathetic Adulterer: She had a brief affair with Peter and Flash Thompson when she was married to Ned Leeds (during this time Ned was much hostile because of the Hobglobin personality).
  • Took a Level in Badass: Following her husband Ned's death, Betty checked out for a while. Once she got her head together, she reinvented herself, going from the Bugle's harried secretary to a fearless reporter in her own right, willing to go toe-to-toe with supervillains and monsters if required. Recent adaptations that include Betty tend to start from this characterization, to the point where a lot of newer fans won't recognize her at all if they go back and read her pre-1989 appearances.

    Gwendolyne "Gwen" Stacy

Although Betty Brant was his first formal girlfriend, Gwen was the first girl that Peter truly loved, and who loved him back.

They met in college. Ironically, in her first appearances she was way different from the character people remember. Formerly known as the "beauty queen" of Standard High School in New York City, Gwen Stacy went to college at that same city’s Empire State University, where she majored in biochemistry. Over there, she had half of the male population on campus practically eating out of her hand. All except Peter Parker, who didn't seem to mind her at all. And although that was because he was dealing with more important stuff (namely, Aunt May's life being in danger during the "If this be my destiny" storyline), Gwen took it the wrong way and interpreted it as Peter thinking she was beneath him. Nevertheless, she couldn't help but starting to feel attracted to the only man she couldn't charm right away.

Of course, this started to change when Peter sorted out his problems (for the time being, that is) and started to notice Gwen. However, this happened at the exact same time as Mary Jane entered the scene, which prompted the famous Betty and Veronica triangle that lasted for a while. Eventually, Peter chose Gwen and started a serious relationship. However, although Gwen was madly in love with Peter and vice-versa, she ended up hating Spider-Man, which put a lot of strain on the relationship. Especially after the death of Gwen's dad, Captain George Stacy, who was accidentally killed during a fight with Dr. Octopus. They started to drift apart and eventually, Gwen moved to London, where she had an one night stand with Norman Osborn, giving birth to twins. Incapable of being apart from Peter, she came back after a few months, which strengthened their love more than ever.

And then, The Night Gwen Stacy Died happened. Her death at the hands of the Green Goblin was a deeply traumatic experience for Peter, not just because he lost the woman who he loved, but because he failed spectacularly at rescuing her: The Green Goblin threw her from the top of the George Washington Bridge, and Spidey's managed to grab her with his webbing to her leg. However, the sudden stop provoked a whiplash effect that snapped her neck. Just like Uncle Ben, Gwen became another ghost to haunt him, and it took years for him to fully recover.

While Peter was eventually able to move past his trauma and fell in love with Mary Jane, stories published long after Gwen’s death indicate she still holds a special place in his heart.

See also Spider-Gwen, for her alternate reality counterpart who has become Spider-Woman of Earth-65.

  • Adaptation Personality Change: Inevitable given that her original character and personality constantly shifted, radically across issues. But none of her more recent adaptations, whether in Ultimate Spider-Man, The Spectacular Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man Series, Spider-Gwen has anything really in common with the character in the original stories.
  • Affectionate Nickname: During their relationship and when she was alive, Peter and her friends called her Gwendy. After her death it's always Gwen.
  • Alpha Bitch: In the original Steve Ditko era. She was basically the Regina George of ESU.note 
  • Alternate Universe Reed Richards Is Awesome: Even before Spider-Gwen this was in play, as witness the Age of Apocalypse version (where she's Thor's bodyguard) and Ultimate Gwen (who for a time was fused with Carnage). Likewise, Emma Stone's version of the character, was considered the best parts of the highly divisive The Amazing Spider-Man Series.
  • Always Someone Better: MJ still saw her as this, even after she died. As she remarks to Peter, during their marriage, in The Spectacular Spider-Man Annual 8:
    Mary-Jane Watson: "When Gwen was alive, I knew I never had a chance with you. After all, she was smart, educated, a lady — And what was I? A cheap date. Emphasis on cheap."
    Peter Parker: "Don't say that, MJ."
    Mary-Jane Watson: "If Gwen Stacy was a beauty queen, then I was a pin-up girl."
  • Betty and Veronica:
    • Was the Betty to MJ's Veronica at least in the eyes of fans and per Romita and Lee's intention. Note however, that Gwen was the Uptown Girl while Mary-Jane was the actual Girl Next Door who Peter's own Aunt thought was good for him. Gwen was outside of Peter's class while MJ was working for a living and Peter's neighbour in Queens (which was why Peter was reluctant to be matched with her by Aunt May since he wanted to be The One Who Made It Out). So technically, MJ is the Betty in the dynamic.
    • Interestingly, Marvel Fairy Tales and Marvel 1602 actually does lampshade this. Issue 4 of Spider-Man Fairy Tales reinterprets the Peter/MJ/Gwen as a kind of Cinderella-esque Chivalric Romance. MJ there is a servant girl, Peter is a knight reduced to stable boy, and Gwen is Princess, and the backdating of Spider-Man's story from '60s America to a time of actual class distinctions does finally make MJ the Betty to Gwen's Veronica. Similar to many knightly romances, MJ has an unrequited love for Sir Peter but they know they can't commit because of the class, he fails to save Princess Gwen, and both of them end up alone and lonely.
    • In her final 20 issues or so, there was a love triangle between her, Flash, and Peter. Flash a returning war veteran became the male Veronica to Peter's Betty, and Peter was quite jealous about Flash spending time with Gwen and unburdening his baggage to her.
  • Composite Character:
    • She has a habit of having parts of her characterization (namely being somewhat serious and melancholy at least near the end when she was crying all the time) given to Mary Jane. Hilariously this began in 1970, during the third season of Spider-Man (1967) where MJ is made Captain George Stacy's niece. The joke is that this cartoon was released when she was still alive in the comics, proving that MJ has been upstaging and usurping her from the start.
    • Of course, turnaround is fair play. Her most famous appearances, The Spectacular Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man Series have her characters based on Mary Jane (Ultimate MJ in the case of Spectacular). Emma Stone's character in the Marc Webb films, as a warm, funny, confidant and partner for Peter who knows his double life and accepts both is entirely MJ and completely the opposite to Gwen in the original (who reacted with horror and shock at the idea of Peter being Spider-Man).
  • Daddy's Girl: Very close to her dad George Stacy. She never forgave Spider-Man for his death even if it was not actually his fault.
  • Damsel in Distress: Takes this trope to its logical conclusion...
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: She was initially cold towards Peter. Gradually, however, a romance develops because Gwen, a science major, seems to appreciate Peter's intellectual personality. Their relationship begins almost immediately after Peter stops going out with Mary Jane, whom he starts seeing as shallow and self-absorbed.
  • Depending on the Writer: Most obvious than other characters since she never really had a set personality to start with:
    • Her characterization in the original Stan Lee — Steve Ditko years was as a Liz Allan Expy for Peter now that he came to college, repeating the same beats such as outwardly participating with Harry and Flash in hazing and bullying Peter in college but inwardly finding him mysterious and sexy, mostly because Peter's the first guy who doesn't give her the time of his day. She was also a beauty queen Uptown Girl type and implied to have been a serial dater.
    • In the Lee-Romita years, they softened her considerably (just like they also softened up Harry and Flash to make Peter's social circle feel less hostile). They also kept changing Gwen's appearance and character over their run, making her a more elegant and nice ideal girl, implying that she is also Peter's fellow science student and shares an interest (though never to genius levels as later writers attempt it). Her appearance also changed, most notably later issues had Lee and Romita copying Mary Jane's hair style for her albeit with a blonde palette to make her as popular as her rival. Likewise, Gwen as Peter's First Love liked him but hated Spider-Man blaming him for her father's death which they saw as giving her a tragic arc that mirrored Peter's loss of Uncle Ben.
    • Gerry Conway (the first writer to take over from Lee), simply decided to drop her off a bridge and made her into a Posthumous Character who characters periodically remember in an ideal light until JMS came up with Sins Past which can be understood as an over-correction of the recent tendency. Her most recent Alternate Universe renditions (Spider-Gwen and Ultimate Gwen) are more or less In Name Only original creations. Conway on seeing Emma Stone's performance in The Amazing Spider-Man Series noted that it was a Composite Character with Gwen's name and background but with comics!MJ's personality (in that she's warm, light-hearted, and snarks back to Peter and is okay with both Peter and Spider-Man).
    • At various times, Gwen was a popular Alpha Bitch, or an academic popular girl, a Teen Genius who knows more about science than Peter, a Goth, an elegant young woman who despite being popular is secretly a wallflower and is drawn to Peter over Harry Osborn and the Flash.
    • The major one is her exact cause of death. In the original comic, Green Goblin explicitly said that she died because he dropped her and that a fall from that height would have killed anyone. However Romita and Conway as a way to create ambiguity and also to make it convincing and realistic added the famous sound effect of a snap when Peter webbed her body to stop her descent suddenly. In both cases, the intent was to provide Reality Ensues into a superhero encounter to really sell her Character Death as a real one.
  • Designated Love Interest: Gwen was absolutely this when she was alive. After they got together, Lee and Romita Sr. never properly developed her as a character aside from shilling her (such as fan favorite MJ becoming a shipper and cheer-leader for them, which writers and editors later had her do for Carlie) or having Peter constantly say out loud how much he loves her and vice versa. They are never shown going on dates or having any interactions and banter as a couple and the tension Peter had in that relationship was his work as Spider-Man, the death of her father George Stacy, and Peter wondering if he should tell her identity while Gwen would constantly cry and whine whenever he's not around. Even after her death, Peter always remembers her when Goblin killed her and never reminisces or thinks about the relationship they shared, with Jeph Loeb's Spider-Man: Blue remedying this somewhat (even if it makes numerous continuity mistakes and changes). As noted by Mark Ginocchio:
    Point being that while Peter and Gwen went on to have a very passionate romance in the pages of ASM, I was initially stunned when I was rereading these earlier issues and in one comic Gwen and Peter were just flirting and by ASM #59, Gwen is throwing her arms around him and smooching him in front of her father...Despite the fact that Stan had been teasing this romance for dozens of issues, there still wasn't any real build from "occasional interaction at school" to "going steady."
  • invokedDie for Our Ship: A rare non-fan example. Gerry Conway, who wrote "The Night Gwen Stacy Died", was very vocal that he thought the character was annoying and uninteresting compared to Mary Jane. John Romita Sr. suggested killing off a long-term supporting character (he pitched Aunt May first) but Conway chose Gwen as it would allow him to move things along to get Peter with the girl he wanted him to be with all along while in his view, allowing Gwen a role and status that made her into an all-time famous comics icon while satisfying Gwen-Peter shippers to regard Mary Jane as simply Peter's rebound girl and runner-up when in Conway's view, Gwen was Peter's False Soulmate.
  • Dude Magnet: When she was alive, she had dated many boys in high school and beat them all with a stick, and in college has Harry Osborn and Flash wrapped around her finger. The reason why she eyed Peter, he was the first one who simply didn't fall over her like everyone else. Posthumously, Gwen was revealed to have attracted the eyes of her pervert teacher Prof. Miles Warren.
  • First Love: Depending on the Writer. Peter dated Betty before her but Gwen is his first serious relationship and many often see her as the girl Peter might have given up Spider-Man for and settle down for good, though none of that was hinted in the pages itselfnote .
  • Girl Next Door: Played with. As portrayed in the comics, Gwen came from an upper-class background, her first boyfriend, Harry, was the son of a millionaire and in her first appearance she was introduced as a high-school beauty queen. However, as she became the Betty to Mary Jane's Veronica, she moved into this category and many fans remembering her with this status after her death, even if MJ was the literal girl next door handpicked by Aunt May as the right girl for her Peter, although after Peter and Gwen started dating, she supported them too.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Her hair's always been a shade of blonde (from platinum to bright yellow), and initial Ice Queen characterization aside, she's been portrayed often as a passionate and caring individual.
  • Hysterical Woman: Peter openly calls her this in narration during Issue 87 where he blurts out he's Spider-Man, which some of his friends see as being evidence of him being crazy (which Peter later runs with) but Gwen actually believes it and her reaction is so over-the-top that Peter swears off telling her his secret ever again. Mary Jane also trolls her for her over-the-top reaction, which becomes even more hilarious if you factor in the Parallel Lives retcon that she knew Peter was always Spider-Man and that she's rubbing it in to her rival about how she can't deal with their mutual crush's double life):
    Mary Jane: "Wow Gwendy, you sure can pick 'em. He's either a masked menace or a psycho case, take your pick!"
    Gwen Stacy: (tears in her eyes) "Shut Up! No matter what he is—what he's done—don't you dare talk about him like that!"
    Mary Jane: "Okay, Tigress! He's all yours!"
  • Iconic Outfit: The outfit she died in of course. Even though Gwen had an Unlimited Wardrobe, a black shirt, brown (or green) trench coat, purple mini-skirt, black boots, and her ever present black headband are what she will most likely be wearing if she is ever referenced in anything.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Trope Namer, obviously. Gwen's death is one of the most traumatic events in Peter's entire life, and the memory of it comes back to haunt him on more than one occasion.
  • Impossible Hourglass Figure: She has some pretty curvy hips along with a very voluptuous body (that's nearly as sexy as MJ's body, mostly because Romita-Lee later modeled her on MJ) and large breasts.
  • Killed Off for Real: She and Uncle Ben are only major character in the whole series who has been killed and stayed dead (clones and alternate universe versions notwithstanding).
  • Like Parent, Like Spouse: Potential Spouse in this case (and actual one in AU versions). But she had a close relationship with her father George Stacy, a principled responsible man who wants to stop crime and risks his life in service while her boyfriend has similar qualities (and unknown to her is also a crime fighter who risks his life to fight crime). Captain George Stacy for his part always approved of Peter and in his deathbed admitted that he knew he was Spider-Man and told him he had no problems with him dating his daughter.
  • Likes Clark Kent, Hates Superman: She loves Peter, but hates Spider-Man due to blaming for the death of her father, George Stacy (killed by falling debris during a battle involving Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus).
  • The Lost Lenore: To Peter, especially since he was the one who accidentally killed her.
  • Loving a Shadow: In Tom Beland's one-shot "Web of Romance", Peter actually reflects this about his feelings for Gwen and how it compares to his relationship with Mary Jane (who's always been insecure about being a replacement for Gwen). Peter notes that with Gwen he was always tense, nervous, because of how emotional she was, was never entirely relaxed, and that he was never able to be honest and open with her in the way he is with Mary Jane, and that his feelings for his wife are greater than it was for Gwen.
  • Meet the In-Laws: Gwen had a very frosty relationship with Aunt May (unlike Mary Jane who saw her as a Parental Substitute and always remained close and in-touch with her). Most notably when Peter had a disappearance and May was worried about where she was, Gwen lashed out at her with a a speech calling her out for being a smothering mother that so badly affected May that she actually spent weeks away from Peter without talking to her and was considered to have "disappeared". Gwen did feel guilty about doing this, and May and Peter accommodated her, but things were never warm between them.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Gwen is a very beautiful blonde-haired woman who wears outfits (particularly skirts with thigh-high socks and boots as well as dresses) that highlight her very voluptuous body and nice legs. The trilogy in the Savage Land has her wearing a red bikini for the entirety of three issues, showing far more skin than even Mary Jane did until her marriage to Peter and the era of her being a cheescake.
  • My Secret Pregnancy: Was retconned into having had one of these courtesy of Norman Osborn - the man who later killed her - during the "Sins Past" storyline. When Gwen learned she was pregnant, she decided to raise the children with Peter, so Norman killed her and raised them himself. Naturally for many, it's Fanon Discontinuity and recent comics have largely forgotten about it or pretended it didn't happen.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead: One way to really piss Peter off is to besmirch her name. Sins' Past by JMS was a story that intended to correct her posthumous adulation by painting Gwen as someone who cheated on Peter with an older man, and Peter's reaction on learning of this was one of rage and disbelief though he ultimately did get over it, especially since MJ, Gwen's close friend who never once brought this up even if it was to her advantage, still loved and missed Gwen. Of course in other stories, such as "Web of Romance", Peter is okay being critical of Gwen such as her dependency and the stress she put him during their relationship.
  • Nerds Are Sexy: She was a science geek (Depending on the Writer) while still looking like an absolute bombshell (Depending on the Artist).
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: One reason why her death was so poignant for Peter was that she died before knowing he was Spider-Man, before knowing the true cause of her father's death. Peter also admits to MJ in Sins' Past that he and Gwen never had sex during their relationship together and of course if Peter had plans to propose to her, he never told her either.
  • Nice Girl: Despite an initial haughty characterization and later variations she's ultimately remembered as a sweet girl. Her friendliness and caring towards her friends even shows in other adaptations.
  • Nostalgia Filter: Not only among fans and writers, but many characters In-Universe latch on to Gwen's memory as a representative of a more innocent time.
    • Spider-Man: Blue is entirely about Peter recording his memories about how the college days with Gwen was a innocent happy era. Harry Osborn in "Best of Enemies" also voices regret about Gwen's death and his father killing her, noting how he feels that their entire generation (Himself, Peter, MJ, Flash) all lost something with her.
    • Mary Jane herself punctures holes with this nostalgia at one point pointing out that none of them were actually innocent or were those years so golden. Peter was Spider-Man and was tearing himself up lying to everyone about his double life, Harry was a drug addict son of a barely-repressed supervillain, MJ was a product of a broken home and runaway trying desperately to hide her real self from her people, Flash fought in Vietnam and came back a veteran (sliding time scale later moved this back and forth), and even Gwen's final years were marked with the death of her father, and her grief over being orphaned.
  • The One That Got Away: On account of her death, many fans and later writers grew up thinking of her as this. Some AU versions often show her and Peter as living the dream life, though others such as House of M hint at a very troubled relationship (with an implication that a married Peter was cheating on her with MJ).
  • Pretty Spry for a Dead Guy: It's teased that she's actually alive a couple of times, only for it to revealed to be a clone or something each time. Interestingly the First Clone Saga was suggested by Stan Lee (after the fan reaction and backlash over Gwen's death) as a possible backdoor to bring her back just in case Conway's plan to have Peter move on with Mary Jane didn't take with readers. Once it became clear it did, he made the revived Gwen into a clone.
  • Progressively Prettier: Ditko's Gwen was beautiful but she also had a colder look and due to her haughty nature, she was a Perpetual Frowner (or as we'd call it now "resting b—ch face"). Romita Sr. gradually softened her appearance, and after MJ came along, he redesigned Gwen to resemble a Blonde MJ while also softening her.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: In Issues #91-92, after her father's death, Gwen in grief and anger serves as a volunteer to Sam Bullitt, an authoritarian candidate for the position of DA who wants a "law and order" campaign, solely so he would go after Spider-Man. This despite him having, as Robbie Robertson points out, a past history of being supported by hate groups. Despite the fact that George Stacy detested Bullitt, Gwen works for Sam and willingly supports and gets behind his "law and order" campaign.
  • Posthumous Character: Since her death happened in Issue 122 of a long comics series and is one of the most constantly revisited and alluded to moments in the comics, a good number of later readers encounter her as a posthumous character. Jeph Loeb's Spider-Man: Blue is quite common, even if it has little to do with her original characterization.
  • Retcon:
    • The infamous Sins Past story establishes that Norman Osborn and Gwen Stacy had a son and daughter, Gabriel Stacy and Sarah Stacy.
    • A minor one that changes a character's entire motivations in Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy. The Night Gwen Stacy Died is changed to reveal that, before the Goblin knocked her over, Gwen Stacy had woken up and heard Spidey call himself "Peter". She automatically hates both because of what happened to her father. In issue 4, however, when Peter finally confronts Gwen (or better, another clone with her last memoirs), she does say that she forgives him and, in a tie-in, she admits that she's still in love with Peter, but she feels betrayed by him being Spider-Man, though she understands why he does what he does.
  • Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: The rich to MJ's poor. She's the only girl Peter has dated to come from a higher social class than him, his previous love interests Betty and Liz were from the same background with Betty choosing to work rather than go to school, while Mary-Jane was also from Queens as Peter and was ambitious about moving up.
  • Sex for Solace: When she had her one night stand with Norman, her father had recently died, her boyfriend Peter had become distant, and her friend Harry had overdosed on LSD.
  • She's Got Legs: Gwen tends to wear outfits (such as skirts with thigh-high socks and boots and dresses) that highlight her very long toned yet shapely legs.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: For someone who's best known for being one of the first love interests killed in super-hero history, Gwen always seems to survive outside of the comics (as seen in the Spider-Man Trilogy, Spider-Man: The Animated Series or The Spectacular Spider-Man). The one exception was The Amazing Spider-Man Series and it was considered highly unpopular in that film. This is probably because the nature of superhero film trilogies which generally don't allow for Comic-Book Time removes much of the original reason and context for her fridging.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: Gwen was drugged by Osborn and was still unconscious when he dropped her off the bridge. No last words, no deathbed exchanges (unlike the case of her father's death, Captain George Stacy), no Parting Words Regret or any literary foreshadowing about her death, which is one reason why it was a huge shock to readers.
  • They Killed Kenny: All her clones, created by the Jackal, end always killed. Even Joyce Delaney (her first clone) who, after many years, started finally a new life...end killed by another Gwen's clone, Abby-L, in Spider-Island.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: She is treated this way in retrospect both in the Spider-Man continuity and by the editors. Before her death, her relationship with Peter was a little rocky owing to the latter blaming Spider-Man for her father's death, burdening Peter with guilt and regret. She had actually separated from Peter and gone to London (which revived during the Sins Past story) and she and Peter came off as a non-functional couple. Of course, as a Posthumous Character, she's earned the sarcastic nickname "St. Gwen."
  • Tsundere: Her original characterization flipping between concerned and lovestruck over Peter to hating his guts for a minor transgression like him not responding to Harry Osborn's jokes.
  • Two First Names: Gwen and Stacy are both common given names.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Gwen Stacy to Sam Bullitt. The latter uses her to support his political campaign and venture, even if her father disliked him for his politics.
  • Uptown Girl: What the character actually is. While Peter is a poor kid from Queens trying to help his Aunt May pay the bills and make rent, she's a well to do high society girl whose father, a retired NYPD captain, hangs around media tycoon J. Jonah Jameson and industrialist Norman Osborn.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: She and MJ gradually transitioned into this once the latter realized that she and Peter were serious. They remained friendly with MJ mock-teasing and flirting as a way to josh Gwen. Sins' Past revealed how close their friendship was as does Spider-Man: Blue. Notably MJ never once gives Peter heat over still mourning his first love even during their marriage, making it clear that she loved and misses Gwen as much as he does.
  • Woman Scorned: Initially was upset that Peter gave her the cold shoulder upon their first meeting (which he did because he was worried about Aunt May's illness). Furious, she dates both Flash Thompson and Harry Osborn.

    Mary Jane Watson 

Mary Jane (or MJ) is the major love interest of Peter Parker. She was his wife until One More Day retconned this (in other universe, like MC2 universe or Renew Your Vows, they are again married). See her personal page.

    Debra Whitman

Debut: The Amazing Spider-Man #196

A university secretary who became one of Peter Parker's love interests for a while.

  • Domestic Abuse: When she was married to Mark Whitman. One day her friend Biff Rifkin went to her house and saw Mark beating her. He rescued her and took her to the hospital, but she insisted Mark was a kind and gentle husband, locked in denial. Just a shock made Debra come to her senses and decided to leave New York to get a divorce.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: She was last seen moving out west with her new boyfriend Biff Rifkin. Considering everything she'd been through before that, the readers can probably take comfort in the fact that she found some happiness with him.
  • Extreme Doormat: Debra has a weak personality. This is evident if you consider that she had an abusive husband in past and how Peter treat her, running out on their dates more than any other of his love interests. Despite this, Debra threw herself at Peter issue after issue only to have him push her aside.
  • Foil: To both Mary Jane and Black Cat. She is not a supermodel or a person with a particularly strong personality, but just an average woman with a fragile mind.
  • Kick the Dog: Well, "kick" may be putting it harshly, but put bluntly Peter was significantly less-than-ideal during their relationship than with any of his other lovers. Aside from the fact that he ran out on her multiple times for Spider-Man related activities-in and on itself not a rarity with his other girlfriends, but ridiculously frequently with her- Peter was remarkably underappreciative of her efforts as a romantic partner Example . Even while with her he tended to let his eyes fall on other attractive women to the point of almost forgetting he had a date with her, even if he never actually cheated on her. Towards the tail end of their time together he took note of this and tried to be more appreciative, up to being willing to reveal his identity to her, but at that point the ship had already sunk.
  • Shrinking Violet: Although she's not necessarily shy, her aversion to conflict and reluctance when it comes to taking initiative makes her this in the comics.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: She disappeared completely after being written out of the early-'80s Spectacular Spider-Man book. Every other woman in Peter Parker's dating life tends to reappear from time to time as a member of his supporting cast, except for Debra.
    • She finally reemerged following Peter's unmasking in Civil War, having written a tell-all book about her time dating him, and promptly disappeared again.

    Black Cat 

AKA: Felicia Hardy
Debut: The Amazing Spider-Man #194

Felicia is the daughter of Walter Hardy, the world-renowned cat burglar who, before his arrest, encouraged her to never settle for second best.

Although she was a villain in her first appearances (or rather, an Anti-Villain), she became the third most prominent love interest in the series after Mary Jane and Gwen (some would argue she's more prominent than Gwen at this point, at least plot-wise). Although she has the particularity that, unlike those two, she was way more in love with the Spider-Man persona than with the Peter Parker persona, which was the main source of conflict in their relationship.

In her backstory in Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil That Men Do, it's revealed that she was raped by her boyfriend Ryan when she was a freshman at Empire State University. Hating the idea of being a victim, she trained herself in various fighting styles and acrobatics, intent on killing her rapist. Finally, after months of preparing, she set out for revenge, but before she could find him, Ryan was killed in a drunk driving accident. Furious that she was denied the chance for revenge, she decided to utilize her new skills to follow in her father's footsteps. After amassing a fortune in stolen items, Felicia adopted her costumed identity.

She first donned the Black Cat costume in order to break her father out of prison. On the same night, she met Spider-Man. Unfortunately for Felicia, her father died, and she then faked her own death. Despite her antipathy towards men, Felicia felt a kinship with this lone hero; Spider-Man was the first man she felt she could trust and she grew to believe herself in love with him. Felicia looked for a way to earn his trust and continued with the Black Cat persona as a misguided attempt to attract his affection. Seeing the good in Felicia, Spider-Man made every attempt to have her criminal record expunged.

For more information on her, please refer to her page.


     Jill Stacy 

Debut: Spider-Man #76

The cousin of the late Gwen Stacy, Jill moved to New York City from Hong Kong with her father and brother, Arthur and Paul. She befriended Peter (Spider-Man) and Mary Jane Parker, taking classes with Mary Jane at Empire State University (ESU). Jill sought to understand the events surrounding Gwen's death, and though hesitant, Peter eventually told Jill his side of the story.

  • Romantic False Lead: She was set up as a new love interest for Peter after MJ's apparent death. When Mary Jane was found to be alive, Jill withdrew her advances toward Peter and her entire character is put aside.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: During the period of MJ's death, Jill consoles Peter (and/or makes a surreptitious pass) by stating that he needs to move on from Mary Jane's death, that he deserves to be happy and he needs to open his heart and let someone in who cares for him. Peter coldly replies that he already found and married that someone, and he lost her (though MJ returned later anyway).
  • Strong Family Resemblance: She was Gwen's cousin, but bore a strong enough physical resemblance to Gwen to remind Peter of her. At one point it was shown that aside from Jill having black hair instead of blonde, the two were almost identical.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: To MJ of all people. After the "death" of MJ, her siding up and befriending Peter and consoling him in grief intentionally mirrored how Peter's romance with MJ happened in the aftermath of Gwen's death. It didn't quite work the second time around needless to say.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Jill's last appearance was around ASM Vol. 2 #31. She disappear without an explanation, maybe she has moved out of New York.

    Martha Franklin 

Debut: The Spectacular Spider-Man #263

The niece of J. Jonah Jameson and Spider-Man fangirl, Martha "Mattie" Franklin obtained super powers from the Gathering of Five and became the third Spider-Woman. She temporarily took Spider-Man's place during one of his brief periods of retirement, and became the third Spider-Woman with the blessing of Jessica Drew. When Mary Jane was assumed dead, Mattie attempted to initiate a romantic relationship with Spider-Man, but was turned down.

For more information on her, please refer to her page.

     Caryn Earle 
Debut: Peter Parker: Spider-Man Vol 2 #30

Caryn Earle was Peter Parker's neighbor while he lived in New Jersey. Both friendly dated after Mary Jane Watson returned to Los Angeles. After Mary Jane returned to Peter's life, their friendship distanced.

    Sarah Stacy

Debut: The Amazing Spider-Man #509

The daughter of Gwen Stacy and Norman Osborn. She and her twin brother Gabriel were raised by "Uncle Norm" to believe that Peter Parker was their father and had killed their mother as Spider-Man. Trained as assassins, Sarah and Gabriel attacked Peter and eventually learned the truth about their mother's death. While Gabriel became increasingly insane, Sarah was outraged and turned against her father, fell in love with Peter herself, and became an Interpol agent.

  • Cain and Abel: When they learned the truth about her mother's death, Gabriel - having been driven insane by a second dose of the Goblin Formula - kept on blaming Peter and became a super villain. Sarah denounced Norman and became an Interpol agent to bring her brother to justice.
  • Generation Xerox: She is physically identical to her mother, which gave Spidey a major shock when he unmasked her.
  • Half Identical Twin: She and her brother are mostly identical, except for their hair length and the fact that Gabe's a guy.
  • Heel–Face Turn: When she learned about the truth of her mother's death she turned against Norman and her increasingly insane brother, and eventually became an Interpol agent.
  • I Hate You, Vampire Dad: She loathes her father for lying to and using her and her brother.
  • May–December Romance: She put the moves on Peter after he saved her life, made a little disturbing due to her looking identical to her mother, the extreme age difference between them, and that until recently she'd believed him to be her father. Made even worse when Mary Jane walked in on them making out.
  • Ms. Fanservice: As an attractive young lady, she's often been drawn in halter tops and other revealing clothing.
  • Professional Killer: She and her brother were trained as assassins by Norman.
  • Rapid Aging: The Goblin Formula she inherited from her father caused her to grow from a baby to a young adult in a few years' time.
  • Reformed Criminal: While no longer evil, she was still wanted for criminal activities when Interpol recruited her to hunt down some drug dealers and her crazy brother.
  • Rescue Romance: She fell for Peter after he saved her life and helped her apprehend her brother.
  • Super Cop: She is a superpowered Interpol agent.
  • Superpowerful Genetics: The Goblin Formula in her father granted her superhuman abilities and aged her to adulthood in a few years time.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: She is more or less Gwen Stacy 2.0 with assassin training and superpowers.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: While Gabriel reappeared during Dark Reign, Sarah hasn't been seen since One More Day.
  • Younger Than They Look: She's only a few years old but looks like she's in her late teens or early twenties.

    Carlie Ellen Cooper

Debut: The Amazing Spider-Man #545

Carlie Cooper is a forensic specialist who is a friend, since high school, of Lily Hollister. She is one of the first potential romantic interests for Parker after "One More Day" and eventually becomes his girlfriend for a time.

  • Alliterative Name: Both her first and last names start with C.
  • Birds of a Feather: Attempted. Her interest in science was supposedly intended to make her seem like a natural fit for Peter.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: As Monster, her eyes are solid black.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Thanks the Goblin Formula as applied by the Green Goblin, she has become Monster, essentially a Distaff Counterpart to the Green Goblin himself.
    • And... possibly subverted. She was spying on Osborn while still crazy, but she was cured to an extent in the second annual.
  • Character Shilling: Lot of her appearances consisted of everyone talking about how super awesome she was -even those who had never met her before. If this weren't bad enough, she appeared in an issue titled "The Many Loves Of Spider-Man" before they were even dating. When they finally got together Peter declared it was "the rightest thing in the world" (despite the fact she was dressed up as his ex).
  • Composite Character: Probably not intentionally, but fans have noted a lot of her personality traits are from previous love interests (the Science girl thing is Gwen, the Daddy issues are MJ, the "regular girl" thing is Deb, her being a police contact is Jean Dewolff, her conflict of Peter vs. Spider-Man is Felicia etc.)
  • Depending on the Artist: Due to how frequently she falls victim to this, fans still aren't sure how long or even what color her hair is supposed to be. They seemingly eventually settled on her hair being light brown and kept in a similar fashion to that seen in the picture here, but even then it wasn't 100% consistent.
  • Disappeared Dad: During the Mysterio arc of The Gauntlet, she finds out that her dad was a Dirty Cop who faked his own death.
  • Embarrassing Tattoo: Almost got one of the Green Goblin while drunk. The one she got of Spider-Man subverted this originally, only to play it straight when she found out Peter was Spider-Man and broke up with him.
  • Friend on the Force: She was this to Spider-Man.
  • Fighting from the Inside: As Monster after the Green Goblin sprayed the Goblin Formula on her.
  • Hot Scientist: She is a forensic specialist.
  • Important Haircut: When Carlie learns that her father was not the good cop he was made out to be, she has him arrested. She then cuts her hair and decides to be more assertive in her life.
  • Oblivious to Love: She was not aware that Officer Vin Gonzales, Peter's roommate, had a crush on her.
  • One-Winged Angel: Is transformed into "Monster" by the Goblin King. Also a Face–Monster Turn, or at least Brainwashed and Crazy. She is cured, at least temporarily, in Superior Spider-Man Annual #2.
  • Put on a Bus: At the end of the Superior Spider-Man saga, she leaves New York to recover and resume her career away from Spidey.
  • Remember the New Guy?: A retcon story showed she was best friends with Gwen Stacy and her dad worked with Captain Stacy. This isn't exactly the most consistent either, as Carlie ends up referring to Gwen as "that poor girl" at one point in an impersonal almost unfamiliar way, not by name like you'd expect of a close friend. Then there's that whole "Goblin tattoo" business, which really would have been awkward and inappropriate considering it was both public knowledge that Norman was the Green Goblin and that he killed Gwen.
  • Satellite Love Interest: When first introduced. Later issues attempted to broaden her characterization (albeit a characterization that kind of made her a Composite Character of several former love interests). Averted now that she is A) no longer a love interest and B) the books are mostly focusing on her as a Friend on the Force.
  • Tuckerization: Named after Quesada's daughter.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Breaks up with Peter when she realizes he is Spider-Man and assumes their whole relationship was a lie.

    Michele Gonzales

Debut: The Amazing Spider-Man #592

Michele Gonzales is the older sister of Vin Gonzales who went to represent her brother in court. Later she becomes Peter Parker's roommate and a potential love interest. She is a criminal defense lawyer and is known for her volcanic temper.

  • Derailing Love Interests: She has been mutated into a total bitch and ended up technically raped by Chameleon, just so she could be removed from Peter's "girlfriend material" zone.
  • Hello, Attorney!: She is a criminal defense lawyer and is known for her volcanic temper.
  • Jerkass: Michele just really crossed the line at this, randomly destroying or selling Peter's stuff. Most people, having such a landlady, would seriously consider living under the bridge. Some would even choose it.
  • Kissing Under the Influence: In Amazing Spider-Man issue 601, she and Peter wakes up in bed naked. They apparently had sex after Parker had one too many at his Aunt May's wedding. It's later explained that, as a gag, Michelle kept filling his glass with cider when Peter wasn't looking, so he thought it was wine.


AKA: Cindy Moon
Debut: The Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 3, #1

"My name is Cindy Moon. Intern by day. Super hero by night. Actually, I fight crime by day, too. And I also intern by night—you get the idea. Ten years ago, I got bit by a radioactive spider. See Previous, Re: Super Hero. Shortly after that fateful bite, I was locked inside a windowless bunker. For ten years. I did it to keep my family safe. To keep everyone safe. Safe from jerkstones like Morlun and his family. But now that threat is gone."

During the Original Sin storyline, Spider-Man would be exposed to the energies of the Watcher's eye alongside his fellow heroes. As secrets began to flow into his head, Spider-Man saw that the radioactive spider that bit him managed to bite another before it died—a young female student named Cindy Moon.

After she was bitten by the spider, Cindy's abilities manifested but she was unable to control them. Some time later, Ezekiel Sims would approach the Moon family to offer his help and guide Cindy in controlling her newfound abilities. After six years since getting bit and training to use her powers, Cindy is locked up inside a facility by Ezekiel to protect her and the other "spiders" from Morlun and his family: The Inheritors. But she was later freed by Peter Parker, kicking off Morlun's biggest hunt ever.

For more information on her, please refer to her page.

     Lian Tang

Debut: The Amazing Spider-Man Vol 4 #1

  • Asian and Nerdy: Lian Tang is a Chinese designer at the Shanghai branch of Parker Industries. She co-designed a new Spider-Mobile with Peter Parker.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Despite dating Peter, she disappears after the "Zodiac" arc.
  • Easily Forgiven: She tries to kill Spider-Man using the Spider-Mobile, but is talked down and helps him save Shen Quinghao from Mister Negative. Afterwards she expects to be unceremoniously fired, but Peter explains that if there's one thing he and Spider-Man understand it's that people will go to extreme lengths for family.
  • Loves My Alter Ego: Lian is strongly implied to be in an intimate relationship with Peter, but hates Spider-Man to the point where she offers to kill him for Scorpio.
  • The Mole: She is in league with Scorpio, leader of the Zodiac, providing him Parker Industries' security codes in exchange for medication for her mother, who was sick with cancer.


Debut: Astonishing Tales #6

Barbara 'Bobbi' Morse alias Mockingbird is an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and ex-wife of Hawkeye. In the All-New, All-Different Marvel branding, she helps Spider-Man when they pursue the new Zodiac and they develop a bond.

For more information on her, please refer to her page.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: