open/close all folders
- The reasons as to why Steve Ditko abruptly departed from Marvel have long been subject to legend and rumor, not helped with Ditko being a Reclusive Artist. The most common theory entertained over the years is that Ditko's objectivist beliefs would not allow him to reveal Norman Osborn as being the Green Goblin since he didn't approve of businessmen being bad guysnote . As anyone who has read Ditko's run will note, while Norman Osborn isn't as depraved as he'd later be depicted, he certainly wasn't a good guy either. To the contrary, in the few issues he appeared in Ditko's run, he was consistently depicted as a sinister shady dude. In the issue that formally introduced him, it's explicitly stated that he had Mendel Stromm arrested on trumped-up charges of embezzlement. And in Ditko's final issue, he sicced a mob on Spider-Man while wearing a disguise. Indeed, in the original comics both Norman and Harry Osborn were shown as unsympathetic douchebags, with Harry Osborn in particular being a snob with no redeeming qualities. It was only in the Romita-Lee era, that more sympathetic qualities were given to both characters and the split personality between Norman and Goblin was invented. In any case, as per the Marvel Method, Ditko was the one who designed and plotted the story, which means all the in-panel foreshadowing and villainous portrayal of Osborn was planted by Ditko, as he himself pointed out in one of his few opinions on the matter:Steve Ditko: "Now digest this: I knew from Day One, from the first GG story, who the GG would be. I absolutely knew because I planted him in J. Jonah Jamesons businessman's club...I planted them together in other stories where the GG would not appear in costume...I planted the GGs son (same distinctive hair style) in the college issues for more dramatic involvement and storyline consequences. So how could there be any doubt, dispute, about who the GG had to turn out to be when unmasked?"
- Speaking of Osborn, another reason given for this is that Ditko didn't like the idea of the villain being someone known to Peter, feeling it was too melodramatic and cliché, and that he wanted Green Goblin to be an Unknown Rival to Peter. But during his run on the comic, there were quite a few villains who Peter knew in both their civilian and villain identities. For example, the Big Man turned out to be Frederick Foswell, one of Peter's coworkers at the Daily Bugle. More than that, at the time, Peter Parker had no interactions or meaningful connections to Norman at all, except via One Degree of Separation from J. Jonah Jameson (who was not exactly best pals with Peter in or out of costume). He met Harry Osborn at college at ESU and the two hated each other at the time, and it was Romita who codified their friendship, so in either case, Norman Osborn being revealed as Green Goblin would not really count as someone personally known to Peter.
- There's also a rumor put forth in Jonathan Ross' documentary that Ditko disagreed with sending Peter off the college and that he wanted Spider-Man to stay in high school. The problem is that, as Stan Lee noted in The '60s, most of the issues in the tail-end of Ditko's run, especially the Master-Planner arc (where Pete finally went to college) was entirely plotted by Ditko in line with the Marvel Method. Furthermore, Marvel had averted Comic-Book Time in its early run and didn't embrace it till later, and the idea of keeping Peter in high-school while the Fantastic Four saw Reed and Sue give birth to a baby in the early years, and still exist in a Shared Universe would not have fit the editorial policy at the time.
- Many fans and comics scholars have argued that Ditko and Lee parted because the former was trying to make Spider-Man into an objectivist mouthpiece, and that the latter performed Writer Revolt by going against Ditko's wishes and intentions via his dialogue captions. The often cited example is Issue #38 where Peter wanders through a student protest, that according to legend has Ditko drawing Peter as anti-protest but Lee writing Peter as being in their favor. Anyone who has read the comic can tell you there's no writer revolt, since the protest is basically a silly "marching against yesterday's protest" thing and the joke is about Flash and Harry (still enemies with Peter) mistaking him for a protestor and then calling him a coward for not playing around. Furthermore Ditko in his many (overly long) letters and pamphlets never once claimed that Lee was censoring his politics when it would have been in his favor to say so, and Lee himself was actually fairly apolitical (in one letter declining to offer an opinion on The Vietnam War, and later even temporarily renaming Black Panther into Black Leopard to avoid associations with the party) and he himself in many interviews said that he never understood why Ditko left or cited that as a reason for their split.
Adaptation Induced Misconceptions
- On account of the fairly recent trend of seeing Spider-Man and Peter Parker as a high school hero and so on along with the way adaptations tend to make choices and Setting Update, a lot of fans think of Liz Allan as one of Peter's girlfriends or Love Interest and so on. In fact, Peter and Liz Allan have never once dated in the entire history of the 616 continuity. Peter did have a crush on Liz Allan before he dated Betty Brant and Liz crushed on Peter in turn later on in addition to the fact that Liz and Betty saw each others as rivals, but Liz and Peter Parker never once followed through and dated. In either case, when Peter went to college, Liz was Put on a Bus and returned much later at which point she became a Love Interest and then married Harry Osborn (and later became his widow, and Post-OMD his ex-wife). The trend started in The Spectacular Spider-Man where since the Peter-Betty office romance didn't make sense in a modern setting (originally, Betty was a teenage high-school dropout who worked for a living whereas that doesn't make too much sense in a modern organization), so Liz was used instead and this was followed in Spider-Man: Homecoming, where people claimed source fidelity on account of Liz being Peter's first crush.
- As far as most folks know, Spider-Man's chief superpower is his ability to shoot webs. Unfortunately, this is not among his super powers at all. Webshooting was instead the ability of a device Peter Parker had built for himself. Spider-Man's actual super powers are his ability to cling to walls, his "spider sense", and superhuman strength and agility, which all help leverage the usefulness of the device. It's only in the Spider-Man Trilogy movies that he gained the power to shoot webs naturally, although this did make its way to the comics, briefly.
- On account of Lost in Imitation and Flanderization, many think that Peter Parker is a snarky Sad Clown Kid Hero who will never graduate high school, college or get a real job and is mostly too caught up in his high school crushes and his cool best friend Harry Osborn. What happened in the original 616 continuity is that Peter graduated from high school in Issue #28, entered college after that. Peter was originally a Working-Class Hero rather than a teenage hero. He was snarky and quippy as Spider-Man only, but the original Peter was asocial, came from a Friendless Background and the first girl he dated was a co-worker at the Daily Bugle (Betty Brant) because his difficult home life and impoverishment (a young man who is both a dependent and provider for his Aunt) gave him a grown-up-before-his-time affect. Harry didn't become his friend until years later, and only after a bad first impression, improving when Harry confided in Peter about his difficult relationship with his dad (who Peter just found out was the Green Goblin). The vast majority of Peter Parker's 616 comic run is of an adult post-graduate Peter who is no longer in high school or college, and who until recent Retcon progressed believably from student to college kid to single adult to married man.
- Most adaptations often have Peter's Secret Identity exposed largely because of the Marquee Alter Ego effect (to compensate the actor wearing a full-face covering mask with "face time") and the new Ultimate Spider-Man often have his identity being known to his supporting cast. Peter's also shown to be cavalier about his abilities (i.e. showing off his abilities by fighting, athletics and other means to attract attention). Peter's attempts to come off as older than his age also fails and even common small-time-hoods (like Donald Glover's character in Spider-Man: Homecoming) pick up that he's Just a Kid. In fact, on account of Peter's friendlessness and aloof nature, his secret identity was remarkably well preserved for most of his run and Peter was quite careful about falling Beneath Suspicion. The Green Goblin unearthed his identity, albeit by means of Sinister Surveillance and nullifying Peter's Spider-Sense and his first reaction on finding out was bafflement that his Arch-Enemy was a teenager rather than the adult he had assumed. For most of Spider-Man's history it was only villains (namely the two Goblins) who knew his secret, and a Retcon had Mary-Jane revealed as a Secret Secret-Keeper note , but Peter was quite competent about hiding his identity. Compare that to Ultimate Spider-Man where everyone knows his identity and it's often seen as easy to decipher and in recent movie versions, Peter often has a confidant with whom he shares his secret, when one of the things that made him original was that unlike Batman and Superman (who had Alfred, Robin and Pa and Ma Kent), Peter was incredibly isolated, lonely and independent.
- On account of the fact that Spider-Man is Marvel's company mascot and globally a superhero whose fame and Pop-Cultural Osmosis rivals the big two of DC - Superman and Batman - the fact that Spider-Man is a street-level Small Steps Hero wasn't commonly disseminated among the general population at least until the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Unlike Batman and Superman who are in their own shared continuity as famous and renowned as they are in the real world, Spider-Man is the Unpopular Popular Character with a mixed reputation within the superhero continuity. Reed Richards' first impression of Spider-Mannote was marking him down as a potential supervillain. His personality, as a constantly quipping, trash-talker doesn't endear him among his allies (with the exception of Captain America, another Working-Class Hero from New York who's on the modest side as far as super strength goes but actually gets to do "save the world" stuff) , while others found his insect theme creepy. Spider-Man's stories were always local in scale, and he never really gets to "save the world" or so on, doing decently but poorly against Marvel's series-wide villains like Doctor Doom and Thanos.
- On the flip-side, the idea of Spider-Man as the ultimate "Street Level" hero — a Fragile Speedster who while formidable to a normal, is on the low end of the scale for superhumans in general as he is relegated to fighting street level crimes, and on multiple occasions he's gotten his ass handed to him by Badass Normals. While the latter part is technically true, Spider-Man in the comics is much, much more powerful than a non-comic reader might think. True, he's not the strongest physically in the Marvel Universe, but he's still pretty damn strong considering he can land a 200,000 pound plane all by himself, and combine that with speed, reflexes and agility being quite possibly the greatest outside of speedsters, not to mention his spider sense that gives him a massive advantage in combat, and this combination is unbeatable to many when the gloves are off. The part where he has trouble with low-level characters? It's actually due to being Willfully Weak, as he refuses to kill anyone.
To put in perspective, The Kingpin has given Spider-Man trouble numerous times in combat. But when Aunt May was shot and nearly killed, he completely loses it and gives Kingpin an effortless and savage beatdown before telling the broken and battered Kingpin that if May dies, so will he — in a What If? where Aunt May died, he tore out Kingpin's heart with his bare hands. Furthermore, he's beaten Wolverine (effortlessly at that) for making insensitive remarks at Mary Jane. In the first Secret Wars he outfought the entire X-Men, and gave Titania such a vicious beating that she avoided coming into contact with him for years. For the record, Titania is as strong as She-Hulk. Finally, he beat Firelord, a character tougher than Thor, when he cut loose and the other Avengers had to stop him from accidentally killing the guynote . In the 2010s, when Otto Octavius had control of his body, an iconic moment was when he punched Scorpion (a standard and often considered dangerous member of Spider-Man's rogues) hard enough to break his jaw off, and this was by accident. Even Octavius himself was absolutely shocked by how strong he was. To say that Spider-Man is weak would be underselling his abilities. It's not that he's a weak character, it's that he's so Afraid of Their Own Strength that he usually only operates at a fraction of his full power.
- Venom, or Eddie Brock, is Spider-Man's Arch-Enemy, and his Evil Counterpart that will stop at nothing to get his revenge on Peter for humiliating him and getting him fired, who vows to kill Spider-Man once and for all, right? Many would be surprised to learn that (similar to Magneto below), Venom hasn't actually been a consistent villain since the early '90s. He's largely outgrown the "villain" aspect of his character, and has developed into an Anti-Hero (albeit a rather violent one). In fact, he's probably teamed up with Spidey against threats like Carnage more often than he's gone against him at this point. While Venom has gone against Spider-Man since, those are almost always different Venoms, and not Eddie Brock.
- On the topic of Venom, it's commonly thought that Venom's power is just that of Spider-Man but enhanced. It seems that way, but in reality, Venom mimics Spider-Man's powers via the use of Voluntary Shapeshifting, with the Symbiote acting as a Swiss-Army Superpower that lets him regrow limbs, increase his size, create appendages, form makeshift weapons, and even grow wings and fly (as he later learned shapeshifting has a wide variety of uses). The use of webs are extensions of that shapeshifting, not an actual true form of Spider-Man's powers. It's not quite accurate to say that Venom has Spider-Man's power set but enhanced, just that he uses it in a similar way that's still distinct from Spidey.
- The Klyntar are not an Always Chaotic Evil race hellbent on destruction. In actuality, they're a peaceful race that happen to be Creepy Good and don't seek conflict with others. It was established during Donny Cates' Venom that they originally were Always Chaotic Evil, but that was only because they were a hive mind controlled by Knull to conquer other worlds, and after breaking free they rebelled and overthrew him. In fact, they are actively ashamed of their dark origins (not unlike how people of real world nations would be ashamed of their ancestors' war crimes) and set out to establish peace across the universe as atonement. To be fair, this tends to get lost by the fact that the many of the Klyntar we do see are corrupted and often serve a villainous role. The symbiote that affected Spider-Man, and later Venom, was corrupted by Eddie Brock's mutual hatred for Spider-Man, while the Carnage symbiote was the "offspring" of the Venom symbiote (and thus had no ties to its origin) that bonded with the Ax-Crazy Kletus Cassidy. Also not helping is that the Klyntar are the only race that Spider-Man is a Fantastic Racist to, precisely due to his bad experiences with them, and he firmly believes this as well to the point where he's willing to kill any on sight.
- Spider-Woman aka Jessica Drew is often thought of as being a Spidey-associated character, or even his Distaff Counterpart. It's in the name, right? Actually, they've historically had little to do with each other, and in fact their origins are completely separate with zero overlap (Spider-Man was bit by a radioactive spider in New York City, Spider-Woman was genetically re-engineered in Europe by her scientist father trying to cure her illness). Stan Lee created her initially as an Ashcan Copy to check DC and other companies from using the spider-suffix to add to their characters, as a move to protect the Marvel brand and ensure that all of Spider-Man's possible legacy characters remained in Marvel hands, so he didn't put a lot of thought in tying her to Peter's story aside from having a similar name. Whereas Spider-Man is a super strong, agile fighter with super senses and special web shooters, Spider-Woman is a Flying Firepower type of character who is considerably weaker in terms of physical strength, and manipulates bio-electricity to achieve Flight, energy blasts and can manipulate pheromones. Though she's crossed over with Spider-Man in the past, she's a much more separate entity that's actually closer to Carol Danvers as her best friend. It'd be more accurate to call Anya Corazón, Silk or Spider-Gwen as this trope than Jessica Drew. In fairness, the Ultimate Marvel version did portray her like this, being an Opposite-Sex Clone of Peter Parker and having a much closer power set to Spider-Man than her mainstream counterpart version. This is complicated by the trademark and licensing involved with the various Spider-Women (Jessica Drew and Julia Carpenter in particular), as they often tend to be grouped into the Spider-Man license in things like merchandise (for instance, the Marvel Legends Julia Carpenter figure was included in the Spider-Man: Far From Home wave) and even film. Case in point: the infamous Sony hack revealed that Sony and Marvel Studios share the cinematic rights to the Spider-Women, and that while Marvel could potentially use Jessica Drew in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they legally cannot have her wear her iconic costume or actually use any spider-related powers without Sony's permission.
- Spidey is often thought of as someone who sticks mainly to their corner of the Marvel Universe, with him often being the lone hero and focus of any given story, and as such he shines best when working alone. As in the case of the X-Men below, the main reason this is so, is because for the longest time he was far more popular and beloved than the likes of Avengers, Iron Man et al, and there was no fan-demand and editorial interest in making him more integrated, and indeed it was in their interests to keep Spider-Man apart. However, even though he does occupy a major corner of his own in the verse, Spidey is actually quite active with other heroes within his books and without. While Spidey does have a corner of his own, that doesn't mean he's strictly defined by it and his titles remains a major pillar of the broader Marvel Universe.
- For example, the famous Maximum Carnage storyline had him teaming up with a whole host of heroes to take on Carnage and the other villains, all of whom survived the aftermath. It was also Marvel's biggest selling event title until Civil War (in which he also played a significant role). He's helped out many different teams, even if he wasn't officially a member, such as the Power Pack, the New Warriors, X-Men (even having a stint as a teacher at the Jean Grey School of Higher Learning, despite not being a mutant), the Avengers (as both a reserve and full-fledged member), and the Future Foundation (where he took the place of Johnny Storm as a core member, at Storm's own request in the Video Will after his "death" precisely because Spidey was always so close to them). In fact, he headlined his own series called Marvel Team-Up for a whopping thirteen years, where he'd team up with a different character in each issue.
- The Punisher made his debut in Amazing Spider-Man's series as a villain before becoming a successful spin-off character. Monica Rambeau also made her debut in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16, while Cloak & Dagger showed up in the pages of The Spectacular Spider-Man and more recently, Jessica Jones was inserted into the MU as a former classmate of Peter's from high school. Characters from other stories have a tendency to drop in on his comics, and the reverse is also true. He's teamed up with Daredevil, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Moon Knight, Prowler, and much more, and he's had a pretty longstanding friendship with Johnny Storm and an association with the Fantastic Four that goes way back to his first issues and Doctor Doom first showed up outside the pages of Fantastic Four in the pages of ASM with Spider-Man essentially launching Victor's career as a Marvel-wide villain.
- Furthermore, many of Spider-Man's supporting characters have had ties and connections to the broader Marvel verse. J. Jonah Jameson as head of the Daily Bugle often showed up in several Daredevil comics since Ben Urich, star-reporter of that paper is a key Daredevil supporting character, and Phil Sheldon star of Marvels also worked for the Bugle. Liz Allan, Spider-Man's old high school friend, during the period when she was a widow of Harry Osborn, dated Foggy Nelson, Daredevil's closest friend and law partner. Jameson also appears in many other stories, and his son John Jameson used to be part of Captain America's supporting cast. More recently, Flash Thompson, Peter's old bully turned friend, broke out as Agent Venom and appeared in many wider crossover events and was even a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Mary Jane Watson likewise has made many cameos in other Marvel titles and events, and was originally Carol Danvers major supporting character in her first three issues, and more recently, joined Stark Industries as Tony's PA in which capacity she made many significant appearances in the Iron Man books and other titles in which Tony crossed over.
- Spidey's extensive cast of villains have also made their presence felt in the wider universe. Rhino has tangled with the Hulk so much that it's shared custody, Kraven has menaced Hulk and Black Panther, Kingpin started as a Spider-Man villain before becoming Daredevil's Arch-Enemy, rogues Electro and Mysterio have also fought DD (the former even being his first supervillain encounter), Sandman spent ten years fighting the Fantastic Four after his Spider-Man debut and in the '90s he actually joined the Avengers after having a HeelFace Turn (for a while, anyways), the Masters of Evil (enemies of the Avengers) have in fact included Spider-Man villains among the roster (notably one iteration was led by Doctor Octopus), and more recently the Shocker even became a rogue to Breakout Character Kamala Khan. However, none of this can compare to the example below.
- Spidey's Arch-Enemy Norman Osborn (aka the Green Goblin) was built up for over a decade as the Big Bad of the Earth part of the wide Marvel Universe from the mid-'00s to the mid-'10s. During this time, Osborn menaced just about everyone he came across, both directly and indirectly, and he spun off the pages of Spider-Man. In fact, he was even played up as the Shadow Archetype of both Iron Man and Captain America, his Iron Patriot armor reflecting both of them.
Spider-Man and Mary Jane
- It's often thought that Mary Jane is the only target of Peter's affection and is the first and foremost love-interest. The truth is a little more complicated since it took a while (i.e first ten years of Spider-Man's publication history) for her to become his most iconic and enduring love-interest. Before Peter and MJ first met, Peter had a lengthy relationship with Betty Brant (who is his first girlfriend, and also his first friend period), and also had one or two dates with Liz Allan (albeit more as friends, and they never actually dated though Liz had a huge crush on him which she only confessed on graduation day while admitting it was too late) and Peter then went to college and met Gwen Stacy, all before Mary Jane's first appearance. What complicates this even more is that during Lee-Ditko Spider-Man, Mary Jane was repeatedly hyped and set-up as a major character before her first appearance, with Aunt May saying in the first issue she was mentioned (ASM #15) that she would make a good wife for Peter, then in ASM #25, she appeared (with her face obscured) and Liz Allan, Betty Brant, and Flash Thompson who glimpsed her while Peter was fighting the Spider-Slayer confirmed that she was beautiful beyond belief. So a number of readers were primed to see Mary Jane, before her appearance, as Peter's "one". However, when Ditko left and Romita appeared, Stan Lee wrapped up all loose threads from his run (such as the Goblin mystery) and he felt that the Mary Jane tease had run dry, and sought to make Gwen Stacy (established in Ditko's run as an Alpha Bitch sneering type) into Peter's major girlfriend (with a major change in characterization as a result), and when Mary Jane finally appeared, Stan Lee intended her as a Foil for Gwen, the "bad girl" to Gwen's "good girl" and that Gwen would be the permanent Official Couple with Peter, but fan reception was rather tepid with Gwen being overshadowed by MJ, much to Stan's bemusement. When Gerry Conway took over, he (along with John Romita Sr. the de-facto editor of Spider-Man titles) decided that it'd be best to kill Gwen off to shake the status quo, keep Peter's identity in check, and move the more popular Mary Jane to the forefront. The result was the iconic The Night Gwen Stacy Died storyline that changed comics forever. It was only after this did Mary Jane's enduring relationship and eventual marriage with Peter Parker become a thing.
- On the other end, some fans tend to think that Mary Jane's popularity is solely due to Spider-Man Trilogy when she was consistently popular and publicly exposed far more than any other love interest or supporting characters. A good example of how unpopular Gwen was vis-a-vis MJ is the fact that Spider-Man's first adaptation, Spider-Man (1967) feature MJ who appeared in the third season (airing in 1970) as Captain Stacy's niece (i.e. hijacking parts of Gwen character). This happened when Gwen was still alive in the comics (and Gwen never appeared in the 1967 cartoon or indeed any cartoon until the AU version of her in the final season of the Fox Cartoon). Likewise, during The '70s, MJ appeared and cameo'd in other titles such as the opening issues of Carol Danvers's Ms. Marvel series and in Marvel Team-Up (where she was a host for Red Sonja in an issue written by Chris Claremont). She also appeared alongside Jameson in Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man a massive intercompany crossover open and popular among non-comics and non-marvel readers and in Hostess Cakes commercials. Even Stan Lee when he launched, in 1977, ''The Spider-Man Newspaper Strip quickly made Mary Jane the main recurring love interest and never even introduced Gwen, and in The '80s decided to get them married, and indeed always recommended Marvel editors and writers and producers (such as John Semper, the producer of the Fox Spider-Man cartoon), to make Mary Jane the first and major Love Interest.
- Also, there's this idea of Mary Jane being a Damsel in Distress for Spider-Man to always save. Spider-Man (PS4) often received praise for making her proactive and and not being completely helpless. Like the above, this idea came from the Raimi Trilogy where she became an Adaptational Wimp, and naturally that's the best known portrayal of her. MJ has always been a major help to Spider-Man, even if she isn't a superhero combatant, making it even more impressive. All while getting kidnapped far, far less. And being able to get herself out of trouble even then. In a humorous twist, one of the few points of praise for the contentious The Amazing Spider-Man Series was that the aforementioned Gwen Stacy is so much better than Mary Jane, but that's because she was a Composite Character who had many of MJ's comic book traits. The likable aspects of her in the movies right up to not being a Damsel Scrappy are actually closer to MJ's portrayal in the comics.
- To justify One More Day Joe Quesada and other writers have claimed that Spider-Man's marriage to Mary-Jane was an editorially driven stunt arbitrarily imposed on the continuity, so that justifies them doing it similarly. While this is true in broad terms, the context is different. Then editor Jim Shooter had no great desire to get Spider-Man and Mary-Jane hitched, and the entire plan was spontaneously formed when Shooter and Stan Lee attended a convention and in response to fan questions and fan reaction, as well as the press picking up on it, they decided to do it and Lee, who wasn't even involved in Marvel's day-to-day work wasn't even Shooter's boss had no authority to impose it. So while it was a stunt, specifically to generate synergy between the newspaper strip and the comic, it was something that came as a result of public feedback and popular reception as opposed to One More Day which was a several-years-in-the-making editorial maneuvering that was heavily disliked by fans and widely criticized by everyone. More than Spider-Man's then running line-editors — Jim Salicrup and Danny Fingeroth — both at the time and after that approved and welcomed the marriage and felt it was right for the story. Other writers at the time, Peter David and J. M. DeMatteis also welcomed it, while David Michelinie (who was signed on to write Amazing Spider-Man) was initially skeptical and reluctant but ultimately came to embrace the change. Marvel's Editor-In-Chief, Tom Defalco who took over from Jim Shooter after his firing, also approved of the marriage and supported it in his tenure as EIC. In other words, it was a decision that was fairly supported consensually at the time.
- Many people have claimed that Peter's marriage to Mary Jane Watson, a hot supermodel, is too unrealistic or reeks of Wish Fulfillment. This has been repeated by editors and others who feel that Peter can't be relatable as The Everyman as long as he's married to her. There are many problems with this:
- Peter in the Lee-Ditko era still pined for really attractive girls (Liz Allan, Betty Brant). Despite being awkward and nerdy in Amazing Fantasy #15, during the Steve Ditko run, as a result of real-time aging, he became Progressively Prettier, he stopped wearing glasses, got muscled and his handsome features stood out. Likewise, when Peter went to college on scholarship, Gwen Stacy, in her Early Installment Weirdness phase (a.k.a. Liz Allan Alpha Bitch beauty queen) started having the hots for him albeit this was because Peter didn't give her the time of day like everyone else did. In other words, Peter was always a Hollywood Nerd (like almost any nerd in fiction, since true nerds who remain nerds almost never rise above the Sidekick Glass Ceiling or get past being Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist, which Spider-Man has never been) and what made him everyman like was being poor, misunderstood, and unlucky. Likewise, after Steve Ditko left, John Romita took over, and having a romance background, he made Peter much more muscular and gave him a handsome face (that has become the default Peter Parker look) and in that context the fact that Peter could have MJ and Gwen lust for him was believable.
- Moreso than that, MJ only became a supermodel much much later, and within the comics in the years of their marriage, both of them struggled with problems with their respective careers (since surprising as this is for some people, modelling is a career with its own ups and downs and issues, especially being a model and an actress since it's a career that plateaus very early). What set MJ apart was that she was the only member of Peter's gang who didn't go to college, who worked for a living, and the true part of her appeal, and buildup, was that she, alone among Peter's girlfriends, shared his working-class origins and was not only a romantic partner but his Foil. Mary-Jane owed her popularity to the fact, that she was a much bigger hit with the changing tastes of the public as a young extroverted girl who was pretty sexy but also quite funny, witty, and charismatic, making her the Spotlight-Stealing Squad among Peter's own supporting cast, and several times more popular than a few of Marvel's superheroines.
- More than that, Peter Parker didn't love MJ for her looks nor did their relationship even remotely resemble the idea of loner nerd falling for hot girl (popularized in Spider-Man Trilogy which ran with it). After finally going on the blind date set up by Aunt May that he had dodged for the entire early issues, Peter and MJ became friends, but he saw her as a flighty and irresponsible and generally someone incapable of being serious and he was never really attracted to her romantically until after Gwen Stacy died. His underestimating of MJ, and the latter not opening up to him and being commitment-phobic, underpinned the famous final panels of The Night Gwen Stacy Died which started their real relationship, and later they went on-again and off-again before the issue where she revealed that she knew his identity all along, led to their marriage.
- Everyone knows Eugene "Flash" Thompson is the ultimate Jerk Jock bully who torments Peter before he became Spider-Man, and after Peter got his powers he usually gets his ass kicked in some way and/or humiliated before he eventually goes out of focus. Basically just an obstacle for Peter to overcome. While teenage Flash being a Jerk Jock is true, this stems from the first few years of the comic books. Afterwards, he joined the army, matured considerably upon his return, and is often a Jerk with a Heart of Gold at worst. Many would be even more surprised to learn that for most of his history, Flash has actually been one of Peter's best friends (even being the best man at his wedding!). Even his status as a Jerk Jock was given a sympathetic writing, as it was revealed that his own father was an abusive alcoholic. Eventually, Flash would become a heroic Venom as Agent Venom and even served as a member of the freaking Avengers. Like many examples, this is due to adaptations creating this confusion. Since most people are introduced to Flash in a high school context, often through another medium, Flash is usually just an antagonist to Peter and nothing more, giving a lot of people this impression.
- It's commonly thought that the Earth-65 version of Gwen Stacy, where she's the spider superhero and Peter is the one who dies, is codenamed Spider-Gwen. This is the title of the book, but not her name. This confusion is so significant, it deserves mention here. It'd be a pretty bad name to use, seeing as how she maintains a Secret Identity. In reality, she was for a long time the universe's version of Spider-Woman. Considering she shares her codename with 616's Jessica Drew (and Julia Carpenter), and the idea of Spider-Gwen being popular even before the series officially became a thing (this following Emma Stone's acclaimed performance in The Amazing Spider-Man Series), this was emphasized more for clarity and avoiding potential confusion, especially since Drew also had an ongoing at the time. However, this created a different kind of confusion, and it goes further than that — many adaptations, video games in particular, referred to her as Spider-Gwen. Thus, many fans and non-fans alike refer to her as such, giving many the impression that this is her name. This was the main reason why Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors gave her an Adaptation Name Change to Ghost-Spider, in order to avoid confusion with Drew. This actually became a Ret-Canon that made its way to the comics themselves and Ghost-Spider became her new codename. Furthermore, it seems Marvel is making a point to end the confusion once and for all, as her 2019 series that sees her becoming a Canon Immigrant to Earth-616, is officially titled Ghost-Spider with no trace of Spider-Gwen to be seen.
- Everyone knows "With great power, Comes Great Responsibility" is a line from Uncle Ben given to the young Peter Parker before he became Spider-Man after his death. While the line is said by him in many adaptations, it was not used in the original comics — it wasn't actually by a character at all, but rather the closing caption of Amazing Fantasy #15, Spider-Man's first appearance. In the actual solo series, in the early issues, Peter certainly didn't invoke it as any real motto or slogan, nor did he dwell greatly on Uncle Ben's passing until later issues.
- Gwen Stacy's death is often seen as noted by Bob Chipman in his comics lore videos as "Spider-Man's second origin story" one which made him distance himself from relationships out of fears for the safety of his loved ones. In actual fact, Peter never did such a thing. Immediately after Gwen's death, Peter fell in love with Mary Jane, and after they broke up for the first time, he had some dead-end relationships with rebound girls, before falling in with Felicia Hardy. In fact Peter is almost never really "single" for a great deal of time. Much of this seems to be based on Audience-Coloring Adaptation from the end of the first Spider-Man where Peter backs away from MJ after she returns his affections but that is an invention of the film, whereas Peter in the comics never was or never considered becoming any kind of Celibate Hero where despite setbacks, he is essentially optimistic that somehow he will do better next time and make things work somehow in his next relationship.
- In the early days, La Prensa reprinted the Spider-Man comics in Mexico, in Spanish. It was a huge sucess so they started printing at a higher pace than Marvel's own publication speed (2 issues a month instead of 1), but to keep up with that they asked Marvel permission to create their own Spider-Man comics as well. Marvel greenlighted the Mexican artist Jose Luis Duran, and gave him full creative freedom. The Night Gwen Stacy Died took place, but in Mexico, we had a comic where Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy got married! But no, contrary to popular belief they did not took advantage of the deal to ignore the event and make a Fix Fic of sorts. The episode of the marriage was actually All Just a Dream, and they did not publish the death of Gwen simply because they were still behind schedule and got out of business before getting to that point.