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Spider-Man (Peter Parker) is a comic book superhero in the Marvel Comics universe. He was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, and first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962).

Spider-Man is the quintessential Marvel character. Despite being blessed by powers and abilities he is beset by the travails and problems of ordinary life as well. His power gives him the ability to do good but does not allow him to improve his lot in life. The main theme of the Spider-Man series is: "With great power comes great responsibility."

Spider-Man is tremendously popular, having appeared in many different comic book series (most notably The Amazing Spider-Man), as well as films, television shows, animated series, and a comic strip.

Table of contents
1 Character History
2 Adaptations
3 Vital Statistics

Character History

Peter Parker was born to Richard Parker and his wife Mary Fitzpatrick-Parker, both of whom were agents of the CIA and later of S.H.I.E.L.D (a fictional secret agency). Their last assignment was the infiltration as double-agents of the organization of Albert Malik, who had taken on the name of Red Skull in the absence of the original. Albert found out about their plans and arranged a plane-crash that resulted in their deaths.

After his parents' death the infant Peter Parker was left in the care of his Uncle Ben and Aunt May (Richard's older brother Benjamin Parker and his wife May Reilly-Parker), who were both in the Forest Hills neighborhood of Queens, New York City. Ben immediately took to the role of the boy's father but May was at first reluctant. She still remembered her parents blaming her own birth for the destruction of their marriage, and she was afraid that Peter might signal the end of her own marriage. In time, however, she warmed up to Peter, who unexpectedly strengthened the couple's marriage. Though Peter was always loved by the aging couple he was unpopular among those of his own age. Over time he grew to be a rather lonely, timid teenager who showed more interest in his studies andscience in general than in any kind of social life. He was often the target of jokes by more popular fellow students like Eugene "Flash" Thompson, the high-school's star athlete.

When he was 16 years old, while attending a science exhibit Parker was bitten by a spider which had been irradiated. The spider bite gave Parker an array of superhuman powers including the proportional speed, strength and agility of a spider, a so-called "spider-sense" that would warn him of impending danger, a fast healing ability that allows him to quickly recover from injuries and poisons, and the ability to stick to walls. A lesser effect was the improvement of his eyesight. Originally near-sighted and bespectacled, he now has perfect vision.

In addition to his physical powers, Parker used his knowledge of the sciences to build mechanical web shooters which allow him to spin the webs Spider-Man uses in a variety of ways. Spider-Man uses his webs to travel through the cavernous chasms between the Manhattan high-rises by swinging between them, to ensnare criminals, and to form protective shields or nets. Later, he also developed small electronic "spider-tracers" which allow him to track objects or individuals.

Initially, Parker designed a costume and adopted the identity of Spider-Man in order to become a celebrity and gain a lot of money. His ego grew with his initial fame, however, and when an opportunity to stop a thief presented itself, Parker chose to do nothing, feeling he no longer had to look after anyone but himself. Upon learning that his beloved Uncle Ben had been killed by a burglar, Parker charged into action as Spider-Man. To his horror he learned that the burglar who had killed his Uncle Ben was the same thief he had earlier allowed to escape. Thereafter he devoted himself to fighting injustice in memory of his uncle and the sense of responsibility he instilled in him. Though the death of a loved one is a commonplace motive for crime-fighting in comics, Spider-Man is driven by guilt rather than revenge.

Although Spider-Man eternally tries to do the right thing he is viewed with suspicion by a number of authority figures and is often considered little more than a lawbreaker himself. Much of this negative publicity is the result of a smear campaign by J. Jonah Jameson, publisher of the daily newspaper the Daily Bugle. Ironically, Parker works as a freelance photographer for Jameson, selling photographs of himself as Spider-Man.

As originally conceived by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, Parker was something of an everyman character. However, as with many characters spanning a lengthy publishing history and handled by multiple creators, Spider-Man's history is somewhat convoluted. He continued working as a freelance photographer for the Daily Bugle and living with his elderly and somewhat fragile Aunt May until he graduated from high school. He enrolled in the fictional Empire State University where he befriended Harry Osborn, who was in fact the son of his arch-enemy the Green Goblin, and Gwen Stacy, with whom he would have a lengthy romance.

Stacy was eventually killed by the Green Goblin, who himself seemingly died soon thereafter in battle with Spider-Man. Parker eventually wed long-time friend, Mary Jane Watson, an occasional fashion model and actress. His marriage did not overly affect his career as a crime-fighter, and the stresses of his dual identity coupled with Mary Jane's tempestuous career as a model/actress and capricious editorial mandates led to the two separating. However, the two later reconciled.

Currently, Parker is employed as a science teacher at his old high school, living in a Manhattan apartment, and receiving the occasional visit from his Aunt May(who was at one point thought dead--but the elderly woman who died turned outto be an actress who impersonated her). She has finally learned the truth about her nephew's secret identity.

Spider-Man is one of the few characters in comics with a well-known list of enemies (his "Rogues' Gallery"). Among the most infamous supervillains he encounters regularly are:


Spider-Man has been adapted to television numerous times, through a short-lived live-action television series and several animated cartoon series. The first was produced in 1967 by Lawrence-Grantray Productions, which soon went bankrupt. In 1968, animator Ralph Bakshi took over. Bakshi's episodes, while suffering from extremely low budgets, were stylized and featured dark ominous settings and pervasive background music. The series may be best remembered for its theme song. Spider-Man was voiced originally by Bernard Cowan and later by Paul Soles.

Spider-Man was also an occasional character in the children's educational show The Electric Company.

In 1980, with the creation of the animation studio Marvel Productions Ltd., Marvel endeavored to translate more of their comic characters to television. Towards this end the cartoon series Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends was created featuring Spider-Man, Iceman of the X-Men, and a new character,Firestar. Actor Dan Gilvezan gave voice to this incarnation of the wall-crawler.In the early 1990s, another successful series was made with a bigger budget and closer fidelity to the comics. In 2002, another animated television series adaptation, this time with computer animation was produced by Mainframe Entertainment and broadcast on MTV.

In May 2002, the film Spider-Man was released. It was directed by Sam Raimi and starred actor Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker. The film featured a number of impressive CGI effects to bring Spider-Man himself to life. Though the film adaptation took a number of liberties with the character's history, it was essentially true to the character and was widely embraced by the viewing public. Earning over $430 million in domestic box office revenue, it was the highest-grossing movie of the year, outperforming Star Wars: Attack of the Clones (the first time a Star Wars movie was not the biggest box-office hit of the year).

Vital Statistics