Please note that this article is about the very first Spider-Man from Amazing Fantasy #15. For alternative versions of this character, click here.
"You can live every day of your life trying to think of something more profound or more on the nose... but for us, for people like us, who suddenly find themselves looking out at a crazy world and not knowing what the hell we're supposed to be doing in it... I can tell you that just remembering that with great power comes great responsibility... can completely define you."
— Peter Parker
Peter Benjamin Parker (of Earth-616), also known by his superhero alter-ego Spider-Man, is a fictional comic book character who has appeared in all forms of Spider-Man media, and other comic book series published by Marvel Comics.
Peter Parker was orphaned at the age of six when hisparents were killed in an airplane crash overseas. He went to live with his uncle and aunt, Ben and May Parker, in Forest Hills, New York. Peter was extremely bright and became a honors student at Midtown High School. Peter's shyness and scholastic interest often made him a social outcast, being overshadowed by the likes of highschool bully, Flash Thompson.
While attending a public exhibition demonstrating the safe handling of nuclear laboratory waste materials, sponsored by the General Techtronics Corporation, Peter was bitten by a spider that had been irradiated by a particle accelerator used in the demonstration. Making his way home afterwards, Peter discovered he had somehow gained incredible strength, agility, and the ability to cling to walls; spider-like traits that he immediately associated with the spider bite.
After seeing an ad offering a cash prize to anyone who could last three minutes in the ring with a professional wrestler, Peter decided this would be the perfect way to test his powers. Wearing a mask to avoid potential embarrassment, Peter easily defeated his opponent. A telvision producer observed his performance and convinced him to go on television with his 'act.' After designing a red and blue costume and some wrist-mounted web-spinners, Peter appeared on the show calling himself Spider-Man and became an immediate sensation.
Following his first television appearance, Peter failed to stop an escaping thief, claiming that it was not his responsibility to do so. Peter forgot the incident as his fame rose, but one night he returned home to discover that his Uncle Ben had been murdered while trying to stop a burglar.
Learning the police had the burglar responsible holed up in a warehouse, Peter donned in his Spider-Man costume and went to avenge his uncle. After cornering the criminal in the warehouse, Peter unmasked the robber, only to find it was the same man who he let escape earlier. After knocking the criminal out and lowering him to policeman via webline, Peter returned home and thought about how he could've stopped the man when he had the opportunity.
Filled with remorse, he realized that with power comes responsibility. Peter eventually found himself consumed by the concept of adventure and heroism. That, along with the lesson in responsibility that was recently drilled into his head, inspired him to take that fateful step into the shoes of heroism.
With the choice to become a hero, thought it was a good idea to join the Fantastic Four because he thought they were paid for their deeds.
As Spider-Man, Peter gave up a good portion of his own personal life. He had less time to spend with his family and friends, and as a result, less time was devoted to his school work. During this time, Peter's grades began to suffer, as did his relationships with others.
However, the one person who found him to be a "swell fellow" was Betty Brant of the Daily Bugle. Peter met her on one of his first visits to the Bugle, where he was introduced to her and Spider-Man's number one critic, J. Jonah Jameson.
Her boss was determined to make Spider-Man public enemy #1, unaware of the fact that Spider-Man and Peter Parker were one and the same. Betty and Peter developed an almost instant connection with one another, and soon started a relationship with one another that did not last long.
During this time, Peter would meet some of his infamous foes as Spider-Man. He would face and defeat the likes of Doctor Octopus, Electro, Kraven the Hunter, Mysterio, Sandman, the Green Goblin, Scorpion and Vulture. One day, Doctor Octopus would bring together six of them in a new supervillian group called the "Sinister Six" and kidnap Aunt May and Betty Brant to end Spider-Man's life once and all, but didn't work since Spider-Man picked them off one by one. A man named Spencer Smythe would help J. Jonah Jameson in trying to defeat Spider-Man by building a "Spider-Slayer" robot with Jonah's face on the robot.
Spider-Man would also meet Daredevil and team-up with the Fantastic Four's Human Torch from time to time to fight crime.
Peter evenually graduated from Midtown High School and enrolled at Empire State University with a science scholarship. Also, Peter would finally meet Mary Jane Watson, someone that eluded him for so long. After becoming friends, Mary Jane would start to date Harry Osborn. At ESU he met new classmates, Harry Osborn and Gwen Stacy. Even though he got off to a bad start with Harry, The two eventually warmed up to each other. Peter showed an interest in Gwen and started to date her. Peter also made amends with his ex-school bully, Flash Thompson who was drafted to the army, but came back for visit every now and gain.
Meanwhile, the Green Goblin starts to come up with a plan to discover Spider-Man's secret identity and reveal it to the entire world after upgrading his flying broomstick to a glider. The Green Goblin devised a plan to have some goons release a gas that would weaken Spider-Man's spider-sense that would allow the Green Goblin to follow Spider-Man find out who he was.
After a successful plan via a rooftop battle, Goblin stalked Spider-Man to an alleyway and discovers that Peter Parker and Spider-Man were the same person, and was surprised that a mere "kid" was the one taking him down all the time.
Green Goblin then kidnaps Peter after a battle where Peter lost. After tieing Peter up in his Spider-Man costume, Norman Osborn unmasked himself as the Green Goblin and Harry's father all along. After Peter got loose during Norman's speech, a battle started between the two of them where Norman ended up suffering trauma to his head and forgot he was the Green Goblin and Spider-Man's secret identity.
After Norman's unmasking, Spider-Man fought new foes such as the the Rhino (a man named Aleksei Sytsevich in a Rhino like suit) who kidnapped John Jameson, with Spider-Man coming to save the day. Also, a man named Herman Schultz who dubbed himself as the “Shocker” used shock wave gauntlets to commit crimes. Both became crime commiters that Spider-Man defeated regularly.
Peter eventually started wondering if he may be better off not being a normal civilian and leaving behind his Spider-Man costume and crime fighting, since no one seemed to appreciate the good deeds Spider-Man did. After much thinking, a man named Wilson Fisk known as the Kingpin, abducted J. J. Jameson. Peter decided it was his responsibility to be a hero for any and everyone, no matter what people said about Spider-Man and saved J. Jonah Jameson.
A mystic object called the Tablet of Life and Time, that was in Peter's college at the time, was taken by Kingpin. After being in the possession of many people, the Tablet got to the Maggia boss, Silvermane, who forced Curt Connors to translate the tablet’s ancient writings. Connors was also forced to create a powerful youth serum from it for Silvermane. After Silvermane drank the serum, it appeared to work and he became a young man again. However, the serum made Silvermane's body to degenerate pass a human’s baby stage. After this, Connors turned into the Lizard again and escaped. Spider-Man then teamed up with the Human Torch to take him down.
Spider-Man also meets the Prowler and a new costumed Black Widow, people who he would meet and clash with regularly in the future.
Another version of the Spider-Slayer would come about in the form of a "Mark II" with J. Jonah's face on the robot that Spider-Man once again defeated.
Using his mental sync with his tenticles, Doc Ock controlled his tenticles from prison to free him. They freed him and he started to hijack a plane. Spider-Man prevented Doc Ock from hijacking the plane and destroying the city's power plant. Spider-Man thought he stopped Doc Ock, only to be caught by surprise the very next day. Spider-Man and Doc Ock took their fight to a rooftop where the intense battle caused the building to fall apart. Some of the falling debris from the battle was closing in on a child, and at the last second, George Stacy saved the child, at the cost of his own life.
After defeating Doc Ock, Spider-Man ran over to George to see if he was okay. George then admitted that he knew Spider-Man and Peter Parker were the same person (much to the surprise of Peter) then died in Spider-Man's arms.
Afterwards, Peter faced many superheroes, thinking he was one who killed George Stacy. Such as the X-Men's Bobby Drake (Iceman) and the Prowler (Hobie Brown). After proving himself to them, he went to London to try to prevent Gwen from leaving New York because of hers father's death.
With his life as Spider-Man only causing him trouble, Peter starts to make a formula that will take away his Spider-Powers. After going to sleep, then waking up, Peter saw that he had an extra four arms on his sides. Stressed for help, Spider-Man went to Curt Connors for help to make a cure for his extra four arms, while trying to help Connors to become the Lizard again. Spider-Man encountered a more villains such as a man called Michael Morbius, a vampire who wanted to kill Spider-Man, the Beetle and more Spider-Slayers.
Peter evenually returned to normal, shortly after helping the Hulk fight Doc Ock and Hammerhead in Canada.
All seemed normal for both Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy, as well as Peter's life as Spider-Man doing his job as usual. Seeing that none of his friends were paying attention to him, Harry fell to LSD. However, Norman Osborn's alter-ego as Green Goblin resurfaced, and he suited up as the Green Goblin to kidnap Gwen Stacy. Spider-Man found them at the top of the Brooklyn Bridge, where the Goblin was holding Gwen. After a few words, Goblin dropped Gwen off the bridge to kill her.
Naturally, Spider-Man dived after her and after seeing his speed could not match hers, he spun a web to catch her by her leg. Due to the fast stop, Gwen's neck snapped and she died right as she was stopped. Goblin then told Spider-Man that it was impossible for him get Gwen, since she was falling to fast and he knew the web would kill her. Holding her dead body, Spider-Man was enraged and took after Gobin. In an ally, Spider-Man was so angry he started to beat Goblin, almost to near death with Goblin being surpised that Spider-Man snapped and unleashed his full strength upon him.
Up against a wall, Goblin activated his glider to impale Spider-Man. However, he did not account for Spider-Man's Spider-Sense and he jumped out of the way and the Goblin impaled himself and died. With Goblin dead, Peter reflected on how he could have killed Goblin since he was using his full strength. Afterwards, Mary Jane consoled Peter after the death of Gwen.
Having fingers pointed at him for the death of both Stacys, Spider-Man was confronted by Luke Cage and the Punisher, only to prove himself and befriend them both. Soon after, Harry Osborn (Norman Osborn's son) took the mantle of the Green Goblin and kidnapped Flash Thompson, Mary Jane and Aunt May. Spider-Man found Harry at his father's old home and had him arrested and freed his friends.
When he discovered he was dying, Dr. Octopus projected his mind into Peter's body, leaving Peter to die in Ock's failing one. Ock, now having Peter's body and powers, vowed to become a Superior Spider-Man, and protect the world in a way Peter never could.
When the Goblin King returned and began taking over NYC, Otto was struggling to fight him because the Goblin was aware that it was Otto In Spider-Man's body. After Peter relived all of Otto's memories, he came out of those memories and ready to take his body back. Otto willingly gave up Peter's body but asked him to save his love Anna Maria. Peter changes back into his costume and rescues Miguel O'Hara (who was stuck in Peter's time) from the New Spider-Slayers. Peter then calls Aunt May, reassures her he's fine, and goes after the Goblin King. He runs into Liz Allan and her son, along with Dr.Stone. After Stone tries to hurt Peter, Peter tells Miguel to get them out. On the roof of the Alchemax building, Peter fights the Goblin King, who's confused at his return. In the end, Peter saves Anna Maria, but the Goblin King gets away when Liz shocks Peter with a device. Peter is saddened when he realizes how much Otto and Anna cared about each other, knowing Otto had to die.
Spider Physiology: Due to the Spider bite, Peter received powers similar to those of a common household spider. These include:
Wall-Crawling: Peter has the ability to stick to any surface, no matter how rough or slippery. Although this ability is still a bit of a mystery to him, he believes his molecules somehow bond to the surface of whatever he wills. Once he does cling to a surface, nothing can pull him away unless he releases his bond.
Superhuman Strength: Peter has the proportional strength of a Spider. This allows him to lift approximately ten tons.
Superhuman Speed: Peter is as fast as any Olympic runner, if not faster.
Superhuman Stamina: While perhaps not to the extent of other heroes, Peter possesses exceptional stamina. Being capable of holding his breath for minutes at a time, among other things.
Superhuman Durability: Peter is able to withstand a lot of damage. Most of which would kill any normal human.
Superhuman Agility: Peter is also extremely agile. Not only among human standards, but in the superhero community as well. Being able to contort to dodge bullets, or whatever an villain might use against him.
Superhuman Equilibrium: Peter has near perfect balance and coordination.
Superhuman Reflexes: Partly due to his 'Spider-sense', Peter can usually react quick enough to dodge anything.
Superhuman Jumping: Peter is able to leap multiple stories in a single bound, which is thought to be proportional to a jumping spider.
Regenerative Healing Factor: Peter has an extremely advanced healing factor, being able to recover from injuries in days that would take an average human weeks.
Foreign Chemical Resistance: Peter is extremely resistant to things like poisons and other potentially harmful substances.
Spider-Sense: Peter possesses a precognitive 'spider-sense' that warns him of imminent danger through a buzzing sensation in the back of his head that varies in intensity depending on how imminent and particularly dangerous the threat is. Being able to detect anything from flying bullets to tainted meat, and even the well being of others, this extra sense is also a bit of a mystery. It does, however, seem to be a product of some kind of psychic ability.
Spider-Man's main form of transportation is "web slinging" with the aid of his spider-webs. Spider-Man was able to keep pace with Captain Marvel at his best speed, surprising the Kree warrior, although Spidey mentioned it was mostly due to his practice with web slinging over his career.
Spider-Man was ranked 3rd on IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes in 2011, the highest ranking of any Marvel character that was on the list.
Ever since Peter's Uncle Ben took him to see a science fiction movie when he was little, Peter since then, has always been amazed by and loved science.
The first super-powered villain Spider-Man ever encountered was Supercharger in Amazing Fantasy #18.
J. Jonah Jameson was the guest speaker at Peter Parker's high school graduation ceremony.
On several occasions, Spider-Man has been mistaken as a mutant. At one point, J. Jonah Jameson actually sent him to the X-Factor for confirmation, and another, he was hunted down by the Hellfire Club until the misunderstanding was corrected. If he was a mutant, Spider-Man would likely have belonged to the mutant sub-species Homo Insectus (that of the Spider-Queen) or a sub-sub species, homo arachnis. In an alternate reality where mutants where the dominant species culturally and demographically, Peter Parker posed as a legitimate mutant to achieve fame.
Spider-Man's famous mantra "with great power, comes great responsibility" is often attributed as a quote from Uncle Ben, however it was originally the concluding lines of narration to his first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15, the anonymous narrator explaining the moral of the story, not advice from his beloved uncle. As this was the lesson he learned from his uncle's death, it slowly became associated with Uncle Ben, and the 2002 film chose to have the famous phrase come directly from Ben Parker as advice to the newly powered Peter and this is how the origin of the phrase is commonly misunderstood now.