It has been a hell of a year for Spider-Man. Between having a PlayStation 4 video game released, another big comics event and an animated movie, there’s been quite a lot. Both the video game and the INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE film received rave reviews and are on track to set sales records on their respective tracks. In comics, the SPIDER-GEDDON event is soon to be wrapping up after again uniting Spider-folks from across the multiverse.

I’ve always been a big fan of the character of Peter Parker, and I’m happy he’s been having something of a renaissance lately. The Marvel Cinematic Universe notwithstanding, Marvel has been doing something very interesting. In not only INSOMNIAC’s PS4 and the INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE movie but the comics — they’ve allowed Peter Parker to grow up. What actually inspired me to write this article was the PS4 video game, they’ve told such a fun, yet deeply affecting story about an adult Peter Parker, I began to dive deeper into the comics.

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Spider-Man, Spider-Man does whatever a spider can. Courtesy of Sony.

Strap in and come along as I take a dive into some Spider-History. Plus, I think it’s finally time to let Peter Parker stay grown up, both in comics, on screen and in our video games. Just don’t expect an origin story, because you know it already.

The Importance of Peter Parker

Peter Parker means a lot of things to a lot of people. For many people Peter Parker is them. He is a loner, a nerd and someone who never really fit in. Stan Lee, god rest his soul, did such an excellent job crafting a likable character with a genuine origin story, it’s quite hard to top. However, in the years since Pete has been introduced, we’ve all grown up. If you think about it, he first debuted in 1962 and most of those kids would be in their 50s now. Even people like me who grew up in the ’90s and early oughts started with Ultimate Peter Parker. We followed his adventures from young hero to member of the Ultimates (the Avengers in the Ultimate Universe).

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Still the best movie Spider-Man. Sorry. Courtesy of Sony Pictures

The above two Peter Parker’s are only a small number of the ones throughout the year; there were tv shows and movies (still love you Raimi trilogy), animated films and you name it. After a while, everyone has to know the origin story. There’s nothing wrong with re-telling something over-and-over. However,  it’s important for a character to grow and change. Unfortunately, Marvel refuses to let it happen and constantly hit the reset button.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes in the Comic Formula

While I’m not the keenest on every aspect of Peter Parker’s Spider-history, my main topic is going to be about Dan Slott’s time on the book. While I am in fact a Superior Spider-Man apologist, I’m not here to talk about Spider-Ock (SpOck). We’re here to talk about a few of the biggest changes in Peter Parker’s life. Even though I do mention SpOck once.

Slott’s run on Spider-Comics lasted for almost 10 years, and he made a myriad of changes. For starters, Peter started his own company. Yes, you read that right, Brooklyn nerd and reporter extraordinaire has his own company. Parker Industries was Peter’s vision to unite the world with jobs and to utilize his own scientific expertise to shape the world into a better place. This also allowed him to upgrade his costume and web-shooters, a small but fun change to the character. Instead of the old-fashioned cloth costume, Pete now swings around in a high-tech costume with glowing eyes. Super Sweet.

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Look at that sweet, sweet Parker Industries tech. Courtesy of Marvel

While this next change happened while he was SpOck, Otto got Peter a doctorate. One of the things over the years that kept Peter back was never being able to get his doctorate. A small change, but a good one nonetheless.

Now, you’re probably wondering, “If Peter Parker is all grown up, how can kids relate?”

Letting Go of Childhood and Embracing the Future

One of the most important aspects to growing up is seeing your heroes grow along with you. The best example I can think of would be our musicians. While heroes and even favorite musicians can change over the course of your life, there is a special feeling when that one band you love ages gracefully with you. You can keep listening to their music as you age and it stays relevant to you. Unfortunately, super-heroes have to stay relevant to a certain demographic, and this is what prevents the characters from aging up. It’s hard to accept the fact that every few years, as I said above, the status-quo will reset. Marvel and DC consistently reset and revamp their line-up, characters fall out of grace (Spawn, anyone?) and trends change.

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Ultimate Spider-Man aka. my Peter Parker growing up. Courtesy of Marvel

I feel like the character of Peter Parker has and will stand the test of time. Marvel needs to take the gamble and allow him to stay successful. We want to see our heroes succeed, and keeping Peter Parker down does a disservice to his character. The plucky under-dog character works for so long, but allowing your characters to grow can also increase dividends. The future is looking bright for the Spider-Family, and I’m happy to be a part of it. Hopefully, Marvel can find it in their hearts to let Peter Parker be an adult.

Spider-Man’s Spider-Family Grows

After the untimely death of the Ultimate Peter Parker, Miles Morales was introduced. Despite some initial fan backlash, Miles has gone on to become one of the most beloved characters in comics. During what can only be described as a…confusing mashing together of Marvel Universes, Miles was sent to the mainstream Marvel Universe.

This was undoubtedly one of the greatest changes they could have made because it lets us have two Spider-Men. Not only did this coincide with Dan Slott’s run of Peter acting like a damn adult, but Miles could also now be the entry character for younger readers. Miles never really knew Peter Parker in his universe, and this allowed the two to bond. Peter mentored Miles, and also took him on as a partner, thankfully not relegating him to a side-kick.

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Let it happen in the MCU, we deserve Spider-Gwen and Miles. Courtesy of Marvel

Now that Miles had settled in, Spider-Family members began popping out of the woodwork. Dan Slott introduced Cindy Moon, another great character in the Spider-Family. Cindy Moon goes by the name Silk, and, while her origin story is not the best, the current writers have made her into a very fun character and a proper member of the Spider-Family. Oh, and lest we forget Spider-Gwen aka Ghost-Spider. She is an alternate universe Gwen Stacy who received her own set of Spider-powers and was introduced in the Spider-Verse arc. The character immediately caught on with the public and she was given her own series.

Understanding That Status-Quo is God

While I love almost all of the changes made to Spider-Comics (shhhh let us not speak of “One More Day”), it is understandable why Marvel chooses to keep Peter back. With the advent of their deal with Sony and casting of Tom Holland, Marvel has doubled down on Peter being the baby of the movie-verse Avengers. Peter is tied to Iron Man and allows a mentor/mentee relationship between the two.

Anyone coming into comics from the Marvel movies might need an introduction of some sort. While Miles could be a great jumping off point for newer characters, Marvel probably feels that Peter has a legacy behind him. For them, it was probably easier to just reset him back to almost square one. Yes, he is back with MJ, but gone are his company and his doctorate. Instead of having his own place he lives with roommates. Again, probably done to keep him relatable, but this is, in my own opinion, at the expense of his growth. Nothing saying that all characters have to be successful to be interesting, but having a character like Peter be successful after years of bad luck can be cathartic.

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Superior Spider-Man is still my favorite Spidey. Courtesy of Marvel

As with most things, however, status-quo is God. While we might not have the comics to rely on, INSOMNIAC’S SPIDER-MAN is our next best option.  Miles is a part of it from the get-go and having an experienced Peter sets up plenty of threads. Even better, the new animated movie INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE is out now! It’s giving us an aged (if slightly grumpy) Peter Parker mentoring another universe’s Miles Morales! Don’t forget we’re getting Spider-Gwen and even Spider-Man Noir!

The PS4 SPIDER-MAN Factor

INSOMNIAC’S SPIDER-MAN, besides being one of the two games I’ve actually finished this year, was a blast. From start to finish I had an absolutely wonderful time. Between web-slinging, web-swinging and web…ing(?) up bad guys every moment was pure joy. Thankfully, the story was just as great as the gameplay. As I said above, this Peter has been Spider-Man for going on 8 years. He has a successful job, he still has his Aunt May around and he even works at a lab with *SPOILER* Dr. Otto Octavius *END SPOILER.* He’s experienced, he’s sure of himself and he has already put most of his rogues’ gallery in a special meta prison.

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D’awww. But seriously, this scene melted my heart. Courtesy of Sony and Marvel

It’s refreshing to see Peter actually winning for once, and his experience shines through in the way he interacts with the public. While this version of J. Jonah Jameson is still not to keen on Spidey, his ramblings seem to have no bearing on public opinion. Most people are more than happy to give Spidey a high-five when he lands, or accept his help.

Another interesting aspect of this universe’s Spider-Man is that he and Mary Jane are no longer together. While there doesn’t appear to be any bad blood, the two of them slowly reconcile throughout the game. Mary Jane is the Journalist in this world and her investigations see her intertwined with the main plot of the game. Having the two of them all but rekindle their relationship by the end is the cherry on top of the wonderful sundae.

An Infinite Spider-Verse of Stories

With an infinite universe of Peters and infinite amounts of media, there’s no excuse for the constant resetting to square one. With INSOMNIAC’S SPIDER-MAN being a smashing success there are so many ways that universe can go and so many interesting stories to tell. Given the ending of the game (no spoilers), I’m eagerly awaiting the next installment.

One last detail (having finally seen the movie) is Sony’s new animated INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE. It introduced not one, but two aged Peters and, while it was over-all a story about Miles Morales, it’s nice to see Peter Parker allowed to be a failure. Hopefully, the new movie will be another unmitigated success and allow Miles to be brought into the spotlight. There is a whole universe of possibilities and Marvel just needs to start exploring them.

3 Comments

  1. Abdel Yasin

    Abdel Yasin

    December 21, 2018 at 10:01 pm

    He has

    Reply

  2. Ian Fischer

    Ian Fischer

    December 21, 2018 at 3:26 pm

    He is an adult in the comics, has been for a while

    Reply

  3. Ronald Simmons

    Ronald Simmons

    December 21, 2018 at 7:07 am

    They tried that, people complained

    Reply

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