With The Amazing Spider-Man about to be released, I thought let's ask some wall-crawling questions:

  • If Peter was sixteen when he became Spider-Man, how old was Betty Brant, his first girl-friend? She never seemed like a teenager to me!
  • Was Peter known to be a genius? Not just smart but brillant because you would think someone would make a big deal about him!
  • Did Aunt May ever tell Peter about his mermaid "cousin"? Yes, I'm being silly but still, what if...?
  • If his webbing stuck to everything, why not to his hands? And don't say it's the gloves because he swung bare-handed, too.
  • What was actually wrong with Aunt May? Was it just her heart?
  • Did Joe Robinson ever suspect Peter? He did discuss Spider-Man with Captain Stacy who figured it out.
  • Why didn't J. Jonah Jameson ever get in trouble for all those Spider-Slayers? Isn't that being as much of a vigilante as he accuse the Web-Head of being?
  • And did The Daily Bugle decree the other Marvel heroes as "menaces"?
  • There were a LOT of crimebosses and would-be crimebosses in that book over the 60s and 70s (The Big Man, Crimemaster, Doctor Octopus, the Green Goblin, Silvermane, Hammerhead, the Disrupter and, of course, the Kingpin). How much territory was divided up in NYC? And why were they largely ignored by the other heroes?
  • Was Norman Osbourne ever a good man? Even in non-Goblin stories, he seemed cold and harsh? Poor Harry!

Well, there you go! Compliments of Your Friendly Neighborhood Fan of Bronze! With hopefully more to follow!

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I'll answer best I can:


* I presume Betty was perhaps 18 at the time.  Back then it was not at all unusual for young girls fresh out of high school to enter the work force, and I would also assume that the fact she had a position as Jameson's secretary had as much to do with her ability to tolerate him as it did for her competence.  That might make up for her lack of experience.

* Peter was known to be quite intelligent, but I don't think anyone was tossing around the genius term.  Certainly there were people who encountered Spider-Man that figured out that he was pretty damned smart--Reed Richards, Curt Connors, etc.  Certainly that was one of the reasons that Flash picked on him so much, and also why he was in demand for tutoring.

* I have no idea what you're referring to.

* I'm guessing that his webbing didn't stick to his hands because they secreted some sort of oil that allowed him to handle them without the stickiness.  Or, well, let's just get on with the story and not worry about that.

* Aunt May definitely had heart issues, but there were other issues as well, including whatever happened to make her need a blood transfusion from Peter.  However, I'd also guess that there was a lot made up for convenience.

* I don't recall any specific instances where Robbie came out and said that he thought Peter was Spider-Man (at least not during the Lee-Romita days), but I'm quite certain that he suspected.

* These days Jameson most likely would get into trouble, but we're probably talking a fine and liability for property damage.  Back then, things were probably more fast and loose, especially concerning super-powered beings.  Additionally, the first Slayer didn't actually attempt to "slay" Spider-Man, only to capture him.  The other Slayers were taken out of his control. 

Now the Scorpion on the other hand...

* The Bugle was never in their corner, although I can't recall any instance in Amazing Spider-Man where another hero was called a menace other than the Hulk, and really who could blame them for that?  The Bugle did attempt to paint Galactus's arrival as a hoax and I'm pretty sure they painted most of the heroes in a negative light whenever possible.

* I believe most of them were ignored because in most cases they didn't have super-powers and therefore didn't rate the attention of the likes of Thor or the Fantastic Four or even Captain America.  As far as how the city was divided up, it's hard for me to say as I don't know New York City's geography well.  However, I think a lot of these characters made a run for leading the gangs on sheer chutzpah alone and without much experience or reputation (think the Green Goblin, the Big Man) and I don't recall Octopus ever having much interest in running organized crime in New York--he was much more of a "take over the world" sort--other than getting revenge on someone like Hammerhead.  Plus a lot of these guys were caught and served jail sentences that likely reduced any sort of power they had.

* When Osborne was reintroduced, for awhile he was shown to be a caring parent, albeit one that had no clue how to be a good parent.  I don't know that he was ever shown as being good, but certainly there was a period when he wasn't particularly evil--think of when he offered Peter a job, or when Kraven came after him.  It wasn't until he started remembering that he was the Green Goblin that the evil started showing through.

.

Doesn't Betty have a line in an early issue about having had to leave school? I think she was probably supposed to be about Peter's age.

 

My recollection is the same as Randy's; JJJ had it in for all superheroes. The bit with the editorial claiming Galactus was a hoax is from Fantastic Four #51.

 

("G for Galactus? Or GOLIATH? How stupid do these "superheroes" think we are? For three hundred and sixty-four days a year you can't walk down the street without tripping over some longhaired medievalist from the Gotham Übermenschen League of Vigilante Thuggery mangling English like his native language was Norwegian and the one time we need any of them they're all out of town doing - what? If the authorities would bestir themselves to get a warrant and look inside the Freak Quartet's zoning-laws-defying offices-cum-residence - And why do they need FIVE WHOLE FLOORS, anyway? Wasn't one floor each enough? - they'd find the 3D projection system that the Frankenstein of 42nd and Madison used to fill the sky world-wide with illusions of flame and debris and the former Giant-Man's (G again!) reindeer and fat guy outfits, since he undoubtedly played both roles." I made this paragraph up.)

...IIRC , re Betty and Petey:
   I think , in  Lee-Ditko canon , Peter was at least, once specifically described as fifteen and Betty was an " older woman "   but  yeah , possibly even described as, still teenage/even " should be " still in HS .
  Didn.t Untold Tales soecifically make hdr still under 28 and a S drop-out who.d faken over her mother.s job post-Mom's passing ?
   The great cultural emphasis on " age-appropriate relationships " is , for better or worse , more a development of the last thirtyish years...See also , Professor X: " Oh ,. Jean ! "...........

Luke Blanchard said:

Doesn't Betty have a line in an early issue about having had to leave school? I think she was probably supposed to be about Peter's age.

 

My recollection is the same as Randy's; JJJ had it in for all superheroes. The bit with the editorial claiming Galactus was a hoax is from Fantastic Four #51.

 

("G for Galactus? Or GOLIATH? How stupid do these "superheroes" think we are? For three hundred and sixty-four days a year you can't walk down the street without tripping over some longhaired medievalist from the Gotham Übermenschen League of Vigilante Thuggery mangling English like his native language was Norwegian and the one time we need any of them they're all out of town doing - what? If the authorities would bestir themselves to get a warrant and look inside the Freak Quartet's zoning-laws-defying offices-cum-residence - And why do they need FIVE WHOLE FLOORS, anyway? Wasn't one floor each enough? - they'd find the 3D projection system that the Frankenstein of 42nd and Madison used to fill the sky world-wide with illusions of flame and debris and the former Giant-Man's (G again!) reindeer and fat guy outfits, since he undoubtedly played both roles." I made this paragraph up.)

..." Under 18 " and " in HS " , I SHOULD have typed above , I think that you can figure out where I meant that...

Emerkeith Davyjack said:
...IIRC , re Betty and Petey:    I think , in  Lee-Ditko canon , Peter was at least, once specifically described as fifteen and Betty was an " older woman "   but  yeah , possibly even described as, still teenage/even " should be " still in HS .   Didn.t Untold Tales soecifically make hdr still under 28 and a S drop-out who.d faken over her mother.s job post-Mom's passing ?
   The great cultural emphasis on " age-appropriate relationships " is , for better or worse , more a development of the last thirtyish years...See also , Professor X: " Oh ,. Jean ! "...........

Luke Blanchard said:

Doesn't Betty have a line in an early issue about having had to leave school? I think she was probably supposed to be about Peter's age.

 

My recollection is the same as Randy's; JJJ had it in for all superheroes. The bit with the editorial claiming Galactus was a hoax is from Fantastic Four #51.

 

("G for Galactus? Or GOLIATH? How stupid do these "superheroes" think we are? For three hundred and sixty-four days a year you can't walk down the street without tripping over some longhaired medievalist from the Gotham Übermenschen League of Vigilante Thuggery mangling English like his native language was Norwegian and the one time we need any of them they're all out of town doing - what? If the authorities would bestir themselves to get a warrant and look inside the Freak Quartet's zoning-laws-defying offices-cum-residence - And why do they need FIVE WHOLE FLOORS, anyway? Wasn't one floor each enough? - they'd find the 3D projection system that the Frankenstein of 42nd and Madison used to fill the sky world-wide with illusions of flame and debris and the former Giant-Man's (G again!) reindeer and fat guy outfits, since he undoubtedly played both roles." I made this paragraph up.)

...Was it Untold that absolutely spelled out that she had left HS post-Mom.s demise ? To  last-time?? spell it out 100%/be ultra??-precise .

Emerkeith Davyjack said:
..." Under 18 " and " in HS " , I SHOULD have typed above , I think that you can figure out where I meant that...

Emerkeith Davyjack said:
...IIRC , re Betty and Petey:    I think , in  Lee-Ditko canon , Peter was at least, once specifically described as fifteen and Betty was an " older woman "   but  yeah , possibly even described as, still teenage/even " should be " still in HS .   Didn.t Untold Tales soecifically make hdr still under 28 and a S drop-out who.d faken over her mother.s job post-Mom's passing ?    The great cultural emphasis on " age-appropriate relationships " is , for better or worse , more a development of the last thirtyish years...See also , Professor X: " Oh ,. Jean ! "...........

Luke Blanchard said:

Doesn't Betty have a line in an early issue about having had to leave school? I think she was probably supposed to be about Peter's age.

 

My recollection is the same as Randy's; JJJ had it in for all superheroes. The bit with the editorial claiming Galactus was a hoax is from Fantastic Four #51.

 

("G for Galactus? Or GOLIATH? How stupid do these "superheroes" think we are? For three hundred and sixty-four days a year you can't walk down the street without tripping over some longhaired medievalist from the Gotham Übermenschen League of Vigilante Thuggery mangling English like his native language was Norwegian and the one time we need any of them they're all out of town doing - what? If the authorities would bestir themselves to get a warrant and look inside the Freak Quartet's zoning-laws-defying offices-cum-residence - And why do they need FIVE WHOLE FLOORS, anyway? Wasn't one floor each enough? - they'd find the 3D projection system that the Frankenstein of 42nd and Madison used to fill the sky world-wide with illusions of flame and debris and the former Giant-Man's (G again!) reindeer and fat guy outfits, since he undoubtedly played both roles." I made this paragraph up.)

Entirely possible. It's been a little while since I read those early issues.   Of course, that would also raise the question as to why she had to leave school early.

Luke Blanchard said:

Doesn't Betty have a line in an early issue about having had to leave school? I think she was probably supposed to be about Peter's age.

 

It was later established that Betty's brother had gotten involved with some bad guys due to some gambling debts. When thugs came to the Brant home to collect, their mother got between Betty's brother and the leg-breaker and suffered brain damage.  With the legal and medical bills piling up, Betty dropped out of high school and took the position that her mother had at the Bugle, J.J. Jameson's personal secretary. 

Who knew that JJJ was such a sentimentalist??

As for Peter's "cousin", I was referring to Strange Tales #97 (Ju'62) which included "Goodbye To Linda Brown!" by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. It feature a young girl in a wheelchair who lived with her Uncle Ben and Aunt May. They lived by the shore and she began sleepwalking (sleepwheeling???). One night, she rolled herself into the ocean and was gone. Her guardians were saddened but they knew that she had to return home someday. Y'see, she was an honst-to-goodness, Lori Lemaris mermaid!

Of course, Amazing Fantasy #15 by Lee & Ditko with another Aunt May and Uncle Ben was cover-dated Au'62!!

It was never established that they were the same couple but the story was reprinted in Marvel Tales #83 (S'77) with its lead-in Spider-Man.

I have NO idea what the mermaid reference is about.


Do we have a collection of all the editorials (or ANY of the editorials) that JJJ wrote over the years?
Even partial paragraphs or headlines might be an interesting project to assemble.

It was my sense that Robbie Robinson had figured out Peter's secret, but kept it to himself. He didn't want to encourage JJJ's prejudice.  Plus, Parker always seemed to get such great shots and why kill the goose that laid the golden egg?
(But to answer you, No, i don't think it was ever confirmed that Robbie knew.  Perhaps it had been intended at one time that he would figure it out, but I think that Capt Stacy filled that role when Stan saw a chance at a triangle and angst to be milked.)

Frankly, I had the impression that the NYC gang wars were more a contribution by Ditko than Lee.  After all, they seemed to suddenly stop when Ditko left.  Not that someone hasn't tried to pick up that thread from time to time: Silvermain, Kingpin, Hammerhead, etc.

But I think the most obvious example of other heroes picking up on it is the grand Daredevil/Kingpin feud.... which I always that was a much better use of Kingpin than anything that ever came before.

In Amazing Spider-Man #87 (major spoilers warning) Peter, zonked by illness, confessed he was Spider-Man at a gathering at Gwen's. He covered up for this later by getting another character to double for him as Spidey. I can't remember if Robbie was present on either occasion, but I suppose probably not (the GCD doesn't list him as having appeared in the issue). Those who were present were given reason to believe Peter and Spider-Man were different people, but apparently this didn't fool Capt. Stacy permanently. In principle Robbie could have learned about the events from Stacy and been deceived.

In Amazing Spider-Man #66 (N'68), Robbie and Captain Stacy have lunch together, theorizing about Spidey and his motivations. How many of his supporting cast knew about Peter's tragic past? Besides Aunt May, I mean.

Not many, I don't think. I'm sure Gwen and Mary Jane knew, and likely Betty.  As far as the rest, it's unlikely that it would come up in conversation.

Philip Portelli said:

How many of his supporting cast knew about Peter's tragic past? Besides Aunt May, I mean.

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