In the seventh installment of my li’l series exploring the variety of romantic archetypes found in literature (illustrating the variety of romantic experiences we find in life) using only Spider-Man comics, I’m examining Peter Parker’s relationship with Betty Brant. This relationship represents a lot for Peter. She was his first date. She was his first girlfriend. She was his first crush-he-saw-as-love. But as they grew up their relationship became complicated. We love to invoke that relationship descriptor – It’s complicated – and Peter and Betty perfectly embody it. We’ve all been there ourselves though, in one way or another, so in their relationship we find something that resonates and – maybe! – something that makes us feel a little bit better about our own complicated loves, too.
For the fourth installment of my series exploring the variety of romantic archetypes we find in literature (illustrating the variety of romantic experiences we find in life) using only Spider-Man comics, I’m considering the first great love of Peter Parker’s life – Gwen Stacy. To write this, I went back and read the entirety of Gwen’s time with Peter, beginning with her first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #31 (from December 1965) through issue #120 (from May 1973). Over the years, Gwen has taken on a hallowed significance in Peter’s life as his great, irreplaceable lost love. But in reading these comics I realized she – and her relationship with Peter – illustrated something far more universal and far more interesting. Gwen and Peter perfectly present our first love with all the awkward, emotional, angsty, and idealized moments that come with it. Continue reading
This is the latest installment in my series exploring romantic archetypes in literature and in life through Spider-Man comics. So far I’ve used Peter’s relationship with the Black Cat as a lens to examine our relationships with the people we can’t stop flirting with even though we know it’ll be trouble yet we passionately jump in anyway. Then I used Peter’s relationship with Mary Jane to consider the idea of a Soul Mate as well as the experience of finding and losing “the one.” This time I’m looking at the alternate reality comic series The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows as a way to contemplate the romantic idea of the “What if…?” person (or people) we all have in our lives. Continue reading
Mary Jane Watson and Peter Parker got married on 9 June 1987, in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21. For someone who began reading comic books in March 1986, their marriage was a central tenant of my experience of Spider-Man. You don’t have Spider-Man without Peter Parker and you don’t have Peter Parker without Mary Jane! Despite Marvel’s editorial staff having “instant regrets” about their wedding, fans have passionately embraced the marriage for over twenty years. As their relationship evolved, especially as it approached it’s end in 2007’s “One More Day” storyline, Mary Jane and Peter were increasingly painted in the light of Soul Mates. Their relationship then allows us to ponder one of romantic love’s most intoxicating questions – are Soul Mates real? It’s end allows us to reflect on the potential of finding and losing the one. Now let’s see if I can write about them without getting overly emotional and/or angsty… Continue reading
Do you remember that classic SNL skit with Will Ferrell and Alec Baldwin? They’re doing Inside The Actor’s Studio and Will Ferrell (as James Lipton) tells Alec Baldwin (playing Charles Nelson Riley) that the English language lacks a word capable of describing just how great his performance is. As a result, he invents the word scrumtrelescent to describe that level of perfection. Well after work yesterday, I finally treated myself to the trade paperback of Dan Slott’s Secret Wars tie-in series The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows. Do you know what I learned? IT WAS SCRUMTRELESCENT!!! Continue reading