Spider-Man: The High School Years
Important milestones from Peter Parker's high school days.
As told by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, Spider-Man spent about 30 issues attending class at Midtown High School, but those years proved important ones to his mythos, introducing many of the traits, supporting characters, and villains we associate with the Wallcrawler to this day. Here's a rundown of some important milestones from that era…
The most well-known Spider-Man story remains one of the best—his origin! AMAZING FANTASY #15 introduced high school student Peter Parker along with Aunt May, Flash Thompson, and Liz Allan. And it gave the world Spider-Man, introducing not only his powers, but also the mantra that defines him: “With great power comes great responsibility,” which came at the terrible price of the death of Uncle Ben.
Threat or Menace?
Breaking out into his own series, Spider-Man encountered his greatest nemesis in the debut issue: J. Jonah Jameson! The Daily Bugle editor uses his paper to attack Spider-Man, even after the web-slinger saves Jameson’s son! But Peter Parker had the last laugh, as Jameson would eventually hire Parker to take pictures for him, effectively putting his foe on his payroll!
The Power of Science
The second issue of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN not only introduced The Vulture, but also highlighted Peter Parker’s scientific prowess. After defeat by his new foe, Spider-Man enters round two with a new weapon under his sleeve: an anti-magnetic inverter he built to neutralize the Vulture’s flight. Even in high school, Parker’s arsenal featured that genius mind that would one day lead his own company!
Eight Arms to Hold You
Issue #3 brought a new villain who would plague—and one day possess—Spider-Man: Dr. Octopus! After another trademark defeat at all the hands of Otto Octavius, Spider-Man found inspiration to try again from a surprise source, The Human Torch, a guest speaker at Spidey’s Midtown High. The first of many appearances by the Torch kicked off one of the Marvel Universe’s greatest bromances.
Bully for You
Even when not in costume, Peter Parker still had “bad guys” to contend with, namely Flash Thompson, the high school jock who bullied him. In issue #5, Flash dresses up as his hero Spider-Man as part of a prank, but the plan backfires when Dr. Doom shows up! Doom mistakes Flash for the real deal, and the real Spider-Man, along with the Fantastic Four, have to save the bully.
Love, Spider-Man Style
Throughout his high school years, Peter Parker would have his share of romantic troubles, whether the on-again, off-again dance he did with Liz Allan or the flirting with Jameson’s secretary Betty Brant. But around issue #25, Peter’s love life would start looking up, even if he didn't know it yet, as it featured the first appearance of Mary Jane Watson!
Despite the trials of super heroics, in issue #28 Peter Parker finally made it to the end of high school when he graduated from Midtown High. After a battle with the Molten Man, Parker heads to the ceremony, where he's “treated” to a speech by none other than J. Jonah Jameson! Even when he wins, Parker can't help but lose. But hey—college, Gwen Stacy and more challenges would soon arrive!
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