Peter Parker the Amazing Spider-Man: With Great power Comes Something or Other

I’ve seen a trend over the past several years in some fans of Spider-Man.  They prize a certain aspect of the character among all others.  And that is “relate-able”.  In fact, they thrive and push for this to such an extreme that it suggests they do not understand the fundamental core of the character.

Spider-Man, and by extension Peter Parker, is not really about how relate-ability he is.  It isn’t his girl problems, struggles to make ends meet or whatever.  And what’s worse, some fans push for Peter to engage in behavior that… well, might be normal for the rest of us…but for Spidey?  Not accurate at all.  My neighbor showed me a letter in a recent issue of Spider-Man in which a young woman called for Peter to get tipsy and hook-up like we all do.  Granted, “we” don’t all do that.  But, hey, the point is, Spidey should be care free and not burdened with commitments and stuff.

This young woman is not alone.  Apparently, the folks at Marvel felt the same way.  Joe Quesada and others would lament how they missed the Spidey with money trouble, girl problems…his steady job and marriage were an impediment to that.  So Marvel got rid of those things.  Peter’s marriage was erased.  He was no longer a high school teacher.  He had to be “relatable”.

It blows my mind that people who supposedly know Spider-Man so well forgot a little something.  The absolute core of the character of Spider-Man is this: With great power comes great responsibility.  But Marvel and some of it’s fans want Peter Parker to have as few responsibilities as possible.  Peter learns from his mistakes, sometimes the mantle of responsibility seem overwhelming.  Sometime Peter wants to run away.  But in the end, he makes the choices he has to, not always the ones he wants to.

Peter is not the type of hero that gets drunk or tipsy.  He knows he has to be ready at all times, that he may have to step up to the plate as Spider-Man at anytime.  Frankly, if your Spider-Man story features Peter Parker getting drunk and he doesn’t have a lesson to learn from it?  You are writing the wrong character.  That’s not Spider-Man.  Period.  He has to learn lessons, and avoid making repeat mistakes.  And for a super hero?  Getting tipsy or light headed is rarely a sensible option.

Peter Parker is, above all else, about responsibility and lessons learned.  Not being a failure in relationships and jobs…those are situations where he ought to struggle to meet his high standards of responsibility.  Peter Parker is not about “relate-ability”… he is about responsibility.

5 thoughts on “Peter Parker the Amazing Spider-Man: With Great power Comes Something or Other

  1. It has come to my belief people use the word “relatability” to mean “Jerk”

    I’ve often heard people claim they can’t releate to Superman because he has all these powers.
    But to me Superman isn’t defined by his powers, at the end of the day, he’s a guy who uses his naturally given abilities to help people as best he can while maintaining a normal life.

    These same folks who say Superman is unrelatable will often say Batman is relatable because he doesn’t have powers.

    You know, the guy who made an oath when he was 8 years old, travelled the world to learn multiple disciplines and has spent a literal fortune on crimefighting technology.
    The guy who has not, since he was 8 years old, lead anything that resembles a normal human life.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I like Bats, I like Bats better than Supes actually, but Superman is more “relatable” to me than Bats ever was.

    So I noticed alot of the people who bashed Superman for being “unrelatable” would also bash Supermans morality.
    “He always does the right thing” became some proof he wasn’t relatable.

    When in a DC crossover Batman says to Superman “The last time you inspired anyone was when you were dead” they loved it, instead of viewing it as Batman being a jerk…it was Batman being relatable!

    I honestly think the whole “I’m a Marvel, I’m a DC” thing was onto something a few years ago when they had Luthor deliver a speech to Superman about how people do not want to “look up” to their heroes anymore.

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