In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of Spider-Man, we’re doing four straight months of polls having to do with Spider-Man, culminating with the release of the Amazing Spider-Man film in July. Future installments will deal with Spider-Man creators and Spider-Man stories, but this month will be about Spider-Man’s supporting cast and his villains.
You all voted, now here are the results! We continue with Spider-Man’s supporting cast #15-11…
Here is a master list of all the characters revealed so far.
15. Carlie Cooper
Carlie Cooper is an officer in the New York Police Department’s Crime Scene Unit, specializing in forensics. She was best friends with Lily Hollister, the socialite who was dating Harry Osborn at the beginning of Brand New Day. That is how she became friends with Peter Parker. Their shared interest in science and their similar personalities seemed to make them a good fit for romance, but it took nearly 100 issues before they finally got together.
However, Spider-Man soon realized that having a cop for a girlfriend when you’re carrying around a major secret is not a great idea…
Complicating matters further, Carlie’s father was a suppoedly heroic cop who died in the line of duty. That was the story, at least. In reality, he was a crooked cop who faked his own death. This gave Carlie major trust issues. So when she found out that Peter was Spider-Man, she broke off their relationship (especially since Peter had already “come clean” to her suspicions by inventing a relationship between Spider-Man and himself that he was Spidey’s “tech guy”).
So now Spidey finds himself in an interesting position. He has someone in the NYPD who knows he is a good guy, but at the same time, she is his ex-girlfriend. It is an interesting dynamic.
14. Captain Jean DeWolff
Speaking of interesting dynamics, Captain Jean DeWolff was introduced into the pages of Marvel Team-Up as a rarity in the NYPD, a cop who implicitly trusted Spider-Man. She was a quirky cop, as she drove a specialized 1930’s roadster. Her creator, Bill Mantlo, took her into some weird territories with a super-powered brother, connections to Iron Man, Nick Fury, the works. I think she worked best when she was just a tough cop who was friends with Spider-Man, like this bit from Claremont/Byrne’s Marvel Team-Up run (Spider-Man is in the midst of a battle with the Super-Skrull)…
Outside of Bill Mantlo, not many writers used DeWolff much, so she was in the perfect position to be killed off as the centerpiece to Peter David’s classic “The Death of Jean DeWolff,” where we discover that DeWolff secretly harbored a major crush on Spider-Man.
13. Ben Reilly (Scarlet Spider I/Spider-Man II)
Ben Reilly is the alias (the first name of Peter Parker’s uncle and the maiden name of Peter Parker’s aunt) of the clone of Peter Parker that the Jackal created during the original Clone Saga. Peter thought that he died, but in actuality, he survived and went out on the road. He returned to New York when he heard that Aunt May was dying. He then decided to take on a new superhero identity as the Scarlet Spider. He and Peter tended to have a somewhat adversarial relationship (as Peter did not want some clone coming in and messing with his life). Heck, Ben had to hang outside the window when Aunt May seemingly died, not even being able to spend any time with her in her final moments. When the debate about WHO was the clone exactly came into play, Peter and Ben’s relationship REALLY started to sour. Especially when it was (erroneously) revealed that it was Peter who was the clone and it was Ben who was the original Spider-Man. They eventually made up and Ben took over as Spider-Man as Peter and Mary Jane went off to live happily ever after. That, of course, did not work out, but as Peter and MJ returned to New York, Peter and Ben had begun to look at each other as brothers…
Ben soon after died in battle with the Green Goblin, and it was made clear that Ben was the clone. Clone or not, he died a hero.
12. Ben Parker
Ben Parker and his wife May took in Peter when he was a young boy after Ben’s brother Richard and his wife Mary died. Ben essentially was Peter’s father growing up, and it was Ben’s great sense of justice, fairness, responsibility, kindness etc. (he was a really great guy) that formed Peter into the great hero that he is today.
Although he was killed off in his very first appearance, Ben has made many appearances since in flashbacks, including this classic issue of Peter Parker: Spider-Man by Paul Jenkins and Mark Buckingham…
Spider-Man and Daredevil had been allies for many years (going all the way back to the earliest issues of Spider-Man) but it was in the Death of Jean DeWolff storyline that the two went past allies and into the realm of good friends, even sharing their identities with each other (a rarity by the mid-80s, although a lot less rare than it was, say, 10 years earlier, when barely any superhero knew each other’s identity)…
Since then, they have remained very close, even though Daredevil no longer knows Spider-Man’s identity (there is a great moment where Daredevil insists that Spider-Man specifically NOT tell him his identity, as Daredevil well knows how dangerous such information can be).