A recent discussion about Peter Parker’s love life on the blog led to the tangential discussion of a storyline from the late 1970s in Amazing Spider-Man (during Marv Wolfman’s tenure as writer/editor of the book), where Peter Parker’s first girlfriend, Betty Brant, re-entered Peter’s life while she was estranged from her husband, Ned Leeds (Peter was newly single as Mary Jane Watson had just turned down Peter’s first proposal of marriage).
Peter and Betty began seeing each other often, and Betty clearly felt that the two were dating, while Peter was perhaps a bit less clear on that point.
The two came to an agreement of sorts, though, in Amazing Spider-Man #189, where a certain scene took place (the issue was drawn by John Byrne inked by Jim Mooney) (images courtesy of reader Bertrone).
However, what exactly happened there? Obviously, the two began kissing romantically, but did it go past that?
The next page gives us really our only clue…
Bertrone feels that this caption makes it clear that they slept together.
I asked the question of Marvel Executive Editor Tom Brevoort, in a recent chat I did with Brevoort and Amazing Spider-Man Editor Steve Wacker, and Tom had the following response:
No, Peter wouldn’t have slept with Betty while she was married. If he did, we’d be reading about it it huge self-tortured thought balloons for pages.
Well, Peter did, in fact, have many self-tortured thought balloons for many an issue, but Tom is correct to note that none of them ever allude to any sort of sexual indiscretion, which you do think he would make SOME reference to if it happened, no? Even an oblique reference. I think you can easily make the argument that for Peter (Mr. Responsibility) Parker, making out with a married woman at all was cause enough for a great deal of guilt.
That said, the “several hours” line as well as the “discretion” line certainly do sound like they’re leaning the other way….
Stymied, I went to the man who wrote the issue, Marv Wolfman himself, who was nice enough to reply quickly, noting that while he did not recall the exactitude of his intent, from re-reading the scene, he thinks “it sounds like I was just letting the reader decide.”
So, reader, what do you decide?