One of Peter Parker's greatest traits has always been his unwavering dedication to the cause and drive to always stand up after he falls down. We've seen some of Spider-Man's greatest moments happen when he's been beaten down and suffered, but still managed to stand up and fight for what's right.
This is why it's so surprising that he can also be such a quitter. In his civilian identity, he's quit relationships and school in favor of Spider-Man, yet he also continues to quit being Spider-Man in an odd cycle of repeating events. So, today we are going to take a look at 10 times Peter Parker briefly resigned from being Marvel's snarkiest superhero (well, one of them). Let's just be thankful that he always suits back up!
10 THE END OF SPIDER-MAN
One of the earliest instances of Peter deciding to quit occurred in Amazing Spider-Man #18, following a battle with the Green Goblin. Spider-Man was forced to run away from the Goblin due to Aunt May's sickness, something the hero was being ridiculed for across New York City.
While Peter watched over his ailing aunt, he again ran from a confrontation with the Sandman, which forced him to reconsider his career as Spider-Man due to how it affected those closest to him. He decided to give up the webs for a brief period of time, but once Aunt May recovered, he realized he had to show the city he wasn't a coward and resumed his crime-fighting career.
9 SPIDER-MAN NO MORE
The most iconic storyline to feature Peter abandoning his alter-ego happened in "Spider-Man No More!" from Amazing Spider-Man #50. Struggling with the pressure of maintaining his personal relationships, Aunt May's ongoing health conditions, and falling grades at Empire State University, Peter decides it's finally time to quit and throws his Spider-Man costume in the garbage.
The city's crime rate rises while Peter focuses on his civilian life, though that doesn't go as he had hoped. When he is forced to respond to a cry for help, he is reminded of his Uncle Ben and his responsibility to help others. He steals his costume back from J. Jonah Jameson, who took possession of it after it had been thrown in the garbage.
8 THE SPIDER OR THE MAN?
Amazing Spider-Man reached another milestone with its 100th issue, and again Peter Parker was tempted to leave his life as Spider-Man behind. Disheartened by Jameson's constant smear campaigns and the city's constant distrust of his actions, Peter decides he wants to live a normal life with Gwen Stacy and creates a serum to remove his powers.
Unfortunately, his serum had the unexpected result of mutating him further, and he grew additional arms to become a six-armed Spider-Man. He was eventually cured due to the blood from Morbius the Living Vampire, but in the animated series, his mutation went further and transformed him into a bestial Man-Spider.
7 THE CHOICE AND THE CHALLENGE
Following the beating of one of Aunt May's tenants that Peter felt responsible for due to his work as Spider-Man (coupled with an emotionally challenging contest with the demon Zarathos thanks to the Beyonder and Secret Wars II), Peter decides it is again time to quit being Spider-Man during a conversation with MJ in Amazing Spider-Man #275.
After neglecting a news report about Hobgoblin, Mary Jane reacts poorly and appeals to his sense of responsibility, which drives him to again become Spider-Man to take on the Hobgoblin. This would not even be the only time in 1987 that he decided to leave the hero business behind.
6 SPIDER-MAN VS. WOLVERINE
The Spider-Man vs. Wolverine one-shot took place during the mystery of the man behind the Hobgoblin's mask, which was something Spidey was dealing with in the previous entry. However, it wasn't really connected to the ongoing series. In fact, it would end up contradicting the Hobgoblin mystery.
However, seemingly oblivious about his recent decision to continue as Spider-Man, Peter decides to again quit being the superhero after the NYPD shoots at him. While in Berlin on assignment, he is forced to wear an imitation Spidey costume during his mission with Wolverine, and again contemplates his role as Spider-Man after mistakenly killing an assassin during battle.
5 CLONE SAGA
During the 90s the Spider-Man corner of the Marvel Universe was taken over by the Clone Saga, which saw the return of Miles Warren/Jackal and his clone of Spider-Man that was first introduced in Amazing Spider-Man #149. The clone (now going by the name of Ben Reilly and fighting crime as the Scarlet Spider) confronted Peter, and the two began to form a relationship.
After a series of events, it's revealed that Ben Reilly was actually the real Peter Parker and that Peter had been the clone all along. This revelation, along with Mary Jane's ongoing pregnancy, led to Peter's decision in Spectacular Spider-Man #229 to return the role of Spider-Man to Ben Reilly, while he and MJ moved away to begin their new life.
4 THE FINAL ADVENTURE
When Peter and MJ moved away from NYC, they decided to settle in Portland, Oregon, where Peter took on a job with a company known as GARID (Galannan Alternative Research for Immunization Development). GARID was the company responsible for initially irradiating the spider that bit Peter and gave him his abilities, so he hoped to learn more about its origins.
While Ben Reilly was active as Spider-Man in NYC, Peter was forced back into the webs to deal with Tendril and Dryrot, who had also been mutated due to the radioactive genetics project at his labs. Peter developed a cure for them both, though he lost his powers in the confrontation, forcing him to again retire as Spider-Man.
3 IDENTITY CRISIS
After Spider-Man was framed for the murder of a small-time crook by Joey Z and a $5 million bounty was placed on his head, he decided to abandon his Spider-Man identity until he could clear his name. He did this by taking on four other costumed identities, hoping to avoid the police suspicion that any new costumed character on the scene was Spider-Man trying to hide.
Spider-Man created four new superhero identities with the help of Hobie Brown/Prowler. He created two heroes named Prodigy and the Hornet that allowed him to continue to help people, and two criminals named Ricochet and Dusk that allowed him to get inside information that assisted in clearing his name. These costumed identities would later be assumed by the short-lived team known as the Slingers.
2 THE FINAL CHAPTER
After Norman Osborn participated in the mystical Gathering of Five, he was cursed instead of attaining the power he craved, and set about tearing down Peter Parker's life once again.
It was revealed that Aunt May was still alive, and the woman who had died in Amazing Spider-Man #400 was a surgically-altered actor who had been hired by Osborn. After Peter is able to recover and save Aunt May, he burns his Spider-Man costume and vows to live a normal life with his aunt and wife, though he became Spider-Man again after superpowered replacement Mattie Franklin/Spider-Woman III endangered herself.
1 SPIDER-MAN: REIGN/MC2
Peter Parker has also retired a few times in the potential futures of the Marvel Universe. Spider-Man: Reign saw an elderly Peter Parker who had given up Spider-Man years earlier after the death of MJ due to radiation poisoning.
In the MC2 universe, Peter Parker and Mary Jane's daughter May Parker survived and eventually became the hero known as Spider-Girl when her powers developed and she learned her father's secret. Peter revealed that he quit being Spider-Man after being injured during his final battle with Norman Osborn, instead joining the NYPD as a forensic scientist.