Any Spider-Man fan knows how important Uncle Ben is to the character. Without Ben, Peter never would have become as great of a hero as he is. The life lessons Peter learned from his Uncle, and the guilt Peter has over his complicitness in Ben's death has continued to drive him to this day.
Although everyone knows about the death of Uncle Ben, few people know about the rest of his history. Although Amazing Spider-Man #1 already started with Uncle Ben dead, through flashbacks and other means we have learned a lot about the character since then. Here are the top ten things you didn't know about Uncle Ben.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Ben ended up leaving the city to pursue a career as a successful military police officer. This history of him being an honored member of the armed forces has no doubt inspired Peter to be a better version of himself.
Frequently shown as an avid fan/supporter of Captain America, learning about Ben's military history makes the reason for his admiration become quite apparent. Although he never fought any supervillains, Ben's military experience made him quite the hand to hand combatant, skills which he did end up using on an occasion or two.
One such occasion where Ben had to use his military combat training was when some of Peter's bullies followed him home. Chasing Peter and his friend Charlie Weiderman, the bullies eventually ran into Ben, who told them if they wanted Charlie, they'd have to go through him.
Unfortunately for one of the bullies, he tried to get to Charlie despite Ben's warning. Uncle Ben then quickly used his army training to take the bully out rather quickly. Intimidated by the old man's skills the bullies all ran in fear.
During one of Spidey's adventures with Doctor Strange, the Sorceror Supreme was able to give Peter one last goodbye with his uncle. Although the circumstances remain rather mysterious as to how Strange was able to transport Ben to the present, Spidey could not have been happier to have five minutes to speak with his uncle.
Suffering one of the many low points of being a hero, Spider-Man was needing a pep talk at the time. No one was better suited to give him one than Ben. Telling Peter that the only thing that would disappoint him is if Peter settled for less out of fear, Ben was able to encourage Peter to continue the good fight and remain as Spider-Man.
During the Spider-Verse event, comic fans got to see a slew of different Spider-Men from all over the multiverse. Although it seemed like the majority of these characters were another version of Peter Parker, there were a few notable exceptions. One of these was a Spider-Man who was non-other than Uncle Ben.
Having been bitten by the radioactive spider instead of Peter, Uncle Ben took up the Spider-Man mantle using costumes and gadgets designed by Peter. Unfortunately for this universes Spidey, one of his villains discovered his identity and murdered both May and Peter. Then, due to a horrible scheme by Doc Ock, the whole Earth is plunged into nuclear fallout.
When Brian Michael Bendis created the Ultimate Spider-Man series, he revitalized the character in many interesting ways. One of the best things about his approach was his changes to Uncle Ben and Aunt May. Although they still inhabited many of the traditional values they always had in the mainstream continuity, these new characters were made with a modern twist that kept them interesting.
It turns out that this version of Uncle Ben and Aunt May were hippies back in the day. There are many subtle and overt nods to their past, but one of the most significant ones is Uncle Ben's ponytail. While this has not shown up in any other iteration of the character, it worked perfectly for what Bendis was going for.
In one of Marvel's famous What If? storylines, they decided to explore the possibility of Uncle Ben surviving and Aunt May dying. The tragedy brings the two Parker men closer together. Peter blames himself for not stopping the robber, and Ben for not protecting his wife. They then tell one another there was no way of knowing what would happen, and they need to move forward.
Quickly finding out Peter is Spider-Man, Ben encourages Peter to keep being a superhero in honor of his aunt. An angry Ben eventually even convinces J Jonah Jameson to stop smearing Spider-Man in the press. The newsman instead elects to hire Spidey to get the inside scoop on crime within New York City.
One of the most famous clones in Marvel comics is Scarlet Spider, the clone of Spider-Man. After learning that he is not the real Peter Parker, this new clone takes on the name Ben Reilly. Ben after the late Ben Parker, and Reilly because it is Aunt May's maiden name.
In the alternate MC2 universe, Peter has a daughter with his wife named Mayday Parker. Over the course of Mayday's life, she is reminded of how great her Uncle Ben was. This Uncle Ben actually being Ben Reilly, rather than Ben Parker.
During the Dark Reign storyline, Hercules and Amadeus Cho travel to the Underworld during the trial of Zeus, and run into a familiar face from Marvel history. As Amadeus decides to look for his parents in the afterlife, a kind old man points him in the right direction.
This man introduces himself as none other than Ben Parker. It turns out that Ben is enjoying the afterlife quite a bit, describing it as paradise.
In the more recent Clone Conspiracy story, a new version of the Jackal arrives on the scene, "resurrecting" many of Spider-Man's old friends and enemies. It turns out that this new Jackal is actually the resurrected Ben Reilly, and he's using a form of cloning technology to seemingly (but not really) bring people back to life.
Hoping to write the many wrongs of Spider-Man's life, because Reilly has all the same memories, he eventually offers to bring Uncle Ben back. Peter tells Reilly no, saying that Uncle Ben never would've wanted that.
After his famous death, the most commonly associated thing with Uncle Ben is the phrase "with great power comes great responsibility." If you go back and read the origin of Spider-Man in Amazing Fantasy #15, it turns out Ben never said that line.
Eventually, it was retconned that Uncle Ben did, in fact, say the line. In the original comic it was simply a narration by Stan Lee, not connected to any character in the story.