The title says it all.
I got an email from an old friend who is a follower of this worthless blog, and he inquired about my seemingly unrelenting assassination of Peter Parker as a character. Rather than answer his email, because that seemed like too much work, I thought the topic would bear some commentary here, where other fans of the biggest loser to ever merit his own comic, could come to attack my opinion and get truly irate at my nonsensical contempt for Marvel's iconic web-slinger.
I guess I should start by explaining that I never went through that phase that so many other kids went through, where Spider-Man seemed like the coolest thing in the world. Even as a youngster, growing up in a very small town about forty minutes north of Toronto, when I walked down the street to the local convenience store with my allowance and bought a couple of comic books on a Saturday afternoon, there was zero chance that the guy dressed up in Superman's colors and calling himself a spider was going to get my money. As a child the only thing that made Spidey even remotely acceptable was that his terrible television cartoon had a catchy jingle that should qualify as one of the worst songs ever written for TV. Singing it over and over is the perfect formula for grounding, social alienation and even divorce!
It remains Spider-Man's greatest accomplishment.
I remember the first time I vocalized my contempt for Puny Parker (thanks to Flash Thompson for that name) and got looks of confusion from so many of my friends in elementary school. They all loved the guy, and nobody seemed to see in him what I saw in him almost right from the start; Peter Parker is a selfish, whiny loser with no social confidence and even less moral certainty. How that guys scores Mary Jane Watson is beyond me, because that girl is HOT! Way out of his league. She's more in a Bruce Wayne league, and trust me when I tell you that he doesn't slum with Peter Parker!
In any event, it starts with the guy's extra-lame origin. One night when all of his pals (actually he didn't have any....Peter was, by design, an outcast and an orphan) were out getting burgers and shakes at the local hang-out (I'm picturing Arnold's from Happy Days!) our titular loser was at a science demonstration. Let me repeat; he was hanging out in his free time at a science demonstration. Doesn't he know that all the cool kids go to math conventions? Man, what a nerd! Now, even at a young age I wasn't one of those meatheads who mock guys for being smart. In fact in those formative years I was the smart kid. Top of the class grades. Still, I couldn't relate to a kid who wanted to spend his free time checking out "science." I thought it was stupid, and in retrospect......I was right. Who knew I was so wise as a kid?
So an irradiated spider bites Peter and he becomes wicked strong, sticks to walls, gains a sixth sense and awesome agility. All of a spider's natural skills, magnified in the body of a teenage boy, right? Wrong. Spiders don't have a sixth sense. If they did, they wouldn't get mashed and die every time I hammer one with a shoe. Even as a youth I knew that they just made that power up, the filthy liars. He didn't get the ability to spin webs though (although that would have been cool) but he did develop that through his own brilliant mind. Just a little question here folks......why the heck was he so poor if he was so smart? Why didn't he ever have any good ideas and patent anything that would make him some cash BEFORE the spider bit him? I mean, it's not like he was out hanging out with friends in his spare time.
Anyways, I digress. I hate the guy's origin. In my opinion it's weak and it will always be weak. But let's say we push past that and get into the formative moments of his life. Step one.....he takes up wrestling. Excuse me?!?! Nerdy, socially awkward Peter Parker takes up wrestling? Bleh. I get the argument that he was caught up in his newfound powers, but wrestling? It's so far outside the guy's established personality that it doesn't make any sense at all. You know what, though? I'm a decent guy. I can ignore that. So let's move on.....to the costume. You've heard me say this before, and I'll say it again. He's SPIDER man. As in....looks like a spider? Nope. I don't know any red and blue spiders. The truth is that he stole his colors from Superman, and of that I have no doubt. Heck, the hyphen in his name was put there so people wouldn't confuse him with Superman.
Confuse him with.....were they serious? One guy is awesome and the other guy couldn't get a prom date! One guy was rocketed to Earth as the last survivor of a dying world, and the other guy got bit by a spider. One guy's arch-enemy is Lex Luthor (future president of the United States and founder of the most powerful multi-national in the world) and the other guy fights people named after insects and animals (Vulture, Doc Oc, Rhino, Lizard.) Who the heck thought anyone was going to confuse Spider-Man with Superman? Seriously! But that little tidbit is a fact folks. Look it up.
Anyways, the costume is stupid. Red and blue for a guy based on a spider makes as much sense as yellow for Batman. The mask I at least understand. I'd be embarrassed if I ran around dressed like that too. Still, we ignore the retarded origin, and the weakness of the character himself. We step clear of the leap to pro wrestling for money (really!?!? Didn't he invent a fluid that hardens to the strength of steel?!??) and we get past the lame uniform, and we go right to the crux of who Peter Parker is.
He's a guy who had a chance to do the right thing.......and didn't.
The result was the death of his Uncle Ben, a kind old soul who's only shortcoming in life was letting his nephew turn into a nerd recluse who hangs out at science experiments. Poor bastard died because of that little jerk!
Anyways, Ben's death is what leads us to Spider-Man. Peter vows to use his new power to do right. Just a little bit late, and more than a little bit motivated by guilt. Where is the heroic moment? Where is the inspiration? Where is the sacrifice? Peter Parker was a self-absorbed prick who let a criminal saunter right past him, and only when that criminal hurt somebody he personally cared about was he moved to action. There's nothing heroic about that, and in my opinion it is the fundamental flaw of the character.
He isn't heroic, he's guilty.
Plus, and this might seem a little too complex an analysis for some people, but just bear with me....
....the guy's a loser.
Here's hoping Aunt May slaps the taste out his mouth the next time he whines, too.
So, any questions? Or can we get back to talking about other characters, who are much more deserving of our time and attention? People like Batman, Thor and Jesse Custer.