I would like to talk about Peter Parkers love/hate relationship with being Spider-Man. I know it's a very basic and simple subject, but I like going in depth about stuff like this because it's fun.
Peter loves and hates being Spider-Man. Sometimes he loves being Spider-Man, sometimes he hates being Spider-Man. His feelings about his double life aren't black and white, they vary and are dependent on what situation he is in. This Encyclopedia talks about Peter's love for his costumed identity (Spider-Man):
Biography: As Peter matured, so did his relationship with his on-again, off-again girlfriend girlfriend Mary Jane Watson. The two dated seriously for many years and ultimately committed to a long term romance. But as before, Spider-Man's influence meant Peter had to divide his loyalties between Mary Jane and his costumed identity. Unable to resolve their differences, the couple has separated.
Peter's life as Spider-Man is not all gloom and doom. While a tremendous responsibility, being Spider-Man is also a release for Peter, an exhilarating adventure that allows him to leave his everyday troubles behind and swing from rooftops while battling criminals with webs and wisecracks. Despite the personal tragedy he has endured, Peter truly loves being Spider-Man.
The Encylopedia says that Peter's life as Spider-Man is not all gloom and doom and that allthough it is a tremendous responsibility, it's also a release for Peter because it gives him an exhilarating adventure that enables Peter leave his everyday civilian troubles behind to web sling and fight criminals, webbing up criminals whilst making fun wisecracks. So Peter does truly love being Spider-Man, despite the tragedies that he is suffered.
This is absolutely true. Being Spider-Man is a release for Peter ever since he first got his powers from the radioactive spider bite during his high school years:
Peter Parker: Here's where Spider-Man got his start! If the safety shielding on their exhibits had been a little stronger, then the spider that bit me there wouldn't have been radioactive… And I wouldn't have these crazy powers! I would remain a normal midtown high sophomore! Ah, midtown high–the old alma mater! I don't think I've been back here since graduation. I can look back at high school now and laugh, but it didn't seem so funny then! Things sure have changed. In those days I was "Puny Parker"… The class nerd… The little professor… The guy with the glasses. None of the girls would give me the time of day… And I was the butt of a thousand jokes. Becoming Spider-Man was the only release I had. Hmm… Maybe things haven't changed so much after all!
Peter goes into a lot of detail about how much of a loser he was during his high school days. People gave him nicknames, none of the girls gave Peter the time of day, and Peter was the butt of a thousand jokes. Being Spider-Man was the only release Peter had from being a nerdy loser. Peter talks about it here too:
Peter Parker: Gosh, wearing these threats reminds me of the first time I ever did this–what a sensational feeling that was. From Puny Parker, class loser, to the Amazing Spider-Man… Strong, free… And spectacular! Being bitten by that radioactive bug was the best thing that ever happened to me–even if I do occasionally get into trouble!
Peter says that his transformation into Spider-Man as sensational feeling because it made him feel strong, free and spectacular. It was a form of escapism for Peter because Spider-Man was the opposite of Peter Parker, who was just a "class loser," the opposite of "the Amazing Spider-Man." Spider-Man was the opposite of Peter Parker, at least in Peter's very early Spidey days because although Peter grows out of being a loser, it happened gradually, not overnight. As Spider-Man, Peter adopted a persona that was everything that he wasn't in school, so Peter felt naturally empowered when being Spider-Man. Peter even says that bitten by that radioactive spider was the best thing that ever happened to him because it gave him that release.
Not only did being Spider-Man give Peter a release through a persona that boosted his confidence, being Spider-Man also came with a great stress relief: web slinging, which Peter has repeatedly talked about. Examples are here:
Peter Parker: Some people jog. Some pump iron. But me, I've found that a solid stretch of web-slinging–is just the ticket for soothing this poor boy's soul! There! I feel better already!
Peter mentions that some people jog or pump iron to relieve stress, but Peter's method of relieving stress is web slinging. This is because web slinging is a form of physical exercise, and his body likely subsequently produces endorphins and other mood elevating hormones. Exercise is scientifically known for boosting endorphins, so since Peter lives a very physically active life via web slinging and fighting bad guys, that would naturally stimulate all the mood elevating hormones necessary to relieve Peter of his everyday problems and struggles. Interestingly enough, Peter has made a remark about how important web slinging is to keeping his sanity intact:
Peter Parker: Wow! Some dream. Hmmmm, no wonder it's so cold in here. Well, Aunt May always said to leave the window open… The fresh air will do you good. Guess my little chat with the Kingpin rattled me more than I thought! Seeing Matt Murdock like that… Right after finding out Flash Thompson is the Hobgoblin… It's a wonder I got any sleep at all! In spite of the fact I've decided to give up this Spidey schtick… I gotta admit that at times like these web slinging around town has done a lot to keep me sane!
Even though Peter is contemplating going into permanent retirement from his superhero career, he admits that web slinging around New York has done a lot to keep him sane, which speaks volumes of how stress relieving it is for Peter.
But of course, being Spider-Man isn't always fun and games. Sometimes being Spider-Man really… Really sucks:
Being Spider-Man also creates so many problems for Peter that he sometimes hates being Spider-Man, viewing his powers as a curse. But Peter's powers are both a blessing and a curse, which he discovers when seeing a hallucination of the dead Captain George Stacy:
Peter's powers are a blessing and a curse. Hence why he has a love/hate relationship with being Spider-Man.
- Looking to get into Spider-Man comics? Not sure where to start? Look no further!
- Marvel’s Greatest Child Star: An Ode to Penny Parker
- There is more to Spider-Man than making up for Uncle Ben’s death
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