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50 Greatest Friends and Foes of Spider-Man: Supporting Cast #6-4

In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of Spider-Man, we’re doing four straight months of polls having to do with Spider-Man, culminating with the release of the Amazing Spider-Man film in July. Future installments will deal with Spider-Man creators and Spider-Man stories, but this month will be about Spider-Man’s supporting cast and his villains.

You all voted, now here are the results! We continue with Spider-Man’s supporting cast #6-4…

Here is a master list of all the characters revealed so far.

Enjoy!

6. Human Torch

The very first issue of Marvel Team-Up was between Spider-Man and Human Torch, which was a sign of how much of a pair the two heroes became over the years. They even had a great mini-series by Dan Slott and Ty Templeton…

When Human Torch seemingly died, Spider-Man took his place on the Fantastic Four. Now that Johnny is back, the two are right back to their old ways.

5. Gwen Stacy

Gwen Stacy was Peter Parker’s first true love. People often tend to think that Gwen was a bit of a boring goody two-shoes, but Stan Lee and John Romita gave her some real pep back in the day. Check this scene out…

But, let’s face it, Gwen is best known for the fact that Norman Osborn killed her to get revenge on Spider-Man. Her death sort of marked the end of Spider-Man’s youth in many ways. It also paved the way for Mary Jane to become the love of Peter Parker’s life.

4. Black Cat (Felicia Hardy)

Before Peter settled down with Mary Jane, his other most significant romantic relationship was with the former thief, the Black Cat. Their relationship was unique for its time, as the Black Cat was into SPIDER-MAN, not Peter Parker.

She was sexy, unpredictable and full of life. She was almost too much for Spider-Man to handle. Check out this exchange…

At the end of the day, though, she was just too interested in Spider-Man to ever settle for Peter Parker. She was one of the very first people that Peter actually revealed his identity to, and her reaction was sort of like, “Oh…okay, whatever.” You know how John Byrne’s take on why Lex Luthor couldn’t believe Superman was Clark Kent was that he couldn’t see why Superman would ever want to be a normal guy like Kent? That was Black Cat with Spider-Man. “Okay, you want to live in a dump of an apartment? You’re SPIDER-MAN, for crying out loud!”

So their relationship was ultimately doomed, but they’ve remained good friends ever since (recently, that has been expanded to good friends with benefits).

17 Comments

I liked Black Cat a lot when I was reading Spider-Man comics in the 80s… The relationship with her and Spidey was more complex than with Mary Jane, and she was also a lot more interesting than MJ, who I thought was always a rather boring character (a supermodel, a loyal girlfriend, a sexpot, talk about a cliched female love interest!), so I was kinda disappointed when Peter ended up with her instead of Felicia.

I wasn’t reading DC comics at the time, so later on in the 90s when I read some Batman comics with Catwoman, I was like “Oh, they must’ve based Black Cat and his relationship with Spider-Man on Catwoman!”, since Catwoman was an older character. But Wikipedia says Catwoman’s current characterization didn’t come to be until years after Black Cat was introduced, so it could be the other way around. I wonder if people who were reading both Marvel and DC back in the 80s remember whether Black Cat was considered to be a Catwoman copy back then?

Oh yeah, the Black Cat was very much an obvious Catwoman homage from the moment she first appeared. “Current characterization” aside, Batman’s romance with Catwoman goes way back.

Nobody from my list this time, but no real surprises either.

Yeah, I know the Catwoman-Batman romance goes way back, but I’m specifically talking about the “she loves the mask, not necessarily the man behind the mask” and “she’s too amoral/independent/unreliable to have a proper relationship with him” elements of the romance. Were they first introduced in the Black Cat/Spider-Man stories and later on introduced to the Batman/Catwoman romance, or vice versa?

The first part of that–just loving the mask–I don’t really think of as a Catwoman thing. Sure, they borrowed the Watchmen bit of it being hotter with the masks on, but she doesn’t have the Black Cat’s weird pathology about it. Her being too amoral/independent/unreliable to have a real relationship with Batman is, if anything, less true now than it was when Felicia first appeared, as Catwoman was still primarily a criminal back then. A little like Talia in that she was a criminal who had the hots for Batman and would often help him out because of that, just without Talia’s “beloved” clinginess.

Anyone care to say what issue that Black Cat sequence is from?

figured gwen would show up in the top five. though surprised to see her at five instead of four since even though she is still more known for getting thrown off the bridge by norman she is still spider mans first love. black cat figured would make the list . wonder who number one will turn out to be

Nice interaction between the Human Torch and Spider-Man there.

The final 3 will probably be J. J. Jameson, Mary Jane, and Aunt May…But in which order???

I dunno, looking over my list I see that the Fabulous Frog-Man still hasn’t shown up. I expect an upset victory.

Interesting that Black Cat beat Gwen Stacy. For all the talk of Gwen being Peter’s “True Love”, turns out most people don’t even have her in their top two Spidey love interests (assuming Mary Jane places in the Top 3 of this list along with Aunt May and J. Jonah, which at this point is obvious, though the order of the Top 3 is to be seen).

Well, Black Cat has been a supporting cast member a lot longer than Gwen was a supporting cast member (and Black Cat continues to be a supporting cast member). That likely helps.

Or it could also be that while Mary Jane could easily cover most of the relationship dynamics Gwen shared with Peter, Black Cat provides that extra edginess which even a character as wholesome as MJ lacks. Probably the reason for Felicia being the most preferred alternative when it comes to the Spidey loves.

[...] 50 GREATEST FRIENDS AND FOES OF SPIDER-MAN: SUPPORTING CAST #6-4 from Comic Book Resources/CSBG Archive [...]

They probably put Gwen so low because some of the fans that voted didn’t think she’d count because she’s dead, plus she’s never been accurately portrayed in a movie. Spider-Man 3 portrayed her as the girl keeping Peter from Mary Jane, while in the comics it was originally vice-versa. And in the movie, Gwen was stupid and oblivious, while in the comics Gwen was so smart , her intelligence rivaled that of Peter’s, and she almost figured out that he was really Spider-Man. It looks like Mark Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man will portray her more similar to the comic book version of the character.

Oh, and also that terrible storyline “Sins Past” that successfully attempted to ruin Gwen’s character by having her giving birth to Norman Osborn’s kids was likely to have a large part of why she wasn’t high enough on the list. I actually have a theory about that. My theory is that Sarah and Gabriel were not Gwen and Norman’s kids, but clones of Gwen and Harry. After all, we know that Norman Osborn helped Jackal to create the original Clone Saga, so he would have the resourses to create two more clones. Also, that would explain the excellerated growth of the twins and why Harry’s son Normy grew at a normal pace even though his father took the Goblin Formula. After all, you didn’t expect Norman to be honest and say what reaaly happened, did you? And if you’re wondering why MJ “confirmed” that Osborn was telling the truth, the answer to that can be explained in four simple words: Quentin Beck, aka Mysterio. We know that Osborn had ties with Beck because just a few years later, he would hire Myserio to fake the death of his son, Harry. And when “Gwen” told Mary Jane what happened, that was actually an illusion Osborn hired Mysterio to create. As for the DNA analysis, the results could have been changed by Osborn the same way he changed the results for the DNA tests to determin who was really Spider-Man during the second Clone Saga.

Gwen in ultimate spiderman was awesome, really miss her.

But Gwen came back in Ultimate Spiderman. After they killed Carnage Gwen came back but had symbiote powers. Venom absorbed the symbiote, and took away Gwen’s powers. Afterwards, (the Ultimate verion of) Tony Stark explained that she is the real Gwen Stacy.

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