Who is Peter Parker?

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Finally got around to reading Amazing Spider-man #s 688 & 689 last week and was taken aback by how Peter Parker was drawn in 688 (he doesn’t appear in 689).  I mean, he looked so little like what I imagine Peter Parker to look like, that until he was identified by name on the next page I thought we might be looking at Flash Thompson!

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This drove me to go back through my collection of Amazing Spider-man issues to see how Peter had been depicted over the years and I ended up putting together a collection of panels showing our hero in his civilian appearance over time.

While doing this work showed me that there were quite a number of times where was some shoddy penciling or inking work that made him not look like himself (esp. in the late 90s and early 00s), generally speaking there is some form of continuity across the decades.  All the Peter Parkers may not look the exactly same depending on who is drawing him and when, but you can always tell who it is supposed to be at first glance. (Click on the image below for a larger version).

peter-parker-thru-time

For the record, though, to me the definitive Peter Parker is by John Romita, Sr.

As for the source of these panels, the first one is Amazing Fantasy #15, after that they are all from ASM #3, 39, 39, 82, 118, 154, 189, 226, 263, 299, 335, 371, 410, 446, 481, 529, 565, 601, 640.

3 thoughts on “Who is Peter Parker?

  1. Don’t know who that first penciller was, but they’re pretty clearly off-model. It wouldn’t be as bad if Pete hadn’t abruptly turned blonde!

    There’s a reason these guys used to never take their masks off … it made it easy for readers to distinguish the crudely-drawn heroes in every panel! There’s not much excuse for being unable to recognize a character these days, though …

  2. Ditko managed to create a distinct look for Peter Parker, and subtly changed him over the course of his 3 years on the title, changing Peter’s image from a skinny teen to a more robust young man but still clearly the same person. Romita and most other artists of the Silver & Bronze ages were able to maintain that distinct appearance enough so that even when Peter Parker showed up in another comic without his costume he was instantly recognizable. Too many other superhero alter egos, however, were virtually indistinguishable, especially all the blonde men — Donald Blake, Steve Rogers, Henry Pym, Clint Barton, and even the much younger Warren Worthington, III and Johnny Storm. Put them all around a table without costumes or any aspect of their powers in evidence, and it would have been difficult to tell who was who as drawn by even many of the best artists of the ’60s through ’80s.

  3. Pingback: Superior Responsibility: Spider-Man & the Thread of Identity | The Middle Spaces

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