Full Name:
May Reilly Parker

First Appearance:
Amazing Spider-Man
#15 (As Aunt May)
Strange Tales #97 (1st possible appearance)

Death:
Amazing Spider-Man
#196 (apparent)
Amazing Spider-Man #400 (apparent)

Return/ Revival:
Amazing Spider-Man
#200
Spider-Man #97

Married/ Courtship:
Spectacular Spider-Man
Annual #4

Relatives:
Ben Parker - Husband (deceased)...Peter Parker - Nephew
...Mary Jane Watson-Parker - Niece...Richard Parker - Brother-In-Law...Mary Parker - Sister-In-Law...Horace - Uncle (deceased)

 


The second most important woman in Peter Parker's life happens to be his Aunt May. Along with her deceased husband Ben, Peter was raised by them as if they were his own parents. His own parents were killed on a spy mission while he was just a very young child. May has often been portrayed as the fragile old woman whose weak heart would not take too well if she ever learned that her nephew was Spider-Man. She has always regarded Spider-Man as threat and/ or menace for many years. For the most part, this was true, until Amazing Spider-Man V2 #37. May has also been throughout alot in her life, having almost as many lives as a cat. She has been near death many times and actually died a couple of times, having been brought back by two of Spider-Man's greatest enemies.

 

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May Reilly was born in Brooklyn, and was very taken by a man named Johnny Jerome. Unknown to her, Johnny was a criminal, a murderer,  and a burglar. It wasn't until the time he proposed to her, that she finally learned of his true natures. Jerome went to jail, and May fell in love with the very devoted Ben Parker. They eventually married. May & Ben never had children of their own, but they became surrogate parents of their nephew Peter, when his parents died in a spy mission. Ben Parker was shot and killed by the Burglar in Amazing Fantasy #15, leaving Peter without a father figure, and May a widow. Left - May taken by Doc Ock in Amazing Spider-Man #54.


 

Early on, Aunt May has been stricken with a number of illnesses, most notably in the epic Amazing Spider-Man #31-33. Peter had to obtain the ISO-36 isotope from the clutches of Doctor Octopus, in order for him to save her life. It was THE early Spider-Man tale. May has also had her share of run ins with Spider-Man baddies, including most notably Doctor Octopus. May almost married Ock in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man #131, when Ock wanted to gain control of an atomic plant that May had inherited. May has also had run ins with the Beetle, Mysterio, the Burglar, and others. There was also this little run in with the Green Goblin years later.

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The first time May "died" was in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man #196 with it's chilling cover depicting Peter Parker grieving at her grace (pictured left). She was revived in Amazing Spider-Man #200 where it was revealed that the Burglar from Amazing Fantasy #15 was teaming up with Mysterio to try and gain some cash that they thought was stashed away in the Parker home. Her death was all a hoax, and Peter was shown her alive by the Burglar. This prompted Peter to go berserk. The Burglar eventually died of a bad heart.  This will not be the last time that Aunt May dies as we shall see.


 

May always had a kind heart, having done a lot for charity, and even transformed her house into a senior center at one time. There she met her next love of her life: Nathan Lubensky. Nathan eventually proposed to May, and they were all set to get married. As it is with just about everyone in the Spider-Verse, Nathan died in Amazing Spider-Man #336 at the hands of the Vulture. She basically had a low profile for many years as a supporting character in the Spider-Verse, except for one little very off-beat appearance in the pages of Marvel Team-Up #137, where she became the Golden Oldie, the herald of Galactus the world devourer.

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One of the most well written Spider-Man stories involved the second death of Aunt May. Amazing Spider-Man #400 took place right in the middle of the Clone Saga shortly after she received a stroke. In it, she revealed to Peter that she knew he was Spider-Man all along atop the Empire State Building in New York City. It was only a short time later that she died in her bed at home. The story was all for naught though, as it was revealed in Spider-Man #97 that the woman who actually died was an actress employed by the Clone Saga mastermind, Norman Osborn. The real Aunt May was hidden away by Norman, as his alter ego, the Green Goblin battled Spider-Man.


 

May again became a vital part of the supporting cast in all of the Spider-Titles, and eventually grieved with Peter when Mary Jane was thought to be dead in an airplane explosion. May became a very big cast member beginning in Amazing Spider-Man V2 #35, where on the very last page, she stumbles into her nephew's unlocked apartment. She finds him in bed all beaten and battered after a long battle with the villain Morlun, but that is not the only thing she discovers. There on the floor of his room and his bed lay Spider-Man's torn costume. At first, she didn't make a sound, but returned a couple issues later to have the classic "conversation" in Amazing Spider-Man V2 #38.

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History through Thumbnails

1st Appearance?
Strange Tales #97
Serving Wheat Cakes
Amazing Fantasy #15
First Revival
Amazing Spider-Man #200
Deathbed Scene
Amazing Spider-Man #400
Second Revival
Spider-Man #97
The "Discovery"
Amazing Spider-Man V2 #35

 

 

May Parker will be played by veteran actress Rosemary Harris in the Spider-Man Motion Picture, out May 2002.

For more on the Movie exploits of May Parker, make a visit to:

Spider-Man Hype



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