Richard and Mary Parker

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See Marvel Comics * List of Marvel Comics characters *Spider-Man *Spider-Man Supporting Characters * Spider-Man Store *Spider-Man Gallery

  • First appearance: Amazing Spider-Man Annual #5 (flashback); Untold Tales of Spider-Man #-1 (full)


Richard and Mary Parker are fictional characters of Marvel Comics. They were the parents of Peter Parker, the boy who one day would become Spider-Man.

Contents

Publication history

Prior to Amazing Spider-Man Annual #5, there had been no explanation of why Peter Parker was an orphan and was raised by his aunt and uncle. That issue finally answered the question. Richard and Mary Parker only appeared in brief flashbacks in the story.

For many more years, the characters appeared only in flashbacks and photographs. However, in Amazing Spider-Man #365 (August 1992), Spider-Man's 30th anniversary, they reappeared. Two years later, in #388 (April 1994) they were revealed to be robots created by the Chameleon and were destroyed.

In July of 1997, Untold Tales of Spider-Man #-1, part of Marvel Comics' "Flashback Month" event, written by Roger Stern and drawn by John Romita, Sr, expanded the characters' origins. Since then, they have rarely been mentioned except in passing.

Fictional character biographies

Captain Richard Parker, a decorated operative of the United States Army Special Forces, was recruited by Nick Fury to the C.I.A.. His brother, many years older than he was, was Ben Parker, who was married to May Reilly Parker.

Mary Fitzpatrick was the daughter of O.S.S. agent "Wild Will" Fitzpatrick. She attended the best schools and eventually followed in her father's footsteps, becoming a C.I.A. translator and data analyst.

Richard and Mary met on the job, fell in love, and married. Originally they elope, but they had a more elaborate service later, fooling many. Mary became a field agent like Richard, giving them both an easy cover as a married couple. They were assigned to investigate Baroness Adelicia Von Krupp, who had captured an agent of a "friendly power" (who turned out to be Logan, aka Wolverine, then a Canadian operative called Agent Ten). They rescued Logan from the Baroness and Baron Wolfgang von Strucker. After that mission, they discovered that Mary was pregnant.

Their son Peter Benjamin Parker was born some months later. However, Richard and Mary were frequently away from him on missions. While they were away, he was left in the care of Richard's older brother Ben and his wife May.

Richard and Mary became agents for S.H.I.E.L.D. when it broke off from the C.I.A. While on a mission to investigate Albert Malik, the third Red Skull, they posed as traitors and double agents to infiltrate his criminal organization in Algeria. Unfortunately they were discovered. Malik framed them and brought in an assassin called the Finisher to kill the two. Finisher sabotaged their airplane and caused it to crash.

After death

Richard and Mary's son Peter grew up to become the superhero Spider-Man. Although he has no memory of his parents, his aunt and uncle share photographs and happy memories with him... but not their belief that they had been traitors to their country. When Peter discovers this, he travels to Algeria. He finds Malik, who sends the Finisher to kill Spider-Man. Spider-Man turns the Finisher's missile against him, and the Finisher dies, but not before revealing that Richard and Mary were in fact innocent. Spider-Man returns to America with evidence and clears his parents' names.

Life Model Decoys

Years later, the Chameleon, working for Harry Osborn, created Life Model Decoys of Richard and Mary. These LMDs were near-perfect robotic replicas of Peter's dead parents, and convince him that they had in fact been held captive overseas for most of his life. Aunt May retains some suspicions, as there are some things they did not know, such as Richard and Mary's elopement. When Peter discovers that they were fake, he suffers a nervous breakdown. When the Decoys were ordered to attack Parker, Mary's feelings for Peter causes her to save him. Both Decoys do not survive the incident.

May Parker eventually learns the truth about the Life Model Decoys, via learning the truth about Spider-Man. May draws strength by talking to the graves of Mary, Richard and Ben about Peter's life.

Other versions

1602

In Marvel 1602, Peter Parquagh's parents are briefly mentioned as having worked with Sir Nicholas Fury, Queen Elizabeth's spymaster.

Bullet Points

In the alternate timeline of Bullet Points, Ben is killed a few months into his relationship with May Parker. Richard and Mary promise to "always be there for her", a vow which was later broken.

House of M

In the alternate reality created by the Scarlet Witch during the House of M storyline, Peter and Gwen Stacy name their son Richard.

MC2

In the alternate reality of MC2, Peter names his son Benjamin Richard Parker, with his second name being in honor of his father.

Trouble

The 2003 limited series Trouble was marketed as the "true origin" of Spider-Man. In that story, characters named Richard and Mary met while on summer vacation, and Mary's friend May rather than Mary herself was Peter's mother. None of the characters' last names were revealed. The story was later ignored due to negative fan reception.

Ultimate Richard Parker

In the Ultimate Marvel continuity, Richard "Ray" Parker was a biologist instead of a spy. He and Mary supposedly died in an airplane accident when Peter was six, and Peter still has vague memories of his parents. Before the crash, Richard was working on a cure for cancer, in the form of a biological suit that could repair its host body. He recorded a series of tapes addressed to Peter, in which he revealed that he was worried that the suit would be used as a weapon instead of a cure. A tape recorded just before the crash revealed that his project had been taken away from him. His project became the basis of Venom. His name and work were known by scientists (including Wasp and Giant Man of the Ultimates) involved in re-creating the super-soldier formula that created Captain America.

In Ultimate Spider-Man #100, it was revealed that Bolivar Trask, the man responsible for shutting down the cancer cure project, brought the research staff back together. Richard had second thoughts about working on the project, now knowing the suit he developed would be used as a weapon, and chose not to get on the plane. Mary, however, felt that Richard was a fool for turning down this opportunity, and appeared willing to leave her husband for this reason. After the crash, Richard was approached by government agent Henry Gyrich, for the purposes of launching his own research project in case Nick Fury was ever to go rogue. Gyrich showed Richard a surveillance video proving his son, Peter, was the amazing Spider-Man. Afterwards, he revealed himself to May Parker. May, shocked by the possibility that Richard was alive all this time, told him to go away. Richard then preceded to go to Peter's high school, but Gyrich prevented him from doing so. After Peter found a revived Gwen Stacy, however, Richard finally went to May's house to try to explain everything. However, after telling of what happened to him, Nick Fury's men and Spider-Slayers surrounded the house. Gwen becomes nervous and immediately transforms into what appears to be the ultimate version of Carnage.

Later, in issue 103, Doctor Otto Octavius (who created multiple clones of Spider-Man) reveals that "Richard Parker" is actually an aged clone of Spider-Man with false memories. This is confirmed when Susan Storm of the Fantastic Four runs a test on a sample of Richard's DNA and finds it identical to Peter Parker's. Apparently, the cloning process severely aged Richard. Though his memories were false, Richard still deeply loves Peter like a son. Before he dies, Richard asks Sue Storm and the rest of the Four to look after Peter.

In the final FMV of the Ultimate Spider-Man video game, it is implied that Eddie Brock Sr. and the Venom suit are responsible for the plane crash that killed Peter's parents.

Artist Mark Bagley based the likeness of the Ultimate version of Richard Parker on that of Peter Parker as drawn by John Romita, Sr. and Gil Kane in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He felt he had not adequately captured Peter's appearance during his earlier run on The Amazing Spider-Man in the 1990s.<ref name="bagley-likeness">Interview with Mark Bagley and Brian Michael Bendis in Wizard: The Guide to Comics #180 (2006).</ref>

In other media

Novels

In the "Sinister Six" novel trilogy by Adam-Troy Castro (Gathering of the Sinister Six, Revenge of the Sinister Six, and Secret of the Sinister Six), a man known only as the Gentleman- an internationally known criminal mastermind, currently in his late nineties and possessing a strong disdain for the rest of humanity, as well as being the brother of the Red Skull's assassin the Finisher- was revealed to have been partially responsible for Richard and Mary's deaths, having revealed their true identities to the Red Skull, only asking that Peter be spared so that he would be more of a challenge later on in life. The possibility was also raised that Spider-Man had an older sister: the Gentleman's ward, a young woman called Pity, who was capable of climbing walls, possessed a strength level approximately equal to Spider-Man, and could create a 'darkness' that prevented anyone around her from seeing anything. At the conclusion of this trilogy, Peter Parker meets Logan, who reveals that he worked regularly with the Parkers on joint missions between the American and Canadian secret services; indeed, Logan was apparently the first person to congratulate Richard after they learned that Mary was pregnant with Peter, prompting Peter to say "Wolverine's practically my Uncle."

Television

The Richard and Mary Parker appeared in Spider-Man: The Animated Series as an illusion created by Baron Mordo in the third season premiere. In the fifth-season Six Forgotten Warriors saga, it is revealed that Peter's parents were spies investigating a machine called the Doomsday Device created by the Red Skull in Russia. After learning from Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. that his parents were traitors, Peter travelled to Russia and cleared their names. He had help from Uncle Ben's friend Keen Marlow, the Golden Age superhero the Destroyer.

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