Aunt May

This article is about Peter Parker's aunt, May Parker. For her grand-niece, May "Mayday" Parker, see Spider-Girl.
Aunt May
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962)
Created by Stan Lee (Writer)
Steve Ditko (Artist)
In-story information
Full name May Reilly Parker Jameson
Species Human
Place of origin Earth
Team affiliations Parker Industries
Supporting character of Spider-Man
Notable aliases May, May Reilly, May Parker, May Fitzgerald, Golden Oldie, May Morgan

Aunt May is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko, the character made her first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962). She is the aunt-by-marriage and adoptive mother of Peter Parker, who leads a secret life as Spider-Man. She is nurturing and supportive of Peter, although throughout most of Spider-Man's history, she has not known of his secret life and considers Spider-Man frightening. After years as a widow, Aunt May married John Jonah Jameson, Sr. (father of long-time Spider-Man critic J. Jonah Jameson).[1]

She has appeared in most other media adaptations of the comics, often playing a prominent role.

Fictional character biography

May Parker (née Reilly) was born in Brooklyn, New York on May 5.[2] After the death of her brother-in-law and his wife, May and her husband Ben Parker took in their only son, Peter, and raised him at their home in the Forest Hills section of Queens. She remained an important influence in Peter's life even during college as she was the only family he had left. Her continued belief that Peter was still the fragile boy he'd been before he gained his powers could be frustrating at times.

In the early years of his superhero career, Peter feared for May's well-being and the fatal shock that he believed would result if she ever learned about his dual identity as Spider-Man. Consequently, Peter often felt anguish over dealing with major crises while his aunt needed nearly constant care. This conflict took on an unusual turn when Aunt May became sweethearts with his enemy, Otto Octavius (also known as Doctor Octopus), and Peter struggled to deal with his enemy's schemes while not hurting his aunt.

During a period of convalescence at a nursing home, May met the wheelchair-bound Nathan Lubensky. Gradually, May and Nathan fell in love with each other. She invited Nathan into her Forest Hills home after converting it into a boarding house, and the couple was briefly engaged. However, May's heart was broken when Nathan suffered a fatal heart attack while protecting her from being taken hostage by Adrian Toomes, the costumed villain known as the Vulture.[3] Some time thereafter, a guilt-stricken Toomes confronted May, begging her to forgive him for his role in Nathan's death. (Ironically, Nathan had befriended Toomes when the two briefly resided at the same nursing home). May refused to do so, stating that only God could provide the villain with the redemption he was seeking.[4]

As part of a plan by Peter's arch-foe Norman Osborn, May was replaced by a "genetically-altered actress" who impersonated her while May was held captive by villains until the actress died,[5] Osborn returning May to Peter with a device planted inside her that would detonate a series of gene bombs if removed, decimating Earth. Fortunately, Mister Fantastic was able to disable the device without removing it, saving the world and May, who apparently retained no memory of her time in captivity. May finally learned about her nephew's secret life when she walked into his room after he had sustained a serious beating from the villain Morlun,[6] the two later talking about May's discovery as May came to accept her nephew's real life.

When Spider-Man joins the Avengers, Peter, Aunt May, and Mary Jane Watson move into Stark Tower. During the Superhero Civil War, she and Mary Jane convince Peter to unmask himself in front of a press conference.[7] Later, she is targeted by the Chameleon, but outwits the villain by feeding him Ambien-filled oatmeal-raisin cookies.[8]

When Peter changes his mind about the Superhuman Registration Act, he moves his family from Stark Tower to a motel. An assassin hired by the Kingpin tries to kill Peter, but hits May instead.[9] Peter takes May to a hospital[10] where she lapses into a coma and is likely to die. However, Aunt May receives a radioactive blood transfusion from Peter, which he hoped would save her life due to his mutated healing factor.[11]

The demon Mephisto offers to restore Aunt May's health in exchange for erasing Peter's marriage from history, and Peter and Mary Jane agree. May lives, and Spider-Man's identity is once again a secret.[12][13]

At the beginning of Brand New Day, May is doing volunteer work for a homeless shelter, run by Martin Li, the supervillain crime boss Mister Negative.[14] At this point, her knowledge of Peter being Spider-Man was erased. During her work at the shelter, she met John Jonah Jameson (the father of J. Jonah Jameson) and started a relationship with him.[15] The following issue, Peter caught the two of them in bed.[16] However, he approved of this relationship, mainly because John supports Spider-Man, who had previously saved his life,[16] and saw through Norman Osborn as a thug who holds nothing but contempt for the people.[17]

John walked with May in Central Park and asked her to marry him, and May accepted.[18] Despite Doctor Octopus' subconscious efforts to halt his former fiancé's wedding plans, May and John were wedded by New York Mayor J. Jonah Jameson.[19] After the wedding, May and John embarked on a round-the-world honeymoon.

It was later revealed that Aunt May has several blood relatives that are still alive. Aunt May has a sister named Jan. May's first cousins Sam and Julia are the children of her uncle Bill and his wife Claudia. Peter was attracted to Julia's daughter Alexa.[20] The Reilly family is currently staying in Aunt May's house.

Upon her return from her honeymoon, she stops by the FEAST offices, only to accidentally walk in on Martin Li, along with Hammerhead torturing one of Mr. Negative's Inner Demons. Trying to escape, Li touches her with his corrupting touch. She then returns to meet her husband and Peter. When John suggests going somewhere nice for dinner, Aunt May sarcastically proceeds to insult Peter over his fluctuating jobs and his dependence on them, culminating with calling her nephew "One damn big disappointment". A heartbroken Peter runs off.[21] Peter returns, after a physically and mentally exhausting battle against the Lizard, tries talking to Aunt May, looking for someone to help give him hope after seeing the death of Curt Connors' humanity. She still continues to act like a bad-tempered teenager and at first, rebuffs him. However, after seeing Peter clearly suffering mentally, she feels guilty and undergoes an intense mind battle, breaking the corruption, and is shown simply sitting next to Peter.[22]

Prior to the events of Spider-Island, after Martin Li's secret identity is exposed to the public, May and John formally announce their intention to leave New York for good, for their own safety, and move to Boston. John explains this was the result of all the recent major incidents towards them and their friends and family. They put May's old house up for sale and leave once the moving van is packed.[23] After spending their last night in New York at John's apartment, the following day she and John head to an airport in New Jersey with Peter and Carlie and they say their goodbyes before flying off.[24] Following the Ends of the Earth storyline, when May and John are returning home to New York on their private jet, but the irresponsible superhero Alpha uses his powers without care in his battle with Terminus causes many aircraft to shut down. The Avengers rescue everybody and Spider-Man saves his Aunt May and John from Jameson's malfunctioning private jet just before it crashes. Later Peter arrives at the hospital to see that his Aunt May and John are okay, although she has sustained minor nerve damage to her leg that will require the use of a cane for the rest of her life.[25] In The Superior Spider-Man storyline, Aunt May's leg is fully healed from operation and completion surgery with gratitude of Doctor Wirtham.[26]

As part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel, Aunt May and Jay became part of the Parker Industries's foundation, a charity focused on providing help for the less fortunate and raise the quality of life wherever it could be possible.[27] However, her husband Jay had coughed up blood and collapsed.[28] Aunt May is heartbroken after her husband Jay had later died in the hospital.[29] Aunt May, Peter and J. Jonah Jameson held a moment of silence.[30]

Other versions

Bullet Points

In this alternate reality, May suffered the loss of Ben only months into their marriage. Ben was killed during the assassination of Doctor Erskine, the man who would have created Captain America. Richard and his wife promised to be there for May, but she eventually ended up raising Peter by herself. Without the influence of Ben, Peter became a troublemaker, even going so far as to steal cars, and was eventually exposed to a gamma bomb that transformed him into this reality's version of the Hulk (Bruce Banner becomes this world's Spider-Man during experiments on the animals that were affected by the bomb).

Golden Oldie

May Parker was transformed by Galactus into the cosmically-powered being Golden Oldie to serve as his herald. Rather than lead him to populated worlds, Oldie discovered an extraterrestrial baker who bakes planet-sized snack cakes that sate Galactus's hunger. May's transformation is ultimately revealed as a dream. The issue, a parody of an old Hostess snack cake advertising campaign, was part of Marvel's "Assistant Editors Month" series of humorous issues.[31]

May also appeared as "Golden Oldie" (this time an Iron Man parody) as well as "The Astonishing Aunt Ant" and "Auntie Freeze" in an issue of What If?.[32]

Marvel Noir

In Spider-Man Noir, May Parker was a socialist activist in charge of a Welfare Center established by the murdered Ben Parker.

Marvel Zombies

In the Marvel Zombies alternate universe (Earth-2149), Spider-Man was bitten and transformed into a zombie, leading him to devour first Mary Jane, and then Aunt May, despite warning her to lock herself in the bathroom because he couldn't control himself.[33] However, Spider-Man thereafter felt remorse for his act of cannibalism, repeatedly referring to their deaths after he has feasted and was more in control of himself rather than a slave to his pre-existing hunger. Eventually, this lead him to turn against his fellow former metahuman and mutant colleagues.


In the alternate timeline known as MC2, May Parker's death in The Amazing Spider-Man #400 was valid. It was May who died in this continuum, rather than an actress.[34] Peter's daughter, May "Mayday" Parker, was named for her. Mayday became the super-heroine Spider-Girl and met the original May when she found herself displaced in time, although Mayday makes no attempt to explain who she really was.[35]

When Spider-Girl was trapped in an illusion by her enemy, Misery, she was given encouragement from a familiar spirit. She recognised the spirit as being Aunt May.[36]

In the final arc of Amazing Spider-Girl, Aunt May acts a spiritual advisor to May in order to help her grandniece reclaim her identity and save Peter from Norman Osborn. In this form, she initially appears as a younger version of herself, which prevents May from recognising her. However, May finally figures it out when she sees Aunt May through her father's eyes.[37]

Spider-Man: Clone Saga

In the retelling of the Clone Saga, May did not die as in the original storyline. Rather, she was infected with a virus by Jackal along with Mary Jane. Though she is close to death, Ben Reilly and Peter manage to get the cure and save her life. May and Ben are later by Peter and Mary Jane's side when she gives birth and is horrified when news breaks that Allison Mongrain has stolen baby May. The baby is later returned to the Parkers.


Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows

In this Secret Wars Warzone, when Peter is captured by Regent and his life is flashing before his eyes, one of his memories was him standing in front of Aunt May's open casket at her funeral, confirming that she died sometime before the events of the comic.


The 2003 limited series Trouble was marketed as the "true origin" of Spider-Man. In that story, teenagers named Ben, Richard, May and Mary met while on summer vacation. Ben and May are one couple while Richard and Mary another. Richard is secretly also seeing May who becomes pregnant with his child. She informs Ben of this who counters that he is sterile. May gives birth to a boy and her best friend Mary presents it to Richard as her own.

None of the characters' last names were revealed. The story did not become canon because of its negative reception.

Ultimate Marvel

In the Ultimate Marvel version of Aunt May is based on writer Brian Michael Bendis' mother.[43] This version of the character is a strong and independent woman in her late forties or early fifties, significantly younger than her original Marvel Universe counterpart. She is the biological sister of Mary Parker, and wife to Ben Parker.[44] After the death of Ben Parker she is the pillar strength for Peter. She is slightly overprotective of her nephew, and not supportive of Peter's secretive behavior. At one time, prior to the man's death, she had romantic feelings for John Stacy (the Ultimate Marvel version of George Stacy), the policeman who investigated Ben's murder and was the father of Gwen Stacy. May has been seen working in an office cubicle and attending a PTA meeting.

Peter decides to reveal his secret to her one night, only to find a note indicating that she has left to go on a date with, Professor Miles Warren, Harry Osborn's hypnotist/therapist (on Earth-616, Warren is the Jackal). Peter reveals his secret identity to Aunt May after he finds Gwen Stacy's clone at her old house,[45] resulting in May evicting Peter from her home, as she despises Spider-Man. This coincides with the appearance of a man who appears to be Richard Parker, Peter's father. Peter learns that May had known this man, who is revealed to be a clone of Peter who has been artificially aged, and that she kept this secret from Peter to "protect him," believing that if Richard had deliberately kept his survival secret from his own family for years, that he was not worth knowing and that the revelation that Peter had been abandoned, not orphaned, would be too much for the boy.[46] After a long talk between Peter and his "father", Nick Fury and a team of Spider Slayers surround the Parker home, which triggers a transformation in Gwen, turning her into Carnage. May then suffers a heart attack. She is rescued from dying by Sue Storm of the Fantastic Four,[47] reconciles with Peter and accepts his life as Spider-Man, though she is not at all fond of his costume.[48] Peter later explains to May why he became Spider-Man, and May tells him that Ben would be proud of him for doing so.[49]

During the events of the "Ultimatum" storyline, May is taken in for questioning by the New York Police Department concerning her odd connections to several vigilantes, most notably Spider-Man. The questioning is interrupted by a tidal wave that devastates New York, and no charges or further questioning is pursued subsequent to it.

After "Ultimatum" May turns her home into a teen shelter for superhumans without a home, including Bobby Drake (Iceman), Kitty Pryde (Shadowcat), and Johnny Storm (Human Torch).

During the climax of "The Death of Spider-Man" storyline, Aunt May manages to shoot Electro with a gun. She is by Peter's side when he dies following a battle with the Green Goblin, who dies shortly after Peter.[50]

Although angry at the Ultimates for belittling Peter's accomplishments in life when attending her nephew's funeral, May is nevertheless comforted when she met some of the people that Peter had saved during his career as Spider-Man, one little girl even offering her a comforting hug as thanks for raising the man who saved her. After the funeral, May and Gwen decide to take up Tony Stark's offer to set themselves up for a new life in France.[51]

However, following the emergence of a new Spider-Man, May and Gwen return to New York. Though Captain America threatens to arrest Miles' parents and expose his secret to them unless he retires the Spider-Man identity, May and Gwen are more supportive of Miles, and May gives him Peter's old web-shooters, along with the formula for the web-fluid, encouraging him to carry on Peter's legacy.[52]

During the Spider-Men miniseries, May and Gwen are back in the United States, presumably to oversee the selling of the Parker Residence and to finish Gwen's term at Midtown High. They encounter someone wearing a red-and-blue Spider-Man costume and believe he is a lunatic who is disrespecting Peter's memory. They become angry and threaten to call the police. However, when the person unmasks himself, they are stunned beyond belief to see the older, more mature Peter Parker, from the Marvel 616 universe.[53] She initially is unconvinced that this Peter is who he says he is, but both she and Gwen later realize he is being truthful when he knows Uncle Ben's admonishment about power and responsibility. May is greatly moved at realizing that she has now been given the chance for closure that she had missed when her Peter died, and concludes that she had made the right choices concerning her nephew, before the adult Peter is returned to his universe.[54]

When Green Goblin escapes custody after S.H.I.E.L.D. was shut down, he arrives at the front yard of Aunt May's house and confronts the new Spider-Man.[55] Aunt May and Gwen are inside watching the television where the battle of the new Spider-Man and Green Goblin was being broadcast. Soon, Spider-Man emerges to aid the new Spider-Man in the fight, to the surprise of Aunt May and Gwen. Green Goblin flees at his arrival and the two Spider-Men depart. Gwen is unsure of the identity of the original Spider-Man, but Aunt May assures her that his motives show that it is him.[56] Later, Aunt May and Gwen walk over to Mary Jane's house and overhear Peter's unknown resurrection. Aunt May sprints over and joyfully reunites with her nephew.[57] After the two Spider-Men defeat Green Goblin, Peter tells Aunt May that he intends to go on a quest to find out the truth of his mystery resurrection.[58]

What If

In other media



Video games

See also


  1. The Amazing Spider-Man #600
  2. The 2007 Free Comic Book Day edition of The Amazing Spider-Man.
  3. The Amazing Spider-Man #336 (Early August 1990)
  4. Spectacular Spider-Man #186-188 (March–May 1992)
  5. Sanderson, Peter (2007). The Marvel Comics Guide to New York City. New York City: Pocket Books. pp. 49–51. ISBN 1-4165-3141-6.
  6. The Amazing Spider-Man vol. 2 #35, #38
  7. Civil War #2 (w)Mark Millar (a)Steve McNiven
  8. Sensational Spider-Man #31
  9. The Amazing Spider-Man #538 (February 2007)
  10. The Amazing Spider-Man #539 (March 2007)
  11. The Amazing Spider-Man #541 (May 2007)
  12. The Amazing Spider-Man #545 (November 2007)
  13. Colton, David (July 7, 2009). "Comic fans fume as Marvel erases Spidey-MJ marriage". USA Today. Retrieved April 25, 2010.
  14. The Amazing Spider-Man #552 (March 2008)
  15. The Amazing Spider-Man #591 (April 2009)
  16. 1 2 The Amazing Spider-Man #592 (April 2009)
  17. The Amazing Spider-Man #595 (June 2009)
  18. The Amazing Spider-Man #597
  19. The Amazing Spider-Man #600 (July 2009)
  20. The Amazing Spider-Man Annual 36
  21. The Amazing Spider-Man #618
  22. The Amazing Spider-Man #633
  23. The Amazing Spider-Man #665
  24. The Amazing Spider-Man #666-667
  25. The Amazing Spider-Man #694
  26. The Superior Spider-Man #24
  27. The Amazing Spider-Man vol. 4 #4
  28. The Amazing Spider-Man vol. 4 #15
  29. The Amazing Spider-Man vol. 4 #19
  30. The Clone Conspiracy #1
  31. Marvel Team-Up #137
  32. What If? (vol. 1) #34
  33. Marvel Zombies: Dead Days #1 (July 2007)
  34. Letter page response from Spider-Girl #47
  35. Spider-Girl #10-11
  36. Spider-Girl #90
  37. Amazing Spider-Girl #30
  38. Edge of Spider-Verse #5 (2014)
  39. Spider-Verse Team-Up #1 (2014)
  40. 1 2 Spider-Verse #1 (2014)
  41. What If #23
  42. Spider-Verse Team-Up #3
  43. Richards, Dave (September 30, 2011). "COMMENTARY TRACK: Bendis on "Ultimate Comics Spider-Man" #2". Comic Book Resources.
  44. Bendis, Brian Michael (w); Bagley, Mark (p). Ultimate Spider-Man #45. Marvel Comics.
  45. Ultimate Spider-Man #99
  46. Ultimate Spider-Man #100
  47. Ultimate Spider-Man #101
  48. Ultimate Spider-Man #105
  49. Ultimate Spider-Man #111
  50. Bendis, Brian Michael (w), Bagley, Mark (p). Ultimate Spider-Man #160, Marvel Comics.
  51. Ultimate Fallout #6
  52. Bendis, Brian Michael (w), David Marquez (a). "Divided We Fall Part Two" Ultimate Spider-Man v2, 14 (November 2012), Marvel Comics
  53. Spider-Men #3
  54. Bendis, Brian Michael (w), Pichelli, Sara (p). Spider-Men #4 Marvel Comics.
  55. Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man #3
  56. Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man #4
  57. Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man #6
  58. Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man #7
  59. What If #23
  60. Spider-Verse Team-Up #3
  61. "'Captain America: Civil War' premiere: 5 things we learned". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2016-04-13.
  62. Kroll, Justin (March 7, 2016). "Zendaya Joins 'Spider-Man' Reboot". Variety. Archived from the original on March 7, 2017. Retrieved March 7, 2016.
  63. Arrant, Chris (October 12, 2013). "NYCC 2013: Marvel Adds More Characters To LEGO MARVEL SUPER HEROES Game". Newsarama.

External links

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