Spider-Man is easily one of the most recognized characters in the world. Those big eyes, webbed mask, and distinctive origin story are familiar to both fans and non-fans. When it comes to Spidey's rogues gallery, it's populated by some of the most famous names in comics: Doctor Octopus, Venom, the Green Goblin, the Vulture, Electro, Mysterio, and more.
But when Spidey isn't busy stopping bank robberies, hanging out with the Avengers, or chasing down Kraven the Hunter, he doesn't exist in a void: he also has a real life, as an everyday working class guy named Peter Parker, who struggles to pay the bills, to balance his time, and to figure out what he wants from life. Just like any of us, Peter's world is populated by many secondary characters who support him from the sidelines. He has relatives, girlfriends, father figures, bosses, coworkers, you name it, and each one of these people has played a role in his life, no matter how large or small.
If you consider yourself a Spider-Fan, now is the time to test that knowledge, by delving deep into one of the more underrated aspects of Peter's story. Everyone knows Spider-Man's villains, but what about his friends? Can You Name Spider-Man's Supporting Characters?
If there's a list of bosses from hell, this guy is probably near the top of it. The publisher of the Daily Bugle, he's known for screaming at his employees, underpaying his freelance workers, and ripping off anyone he can. He also really, really hates Spider-Man, and devotes a massive portion of the Daily Bugle's resources into negatively representing every move the wall crawler makes. Deep down, however, a number of stories have shown that this guy actually does have a sympathetic side, is loyal to those he cares about, and mainly hates Spider-Man out of jealousy.
Peter's beloved aunt
Peter lost his parents at a very early age, and so it was up to this woman and her husband to take him in, and put him on the right path. Though Peter often stresses out about his aunt's health and well being, she's actually highly capable of taking care of herself for the most part. Though like Peter worries about her, she worries about him. In recent years, she has often been depicted as being aware of her nephew's secret identity.
The Daily Bugle's Editor-in-Chief
With a crazy boss like Jameson, this guy is probably the one who deserves the real credit for keeping the Daily Bugle afloat. This guy is probably the only person at the Bugle who isn't afraid of Jameson's wrath, and is willing to stand up to his boss for what he thinks is right. One point of contention between them: Spider-Man, a figure who Robertson tries to stay neutral on, but tends to view favorably. Robertson has long suspected that one of the Bugle's freelance photographers, Peter Parker, might be carrying a big secret.
Peter Parker's greatest love, and his wife
Peter Parker has had a long list of tangled romances, some good and some bad, but no one else has ever compared to this one, the redheaded girl of his dreams. Whereas Peter is introverted and self-conscious, she's extraverted and confident. Though she originally seemed like a shallow popular girl, she later was shown to come from a tough background; she also revealed, later on, that she'd figured out Peter's secret identity a long time before he revealed it to her. They were married in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21 in 1987.
Peter's best friend
After his awkward high school days, Peter has had a number of good friends, but no one closer than Harry Osborn, the wealthy son of Norman Osborn. Peter helped Harry get through his troubled, drug-induced college years, and the two stayed close despite the fact that Harry's father became Peter's archenemy, the Green Goblin. However, after Norman's death, Harry blamed Spider-Man for the event. After this, Peter and Harry's friendship could never be the same, especially when Harry started wearing a certain green mask...
There were many people who bullied "Puny Parker" in high school. But the worst bully of them all was this jock, who never let Peter have a happy moment. Ironically enough, though, this guy also becomes Spider-Man's biggest fan: even when the rest of the city thinks Spider-Man is a criminal, this guy proudly wears a Spidey t-shirt and proclaims what a hero he is. After high school, he goes to the military, comes back a changed man, and he and Peter grow to become close friends. In recent years, he has worn the Venom symbiote.
Spidey's most dangerous girlfriend
One of the troubles that Peter Parker has often run into in his relationships is the fact that he goes out, day after day, risking his life. It's difficult for most people to relate to this, and when villains find out his identity, this poses a huge danger to his loved ones. But with this girlfriend, a former criminal who reformed her ways to become a superhero, that wasn't an issue. She and Spider-Man were crime-fighting partners for a long time, but after finding out her lover's secret identity, found herself less attracted to him.
The man with the famous quote
If there's anyone who has been an inspiration in Peter's life, then it's this man, the father figure whose sense of responsibility, love of family, and strength fueled Peter to become the man he is today. Peter's greatest mistake in life was a moment of selfishness, that unintentionally led to this man dying at the end of a burglar's gun. Since then, a quote that this man said to Peter shortly before he died has never stopped ringing in the wall crawler's ears. When he was alive, this character really loved the New York Mets.
The girlfriend who died
After becoming Spider-Man, Peter did his best to ensure that no one he loved ever died because of his actions. But unfortunately, when his archenemy the Green Goblin learned of his identity, he immediately sought to strike Peter right at the heart: he abducted this woman, Peter's girlfriend at the time, and threw her off a bridge to her death. Since that fateful day, Peter has never stopped reliving her death. She was played by Emma Stone in The Amazing Spider-Man movies.
A certain CIA translator
This woman, whose maiden name was Fitzpatrick, was a C.I.A. translator, just like her father "Wild Will" Fitzpatrick. While working in this field she met her future husband, Richard, and they had a son together. However, this son wouldn't get the chance to know either of them, because the two of them died in an airplane crash when the boy was only six years old. After the funeral, the boy would go on to be raised by his somewhat older aunt and uncle...
His friend's dad
This billionaire industrialist is the head of a massive corporation, which he rules over with an iron fist, leaving very little time or consideration for his son, who just happens to be a very close friend of Peter Parker. This billionaire doesn't mind getting involved in shady business dealings, but after a chemical accident fragments his personality, he becomes unhinged, starts wearing a mask, and becomes one of Spider-Man's most significant enemies. What is the name of Peter Parker's friend's dad?
Before Mary Jane, and even before Gwen Stacy, there was this girl, who Peter had a big crush on in high school... even though she was Flash Thompson's girlfriend, which made the already edgy relationship between Peter and Flash even edgier. She starts liking Peter eventually too, but it never really goes anywhere. Years later, she ends up falling in love with and marrying another one of Peter's close friends, and they even have a son together. She'll be coming to the films in Spider-Man: Homecoming, where she'll be played by Laura Harrier.
The guy who got framed
In the comics, the relationship between this guy and Peter Parker is actually rather contentious. He's a reporter for the Daily Bugle, and he and Peter wind up competing for the affections of the same woman... though Peter gives up, and she ends up marrying this guy. Unfortunately, he is later framed as being the Hobgoblin, after which he is assassinated, and his name only cleared years later. In Spider-Man: Homecoming, this character will be depicted as Peter's best friend.
Let's not forget, way before Spider-Man ever even considering the idea of swinging around as a superhero, his first motivation was to get some extra cash. To do that, he had a brief career in wrestling, where he tested his powers out by promptly beating up this guy. As it turned out, this wrestler couldn't make ends meet after that, and spent his later days telling people false stories about how he taught Spider-Man everything he knew, and even claimed to have invented the web shooters.
The man with one arm
This man definitely has one of the most tragic stories in all of Spider-Man comics. A combat medic who lost his arm overseas, this brilliant scientist came back and became a loving father and devoted husband, but still desperately wanted to get his old arm back. This led to a dangerous experiment which transformed him into something monstrous. However, when he's not transformed, the doctor has assisted Spidey on many occasions, and they consider each other to be good friends.
At the Daily Bugle, the unenviable position of J. Jonah Jameson's secretary goes to this lady, who took the position at a young age after the death of her mother. She had a fling with Peter Parker, but unlike the Black Cat -- who wanted the exciting Spider-Man, but not the boring Peter Parker -- Betty was interested in finding a normal, down to earth person; Peter realized she'd never accept his life as Spider-Man, and pulled away. Afterward, she ended up marrying another Daily Bugle co-worker. In recent years, she has moved up in the ranks of the Bugle, and become a reporter.
From the military to the CIA
A military man, this character was in the United States Army Special Forces until he signed up into the CIA, at the recommendation of Nicholas Fury. He died on a mission, not too long afterward, leaving his young son without a father. Years later, one of Spider-Man's villains made a lifelike android of him, as a way to get under Spider-Man's skin. In the Ultimate Universe, this character is depicted as a biologist, and is one of the men responsible for creating the Venom symbiote, in an attempt to cure cancer.
Peter's former roommate
Another one of Peter's best friends whom he met in college, this character was even his roommate for a time. This young man's father has worked with Peter at the Daily Bugle for many years, a point which he and Peter connect on; they also connect on a shared passion for moral responsibility, as this character is a passionate social activist, and after graduating, a social worker. This character has no problem telling it how it is to anyone he sees as worsening the problem, and he's even brave enough to tell off notable figures like Norman Osborn.
The Other Spider-Man
This guy has a LOT in common with Peter Parker. Like, a lot, a lot. As in, they actually share the same DNA. You could almost say that they're brothers, except, well... okay, it's a little darker than that. What we can say is that this character, after traveling the country for years, came back and at one point took on the role of Spider-Man in Peter's absence. During this time, he dyed his hair blond, and worked at a small New York diner called the Daily Grind.
J. Jonah Jameson's Pride and Joy
It's probably really tough having a guy like J. Jonah Jameson as one's father, but considering that, this strapping young fellow actually turned out really well. He's kind, considerate, brave, and is well regarded for his career as an astronaut. He also had a period of time where he started transforming into a werewolf, but hey, that wasn't really his fault. He appeared in Spider-Man 2, where he was depicted as Mary Jane's new boyfriend, and was played by Daniel Gillies.
The police captain
If there's one thing that a vigilante like Spider-Man could use, it's a friend in the police force. For a long time, that friend was this heroic character, a no-nonsense, chain-smoking tough talker that saw Spider-Man as a genuine pal. She has a thing for fashion and cars from the 1930s, which works well with the constant cigarette dangling from her mouth. Unfortunately, she met her end at the gun of a criminal called the Sin-Eater, who was actually her lover Stan Carter.
The one who was terrified of Spider-Man
This character and Peter Parker only dated for a short time, but that time was deeply traumatic for her. She actually figured out Peter's secret identity pretty quickly, but due to her own recognition of her mental illness, she believed that this was nothing but a hallucination. Years later, she published a memoir about their relationship, titled "Two Faced: How Spider-Man Ruined My Life," though she admitted that the editors made her exaggerate the damage that Peter did to her.
Spider-Man's got some demented rogues, and after Spider-Man gets them off the street, some of them go to Ravencroft Institute for the Criminally Insane. This psychiatrist has treated such bizarre criminals as Carnage, Shriek, Vermin, and Venom. In handling some of these cases, Spider-Man has sometimes talked to her about the psychosis of these villains, to better understand them. She (kinda, sorta) appeared briefly in the movie The Amazing Spider-Man 2, where she was (for some reason) turned into a man.
The physical therapist
Born in Vietnam, this character was introduced as Flash Thompson's new girlfriend, and later, his wife -- though the pair divorced when Flash cheated on her. She later reemerged after Flash lost his legs in the war overseas, as Flash's physical therapist. She has also worked as a physical therapist for Aunt May. This character made the jump from the comic book page to the screen in the animated series Spectacular Spider-Man, though she has yet to appear in one of the movies.
The reporter with a conscience
The Daily Bugle has a lot of ace reporters, but for our money, this guy is probably the best of them all. This reporter has a reputation for exposing the true identities of some infamous super villains, such as Norman Osborn. He's also deduced a few superhero identities in his time too, including the identity of Spider-Man, though luckily for the heroes, he sees these figures as allies. He HAS appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but not working for the Bugle, and not in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
The next secretary at the Bugle
After Betty Brant retires as J. Jonah Jameson's secretary, eventually becoming a reporter for the Daily Bugle instead, her position was taken over by this character. She only saw the secretary position as a stand-in gig, while she pursues her true goal of a modeling career; she actually got the position due to a reference from Peter Parker. Though she herself doesn't have fond feelings towards Spider-Man, she eventually fell out with Jameson over the publisher's obsession with the webhead.
A businessman with spider-powers
Peter Parker and Ben Reilly aren't the only guys around with spider-powers. There's also this guy, a wealthy businessman from a mysterious background, who shows up to warn Peter that Peter is a "spider-totem," and that he was a target for creatures that feed off totems, such as the unbelievably powerful Morlun. It later is revealed that this seemingly kind benefactor has some dark, morbid, and disturbing secrets hidden up his sleeve, and is less of a friend than he appears.
A psychic blind woman
Kids who grew up on the 1990s Spider-Man: The Animated Series will definitely remember this character, since she played a major part in that show's later seasons. She is a blind clairvoyant, cursed with a neuromuscular disease that means she must stay on constant life support -- a life support system that resembles, well, a giant web. Her motives are often mysterious, and Spider-Man has protected her from villains such as the Juggernaut. After her death, she has passed on her psychic abilities to Julia Carpenter, the second Spider-Woman.
The mercenary from Symkaria
This woman is a mercenary, the leader of the Wild Pack, and the CEO of her own company. She has no powers, but is a skilled athlete, and knows her way around advanced weaponry. Though she has sometimes found herself at odds with Spider-Man, they're usually on the same team. She originally hails from the fictitious Eastern European nation state of Symkaria, a country which is adjacent with Latveria, the place that Doctor Doom hails from. Because of this connection, she and Doom have dinner together once a year.
Mary Jane's Aunt
Just as Peter Parker has a close relationship with his aunt, so does Mary Jane Watson. In fact, both of the aunts are actually very good, close friends, and in the comics, the entire reason that Peter and Mary Jane met was because their aunts set them up on a blind date. Though she loves May, and she's a mother figure to Mary Jane, this character has often been depicted of her niece's husband, particularly when he disappears all the time in seemingly cowardly ways.
The nephew of a Daily Bugle reporter
This guy is the nephew of a certain famous Daily Bugle reporter, and actually worked at the Bugle for a time himself. This character's biggest role was when he stumbled upon one of the old Green Goblin hideouts, and decided to take it upon himself to use the Goblin gear to become a superhero version of the Green Goblin. However, later on, this character's story takes a dark turn, when he decides to use the goblin identity for villainous purposes, becoming the latest manifestation of the Hobgoblin.
After marrying Liz Allan, Harry Osborn has a son. However, though Harry loves his son, he struggles under the weight of this pressure; both because his own father was so strict and demanding to him, and also due to the mental illness he's experienced for much of his love. Harry's Goblin-induced episodes certainly traumatize the little boy, though due to his young age, it's hard to say what kind of a man he might grow up to be. He views Peter as being a sort of surrogate uncle.
Another one of the high school bullies
Though he was introduced later on, this character is usually presented as another one of Peter's most persistent high school bullies, though he's usually not quite as vindictive as Flash. Though he's overweight, he's also immensely strong. However, when Flash isn't around, this character shows that he's not as much of a jerk as he pretends to be, at one point even inviting Peter to come stay at his house. His real name is Kenny McFarlane, but his nickname is based on a certain giant movie monster.
The other kid who got bullied
Peter Parker was certainly one of the most teased kids at Midtown High, but there was at least one classmate who got it worse, and it was this kid. But unlike Peter, who had the strong family background of his Uncle Ben and Aunt May, this character didn't have a moral backbone. He and Peter were briefly friends, before he moved away. Years later, he came back, wearing a fireproof vibranium skinsuit, and desperate to seek revenge on his former tormentors.
Spidey's best sidekick ever
Who needs Spider-Man when you have this guy? The son of a super villain, this guy has donned his father's old super villain gear a handful of times, in order to help out his buddy Spider-Man. To be honest, he isn't very good at being a superhero, doesn't know how to control his own gear, and usually only beats the bad guys due to sheer dumb luck and coincidence. His archenemy is the White Rabbit, a villain named after the Wizard of Oz character, and he also has fought the Walrus.