Characters : Aunt May Parker
May is obviously good at raising children - look how Peter turned out.
Cooking utensils, etc.
May has the same limitations as a normal human being.
May has no exceptional powers.
May's strength is that of a fragile elderly lady.
May is a legal U. S. citizen
Homeless shelter volunteer
High school graduate
May Reilly (maiden name), Golden Oldie
Peter Parker, Anna Watson, Mary Jane
Peter Parker (Nephew), John "Jay" Jameson Sr. (husband), Ben Parker (Husband, deceased) Albert and Claire Reilly (parents, deceased, Spectacular Annual 4 & Peter Parker Vol.2 #28), Jan and April Reilly (sisters), Horace and William Reilly (paternal uncles, deceased, Peter Parker Vol.2 #28), Claudia Reilly (paternal aunt, deceased), Sam & Diane Reilly, Roger Reilly, Harold Reilly, Julia, Amanda, Amy, Alexa (last names unrevealed) (cousins), Richard & Mary Parker (brother & sister-in-law, deceased)
She has no criminal record
Mister Negative, Doctor Octopus
Brooklyn, New York
Forest Hills, Queens, New York
May Reilly Parker is a rare woman. She came from from a poor family where her parents constantly argued over money. Her father eventually left her and her mother blamed her for the troubles. They wouldn't have such money problems if it weren't for May, her mother said. It was her lack of money that attracted her to a wealthy young rogue named Johnny Jerome. He took her dancing and bought expensive clothes for her. She loved him and refused to hear the warnings from Ben Parker, who worked at Coney Island as a barker. Ben proved to be correct about Johnny after he held up a jewelry store. Johnny threatened to kill Ben, but he had to run off after the police neared May's home. He was arrested as he tried to escape. May soon fell for the responsible Ben.
However, the romance between May and Ben was difficult, as they rarely had time alone. They were often left to take care of Ben's much younger brother, Richard. May tried to deal with the young man, but often resented having him around. Thinking back to her mother's tirades: "Children are nothing but a burden," she and Ben had resolved to stay childless. However, May became pregnant but had a miscarriage.
After Richard Parker and Mary Parker had a child, Peter, May and Ben were often asked to care for him. Richard and Mary worked for the government and were often on missions outside of the United States. As is common with super-heroes, Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spider-Man was orphaned at an early age. With the death of his parents (who were killed in a plane crash), Peter was put into the care of Ben and May.
May initially resented Richard and Mary for leaving them a child to care for at such a late stage of their lives. But Peter was such a helpful, happy child that she soon came to dote on him. However, their happiness was not to last. Shortly after Peter acquired his Spider-Powers, Ben Parker was killed by a burglar - leaving May Parker to struggle alone raising her teen-age nephew.
(Purely speculation: May never said what they argued over, just that it was something insignificant. In Spider-Man Unlimited #10, it was revealed that Ben gave a co-worker a big loan for him to go to college. Hours after, Ben was murdered. The Parkers were always strapped for cash, perhaps May thought they needed the money more than Colm Mulligan did. Hmm...wonder if he is any relation to Pat Mulligan. Probably not.)
May and Ben were never wealthy, and financial matters were always a concern, exacerbated greatly by Aunt May's persistent ill-health. Peter offered to drop out of high school to get a job to pay the bills soon after Ben's death but May insisted that he continue his education. After Peter left, May went to a pawn shop to sell her jewelry to earn money.
May has always been in fairly fragile health. She had her first heart attack while Spider-Man and the Human Torch were battling the Green Goblin. She also had several dizzy and fainting spells, requiring blood transfusions. Money was always in short supply and she couldn't pay for her medications.
May faced several dangers related to Spider-Man. She and Betty Brant were kidnapped by the Sinister Six, as the Six knew that Betty had been rescued by Spider-Man twice in the past. May had shown up at the Bugle to talk to Betty about what was bothering Peter and was taken by the Sandman and Electro along with Betty. May found her captor, Otto Octavius, to be a charming, well spoken gentleman but was horrified by the "villainous looking" Spider-Man. They she faced Doctor Octopus again. Octavius had taken shelter in her home in Queens as a boarder when he was on the run from the law. Peter immediately recognized the "house guest" as Doc Ock and had the difficult job of evicting the criminal without alerting his aunt to the fact that he was Spider-Man.
Octavius later took May in as a secretary and house keeper, after May left that she needed to leave Peter. Gwen Stacy had told May that she babied Peter too much and May left for his own good. Some time after that, Ock tried to marry May for the Canadian island and nuclear reactor that she had inherited. Anna Watson also told May that she babied Peter too much, which May discounted and went to buy some milk for her growing (college age) boy. There she was kidnapped by the Beetle.
For a while, after Peter moved out and May joined the Gray Panthers, a civil rights group for the elderly. While protesting at city hall, May had a heart attack and went to the hospital. At this time, she met and began a relationship with Nathan Lubensky, a wheel-chair bound gray-haired gentleman house-guest. Nathan had a gambling addiction and was beaten up by his bookie and his thugs. May blamed Peter for Nathan's assault, as he had promised to look after the old man. The relationship ended in tragedy at the hands of the Vulture.
In Amazing Spider-Man #196, a rather masterful plot was contrived, involving the Death of Aunt May. May's death was in fact faked, as part of a neatly-worked story involving some treasure supposedly hidden in the Parker residence. The plot was conceived by Mysterio, and the burglar from Amazing Fantasy #15 - and culminated in a climactic conclusion in Amazing Spider-Man #200.
In Amazing Spider-Man #400, Aunt May finally left Peter and Mary Jane in a moving story which also provided the impetus for Ben Reilly, the Spider-Clone to finally introduce himself to Mary-Jane and Peter. The greatest tragedy came with the ill-conceived "The Final Chapter" story starting in Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #441, which recently 'revealed' that the woman who died in ASM #400 was a DNA-modified actress, and that the real Aunt May had been held captive by Norman Osborn, and her head now contained an implant which was killing her, but if removed would detonate a genetic bomb that would reduce humans to their base genes. Norman would then remake them. May was saved with the help of Reed Richards medical team.
After a colossal battle between Spidey and Morlun, May went to Peter's apartment only to find him lying on his bed recovering from his injuries, with a torn Spider-Man costume on the floor. After spending a whole day dealing with her new-found knowledge, she decided to confront Peter in a touching conversation Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #38. She told him to not feel responsible for Ben's death, because it was her fault. They had argued over a trivial matter and Ben went for a walk, where he was shot by the thief. Currently, she's bent on improving the public image of Spider-Man and in trying to forgive Peter for so many years of lies.
May's opinion means a great deal to Peter, and he took her advice to follow Tony Stark's offer to unmask and become his protege during the Superhuman Registration Act. Peter defied Stark after realizing that the captured super humans were placed in a gulag like prison, and he took May and Mary Jane out of Stark Towers. He joined the resistance, led by Captain America, and thus became Iron Man's enemy, as well as an enemy of the state. Having his identity revealed made May a target of criminals, such as Man-Wolf and Chameleon. After Peter turned traitor to Iron Man, he hid May and MJ in a cheap hotel, only to have their cover blown by a prostitute, who sold the information of their whereabouts to the Kingpin. Fisk hired a sniper to kill Peter and his family, but only May was hit in the attack.
The attack put May into a coma and the hospital bills were more than the fugitive Parkers could handle. May was put in the charity ward, and would be taken off life support once the charity ran out. Peter confronted Tony Stark to pay for the bills, but Stark was more concerned with capturing Peter. Peter escaped, but managed to get the bills paid with the help of Stark's butler, Edwin Jarvis, whom was romantically involved with May.
In between hunting for the sniper and swearing murderous revenge on Wilson Fisk, Peter asked Madame Web to psychically contact his aunt. He needed to speak with her one last time. During the seance, Peter asked her to hold on, that he would find a way to help her. May refused. She was tired and had been down this road before. While the bullet was meant for Peter, losing him would put the world in danger. She accepted her fate.
Peter, however, did not. He went to Doctor Strange in search of a mystical cure after medical science had done all that it could. Strange briefly gave Spider- Man the ability to talk to many people at once and he contacted everyone from Doctor Doom to Doctor Octopus to Reed Richards. None could (or would) help him. As he left Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum, he was greeted by Mephisto. The demon offered to save May's life, in return for his marriage to Mary Jane. Merely taking Peter's soul would be no good, as a soul that sacrifices itself to save someone else doesn't suffer as fully. And really, whats the fun in that?
The marriage was much more interesting to the Lord of Hell. Theirs was a marriage literally made in heaven, and their souls would scream in loneliness forever after they were separated. Mephisto gave Peter and Mary Jane twenty four hours to decide, or else May would die. Much to MJ's surprise, Peter said he could live with ending their marriage. She made a deal with the creature, whom kept his word. Peter woke up and his aunt was alive. He was no longer married, in fact, he had no memory of being married. And Harry Osborn was alive again.
May had no idea that she had ever been shot or that her life had been saved by Mephisto. May works as a volunteer at the F.E.A.S.T. organization, where she helped the homeless. Little did she know that F.E.A.S.T. was run by a gangster, Martin Li, aka Mr Negative. She also had a cancer ravaged Eddie Brock as a co-volunteer.
She was introduced to J. Jonah Jameson, Sr. ("Jay") the father of the former Daily Bugle publisher-turned-mayor of New York City. Jay dotes on May, and unlike his son is caring and generous. After a surprise reunion Jay arranged with May's relatives in Boston, May and Jay married and honey mooned around the world. After their return, May had begun to suspect that there was something going on with her boss at F.E.A.ST. Mister Negative corrupted her, making her behave nasty and cruel, especially to Peter. The love between her and Peter eventually ended the corruption.
The fact that May had unknowingly been working for the head of a major crime ring, plus a mugging and beating of Betty Brant, the death of Marla Jameson and an invasion of Doctor Octopus's giant robots led May and Jonah Sr to leave New York for Boston. Despite the stunned and disgusted reactions of Jonah, Carlie and Peter, May and her husband thought it was for the best.
After visiting Peter in NYC, May and Jay were taking a flight back to Boston when New York was attacked by Terminus, a warlord from another dimension. The Avengers responded and Spider-Man was sling shot to Jameson's private jet, which had damaged landing gear from the midair battle with Terminus and the teenage super hero, Alpha. Spidey managed to help land the plane safely but May's leg was broken by the roughness of the landing. Later in the hospital, the doctor said that May would only be able to walk with the aid of a cane and only then with physical therapy. (Amazing Spider-Man #694) Her physical therapist was Sha Shan, who gave her a good prognosis for recovery, but still with a cane. "Peter" (really the Superior Spider-Man) was unsatisfied with May being dependent on a cane and began work on a spinal device to help her. (Superior Spider-Man #4)
|Jun 1962||App: Strange Tales (Vol. 1) #97|
|Features characters who look like May & Ben|
|Apr 2001||FB: Peter Parker: Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #28|
|May's paternal uncle dies when she is five|
|Dec 1992||FB: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #370|
|May's father leaves and her mother blames her for the breakup of the family|
|Aug 1975||FB: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #147|
|May makes the first move with a shy Ben Parker|
|Dec 1992||FB: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #370|
|Ben brings his brother Richard on a date|
Here is the Full Appearance List (510 Apps) for Aunt May Parker.
The assistance of the Marvel Chronology Project is gratefully acknowledged.
Some of the above information is extracted from the various versions of the Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe and the more recent Marvel Encyclopaedias.