Richard and Mary Parker
Richard and Mary Parker as seen in the interior artwork from Spider-Man: Back in Black TPB (February 2008), art by John Romita, Sr.
Publication information
First appearanceThe Amazing Spider-Man Annual #5 (November 1968) (flashback)
Untold Tales of Spider-Man #-1 (May 1997) (full appearance)
Created byStan Lee (writer)
Larry Lieber (artist)
In-story information
Full nameRichard Laurence Parker
Mary Teresa Parker (née Fitzpatrick)
Place of originQueens, New York
Team affiliationsCentral Intelligence Agency
Supporting character ofSpider-Man

Richard and Mary Parker are fictional characters appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. They are the parents of Peter Parker, the superhero known as Spider-Man.

Richard and Mary Parker have been adapted to appear in several animated television series and video games. Campbell Scott and Embeth Davidtz portrayed the characters in the films The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014). Emma Roberts portrays Mary Parker in the Sony's Spider-Man Universe film Madame Web (2024).

Publication history

Richard and Mary Parker were created by Stan Lee and Larry Lieber. For many years before The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #5 (November 1968), there had been no explanation of why Peter Parker was being raised by his aunt and uncle, with his parents only appearing in flashbacks and photographs. That issue finally answered the question: Richard and Mary Parker were murdered by Albert Malik, who was one of Johann Schmidt's successors to the persona of Red Skull.

In The Amazing Spider-Man #365 (August 1992), Spider-Man's 30th anniversary, they reappeared. Two years later, however, in #388 (April 1994), they were revealed to be Life Model Decoys created by the Chameleon and were destroyed.

In the novel Mary Jane, it is said they died in a plane accident while going to Switzerland to turn in some important discovery that Richard made. Peter tries to figure out what the discovery was but fails, as he cannot figure out the things Richard has written on his board. In July 1997, Untold Tales of Spider-Man #-1, part of Marvel Comics' "Flashback Month" event, written by Roger Stern and drawn by John Romita, Sr., the characters' origins are expanded. Since then, they have rarely been mentioned.

Fictional character biographies

Captain Richard Parker, a decorated soldier of the United States Army Special Forces and younger brother of Ben Parker, was recruited by Nick Fury, the future director of S.H.I.E.L.D., to the C.I.A.

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 eloped, later having a more elaborate service, 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" and who would eventually become an ally of their son Peter who would grow up to become Spider-Man). They rescued Logan from the Baroness and Baron Wolfgang von Strucker. After that mission, they discovered Mary was pregnant; Logan was actually the first person to congratulate the Parkers, commenting later that he never saw an agent as tough as Richard Parker go that white that fast.[1]

Their son, Peter, was often left in the care of Ben and his wife May when Richard and Mary were away on missions. When Richard and Mary ultimately died, Peter was raised by them.

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, ultimately being discovered. Malik had an assassin kill the two by sabotaging their airplane and causing it to crash.[2] They were subsequently declared missing in action/presumed dead, as two burnt bodies were found in the remains.[3][volume & issue needed]

After death

Richard and Mary's son, Peter, grew up to become Spider-Man. Although he has only vague memories of his parents and no memory of their militaristic history, 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, killing him, but not before revealing that Richard and Mary were in fact innocent. Spider-Man returns to America with evidence and clears his parents' names.[2]

Richard and Mary Parker were revealed to have a daughter named Teresa Parker.[4]

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 managed to convince him that they had in fact been held captive overseas for most of his life.[5] Aunt May retained some suspicions, as there were some things they did not know, such as Richard and Mary's elopement. When Peter discovers that they were fake,[6] he suffers a nervous breakdown. When the decoys were ordered to attack Parker, the Mary duplicate—sharing the original's love for her son—saves him instead. Neither LMD survives the incident. After battling the Chameleon, Spider-Man discovers that Harry Osborn was behind the whole thing, as an effort to avenge his (supposedly) dead father, Norman Osborn.[7] Spider-Man then becomes mentally unhinged over time, until having a near-death experience. 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. The cynical mindset of Harry Osborn and the Chameleon was present in the LMDs, particularly during Maximum Carnage:[8] When Aunt May advises Peter to "listen to your heart", (the pseudo) "Richard" tells a very different lesson:[9]

Strip away the veneer of society and civilization and you'll find a devil inside all men. ... That prison was overrun with devils, Peter. Sadistic evil men who'd do anything—no matter how twisted, how immoral—to break a man down. Destroy his soul ... Oh, sure there are good men in the world. Your uncle Ben was one of them. And look where it got him. Dead. Shot down like a dog. And knowing my brother, he was probably looking up at the scum who did it—trying to understand why. But when it comes to the devils, Peter—there is no why. No rhyme or reason. ... Use whatever means possible to stop the madness—before it swallows you up. ...

— Richard Parker

When Shriek uses her psychic powers to turn the whole town against Spider-Man and the other super-heroes, "Richard" remarks that the "moral, orderly" world he remembered while in prison "was just an illusion! The evil was here—all along — festering beneath the surface!" — inviting a sharp rebuke from Peter's wife, Mary Jane[10] (when exposed as frauds, some of his "parents'" cynicism rubs off on the "son" — with Spider-Man becoming unusually brutal against his enemies and developing a "Spider" alternate personality).

Ambiguities in Marvel documentation

The nature and timing of Richard and Mary Parker's fate are somewhat ambiguous in Spider-Man documentation. For one thing, the very fact that Harry Osborn and the Chameleon were able to fool the State Department, Peter, and (for a time) Aunt May into thinking Richard and Mary had "returned" after 20 years implies that the government was never able to solidly confirm the bodies found in the original plane crash were theirs.[11] This uncertainty was exploited by Harry Osborn and the Chameleon: When explaining how he and Mary "survived", the false Richard Parker asserts that the bodies found were of Russian spies who stayed on the plane while they were forced to jump out.[5] According to Spider-Man: Unmasked, "young Peter was orphaned at an early age when his parents were declared missing in action".

It is also ambiguous how old Peter was when his parents mysteriously disappeared: some accounts have it happening in his infancy;[12] others say he was as old as six years[13]—particularly, The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Spider-Man, 2004. The latter view is supported by Spider-Man's musing, during The Child Within,[14] that he remembers his parents, yet "they were practically strangers to me", as he prepares to fight Green Goblin and Vermin.[15] During the fight, Harry drugs Peter and subsequently discovers that Peter blames himself for his parents' death;[16] Harry conceives the LMD scam to "avenge" his own father shortly after.[7] Another, more comprehensive book on the Marvel Universe (also released in 2004) asserts that Peter's only clear memory of his (real) parents was of the moment they were boarding the fateful plane and he promised them he would be a "good boy" for Aunt May and Uncle Ben. Most Spider-Man stories in the main continuity are vague about Peter's exact age when he was effectively orphaned.

Other versions


In Marvel 1602, Peter Parquagh's parents are briefly mentioned as having worked with Sir Nicholas Fury, Queen Elizabeth I's chief of security.[17]

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.[18]

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 in name of Peter's father.

Marvel Mangaverse

Richard has not appeared or been mentioned in the Marvel Mangaverse continuity, although Mary has. In this version, Mary is named Kiri and is Aunt May's sister and is both the leader of the Spider Clan and a Spider demon, who is known as the Spider Queen. She's been plotting to make her son, Peter, the new leader of the Clan, which he later rejects. Disappointed by his rejection, Mary passes leadership of the Spider Clan to her pupil, Venom, causing Peter to give up his Spider-Man identity.[volume & issue needed]


In the alternate reality of MC2, Peter names his son Benjamin Richard Parker, with his second name being in honor of his father.[volume & issue needed]


The 2003 Epic Comics limited series, Trouble, was marketed as the "true origin" of Spider-Man. In the story, characters named Richard and Mary met while on summer vacation, and Mary's friend, May, rather than Mary herself, was Peter's mother with none of the characters' last names ever revealed.

Ultimate Marvel

In the Ultimate Marvel continuity, Dr. 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, along with his friend Eddie Brock Sr., father of Peter's childhood friend Eddie Brock Jr. were working on a cure for terminal malady, 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 his fears the suit would be used as a weapon instead of a cure. A tape recorded just before the crash revealed his project had been taken away from him, as this project became the basis of Venom. His name and work were known by scientists (including Dr. Curt Conners and the Ultimates Wasp and Giant Man with the former having a written a paper on his work in college), Susan Storm and Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four also knew of him and his work, with the former in particular being a great admirer of it.[volume & issue needed]

In Ultimate Spider-Man #100, Richard Parker seemingly reappeared. He recounted that Bolivar Trask, the man responsible for shutting down the 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 Richard was a fool for turning down this opportunity, and appeared willing to leave her husband (this contradicts her earlier sentiments, that Richard was getting in way over his head). After the crash, Richard was approached by government agent Henry Gyrich, for the purposes of launching his own research project in case S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury were ever to go rogue. Gyrich showed Richard a surveillance video proving his son, Peter, was 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.

Later, in issue #103, Dr. Otto Octavius (who created multiple clones of Spider-Man) reveals that "Richard Parker" was a clone, later confirmed when Susan Storm runs a test on Richard's DNA and finds it identical to Peter's. Apparently, the cloning process severely aged Richard. Though his memories were false, Richard loves Peter like a son and asks the Fantastic Four in particular Sue Storm to look after him before passing away.

In issue #4 of Ultimate Origins, which takes place 15 years before the current Ultimate timeline, Richard is shown to have been hired by the U.S. government and Nick Fury as part of a project to recreate the Super Soldier Serum. At a covert lab in Dover, New Jersey, Richard worked alongside fellow scientists, a young Hank Pym, Franklin Storm, father of Sue and Johnny Storm, and a young Bruce Banner.[19]

One day, while Pym and Banner are testing a possible match to the serum, Richard is just outside the lab being visited by his wife and recently born son, Peter. Having just tested the serum on himself, Banner transforms into the Hulk and goes on a rampage, destroying the complex. Richard and Mary are caught in an explosion and severely injured.[20]

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, feeling he hadn't captured Peter's appearance during his earlier run on The Amazing Spider-Man in the 1990s.[21]


During the "Spider-Geddon" storyline, a version of Richard and Mary Parker were riding an airplane provided to them by Wilson Fisk that is carrying them over the Savage Land until it was rigged to crash by Fisk. The two of them were killed in the crash while their son Peter was parachuted out of the airplane, taken in by giant spiders, and became the Savage Spider-Man.[22]

In other media



Video games

Richard and Mary Parker appear in Ultimate Spider-Man, with Richard voiced by Loren Lester and Mary having no dialogue. This version of Richard worked with Eddie Brock Sr. (Eddie Brock's father) to create the Venom suit as a possible cure for severe illness. Subsequently, the two lost ownership of the suit to Trask Industries and were killed in a plane crash caused by Brock Sr. losing control of the Venom suit and killing the pilot.


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 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" preventing anyone around her from seeing. At the conclusion of the trilogy, Peter Parker meets Logan, who reveals he worked regularly with the Parkers on joint missions between the American and Canadian secret services; the discovery that Logan was the first person to congratulate Richard after learning that Mary was pregnant prompted Peter to say "Wolverine's practically my Uncle". Logan also clarifies that Pity wasn't his sister; the photographs Peter found of his parents with a little girl were actually part of a long-term cover operation before Peter was born, with both of them still so attached to the memory that Mary kept the pictures and Richard told Logan about it during a joint mission.


  1. ^ Stern, Roger (w), Romita, John (p), Milgron, Al (i), Mattsson, Steve (col), Starkings, Richard (let), Brevoort, Tom (ed). "There's a Man who Leads a Life of Danger!" Untold Tales of Spider-Man, vol. 1, no. -1 (July 1997). Marvel Comics.
  2. ^ a b Lee, Stan (w), Lieber, Larry (p), Esposito, Mike (i), Simek, Artie (let), Lee, Stan (ed). "The Parents of Peter Parker!" The Amazing Spider-Man Annual, vol. 1, no. 5 (November 1968). Marvel Comics.
  3. ^ Spider-Man: Unmasked
  4. ^ Spider-man: Family Business #1. Marvel Comics.
  5. ^ a b The Amazing Spider-Man #366. Marvel Comics.
  6. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #388. Marvel Comics.
  7. ^ a b The Amazing Spider-Man #389. Marvel Comics.
  8. ^ Spider-Man Unlimited #1–2; Web of Spider-Man #101–103; The Amazing Spider-Man #378–380; Spider-Man #35–37; Spectacular Spider-Man #201–203. Marvel Comics.
  9. ^ The Spectacular Spider-Man #201. Marvel Comics.
  10. ^ Spider-Man #37. Marvel Comics.
  11. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #366. The entire Richard-and-Mary-Parker LMD storyline lasts from The Amazing Spider-Man #363 (last page) to The Amazing Spider-Man #389.
  12. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #364. Marvel Comics.
  13. ^ The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Spider-Man, 2004. Marvel Comics.
  14. ^ The Spectacular Spider-Man #178–183. Marvel Comics.
  15. ^ The Spectacular Spider-Man #180. Marvel Comics.
  16. ^ The Spectacular Spider-Man #181. Marvel Comics.
  17. ^ Marvel 1602 #1
  18. ^ Bullet Points #1 (2006). Marvel Comics.
  19. ^ Ultimate Origins #3 (2008)
  20. ^ Ultimate Origins #4 (2008)
  21. ^ Interview with Mark Bagley and Brian Michael Bendis in Wizard: The Guide to Comics #180 (2006).
  22. ^ Vault of Spiders #1. Marvel Comics.
  23. ^ Phillipson, Daisy (February 9, 2024). "A huge Madame Web spoiler has been confirmed". Dexerto. Archived from the original on February 9, 2024. Retrieved February 12, 2024.
  24. ^ Phillipson, Daisy (February 12, 2024). "Madame Web cast: All actors & characters". Dexerto. Archived from the original on February 12, 2024. Retrieved February 12, 2024.