As both Peter Parker and Spider-Man, his friends and family have always shaped Marvel’s most perennially popular protagonist. Many of Spider-Man’s greatest adventures have been infused with the additional drama directly derived from the presence of his loved ones. Some have been held captive by super villains, turned into were-creatures, beaten up, hospitalized, crippled, traumatized for life, turned into criminals, had their marriages dissolved and some have even made the ultimate sacrifice. No, not appearing in a Spidey book written by Todd McFarlane. I’m talking death, folks. Well, as dead as one can be in the today’s comic book marketplace.

No subset of Webhead’s cast of characters carries as much emphasis as the women in his life. While Puny Parker doesn’t do quite as well as Tony Stark, Matt Murdock or Bruce Wayne, his emo stylings have garnered him some positive earnings in the bank o’ love.

Please note some omissions from this list. I did not include Mary Jane and Peter’s child (they believed she was stillborn, but evidence suggests to the contrary) nor any of the numerous ladies Peter has dated since the reboot after One More Day.


#1) Aunt May – She’s Dying, Y’know. No, We Really Mean It This Time!

Aunt May has been one of the few constants in Peter’s life. After his parents passed away, Aunt May and Uncle Ben took their nephew into their home and raised him as their child. May has probably been put through the wringer more than any other Spider-Man primary character, save for perhaps the ones who have died. While doting over the vulnerability of young Peter, May had no idea that the young high school student was engaged in dangerous crime fighting. Dramatic highlights for Aunt May include being kidnapped, almost marrying Dr. Otto Octavious, learning Peter’s role as Spider-Man, mild heart attacks, hospitalization and being ‘fatally’ shot during the final stages of Civil War. Peter loves his aunt so much that his guilt over his responsibility for her death causes him to strike a deal with the devil. He’ll give up his marriage to Mary Jane Watson Parker if the perennially ill Aunt May’s life is spared. So much for that moral upbringing and that whole ‘with great power comes great responsibility.

#2) Mary Jane Watson-Parker – For Richer or Poorer, In Sickness &…Wait, What Were We Saying Again?

This fiery redhead has loved Peter longer than he probably ever knew. She was there to comfort him after Gwen Stacy’s tragic death (see next entry) and has stood by his side (for the most part) during all of his near-death battles and heroic exploits. Her love for her man was so strong, that she was willing to give up being his wife if it meant that Peter could have a chance at true happiness. Mary Jane ends up proving herself to be much more heroic than our titular character. Many longtime Spider-Man fans categorically disliked the dissolution of the Parker marriage during the infamous One More Day story arc. However, the resulting stories have injected Spidey’s stories with a new sense of adventure and energy. So, as it turns out…Pete’s own wife comes in 2nd place.

#3) Gwen Stacy – A Casualty of Love

Gwen was far too beautiful for Peter to ever consider dating. Luckily, Gwendolyn didn’t share that same perspective. She came on strong and the two developed a strong bond and eventually, love. For many years, readers of The Amazing Spider-Man watched Gwen Stacy become the gleam in young Peter’s eye. Issue #121 changed all of that, shocking readers across the glove with the Death of Gwen Stacy. Spider-Man’s nemesis, the Greet Goblin had kidnapped Gwen and taken her to the George Washington Bridge. Spidey arrives on the scene and after some fisticuffs, the Goblin swoops down on his glider, knocking Gwen out of Peter’s arms. Her unconscious form plummets several stories until Spider-Man catches her foot with a strand of webbing. All these years later we don’t know if it was the centrifugal force of the fall, maybe even the initial blow suffered from the Goblin’s glider, or if it was the negative effects of inertia on her body from the webbing, but the final result is her death. Her neck is broken and she dies immediately. This was a momentous event in the world of Marvel Comics. Long standing characters weren’t killed off on a whim as is the case in today’s publishing arena. Fans were shocked and Peter was never quite the same. Amazing Spider-Man 121 remains one of the highest valued issues from the Bronze Age of Spider-Man comics.

#4) Betty Brant – First Love

J. Jonah Jameson’s administrative assistant, Betty Brant is generally acknowledged as Peter’s first love. She eventually went on to marry fellow Daily Bugle employee Ned Leeds, which didn’t really work out too well for anyone involved. Leeds took on the role of the Hobgoblin for a bit and Betty found herself drawn to Flash Thompson.

#5) Felicia Hardy AKA the Black Cat – You Can Keep Your Mask On

Felicia Hardy was and continues to be a highly sexualized character in the Marvel Universe. For all intents and purposes, she is a near mirror image of DC’s own Catwoman. Felicia and Peter encounter a strong attraction for one another, eventually culminating in a prolonged romance. Peter insists that she play the straight and narrow and Felicia insists that she dates Spider-Man, not Peter Parker…especially during moments of, uh…’intimacy.’

#6) Sue Storm – Matriarch Of The Fantastic Four

If Peter has an affinity for any group of super powered individuals, it’s the Fantastic Four. Spider-Man has a longtime affiliation with the FF and they’ve shared many adventures together. With Sue’s standing as the matriarch of Marvel’s First Family, it’s only fitting that she be represented on this list.

#7) Liz Allan – His First Schoolboy Crush

Everyone remembers their first high school infatuation. Liz fills that role for Peter. She always went out of her way to chastise those who picked on Peter and she sensed a strength within him. Although she was in a high school romance with football star Flash Thompson, Liz eventually wound up marrying Harry Osborn.

#8) Angelica “Angel” Jones AKA Firestar – Made For TV

When I was a kid, there was nothing quite as exciting on Saturday morning television than Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. I especially loved it when they featured cameos from other Marvel superheroes. I’m afraid to revisit my viewing experiences because I fear that the material may not quite hold up. Back in the early ‘80s, the producers of the show first introduced the character of Firestar. She proved to be such a popular creation, that she wound up crossing over into the world of comics. Firestar is a unique success story in that she started on TV and then went to comics, rather than the traditionally reversed path.


The Author

Mike McLarty

Mike McLarty

A San Diego native, Mike has comics in his blood and has attended the San Diego Comic Con every year since 1982. His comic interests are as varied as his crimes against humanity, but he tends to lean heavily towards things rooted in dystopian themes. His favorite comic series is Warren Ellis’ and Darick Robertson’s Transmetropolitan. Spider Jerusalem is the best character ever devised. Mike realizes those statements will alienate a good portion of his potential audience, but those are the facts. You are unlikely to find a single collector with a better Transmetropolitan art portfolio than the one he has in his possession. He is an Assistant Editor for the upcoming Transmetropolitan Charity Book.

He also occasionally freelances for various other comics websites, which he promotes through his homepage (, Twitter and other inherently intrusive forms of social media. Mike firmly believes that the best writers come from the UK. This could be because he’s of Irish descent; not so much based on physical geography as the fact that the Irish like to drink heavily.

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  1. that guy
    March 9, 2011 at 12:22 pm — Reply

    Yo uh, Mike? I think in the pic that should be Gwen it’s gwen’s funky daughter via Norman..not to nit pick, just not sure an all that.

    If I’m wrong feel free to call me out on that.

    • March 9, 2011 at 8:39 pm — Reply

      You’re right, tha’s the cover to one of the later issues (20 something) of the last Spectacular Spiderman run.

      • March 10, 2011 at 7:42 pm — Reply

        The Gwen’s children storyline! I have retconned that so far out of my memory that the Paris background scenery didn’t even tip me off! Ugh…I shoulda used the pic of Spidey cradling her dead in his arms.

  2. Blackthunder01
    March 9, 2011 at 12:46 pm — Reply

    Wow … this is the second time I’ve seen that Black Cat picture referenced today.

    As a non-Spiderman reader, I’m curious why it was a Top 8 instead of Top 10? Does Peter only have 8 girls in his history? If so then, why call them Top instead of Only? Or was it a case of just showcasing “the loves of Peter Parker” instead of a Top list? Not trying to be an ass … just curious why the seemingly random number?

    • March 10, 2011 at 7:47 pm — Reply

      There were only 8 solid choices, in my opinion. There were a couple of others that could have fit the bill, but it would have been pretty wattered down at that point. I figured it was better to use the solid choices that I felt most strongly about.

      I didn’t count the Ultimate Spidey stuff because it’s non-canonical.

      • Blackthunder01
        March 11, 2011 at 11:38 am — Reply

        Ah … thank you! I’m glad you stuck with the 8 then. :) (BTW, nice photos.)

  3. Ricco
    March 9, 2011 at 8:29 pm — Reply

    Shadowcat would have been #9 and #10 Jessica Drew, of coruse both are Ultimate U characters in his life.

    • Crash
      March 12, 2011 at 7:42 pm — Reply

      Bah! Everyone knows 818 universe is best universe!

  4. March 10, 2011 at 1:43 am — Reply

    There are also some Spider-Girls you know…

    • March 10, 2011 at 7:42 pm — Reply

      There are Spider Girls…but they don’t play much of a part in Peter’s universe.

  5. March 10, 2011 at 4:41 am — Reply

    Is that a flashback picture of Aunt May, or are they just drawing her so that she’s in her early 50s now instead of zombified?

    • March 10, 2011 at 7:45 pm — Reply

      You would be surprised at how difficult it was to find a decent pic of Aunt May! I literally scoured the interwebs for something usable.

  6. Brian
    March 10, 2011 at 10:13 am — Reply

    We actually do know that Spidey’s webbing killed Gwen. The then-Marvel editor wrote in the letters column that the effect of Spider-Man’s webbing stopping her motion was what caused her neck to snap… makes it a bit more tragic. Although I don’t see a source for that reference on wiki, it says it happened in issue 125.

    • March 10, 2011 at 7:44 pm — Reply

      I think it’s kinda like the ‘is Decker a Replicant?’ debate from the movie, Blade Runner. Depending on who you talk to, you get a different story.

      But…that’s just my impression. I could be wrong.

    • Damascus
      April 25, 2011 at 7:15 am — Reply

      It’s also one of those “Catch-22/Damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situations there too. If it truly was Parker’s webbing that snapped her neck, which I tend to think so, then it’s still probably the better outcome. Snapped neck over all the damage that could have been done from a fall from that height. At least from a funereal viewing hours point of view.

  7. March 10, 2011 at 10:36 am — Reply

    Actually, it looks like it may be a pic of Ultimate Aunt May, who is supposed to be quite a bit younger.

    • that guy
      March 11, 2011 at 7:59 pm — Reply

      It is indeed.

  8. Dan
    February 24, 2012 at 1:36 am — Reply

    I think that before Mary Jane and Peter get back together, she needs to be written out of the story for awhile. This way, his mutual friendships with the following women I mentioned would have a chance to develop into a close relationship. The one relationship that needs some serious development is Liz Allan. On the Spidey(Earth-616) side, I like to see a diverse relationship with:

    1. Ms. Marvel
    2. She-Hulk
    3. Spider-Woman(Jessica Drew)
    4. Psylocke
    5. Mystique
    6. Silver Sable

    If Marvel was able to initiate those relationships in the same manner as Betty Brant, then the post OMD/BND break-up of Mary Jane and Peter Parker wouldn’t be as painful. In part, we would have gotten some interesting stories with the women that he’s with on a close friendship level, as well as hanging out together out of costume. It would be cool to see Peter x Jennifer Walters hang out together in her human form since this could lead to a solid relationship as he has with Betty Brant. But I doubt that we’ll ever see the current writer for Spider-Man going in that direction. The writers who might be interested with my idea are not writing Spider-Man at the moment. As far as relationships goes with Peter Parker, Marvel really failed to take advantage of the good will that came out of separation of Peter and Mary Jane.

    So far, we only saw a brief outing with Peter and Carol Danvers. But a continuation of that friendship(out of costume)doesn’t interest anyone writing Spider-Man. And we’ll continue to see the type of boring relationships that has come across Peter’s way.

  9. Blackwind
    January 22, 2013 at 2:32 pm — Reply

    Wait a minute hold it there one second aren’t we forgetting some other women that had some relationships with Spidey *example* Carley cooper Silver Sable Ms Marvel Madame Web *both* and surprisingly from Long ago Medusa from the Inhumans (Blackbolt’s current wife) look it up I kid you NOT as I gain nothing by making these up

  10. Flynn Rider
    March 31, 2013 at 4:22 pm — Reply

    Hey Firestar isnt a unique case a rare case maybe now lets remember X-23

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