Aunt May is a Marvel character who everyone has a soft spot for. It’s hard not to love the sweet, caring character that is May Parker. We have all seen her look out for Peter, sometimes much better than he looks out for his self. And we all of course have felt her pain when Uncle Ben died. But other than those two facts, is there anything more to Aunt May? Well, to answer simply, yes there is.
Aunt May has lived a long, full life throughout the various Spider-Man stories and has been through a somewhat roller-coaster of storylines over the years. She’s shown spirit and resilience; surviving just about everything Marvel could throw at her, and coming out just as strong as before.
There’s just something about May that you can’t help but love, but much of that could be down to her reputation of being a kind old lady and reminding most people of their grandma. Let us take you deeper than that, and show you the truth about Aunt May. Believe it or not, we’ll take you through the scandals, controversies, and terrors of Aunt May’s life. Without further ado, here is Spider-Man: 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Aunt May.
15. She had a rough childhood
Aunt May’s life hasn’t always been easy, and some have even gone as far as saying she has the most tragic life in comic book history. While that is certainly debatable, the fact that she had a rough start in life certainly isn’t. Her warm heart and (reasonably) squeaky clean reputation may fool you, but May had a darker childhood than you would expect.
Her parents were both unhappy and she would often see them violently arguing night after night, until her father eventually left her and her mother. She thought things might start to improve once her dad was gone, but unfortunately things were still bad. May’s mother blamed her for her father walking out on them and made May feel worthless. May was constantly insulted by her mother, who told her she was a burden. However, these dark times in her childhood is what she credited to her strong character in her later life.
14. She nearly married into the mafia
One thing about Aunt May that you may be shocked to hear is that she nearly never married Ben Parker, who we all know as Uncle Ben. Imagine a world in which Aunt May and Uncle Ben had never been together. Would Peter Parker had ever been adopted? Would Uncle Ben have to raise him alone? Well, while we can’t necessarily answer what would have happened to Uncle Ben or Peter we can tell you what would have happened to Aunt May. And it’s doubtful May would have turned into the sweet maternal figure we all know and love if things had gone this way.
Instead of marrying Ben, Aunt May nearly married another man. The man in question, Johnny Jerome, was a much sketchier character than Ben. He treated her fairly well to begin with, but Johnny was actually involved with the mafia. He had been involved in some dark crimes, including robbing people and even killing people. He was almost an opposite to Uncle Ben, and it seems May eventually realized who the better man was and decided she should be with Uncle Ben instead.
13. She has “died” multiple times
Anyone who knows the stories surrounding these “deaths” will probably confess that some of them are a bit of a mess. It seems that when it came to Aunt May’s “deaths’, the Marvel writers chose to go for quantity over quality. Over the years, various stories have either killed and revived Aunt May, or convinced us she was dead only to pull out some strange twist that led us to find out she was alive and well all along. As much as we hated Uncle Ben’s death, at least we all know where we stand with it. Aunt May could die again for real and no one would really react; we’d just expect her to reappear in an issue or two.
In one of her so-called “deaths” it was revealed that it wasn’t really May who died, but a genetically altered actress who lived out her life while she was held captive by villains. She then almost immediately faced death again when it was revealed there was an implant in her brain that was killing her, but if it was removed it would detonate a genetic bomb that would cause widespread destruction. She has also been put in a coma from a sniper attack, where Peter contacted her in a séance (which kind of implies she was dead, right?) then made a deal with a demon to get her back. There have been various other deaths and near death experiences for Aunt May, but she always seems to make it back in the end.
12. The writers nearly killed her instead of Gwen Stacey
Comic book deaths are seriously hard to keep up with. Aunt May herself has had a complicated relationship with death in the comics, as we’ve already seen. But one death of hers that never made it into the comics, and would have probably been much more final, was in the issue of Amazing Spider-Man #121.
This issue is somewhat infamous among fans, as it tragically kills off Peter’s beloved girlfriend Gwen Stacey. The story line even made it to the big screen in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 where Emma Stone’s portrayal of Gwen Stacey met a brutal end. The storyline has become one of Spider-Man’s better known stories, but in an interesting twist it wasn’t originally going to be Gwen Stacey who died in the issue. John Romita revealed that the issue’s tragic death was originally going to happen to sweet little Aunt May instead, but he and Gerry Conway couldn’t bring themselves to get rid of her. Although we were all sad to see Gwen go, we’re glad that Aunt May was at least spared.
11. She’s been a super hero
Imagine an alternative universe where Peter Parker had never been bitten by that spider and thus never became Spider-Man. It may sound terrifying at first, but picture this instead: an alternative universe where Peter Parker had never been bitter by that spider because Aunt May had been. Therefore, instead of getting Spider-Man, we of course got Spider Ma’am. Well, it may shock you to know that this had actually happened in one of Marvel’s alternate realities.
The story behind this is that Aunt May realized Peter had forgotten to take his lunch with him and so rushed to find him on his school trip, and when looking for him in the place where he famously got bitten by a spider, she ended up getting bitten instead. She then gained all the cool powers he had, and basically became a kickass little old lady superhero. It sounds pretty cool to us, although we’re not quite sure if we’re quite ready to switch up Spider-Man: Homecoming for a Spider Ma’am flick. Although, we certainly wouldn’t say no to having both!
10. She appeared as a cosmic powered being
We have to say, Golden Oldie is one of the stranger stories involving Aunt May. We never really expected the sweet old aunt to be transformed into a cosmically-powered being by Galactus. We suspect that no one really saw that one coming. In the bizarre storyline, May was transformed by Galactus to serve as his herald. Aunt May, as Golden Oldie, then goes on to find an extraterrestrial baker who makes planet-sized cakes rather than leading Galactus to actual populated planets to eat.
Ultimately, the story turned out to all be a dream. It may sound like a complete joke, and that’s probably because it was. The issue in which the story took place was part of Marvel’s “Assistant editors month'”and part of the series’ humorous issues. The story was supposedly created to parody an old cake advert campaign. The joke didn’t end there though, as Golden Oldie managed to make another appearance in an issue of What If?. Anyone else wanting a Golden Oldie film franchise?
9. She fell out with Peter after being insensitive about his girlfriend
Aunt May might be one of the sweetest old ladies in comics, but there’s still that stereotype of old people who are a little offensive and behind with the times. We’ve all heard our elderly relatives say something controversial around the dinner table and cringed, hoping they’d just stop talking. Old people just aren’t good at being politically correct, and even Aunt May has been known to say things that have gotten her into trouble. Don’t worry too much, she didn’t go on an aggressive racist rant or anything quite that severe.
Aunt May did however upset her nephew Peter when she began to ask some questions that he deemed insensitive. The questions were about his girlfriend, Anna Maria Marconi, and were about her being a little person. Although she insisted the questions were okay, Peter was furious at his Aunt for talking that way and ended up falling out with her over it.
8. She remarried to J. Jonah Jameson Sr. after Uncle Ben’s death
Many think of Aunt May as being a sweet but frail widow, after we all mourned the death of her beloved husband Uncle Ben. Aunt May actually managed to find love again after Ben’s death, and even went on to have a second marriage. She eventually found a husband in the character J. Jonah Jameson Sr, who’s also known as Jay. Jay was the father of the mayor of New York City at the time that the pair were introduced. Luckily for both of them, Peter was supportive of their relationship and approved of Jay. This was probably because Jay had been a big supporter of Spider-Man and even saved his life in the past.
He proposed to Aunt May on a romantic walk in Central Park, and the two were later married by Jay’s son, who was the city’s mayor. After this, they went on a wild honeymoon in which they travelled the world. It seemed that Aunt May had finally had some luck in her love life since being left a widow, but unfortunately it wasn’t to last. Jay soon fell a victim to an illness because of his old age, and when he was unable to recover, Aunt May was left a widow once again.
7. She once hit Spider-Man over the head with a vase
If you look back over the years, May and Peter have had a fair few awkward encounters. There have been times that she found his Spider-Man costume, times she actually realized he was Spider-Man, and times that she found white sticky stuff on the floor (relax guys, it was just his web). But some of the most awkward moments between the pair have come when May has interacted with Spider-Man, and not known that it was Peter behind the mask.
One of the best examples is the time that she managed to knock out her nephew by hitting Spider-Man over the head with a vase. May had been held captive at the time by Norman Osborn. Of course Spider-Man came to the rescue, but a confused and startled May whacked Spider-Man with a vase. Although the vase seemed to be in a state, luckily Spider-Man has survived through much worse and came out the other side unscathed.
6. She let homeless super heroes in her house
Aunt May is hospitable to those in need. She has always taken care of Peter and been there for him when he needed her, but Peter is far from the only person May has supported. In fact, over the years, she has probably helped more people than she could count. While she may not have superpowers (well not usually, at least) to help others, she still does all she can in much simpler ways.
May has been known to help out at homeless charities, and has previously volunteered for a homeless shelter known as F.E.A.S.T to do some charity work. But it doesn’t stop there. She has extended a warm welcome to homeless people before and let them stay in her house. She has even helped homeless superpowered people in the past.
She even helped the homeless super villain Doctor Octopus in the past, but of course she didn’t know him to be a villain. All in all, she has always been there for those in need and we can all feel safe knowing that if times ever get tough, we can count on Aunt May.
5. Peter walked in on her in bed…
Anyone who thought of Aunt May as being an innocent old lady might want to skip this one, and anyone who liked Aunt May because she reminds them of their grandma really should. Although Aunt May’s character is known for being sweet, old, and innocent, it would seem that even she needs to get her kicks every now and then. And it would seem the writers weren’t afraid of making Aunt May get a little risqué for the sake of shock factor and a few laughs.
In the issue of Amazing Spider-Man #592 Peter was shocked to find out that Aunt May had started dating J. Jonah Jameson Sr. He was even more shocked to find out by walking in on the pair having sex with each other. The incident though isn’t the first time that Peter and May have learnt the value of knocking though, as May had previously walked in on Peter with Mary Jane. Maybe it’s about time they started locking doors in that house.
4. She nearly married Doctor Octopus
It seems like Aunt May is never short of male admirers. Who says women in their golden years can’t have it all? As well as nearly marrying into the mafia, marrying Ben, and then her marriage to J. Jonah Jameson, May has also nearly married Doctor Octopus Luckily for her, they never managed to make it official and it was called off on the day of the ceremony. Given that Doctor Octopus is an evil villain it’s safe to say his motives were not really about love. He was after an inheritance from May, as she somehow managed to inherit an old nuclear power plant (sounds perfectly normal to us).
Although she may be unlucky in love, it’s definitely for the best that this disastrous couple never tied the knot. We could only imagine the chaos that would ensue if Spider-Man’s beloved aunt unknowingly married one of his sworn enemies.
3. She shot Spider-Man
Aunt May isn’t known for being the center of action, but rather for being fragile and too sweet to do any harm. However, she has also been known to get caught up in Spider-Man’s crazy antics every now and then. She once took it one step further than this, though, when she pulled a gun on Spider-Man and shot at him.
It’s hard to believe she could ever do this, but of course she only did because she believed it was the right thing to do at the time. She didn’t know that Peter was Spider-Man, plus she was friendly with Doctor Octopus at the time. She had failed to see Doctor Octopus for the villain truly he is, and therefore thought Spider-Man was the bad guy, trying to attack her friend. It seems she decided to take a serious course of action to bring that to an end. Lesson learnt: don’t mess with Aunt May.
2. Sally Field didn’t like her role as Aunt May
When the most recent actress to take on Aunt May, Marisa Tomei, was revealed for the role, people were shocked. It seemed that through her last few incarnations she’d been pulling a Benjamin Button on us all and getting younger each time. Surely it’s not long now until Chloe Grace Moretz or Selena Gomez are taking up the role. But age factor aside, there have been other controversies recently with the role of Aunt May.
Sally Field, who you may remember from The Amazing Spider-Man, recently revealed how she did not enjoy the role and that she only took it as her late friend Laura Ziskin was a producer and they knew it would be her last film. When questioned, she revealed she didn’t put much into the character because she thought the character wasn’t three dimensional enough. Well, her exact words were “you can’t put ten pounds of s*** in a five pound bag.” And while she may think Aunt May can only fit five pounds of s***, we still think she is the s***.
1. She joined a civil rights group for the elderly
Despite what some items on this list might have you believe, Aunt May’s reputation of being a sweet old lady is often accurate. While she may occasionally get mixed up in adventure and do some crazy stuff (well, don’t all comic book characters do that?), she remains a very grounded and humble person overall. She is also known in the comics for being charitable, and has been involved with various good causes over the years.
One that seems to be fairly close to home for Aunt May is her work for the civil rights of the elderly. The civil rights group for this cause that she was involved with are the Gray Panthers. The Gray Panthers actually exist in real life as a civil rights group fighting ageism. Of course, what the real life Gray Panthers are missing is the tough little cookie we all know and love as Aunt May.
Did we miss out any great pieces of Aunt May trivia? Let us know in the comments.