Profile: May Parker
Aunt May Parker
First appearance: Amazing Fantasy #15, 1962
Current status: last time I looked, she’d been sent into a coma in Amazing Spider-Man #544, September 2007.
Was subjected to the following acts of discrimination: less than four years after she’d passed away in Amazing Spider-Man #400 during 1994, in what was meant to be a moving swan song at the time and could’ve been a perfect way for her to end her role in Spider-Man’s world, Bob Harras, then EIC at Marvel, decided to have her brought back from the dead by rewriting her “death” at the time as really being a DNA-duplicated actress hired by the Green Goblin to pretend she was Aunt May, while the real one was kidnapped and put in suspended animation, for what true purpose I have no idea. And, at the end of ASM’s Civil War tie-in, she took a horrendous gunshot wound that was meant for Mary Jane. The result was that she ended up in a coma.
What’s wrong with how this was done? In the case of her death by natural causes being undone, that was uncalled for, and was incredibly stupid. Especially when, in the ill-conceived “Final Chapter” (and we all know where that got us, eh?) told that she had a noxious implant inside her head that could kill her, even through detonation (don’t ask). Considering that, like I said, she died by natural causes (until that was contradicted, of course) that’s what made it by far the most tastefully done demise in years. She had served her purpose, and now, Spidey and Mary Jane could move on to other things (unless we talk about the horrid writing that followed, and marked the beginning of the end for Spidey in terms of quality writing to date). But alas, Harras had to ruin everything for a character who could’ve gotten the best send-off of all (it was J.M. DeMatties who’d written it with assistance from Stan Lee), leading to little more than what’s happened now in Civil War, a total disaster.
And now, the most irritating thing going on is aunt May’s coma situation caused by her injury. I really didn’t like J. Michael Stracynski’s characterization of Aunt May when he was writing the book, and the storyline in ASM #544, which he’s also written, is not going to bring me back to reading it, no matter what Aunt May’s fate turns out to be. And until Joe Quesada leaves office, ditto.
Thanks a lot, Bob Harras. You just had to bring poor May back for this gruesome ordeal.