name: Benjamin Parker
Occupation: former carnival barker, later occupation
on revealed; retired at the time of his death
Identity: publicly known
Legal status: citizen of the United States with no criminal
Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York
Place of death: Forest Hills, New York City
Marital status: married
Known relatives: May (wife), Richard (brother, the deceased),
Mary (sister-in-law, deceased), Peter (nephew)
Group affiliation: none
Base of operations: New York City
First appearance: amazing fantasies #15
Final appearance: amazing fantasies #15 (his actual death
was shown and flashback in amazing Spider-Man #200)
History: During the Great Depression of the 1930's,
Ben Parker, then a young man, worked as a carnival barker at
the amusement park in New York City's Coney Island. He was deeply
attracted to May Reilly, who was then a strikingly beautiful,
young woman who lived with her parents in his Brooklyn neighborhood.
May, however, believed herself to be in love with a young man
named Johnny Jerome, who clearly had far more money than Ben.
Jerome, she thought, offered her the promise of a more exciting
life in this time of severe economic hardship. Ben warned May
that Jerome was actually a criminal, but she dismissed what
Ben said about him as a jealous slander.
One day, however, Jerome unexpectedly confronted her and proposed
to her on the spot, saying that he wanted them to leave together
right away. May heard the police out on the street and realized
that something was wrong. Then, an angry Ben came in and told
her that Jerome and some accomplices had just robbed a jewelry
store and had shot a man who tried to call for help. May realized
that Jerome was indeed a criminal and told Jerome she could
never marry such a man. Jerome left and was almost immediately
captured by the police outside. Ben comforted the weeping May
in his arms. Jerome was convicted for murder and burglary.
The night the Jerome proposed to her was a turning point in
May Reilly's life. She began to set aside her fantasies about
marrying someone well off financially, and learned to make decisions
about the direction of her life. Coming to appreciate Ben Parker
and his devotion to her, May fell in love with him. Ben married
May, and their life together was long and happy.
Ben had a considerably younger brother, Richard, who became
an intelligence agent. Richard married another agent, Mary,
and the two of them had a son, Peter. While Peter was still
an infant, Richard and Mary were assigned to infiltrate the
Algerian based spy ring controlled by the Communist agent, the
Red Skull. The moment the Red Skull learned that Richard and
Mary Parker were double agents, he had them killed.
While Richard and Mary were on assignment, Ben and May took
care of Peter. Ben and May had never had children of their own,
but after Richard and Mary died, they became Peter’s surrogate
parents and raised him as if he were their own son. The teenage
Peter, before he gained superhuman powers, was shy and studious,
and felt alienated from his fellow high-school students. Ben
and May provided him with the love and emotional support he
needed, and they were the only to people Peter truly cared for.
Through an unusual accident, Peter gained superhuman powers.
He decided to tell no one what had happened to him, not even
Ben and May, and created the costumed identity of Spider-Man
for himself. As Spider-Man, he became an overnight success in
the entertainment world. After one television appearance, he
saw a guard chasing a theif in the studio building. The guard
called out to Spider-Man for help, but the masked youth Peter,
ignored him, thinking that capturing criminals was none of his
business, and the burglar got away. This unidentified burglar,
however, had been the cellmate of the infamous depression era
gangster "Dutch" Mallone. In the 1930's Mallone lived
in New York City's Forest Hills section in the very same house
that was now inhabited by Ben, May, and Peter Parker. Eventually,
Mallone was captured at the same house by a force of Treasury
agents led by the celebrated "untouchable" Elliott
Ness and was convicted on tax evasion charges. It was long rumored
that Mallone had hidden millions of dollars away somewhere.
Mallone was sent from one prison to another, and finally, as
an elderly man, he became the cellmates of the burglar who Spider-Man
allowed to escape. The burglar heard Mallone talk in his sleep
about where he hid the money. It was somewhere in his old house
in Forest hills. (unknown to the burglar, however, the money
was hidden in a box behind a wall in the House, but had long
ago been devoured by silverfish.)
One night, a few weeks after the burglar and Spider-Man had
crossed paths in the television studio building, the burglar
broke into the Parker home. Peter was making a personal appearance
as Spider-Man, while the burglar took the Parker home by surprise.
The burglar held Ben and May at gunpoint, and saying that he
needed her to show him around so he could find something (the
hidden treasure), grabbed May. Furious, Ben ordered the burglar
to unhand May and angrily reached toward him. Frightened, the
burglar shot Ben and fled. May wanted to send for an ambulance,
but the mortally wounded Ben knew that it was too late for a
doctor to help him. Telling her that he loved her, Ben Parker
Returning home, Peter was told by policemen that a burglar
had killed Ben and was now trapped by the police in the Acme
warehouse at the waterfront. Infuriated, Peter donned the Spider-Man
costume, went to the warehouse, and captured the burglar. Upon
seeing the burglar's face, Spider-Man realized to his horror
that it was same thief he had let escape at the television studio.
Had he recaptured the burglar then, Spider-Man told himself,
his beloved uncle Ben would still be alive.
Spider-Man turned the burglar over to police. Years later,
the burglar, again at large and making a second attempt to find
Mallone's treasure, held May Parker prisoner, and threatened
to kill her if she didn't aid him. Spider-Man defeated the burglar,
who died of a heart attack brought on by his sheer terror of
his costumed nemesis.
From the night he first captured the burglar, the same night
that Ben Parker died, Peter Parker's attitude towards his life
and superhuman abilities was radically changed. The fact that
he could have saved his Uncle Ben’s life by taking the
time to stop the burglar at the studio weeks before, demonstrated
to Peter Parker that with great power that comes great responsibility.
His guilt over failing to prevent the death of Ben Parker became
the motivating force behind Peter Parker's career as Spider-Man.
Peter vowed never to let harm come to an innocent person ever
again if he could help, and so it was that Spider-Man became
the crime fighter that he remains to this day.
Height: 5 ft. 9 in.
Weight: 175 lbs.
Hair: Brown, later White
Strength level: Then Parker possessed a normal human
strength of a man of his age, height, and build who engages
in moderate regular exercise.
Known superhuman powers: none
NOTE: Clff Robertson plays him in Spider-Man