The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #5 (1968)

Here it is: “The parents of Peter Parker!”

The story nobody should have wanted to read and nobody should have written.  It’s like when they try to go back and talk about the killer of Batman’s parents, or gave Wolverine a “real name”: It’s a mystery, and should remain so.  Filling in the blanks—whether Parker came from good genes or not—takes away from the myth, rather than deepening it.

Anyway, it turns out his parents were spies who died as traitors but, of course, when Peter travels across the globe to investigate, he learns it was all a Red Skull plot and his parents were actually heroes.

It’s absolutely awful, and in the 1990s it gets retconned, including the revelation that that wasn’t the real Red Skull.

The best part of this Annual isn’t in the story at all.  It’s a back-up pin-up feature, which I’m saying is the first time Marvel does a “What If?” comic….

Creators: Stan Lee (writer), John Romita, Sr. (listed as “chaotic consultant”), Larry Lieber (penciler)
Grade: F.
For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.

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