Spider-Man is mainly considered a high school hero, despite Peter Parker only attending high school for the first two years worth of comics. He graduated in 1965 and was then in college, attending Empire State University, until 1978. And that’s just his first four years! He was in grad school even longer. So with rumors flying about Spider-Man’s next MCU trilogy, it makes sense to look at Peter Parker’s college years. Here are some great higher education-era stories from the comics (and one cartoon) that might make for excellent big-screen entries for Tom Holland’s next Spidey adventures.
The Jackal and the Spider-Clone
One of the most infamous incidents in Peter Parker’s college years happened in Amazing Spider-Man #148-149. His biology professor, Dr. Miles Warren, was obsessively in love with Peter Parker’s girlfriend Gwen Stacy. (We know, it’s icky). When she died tragically, he blamed Spider-Man. He cloned both Gwen and Spidey, discovering that Peter was actually the wallcrawler this way.
Splicing his own DNA with a jackal’s, he started going by the name… the Jackal, naturally. Although both clones seemingly died, the Peter clone secretly survived, and took the name Ben Reilly. Twenty years later, these story seeds led to the much-maligned ’90s crossover The Clone Saga. But like even the worst ‘90s pop culture, there is nostalgia for it now. Maybe the MCU could do it right?
The Black Cat
The various Spider-Man films have introduced us to his iconic love interests from the comics like Mary Jane Watson, Gwen Stacy, and most recently, Zendaya as Michelle “MJ” Jones. But going into his college years, they might think of bringing in Felicia Hardy, the Black Cat. (Yes, there was a cameo by Felicity Jones in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but that just barely counts.) The sometimes cat burglar/sometimes hero loved Spider-Man, but found herself bored with his alter ego Peter Parker. Technically, this happened when Peter was starting grad school, but close enough if you ask us.
At the same time as Peter Parker was attending Empire State University, so was another famous New York superhero. The Fantastic Four’s Johnny Storm briefly took classes at ESU. He was never the best student, but it was during this time that Peter and Johnny became actual friends, and not two guys who gave each other grief and poked fun at each other. Even if it’s not as the Human Torch, it would be a cool way to introduce Johnny in the MCU as Peter’s classmate.
Flash Thompson: From Bully to Buddy
In every incarnation of Spider-Man, from comics to cartoons to live-action, Eugene “Flash” Thompson is Peter’s high school tormentor. And that’s no different in the MCU, where Flash (Tony Revolori), bullied has Peter since Homecoming. But in the comics, after high school both Peter and Flash attended ESU. And this is where Flash grew up quite a bit, and actually became good friends with Peter. This new trilogy might be the perfect place for this maturation of their relationship to take place.
Sharing a Dorm with Captain Britain
Peter Parker, for a brief time, had a rather famous roommate. British exchange student Brian Braddock once shared a dorm room with Peter. However Peter didn’t know at the time that Brian wasn’t just a stuffy new student from overseas, he was also secretly Captain Britain. With rumors abound that Captain Britain is joining the MCU, it could be fun to introduce him as Peter’s uptight and privileged roomie. One who has a super-secret identity all his own.
The Amazing Friends
Ok, so this one isn’t from the comics, but instead on the ‘80s animated TV series Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends. The series took place during the time Peter Parker was attending ESU, where he made two special friends, also attending the same school: mutants Firestar and Iceman. The former X-Men later rented rooms from Peter Parker’s Aunt May, and became a crime-fighting trio. This one is far-fetched, we admit. But a movie showcasing the “Spider-Friends” could be the perfect way to introduce several future X-Men characters into the MCU.
Featured Image: Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios