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Mayday Parker: Facts Only Marvel Comics Fans Know About Spider-Girl Herself

If trailers are to be believed, 2023's "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse" will introduce viewers to a character Marvel Comics readers have been clamoring to see on the big screen for decades: Peter B. Parker's daughter May "Mayday" Parker. 

Although she appears as a young baby with her spider-daddy in the trailer, comic fans know that a teenage Mayday Parker already has a rich heroic legacy in the pages of Marvel. The only question, it seems, is how much of that will play itself out in the movies.

Want to know more about the fan favorite character, and the impact she's made on the Marvel Universe? Below is a breakdown of plotlines from the comic books, detailing some of the most interesting facts Marvel fans know about Mayday Parker — also known as the Amazing Spider-Girl.

She's the daughter of two Spider-Man staples

May "Mayday" Parker is the daughter of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson. In the mainstream Marvel Universe, MJ became pregnant with Peter's child during the "Clone Saga" storyline and the Parkers were ecstatic about becoming parents, even naming their daughter after Peter's Aunt May.

But shortly after May was born, Alison Mongrain, an agent of Norman Osborn/The Green Goblin, stole the baby; MJ was told her child was stillborn. In the later "One More Day/Brand New Day" story arc, the demon Mephisto seemingly erased May from ever being born, concerned that she could end his reign on Earth.

However, in the alternate future "MC2" timeline (designated Earth-982), Peter's clone Kaine rescued May and returned her to the Parkers. In "What If –?" #105, readers learned that May grew up ignorant of her father's superhero career after Peter lost his leg in a final battle with the Green Goblin and retired as Spider-Man. She became a very popular student who loved playing basketball and went by the nickname "Mayday." Upon turning 15, however, May's spider-powers emerged, and she began to get curious about her family history.

She owes her superhero career to the Green Goblin

As May learned about her father's heroic legacy, Normie Osborn, the grandson of the Green Goblin, was carrying on his own twisted legacy. Believing Peter Parker was responsible for his grandfather's death, Normie became a new version of the Green Goblin and began harassing Mayday and her friends, telling her that he had "unfinished business" with her father.

The Goblin's attacks showed May she could use her new strength, speed, and senses to protect her friends and she began to pressure her parents into telling her what was going on. Eventually, Mary Jane gave in and told her daughter about the long-running feud between the Parkers and the Osborns. Meanwhile, Peter confronted Normie, telling him that Spider-Man no longer existed. Realizing her father was in no shape to take on the Green Goblin alone, May decided to take matters into her own hands and became Spider-Girl. Despite her lack of experience, she proved more than a match for the Goblin, and Normie was committed to an insane asylum.

In "Spider-Girl" #27, Normie escaped and captured May, hoping she would kill him and end the Parker-Osborn war. Instead, May helped Normie recover his sanity, ending their family feud in a different way. Later, in "Spider-Girl" #29, after discovering May temporarily lost her powers, Normie decided to help her stay in action by outfitting her with his old Goblin gear. May even began developing romantic feelings for Normie; he let her down easy, saying he would always look out for her.

She has her own Uncle Ben

While Mary Jane was pregnant with May, Peter turned over the responsibility of being Spider-Man to his clone Ben Reilly, who created a brand-new costume and gadgets for his time as the wall crawler. Although Ben loved being Spider-Man, he sacrificed his life to save Peter from the Green Goblin in "Spider-Man" #75, asking Peter to please tell May about "her Uncle Ben" as he died.

Peter made sure May knew that Ben Reilly was a hero who died before she was born, and May decided to wear Ben's version of the spider-suit when she became Spider-Girl. She later started using the gadgets Ben invented, including "stingers" that could knock out an opponent and "impact webbing" that would expand on contact. Peter even mentioned that May reminded him of Ben, as they both genuinely enjoyed being heroes.

Unfortunately, in the mainstream Marvel Universe, Ben Reilly's heroic legacy was tarnished when he was resurrected as a villain — first as the evil mastermind The Jackal in the "Clone Conspiracy" storyline and later as the criminally insane Chasm. While he's made multiple attempts to become a hero again, events regularly conspire to place him on a dark path.

She's based on Marvel Editor-in-Chief Tom DeFalco's niece

Behind the scenes, Mayday has a unique origin — she's based on her co-creator's real-life niece. Former Marvel Editor-in-Chief and "Spider-Girl" writer Tom DeFalco created Mayday Parker after hearing how his brother, a Vietnam vet, was horrified that his 16-year-old daughter wanted to be a cop.

"He'd say, 'She's only a kid, how can she think about risking her life?'" DeFalco recalls. "And I said, 'But John, when you were eighteen, you were in Vietnam!' And he said, 'That's different, I knew what I was doing. She doesn't know what she's doing.'"

Intrigued by their arguments, DeFalco decided to use the conflict to shape the dynamic between Peter and Mayday, characterizing Peter as a doting father who doesn't want his daughter to follow in his footsteps. This caused May to engage in superheroics behind Peter's back in early issues of "Spider-Girl," although Peter eventually came around and began training his daughter to be a superhero.

"A lot of readers thought, 'Peter Parker was a superhero! He should be thrilled his daughter is a superhero!'" DeFalco said in 2015. "Except — Peter knows the dangers of being a crime fighter. In his eyes, his little girl will always be his baby. And you don't want your baby to be at risk. I think those are important and natural feelings."

Her comic book history mirrors Spider-Man's success

Spider-Man fans know that Spidey's origin appeared as a one-shot story in "Amazing Fantasy" #15 after Stan Lee couldn't get his editor interested in the character. But did you know that Spider-Girl has a similar comic book history?

After the mainstream version of Mayday Parker was written out of the comics by having her stolen (and possibly killed) by the Green Goblin, writer Tom DeFalco and artist Ron Frenz decided to share their vision of what a teenage May Parker would be like in their one-shot story "Legacy... In Black and White" in "What If –?" #105. The story proved so popular that Marvel decided to create a spin-off series, "Spider-Girl," which continued May's adventures.

Originally, the series was intended to only last twelve issues — but fan interest allowed it to keep going. Later, when low sales again threatened the book with cancellation, a vocal fanbase convinced Marvel to give "Spider-Girl" several stays of execution, eventually allowing the book to last for 100 issues.

But this wasn't the end of Spider-Girl, as Mayday's story continued in "The Amazing Spider-Girl" and then several back-up features in "The Amazing Spider-Man Family." DeFalco also wrote several prequel stories under the title "Mr. and Mrs. Spider-Man" that also appeared in "The Amazing Spider-Man Family." This was followed by the short-lived title "The Spectacular Spider-Girl" and finally "Spider-Girl: The End." May continues to guest star in other Spider-Man stories, showing once again that some heroes never fade away.

Her world is full of second-generation Marvel heroes... and villains

Fans who love seeing the Marvel Universe constantly expand and grow in the MCU will appreciate that Spider-Girl's MC2 universe is filled with next-generation heroes and villains ready to honor — or tarnish — their parents' reputation.

Shortly after "Spider-Girl" debuted, Marvel came out with "J2," a comic that follows the exploits of Zane Yama, the half-Japanese son of the X-Men villain the Juggernaut. More civic-minded than his old man, Zane learned he could transform into a Juggernaut-like being Shazam-style and used his powers to help people. He later joined the Avengers in the comic book "A-Next," teaming up with Scott Lang's daughter Cassie — now the shrinking hero Stinger — as well as American Dream, a descendant of Captain America's girlfriend Peggy Carter, and even the son of the Black Panther. Spider-Girl herself has worked with the Avengers and occasionally teams up with Wild Thing, the daughter of Wolverine and Elektra.

Unfortunately, not every hero's child turns out so well. In a creepy twist, the MC2 version of Hank Pym's daughter Hope is the villainous Red Queen. Along with her twin brother Henry Pym Jr (who went by "Big Man"), Hope tried to destroy the Avengers in "A-Next" #12. Thankfully, her brother stopped her and later began working on a team with other reformed villains.

She's not the only person to carry on the Parker legacy

Mayday may have had a hard time convincing her dad to let her follow in his web steps, but readers would later learn that there were other heroes in the MC2 carrying on the Parker legacy. In "Spider-Girl" #2, May encounters the Darkdevil, a demonic version of the blind hero Daredevil. Later, in the "Darkdevil" miniseries, it is revealed that Darkdevil is the son of Spider-Man's clone Ben Reilly, making him May's cousin. After being possessed by both the spirit of Daredevil and Zarathos, the demon that helped create Ghost Rider, "Reilly Tyne" decides to carry on the heroic legacy of both Spider-Man and Daredevil as his own dark hero.

Later, Peter and Mary Jane have another child, Mayday's little brother Benjamin Parker. While Benjy starts out as a normal baby, he's briefly possessed by the Carnage symbiote in "The Amazing Spider-Girl" #11 which awakens his dormant spider-powers. He even shows everyone he can create his own webbing in "The Amazing Spider-Girl" #30, indicating that the MC2 will have another Spider-Man in its future.

She has teamed up with Aunt May

Although May was named after Peter's Aunt May, she never got to meet her namesake; May passed away before she was born — and stayed dead in the MC2 Universe, although her mainstream counterpart was eventually resurrected. 

Thanks to the magic of time travel, Mayday finally came face-to-face with Aunt May in "Spider-Girl" #10 when an accident sends her back in time to the days when Peter Parker was just a teenager. May ends up visiting Aunt May briefly as "May Day," and her great-aunt is so happy Peter has friends like the "charming and intelligent" young lady who shares her name

Later, Mayday learns May Parker has always been watching over her, as she begins having visions of a serene blonde woman who guides her on a spiritual journey and helps her combat the spirit of Norman Osborn. In "The Amazing Spider-Girl" #30, the woman reveals she's the ghost of Aunt May, who is proud of her entire nephew's family.

Later still, May gets to work with a different version of Aunt May when she meets May Reilly, a young inventor from an alternate steampunk universe who designed her own spider-gear and fights crime as "Lady Spider." This is the May who shows up in the "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse" trailer, revealing May Parker is a fighter in any universe.

She has an evil twin

Mayday may have escaped Norman Osborn's clutches in the MC2 Universe, but that doesn't mean the Green Goblin didn't have time to do something horrible to her. In "The Amazing Spider-Girl" #21, it is explained that Norman managed to not only clone Mayday but also combine the clone's DNA with the Venom symbiote. The resulting hybrid escapes, many years later, and attempts to take over Mayday's life, believing she's the real Mayday Parker.

Spider-Girl manages to talk down the clone and the two become friends for a while — with her clone taking on the name "April Parker." Unfortunately, jealousy gets in the way of their relationship, and April becomes the killer anti-hero "Mayhem." She even accidentally kills the real May Parker and goes on a rampage, causing the government to create an army of Carnage symbiotes to stop her and turn the world into a wasteland.

By "Spider-Girl: The End," Mayhem finally sees the error of her ways and turns a new leaf, protecting what remains of humanity. Realizing now that the world needs the real Spider-Girl, she acquires a time machine, goes back to the day Mayday died, and sacrifices herself to save her sister — and possibly the entire world.

She's had her own Into the Spider-Verse adventure in the comics

Mayhem's sacrifice gives Spider-Girl a second chance at life, but things quickly go downhill during Marvel Comics' first "Spider Verse" event. A group of dimension-hopping vampire creatures called Inheritors invades the MC2 Universe and murder Peter Parker while trying to kidnap May's brother Benjy. May escapes with Benjy, but the trauma causes her to adopt a darker outlook, and she nearly kills the Inheritors out of revenge until her better nature causes her to pull back.

May later joins a team of multiverse-spanning "Web Warriors" that includes Spider-Gwen, Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Ham, and Spider U.K. and works with them to protect the multiverse from threats. Later, she meets Annie May Parker, an alternate universe's version of the sister she never had, and works with her and another Spider-Girl to stop the Inheritors once again. In the aftermath, the Peter Parker of May's world is seemingly resurrected, but May has little time to celebrate since the most recent "Spider Verse" event in the comics has seen her transformed into a monstrous spider-wasp by the dark goddess Shathra.

Despite all the terrible things that have happened to her, Mayday Parker has proven again and again that she's willing to embrace her responsibilities as a superhero and fight to protect others. Her counterpart in "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse" may be young, but if she's anything like her comic book version, film fans can be sure to expect great things from her.