Tom Holland plays the latest Spider-Man in Spider-Man Homecoming, and it’s great. Spider-Man is back and in high school, and that’s really cool. I keep hearing from old school fans that they love that, and I think I understand why, even though I’m indifferent about it. Let me put it like this: Spider-Man, for my millennial generation, is and always has been an adult who typically is in college and is sometimes married to Mary Jane Watson.
Fox Kid’s Spider-Man, was a young college kid. Toby Maguire Spider-Man starts out in High School and he is hurried on to being an adult in college. I’ve never known a world where MJ was not Spider-Man’s girlfriend. I never saw Gwen Stacey as a possible romantic interest because her body was long since cold. Fox Kid’s Spider-Man is my Spider-Man, hands down. Even if you were into Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (1981-1983) it was re-aired later in the 80’s and it still featured Peter Parker as a college student living in a dorm.
If you grew up in the 60’s, you knew a Peter Parker in High School… for about 28 or so issues. In fact, Peter Parker had not even met Gwen Stacey alongside Harry Osborn until issue 31, The Green Goblin issue 32, or even MJ until issue 42!
But yeah, back to High School. Sure.
We had The Ultimate Spider-Man comic that featured Peter in High School, and they made it clear that that kid was never going to leave High School from 2000 until 2011. Ultimate Spider-Man was amazing, and I love it to death, but it was in fact… you know, an alternate Spider-Man. Not Universe 616 Spider-Man.
Talking about Alternate Spider-Men, we’ve had a few recently that focused on a teenage Peter Parker, such as the cartoons Spectacular Spider-Man as well as Ultimate Spider-Man which is… different from the other Ultimate one. Those were… all right I suppose, but I love it when we do not have to worry about a Peter Parker who has a curfew.
There was the comic Spider-Girl, and Tom Defalco had her stories in high school for her entire career and that worked more than the two previously mentioned ones. I only mention her now because I always try to bring her up.
Spider-Man and his friends are allowed to be older than 18. Marvel often tries to prevent things from aging Peter Parker, such as him having kids or being married for too long. Eventually It’s going to feel really wrong if we have an under 18 year old black cat in a skin tight body suit… unless they do… what they did… in The Ultimate Universe.
Never mind. Keep Spider-man young and have him interact with the adult heroes. That might be funny, especially when he meets female heroes like Black Widow. People will be serving this ‘man’ drinks, women will throw themselves at him, etc… and only a few people will know the inside joke.