Peter Parker was orphaned as a young child when his parents were killed in an airplane crash overseas. He went to live with his uncle and aunt, Ben and May Parker, in Queens, New York. Parker was extremely bright and became a high honors student. His shyness and scholastic interest often made him a social outcast.
While attending a public exhibition demonstrating the safe handling of nuclear laboratory waste materials, Peter was bitten by a spider that had been irradiated by a particle accelerator used in the demonstration. Making his way home afterwards, Peter discovered he had somehow gained incredible strength, agility, and the ability to cling to walls; spider-like traits that he immediately associated with the spider bite.
Peter decided to go on television with his 'act.' Designing a costume and some wrist-mounted web-spinners, Peter called himself Spider-Man, becoming an immediate sensation. Encountering an ad offering a cash prize for a wrestling match, Peter decided this would be a good way to test his powers. Peter easily defeated his opponent.
Following the wrestling match, Peter failed to act to stop an escaping thief, claiming that it was not his responsibility. However, he returned home to find his Uncle Ben had been murdered. Learning the police had the burglar responsible holed up in a warehouse, Peter easily captured him only to discover it was the same thief he had allowed to escape earlier. Filled with remorse, he realized that with power comes responsibility. Spider-Man's sense of responsibility inspired him to become a crimefighter. He also maintained a strained life as Peter Parker, attending Empire State University and securing a job as a photographer at the Daily Bugle.
Early in his crimefighting career, Spider-Man fought the Scorpion, who went on a rampage and kidnapped J. Jonah Jameson. Scorpion took Jameson to the Oscorp nuclear reactor, where he planned to use radiation to turn himself back to normal, without thinking of the consequences. Despite Spider-Man's efforts to stop him, Scorpion released radiation on the whole city, destroying it and the surrounding area, as well as contaminating most of North America.
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