Real Name: Mary Alice Anders Burke

Identity/Class: Normal human

Occupation: Nuclear researcher

Group Membership: U.S. Atomic Research Center

Affiliations: Dr. Otto Octavius (former lover), Randall Andros

Enemies: None

Known Relatives: Unnamed husband

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: New York

First Appearance: Spider-Man Unlimited#3 (November, 1993)

Powers/Abilities: Talented nuclear physicist

History: The past of Mary Alice is unknown. Before she married, her last name was Anders, and as a young woman, she had a job at the U.S. Atomic Research Center.

(Spider-Man Unlimited I#3 (fb) ) - Mary Alice Anders was introduced to a co-worker of hers, Otto Octavius. She knew him by reputation and was impressed by his mechanical arms that he had invented to handle dangerous chemicals. They became closer and their relationship became deeper until eventually, she agreed to marry him. Overjoyed, Otto told his mother, who responded by being very angered that her son would abandon her like that after she raised him. His mother influenced Otto to brake off his engagement, breaking both his own, and Mary Alice's hearts. It was speculated, but never confirmed, that he used his influence with his cousin to get Mary Alice Anders dismissed from the U.S. Atomic Research Center. They never saw each other again. His heart broken, Octavius was careless and cold, and three weeks later, he was involved in an accident that turned him into Dr. Octopus, one of the greatest villains ever!

(BTS) - Apparently, Mary Alice Anders got married at some point and took the last name Burke. She contracted the AIDS virus at an unknown time later when she and her husband were involved in a car accident. The crash took the life of her husband and she was given a faulty blood transfusion carrying the AIDS virus.

(Untold Tales of Spider-Man: Arms and the Man) - Randall Andros began investigating the people who had worked with Otto Octavius at the United States Atomic Research Center. He began looking for Karl Octavius and Thomas Hargrove. He found Brian Huss and Dinah Dunn at Cross Technological Enterprises. Huss noted that Mary Alice Anders was married just a few months ago to adopt the name Mary Alice Burke. Dinah Dunn took credit for dubbing Octavius Doctor Octopus.

  Andros discovered that Dr. Mary Alice Burke and her spouse Ronald had been among the victims in a car accident on the West Side Highway a month previous. Mary Alice was taken to St. Luke's near Columbia University. Andros discovered that she had been admitted for a week, then gone home. Her doctor agreed to call her for Andros. Andros mentions that Bliss Private Hospital's Kevin Hunt treated Octavius immediately after his accident, and Andros meets with Phil Sheldon during the course of the story. Clarice Levin, lawyer for Mary Alice Burke, stated that she would advice Burke not to speak with Andros, as a lawsuit against Octavius, Mr. Thomas Hargrove, and the U.S. Atomic Research Center was pending.

(BTS) - She was one of several individuals with AIDS featured in the Daily Bugle in an article about the success of the Robeaux Research Center in its AIDS research.

(Spider-Man Unlimited I#3) - Dr. Octopus heard of her AIDS and rushed to try to make a cure. He failed and was taken into custody. Mary Alice Burke died of AIDS.

Comments: Created by Tom DeFalco and Ron Lim

I noticed something about Tom DeFalco's writing while reading this story. I'm not sure if this is common knowledge or not, but he used a TON of exclamation points in his dialogue between characters. I was really bored and counted the sentences of dialogue (excluding the narration) and counted literally 16 times more sentences with exclamation points than with periods. I don't know if he always does this or what...
    That style has been around for a long time. Read some of Stan and Jack's Fantastic Four!

Big thanks to CHANGELING for supplying the image

CLARIFICATIONS: No connection to:

Spider-Man Unlimited I#3 (November, 1993) - Tom DeFalco (writer), Ron Lim (pencils), Jim Sanders III (inks), Danny Fingeroth (editor)
Untold Tales of Spider-Man (October, 1997) - Keith R.A. DeCandido (writer), Stan Lee & Kurt Busiek (editors)

Last updated: 12/07/03

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

Non-Marvel Copyright info
All other characters mentioned or pictured are ™  and 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. If you like this stuff, you should check out the real thing!
Please visit The Marvel Official Site at:

Back to Characters