SKIP WESTCOTT

Real Name: Steven "Skip" Westcott

Identity/Class: Human pedophile

Occupation: High School student (as of over a decade ago)

Enemies: Young Peter Parker and any other child

Known Relatives: Unnamed parents (divorced)

Aliases: "Wescott" (mispronunciation by May Parker)

Base of Operations: New York City, probably in the general vicinity of Spider-Man's childhood home in Forest Hills

First Appearance: Spider-Man/Power Pack#1/1
(1984; Co-published by Marvel Comics and the National Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse)

 

Powers/Abilities: None, although Skip was intelligent enough to engage honor student Peter Parker in hours of discussion about "all of life's important problems."

 

History: (Spider-Man/Power Pack#1/1 [fb]) When he was around twelve or so (at least old enough to walk home from school by himself), Peter Parker met an older student named Skip Westcott in the public library; Skip seemed impressed by Peter's studiousness, nicknaming him "Einstein," and the two boys became friends, which pleased Peter's Aunt May, who'd been concerned that her nephew spent too much time alone. Peter and Skip were frequently alone at Skip's housewhile Skip's mother was at work, and one evening Skip showed Peter some pornography, then suggested that they "conduct a little experiment" and "touch each other like the people in that magazine." Peter was appalled but "too frightened to leave." Following this, Peter stopped spending time with Skip, and when his Aunt May and Uncle Ben questioned him about it, he told them what happened.

 

 

 

(Spider-Man/Power Pack#1/1) Years later, in his Chelsea apartment, Peter overhears his young next-door neighbor Tony Lewis resisting the "advances" from his babysitter Judy. As Spider-Man, he knocks at the Lewis window, causing Judy to flee, and he persuades Tony to tell him what happened. When Tony admits that Judy was touching him in wrong ways, Spidey assures Tony that he's not to blame for the situation and tells the boy his own story (without giving his real name, of course). Spider-Man then swings Tony across town to the party that his parents are attending, where he tells them what happened and is comforted by them. Spidey swings back home, satisfied that he has helped the boy and successfully confronted one of his own personal demons.

Comments: Created by Jim Salicrup, Jim Mooney, and Mike Esposito.

The flashback in this story is a far cry from any other tale of Peter Parker's childhood, such as those seen in the Minus-One issues or Fred Hembeck's "Petey" humor features; since Spidey admits that he was too scared to leave when Skip made his advances, the implication is that the older boy actually did molest Peter, making him one of the earliest villains that Peter ever encountered, and an all too realistic one.

Although Spider-Man admits (to the readers) that his unwarranted shame over this part of his past has haunted him for years, this is apparently the only Spider-Man story in which Skip has ever been mentioned or where it has ever been stated or even implied that Spider-Man was molested as a child. Spidey also notes that it was only when he helped Tony that he realized that he wasn't to blame for Skip's actions, which is not inconsistent with the hero's notorious tendency toward taking unwarranted responsibility upon himself. Some readers may care to theorize further on how this incident might have shaped the character of Marvel's star super-hero. Skip is carefully portrayed as being several years older than the pre-teen Peter, perhaps to prevent any implication that Skip was a gay youth attracted to Peter as an equal; evidently Jim Salicrup felt that Aunt May and Uncle Ben would've been concerned from the outset about an adult man befriending their nephew. However, bizarrely enough, Skip's white hair and kindly demeanor make him come across as sort of a young Uncle Ben, which must have made the experience even more traumatic; in more recent years, there were rumors that the Spider-Man writers were going to reveal that young Peter had been molested by Uncle Ben himself, but this appalling notion was fortunately never explored.

Skip's fate following Peter's revelation is not revealed (Similarly, Judy vanishes from the main story.); one would presume that the Parkers at least spoke to Skip's mother about her son's crime, but the story rightly chooses to focus on not the perpetrators but the victims of child molestation and how they should react.

Spider-Man/Power Pack#1 also includes a Power Pack story by Louise Simonson in which Jane, a friend of Julie (Lightspeed) Power, admits to being molested by her father. Both stories involve no comic-book elements other than the heroes themselves, presumably out of concern that any use of super-villains, supernatural beings, or the like would detract from the very real evil of child molestation. Spider-Man and the members of Power Pack do not themselves interact in the issue, although they are seen together in a "Tips on Ways to Prevent Sexual Abuse" ad that appears on the issue's back cover and throughout several Marvel issues of the 1980s.

I found another child abuse special where Skip was mentioned and confirmed that he went all the way. However, this special is of dubious canonicity, since Spider-Man breaks the fourth wall. (Is a battle with the Hobgoblin the time to talk to the camera about child abuse? Would the Hobgoblin ever talk that way?)
--John McDonagh

Profile by: Ronald Byrd

CLARIFICATIONS:

Skip Westcott has no known connection to...


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Last updated: 01/23/03

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