RICHARD PARKER

Real Name: Richard Laurence Parker

Identity/Class: Normal human

Occupation: Spy;
    former soldier

Group Membership: CIA

Affiliations: Agent Ten (James Howlett/Logan), Desmond Boothroyd, Big Mike Callahan, Emile Chigaru, Nick Fury

Enemies: Baron Strucker (Wolfgang von Strucker), Baron Zemo (Heinrich Zemo), Deadmaker (Gregori Anatolovich), Finisher (Karl Fiers), Hydra, Kang (Nathaniel Richards), Baroness Adelecia von Krupp, Red Skull (Albert Malik), Charlie Shaddock

Known Relatives: Ben Parker (brother, deceased), Mary Parker (wife, deceased), Peter Parker (son), Teresa Durand/Teresa Parker (possible daughter), May Parker (sister-in-law), William "Wild Will" Fitzpatrick (father-in-law, deceased)

Aliases: "Ray", "Rich"

Base of Operations: Algeria;
    formerly a safehouse in Switzerland;
    formerly New York City, New York

First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man Annual I#5 (1968)

Powers/Abilities: Parker was a skilled spy. On one occasion he wore a diving suit incorporating a variety of devices, including a knockout-gas nozzle, and a re-breather that produced no bubbles.

Height: 5'11"
Weight: 175 lbs.
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Brown

History:
(Spectacular Spider-Man II#170 (fb) / Amazing Spider-Man I#370/2 / Amazing Spider-Man II#26 (fb) ) - Richard Parker grew up idolizing his older brother Ben. As a child, he often tagged along with Ben and his girlfriend May Reilly. While May was reluctant to take young Richard along initially, she became very fond of him, finding he had a wisdom beyond his years.

(Amazing Spider-Man II#26 (fb) ) - As a teenager, Richard Parker roamed the Upper West Side of Manhattan alongside his best friend Big Mike Callahan. At one point they had an escapade with some Rockettes and a keg of beer.

(Amazing Spider-Man II#26 (fb) ) - Richard and Mike lied about their ages and dropped out of high school to join the Army.

(Amazing Spider-Man Annual I#5 (fb) ) - Richard served with distinction, becoming a decorated war hero in the Special Forces.

(Amazing Spider-Man II#26 (fb) ) - While on leave with Callahan in New York, the two came across a man in a violent argument with his son. Richard intervened, taking a punch meant for the son, and talked the older man down.

(Untold Tales of Spider-Man#-1 (fb) ) - Parker was recruited into the CIA out of the Special Forces by Col. Nick Fury.

(Amazing Spider-Man I#370/2 (fb) / Untold Tales of Spider-Man#-1 (fb) ) - In the CIA, Richard met translator Mary Fitzpatrick; similarly studious, intelligent, and serious, the two soon fell in love.

(Amazing Spider-Man: Family Business (fb) ) - Emile Chigaru served as Richard and Mary's mission controller when they were in the field, and maintained a safe house in Switzerland.

(Amazing Spider-Man I#383 (fb) ) - Richard and Mary were witnesses to Ben and May's secret wedding ceremony; six months later, they attended the public ceremony.

(Untold Tales of Spider-Man#-1 (fb) ) - Richard and Mary were married, with Ben and May in attendance.

(Amazing Spider-Man '96/2 (fb) ) - Richard and Mary learned that Russian assassin the Deadmaker was a Hydra double agent; they traded that information to the Russians, resulting in the release of three captured American agents.

(Amazing Spider-Man: Family Business (fb) ) - Working together, Richard and Mary battled a small army of fascists (possibly led by Baron Zemo or Baron Strucker) attempting to retrieve Reich's Hope, a horde of Nazi gold guarded by a Sleeper robot in the deserts of Egypt. The Parkers defeated them, and sealed the gold away with a biometric lock, ensuring that only Richard - or a close relative resembling him - could ever open it again.

(Amazing Spider-Man I#370/2 (fb) ) - The couple often socialized with Ben and his now-wife May; the ever-serious Richard and Mary never got any of Ben's jokes.

(Untold Tales of Spider-Man#-1 (fb) ) - At the Imperial Casino on the French Riviera, Richard and Mary spotted fascist aristocrat Baroness Adelecia von Krupp and arms dealer Guenter Schmidt. Richard tailed her to her yacht, the Scheherazade.

(Untold Tales of Spider-Man#-1) - Richard sneaked aboard the yacht, and overheard von Krupp talking about the captured Agent Ten. He was caught by a guard - Richard took him out with knockout gas, but when others came to his assistance, Richard dove off the side of the boat, getting nicked in the arm by a bullet in the process. Mary guided him to shore, where they saw von Krupp escape via helicopter before blowing the yacht up. The next day, they reported their findings to the US Ambassador, who informed them that Agent Ten was an agent of a friendly power who knew vital information. Richard and Mary resolved to rescue him before the information could be extracted. After they were outfitted by CIA quartermaster Boothroyd, they flew off to Bombay. After two days of canvassing the city, Richard spotted the Baroness going into a secret hideout in an alleyway. Posing as clueless American tourists, Richard and Mary asked the guards to take their picture for them - only for the camera to discharge knockout gas. They slipped into the hideout, only to have a net dropped on them. They were taken to the Baroness and her masked superior (secretly Baron Strucker), who showed them Agent Ten - the Canadian secret agent known only as Logan! As they had been unable to torture the information out of him, they turned their attentions to Richard - only for Mary to knee Strucker in the crotch, giving Richard an opening to take out his guards. Soon, an errant shot set the hideout on fire; Logan got the Parkers to safety, but Strucker and the Baroness escaped. Mary fainted in the chaos, and Richard and Logan brought her for medical attention. The doctor assured him that Mary would be fine, as her reaction was normal for a woman in her condition - she was pregnant! After getting congratulations from Logan, Richard went to see Mary - she predicted they'd have a boy, and Richard assured her that with them as parents, he was sure to be amazing.

(Amazing Spider-Man I#370/2 (fb) / Avengers VII#1) - Mary gave birth to a son, Peter Benjamin Parker. The villainous Kang attempted to kill him, so as to destroy one incarnation of the Avengers, but his plot was foiled.

(Spectacular Spider-Man III#27 (fb) ) - Richard and Mary attended Peter's school play, where he was to play an ant; when his one line came up, he completely froze.

(Amazing Spider-Man: Family Business (fb) ) - At their Swiss safehouse, Mary told Richard that she was worried Peter wouldn't understand the choices they made, but he assured her that one day, they'd be done, and the three of them could be a family. She then implied that there might not be just three of them for much longer...

(Amazing Spider-Man Annual I#5 (fb) / Amazing Spider-Man: Parallel Lives (fb) ) - Richard and Mary were sent on a mission to infiltrate the Communist Red Skull's organization in Algeria. They left young Peter in the care of Ben and May, reassuring them that they'd only be gone for a few months. As they left the house, Ben and May tried to get them to stay, but they tearfully left, keeping their mission a secret from their family.

(Amazing Spider-Man Annual I#5 (fb) ) - While in Algeria, Richard and Mary frequented a restaurant in the casbah.

(Amazing Spider-Man Annual I#5 (fb) / Amazing Spider-Man I#372/1 (fb) ) - For a time, the Parkers successfully infiltrated the Skull's organization; during this time, they met Charlie Shaddock, a Skull agent who was assigned to act as the Skull's mole in the FBI.

(Amazing Spider-Man Annual I#5 (fb) ) - The Skull discovered that the Parkers were traitors; he assigned them to deliver some important documents for him, and had another one of his operatives, the Finisher, take them to the airport. They took off in a small plane, unaware that the Finisher had sabotaged it. Shortly after takeoff, the plane crashed, killing Richard and Mary Parker.

(Amazing Spider-Man Annual I#5 (fb) ) - Richard and Mary's bodies were identified by the restaurant's owner; as ordered by the Skull, he planted evidence on them that made it appear they had betrayed the CIA to the Skull. Their betrayal made the newspapers in America; learning of it, Ben and May resolved to hide the truth from Peter. Years later, Peter (as the costumed hero Spider-Man) traveled to Algeria, battled the Skull, and cleared their names.

(Amazing Spider-Man I#370/2 (fb) ) - At some point, May and Ben put up headstones in Richard and Mary's names in a New York cemetery; whether their bodies were brought back from Algeria to be buried under them is unknown.

(Spectacular Spider-Man II#179) - Peter, May, and Peter's wife Mary Jane visited the Parkers' graves.

(Amazing Spider-Man I#370/2) - Years later, believing Richard and Mary had survived (they were, in fact, robotic imposters), May visited Richard and Mary's graves.

(Amazing Spider-Man II#501) - Having learned that Peter was secretly Spider-Man, May visited the Parker graves.

Comments: Created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Mickey Demeo.

There are all sorts of mysteries in Spider-Man continuity. What bridge did Gwen Stacy die on? Who is FACADE? Oh, and how old was Peter Parker when his parents died? He's definitely a baby in ASM Annual I#5 and Parallel Lives, but Peter has memories of them dying in Spectacular II#254, and they're still alive to see Peter's first-grade play in Spectacular III#26. In ASM II#664, when Peter has a lengthy dream sequence about his life, he can't even remember their faces, having been too young when they died. I'm just going to say he was...young. That's the ticket.

Long after the Parkers' deaths, Harry Osborn sent evil robot versions of them to infiltrate Peter's life as part of an elaborate revenge scheme, but that's a profile for another day.

There's a slight problem with 18-year-old May and Ben's secret wedding, as detailed in ASM I#383. While Richard and Mary meeting in the CIA wasn't established until Untold Tales#-1, long before that we knew that Ben and May had to be a lot older than Richard and Mary, given how friggin' ancient Aunt May is. Richard and Mary would have been children when May and Ben were 18, and witnesses to a marriage have to be legal adults. I think I have to fudge that by saying Ben and May got secretly married for some other reason - parental disapproval, maybe?

The Family Business GN introduces Teresa Durand, who is initially identified as a long-lost daughter of Richard and Mary Parker who was adopted and grew up to be a CIA agent; she gets Peter wrapped up in a plot to stop. It's eventually revealed that Teresa is an orphan, but her connection to the Parkers (and her resemblance to Mary) was an illusion cast by Mentallo to let the Kingpin access the Nazi gold. But, at the end of the issue, we see Emile Chigaru examining Teresa's DNA with interest, interspersed with a flashback of Mary strongly implying that she's pregnant...it'll be interesting to see if this gets picked up again.

The cover of Untold Tales of Spider-Man#-1 identifies Richard and Mary as agents of SHIELD, but it is clear in the issue itself that they worked with the CIA.

So I'm just going to say it here - making Peter Parker's parents spies was a bad idea. Peter's parents being glamorous, globe-trotting spies undercuts his everyman nature - and I don't think the Parkers as super-scientists, as seen in the Ultimate U, is much of an improvement. That said, it's there, so writers might as well use it. I quite enjoyed Untold Tales#-1 and Spider-Man: Family Business.

The Parkers don't come up too much in other fiction. I don't recall them being mentioned at all in the Tobey Maguire movies, and they were a pretty minor part of the various Spider-Man animated series if they came up at all. They play a major role in the Amazing Spider-Man movies (too major, if you ask me), where Richard is played by Campbell Scott (Dying Young, Big Night, Rodger Dodger). There's even a deleted scene where Richard Parker turns out to have faked his own death! Yeesh.

Richard and Mary Parker have a joint profile in the Spider-Man: Back in Black Handbook.

I'm not going to dignify Trouble by explaining why it doesn't work here. Get outta here with that!

Profile by Minor Irritant.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Richard Parker, Peter Parker's father, has no known connections to:


images: (without ads)
Untold Tales of Spider-Man#-1, cover (main image)
Amazing Spider-Man Annual I#5, p11, pan2 (with Mary and Peter)
Untold Tales of Spider-Man#-1, p3, pan3 (red/black costume)
Amazing Spider-Man Annual I#5, p34, pan1 (plane crash)
Amazing Spider-Man II#501, p21, pan1 (grave)


Appearances:
Amazing Spider-Man Annual I#5 (1968) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Larry Lieber (pencils), Mickey Demeo (inks)
Amazing Spider-Man: Parallel Lives (May, 1989) - Gerry Conway (writer), Alex Saviuk (pencils), Andy Mushynsky (inks), Jim Salicrup (editor)
Spectacular Spider-Man II#179 (August, 1991) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Sal Buscema (art), Danny Fingeroth (editor)
Amazing Spider-Man I#370/2 (December, 1992) - J. M. DeMatteis (writer), Aaron Lopresti (art), Danny Fingeroth (editor)
Amazing Spider-Man I#372/1 (January, 1993) - David Michelinie (writer), Mark Bagley (pencils), Randy Emberlin (inks), Danny Fingeroth (editor)

Amazing Spider-Man I#383 (November, 1993) - David Michelinie (writer), Mark Bagley (pencils), Randy Emberlin (inks), Danny Fingeroth (editor)
Amazing Spider-Man '96/2 (1996) - Fabian Nicieza (writer), Steve Lightle (pencils), Al Williamson (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Untold Tales of Spider-Man#-1 (July, 1997) - Roger Stern (writer), John Romita Sr. (pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Amazing Spider-Man II#26 (February, 2001) - Howard Mackie (writer), John Romita Jr. (pencils), Scott Hanna (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Amazing Spider-Man II#501 (January, 2004) - J. Michael Straczynski (writer), John Romita Jr. (pencils), Scott Hanna (inks), Axel Alonso (editor)
Spectacular Spider-Man III#27 (June, 2005) - Paul Jenkins (writer), Mark Buckingham (art), Axel Alonso (editor)
Amazing Spider-Man: Family Business (2015) - Mark Waid & James Robinson (writers), Gabriele Dell'Otto (art), Werther Dell'Edra (pencils), Stephen Wacker (editor)
Avengers VII#1 (January, 2017) - Mark Waid (writer), Mike Del Mundo (art), Tom Brevoort (editor)


Last updated: 12/19/17

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:
http://www.marvel.com

Special Thanks to www.g-mart.com for hosting the Appendix, Master List, etc.!

Back to Characters