Why Marvel Abandoned a Spider-Man Change, Calling It Too Dangerous

Despite being most famously a photographer for the Daily Bugle, Spider-Man has actually had a number of different jobs over the years. While his tenure as a scientist for organizations like Horizon Labs were interesting deviations for the character, one of the most surprising -- and quietly fitting -- was a far more mundane position.

Spider-Man spent a few short years working as a teacher at Midtown High. But the sheer danger his secret identity presented explains why this only ended up being a brief chapter in the life of the Wall-Crawler instead of a permanent shift for the character.

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In Amazing Spider-Man #30 by J. Michael Straczynski and John Romita Jr, Spider-Man found himself increasingly drawn back to the part of New York City where he grew up. Ending up outside Midtown High, Peter ultimately sees the ways it's changed and the tone of the student body -- and elects to do something about it by becoming a teacher. Arriving at the school the following issue, Peter (with the help of a Chemistry student he inspired) was able to defeat a gunman who'd arrived at the school. When the science teacher left the position, Peter took the vacancy and found a place in the school quickly -- trying to adjust to the world of education.

The new setting laid the stage for a number of new characters in Spider-Man's orbit, including Principal Roger Harrington and PE Coach Kyle Jacoby. Other figures from Peter's history, like Flash Thompson, would also find themselves brought into the school. In theory, Peter becoming a teacher is a great idea. It ties him back to his high school days in a unique way, while allowing him to retain the experience and intellect he's gained over the years.

It embraces his history as a genius inventor, allowing him to inspire new generations more than just as a superhero, and giving him a fresh batch of new storylines and characters that he could interact with. He also saved the school population multiple times from various threats that attacked the halls and could have introduced plenty of new characters to Spider-Man's world.

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However, Peter Parker's alter ego as Spider-Man ultimately proved why it was a poor decision to place him in that position. Harrington would eventually be targeted and murdered by the Chameleon of an alternate reality, who'd been following Spider-Man in the present day. Flash Thompson's time at the school was complicated by the Green Goblin, who used him as a pawn against Peter in the "A Death in the Family" storyline from Peter Parker: Spider-Man #44-47 by Paul Jenkins and Humberto Ramos.

This resulted in Flash being forcibly inebriated and put behind the wheel of a truck that collided with the school. Ero -- created as Spider-Man's opposite as part of the fallout of "The Other" storyline, posed as a school nurse, Miss Arrow, and threatened the lives of Peter and multiple others in Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.

Being Spider-Man just attracted too much attention to the school, and put the staff and students at risk. Ultimately, Spider-Man ended up leaving his teaching position behind when he became increasingly important to the New Avengers era. The events of Civil War and the ensuing fallout of his identity being exposed also increasingly placed the student body at risk, and Peter quietly shifted away from the school more and more during this time.

Peter's job at Midtown High was more or less rendered moot by the events of "One More Day," which set up Spider-Man to become a more explorative character and return to his roots as a web-swinging freelancer. But for a short time, being a teacher was a great position for Peter Parker -- but a dangerous one for Spider-Man to take on.

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Brandon Zachary (4210 Articles Published)

Brandon Zachary is an Associate Writer with Comic Book Resources and has written for CBR since 2018. He covers breakouts on comics, film, television, video games, and anime. He also conducts industry interviews, is a Rotten Tomatoes certified film critic, and knows SO MUCH about the X-Men. For requests, comments, or to hear his pitch for a third Avatar series that incorporates robots, you can contact him through [email protected].

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