Authoritarian v. Authoritative: “With great power comes great responsibility”

radical eyes for equity

The Peter Parker/Spider-Man myth—like most in the ever-reshaping and rebooting world of comic book superheroes—has spun a slightly inaccurate but powerful catch-phrase around Peter’s Uncle Ben: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

The original wording—“AND A LEAN, SILENT FIGURE SLOWLY FADES INTO THE GATHERING DARKNESS, AWARE AT LAST THAT IN THIS WORLD, WITH GREAT POWER THERE MUST ALSO COME —  GREAT RESPONSIBILITY!”—was not spoken by Uncle Ben, in fact, but by the narrative’s omniscient narrator penned by Stan Lee:

August 1962, Vol. 1, #15 Amazing Fantasy, Marvel Comics

And for Peter Parker, this truism, however phrased, reveals his ongoing battle with the responsibility inherent in his acquiring super powers, complicated by that occurring without his choice. The world of Peter Parker/Spider-Man has been manipulated in the Marvel Universe (even literally) as an internal battle between that responsibility and Parker’s own personal desires (personified often as love interests such as Gwen…

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