The Urban Life of Spider-Man

Peter Parker used to struggle to pay the rent, and many people can relate to the superhero's precarious housing situation over the years.

1 minute read

July 24, 2019, 6:00 AM PDT

By Camille Fink

Mumbai Graffiti

paul prescott / Shutterstock

Nolan Gray writes about the housing struggles of Spider-Man's Peter Parker. "Repeatedly, Peter encounters the issue of housing affordability, a recurring challenge for him and Aunt May in the comics and a key issue in the Sam Rami films from 2002 to 2007."

Aunt May struggles with a mortgage she cannot pay and later is evicted. At various times in the Spider-Man video games and films, Parker is also either facing eviction or living in a single-room occupancy. "An ongoing tension between Parker and his affable immigrant landlord over late rent and poor maintenance extends through Spider-Man 3 (2007), an awkward relationship that should be familiar to most renters," says Gray.

More recently, Gray notes, Parker has gone from the everyman urban dweller to someone for whom money is not an issue. "Is a Peter Parker who doesn’t struggle with urban problems still Spider-Man?" he asks. While Gray believes the franchise will survive as it explores other interesting and timely themes, he still laments the fact that Peter Parker is not grappling with the same housing affordability issues that are challenging so many Americans.

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