When Spider-Man first appeared in the early 1960s, teenagers in superhero comic books were usually relegated to the role of sidekick to the protagonist. The Spider-Man series broke ground by featuring Peter Parker, the high school student behind Spider-Man's secret identity and with whose "self-obsessions with rejection, inadequacy, and loneliness" young readers could relate. While Spider-Man had all the makings of a sidekick, unlike previous teen heroes such as Bucky and Robin, Spider-Man had no superhero mentor like Captain America and Batman; he thus had to learn for himself that "with great power there must also come great responsibility"—a line included in a text box in the final panel of the first Spider-Man story but later retroactively attributed to his guardian, the late Uncle Ben.
Marvel has featured Spider-Man in several comic book series, the first and longest-lasting of which is titled The Amazing Spider-Man. Over the years, the Peter Parker character has developed from shy, nerdy New York City high school student to troubled but outgoing college student, to married high school teacher to, in the late 2000s, a single freelance photographer. In the 2010s, he joins the Avengers, Marvel's flagship superhero team. Spider-Man's nemesis Doctor Octopus also took on the identity for a story arc spanning 2012–2014, following a body swap plot in which Peter appears to die. Separately, Marvel has also published books featuring alternate versions of Spider-Man, including Spider-Man 2099, which features the adventures of Miguel O'Hara, the Spider-Man of the future; Ultimate Spider-Man, which features the adventures of a teenaged Peter Parker in an alternate universe; and Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, which depicts the teenager Miles Morales, who takes up the mantle of Spider-Man after Ultimate Peter Parker's supposed death.