So no one told you life was gonna be this way. Your webs are broke, you’re a joke, your credit score is DOA. Meet Peter Park. It hasn’t been his day, his week, his month, or even his year. He’s the newest hero in the Spider-Verse, but there’s a twist – he lives inside of a late ‘90s sitcom. Spider-Friend makes his grand debut in Marvel’s Voices: Spider-Verse #1, in a story written and illustrated by Jason Loo. What happens when the Spider-Verse intersects with the world of sitcoms? Let’s find out!
Warning: Spoilers ahead for Marvel’s Voices: Spider-Verse #1!
Who is Spider-Friend?
Peter Park is a young man trying to make his living as a photographer in New York City. He was born in Korea and grew up under the care of his adopted parents Auntie May and Uncle Ben. At age 10, Peter was bitten by a radioactive spider while attending summer camp. Using his powers, he adopted the heroic identity Spider-Friend. Peter can frequently be seen in the company of his two childhood friends, Tony Stark and Harry Osborn, and their significant others Pepper Potts-Stark and Mary Jane Watson.
Now here’s the twist – Peter Park lives on Earth-CH10, where reality is a sitcom. Yes, a sitcom with an energetic theme song, commercial breaks, and contrived hijinks. Spider-Friend’s story takes place in a sitcom called Workin’ It Out, which is a pastiche of late ‘90s sitcoms like Friends. Pay attention to the way Peter Park and his friends dress and the way they style their hair. It’s right out of Friends and other television comedies from that era. By the way, there is a theme song sequence, and it’s glorious. Like most sitcoms of the era, the gang hangs out at a diner. The diner is owned by Peter’s Auntie May, who acts as the group’s parental figure.
Here’s another fun twist, Peter isn’t the main character of the sitcom. In fact, he’s not even the fourth most important character. The premise of Spider-Friend is exploring what it would be like if a minor supporting character on a sitcom secretly had an interesting life. While Tony Stark and Harry Osborn are having rich boy hijinks in front of the audience, Peter Park is 'off-camera' fighting crime as Spider-Friend. In fact, the TV Guide listing for Workin’ It Out (yes, the story includes a TV Guide listing) doesn’t even mention Peter. Think of it this way, imagine what it would be like if Gunther from Friends was secretly a superhero, but we never saw it.
But before you get your laugh track ready, it’s important to note that Spider-Friend’s story isn’t entirely a comedy. While Peter is 'off-camera' he has some sweet conversations with his Auntie May. The young hero opens up about his feelings of inadequacy around his more successful friends, and how he often feels invisible around them. In essence, he opens up about the struggles of being a supporting character when the weight of the world is on your shoulders.