Face It, People — Some Old Bags Just Don’t Know When to Fold

25 Instances of Aunt May’s Never-Ending Health Issues Having an Impact on the Fortunes and/or Stress Levels of a Certain Teen-Aged Wall-Crawler

So do you ever think maybe Stan Lee & Co. relied just a little too much on the whole “Aunt May has one decrepit foot in the grave” thing to keep Peter Parker’s angst levels artificially elevated for cheap dramatic effect? As they say in the news business, let’s roll that clip:

1. Check out that smile in the last panel. Obviously, Aunt May’s “special pills” really helped. (Amazing Spider-Man #9)

2. Lady, he’s not the one making morticians salivate every time he walks down the street. He can take care of himself just fine, thanks. (Amazing Spider-Man #10)

3. A little background: Spider-Man bolted from a fight with the Green Goblin in a crowded room when he overheard his aunt had a heart attack, which got him branded a coward by everyone in the audience. So… yeah, nice timing there, Aunt May. (Amazing Spider-Man #17)

4. Did he also gain the proportionate guilt of a spider when he got bit? She’s got a wheelchair! She’s fine! Study your trig! Go to parties! Buy a new sweater vest that isn’t yellow! Sheesh. (Amazing Spider-Man #18)

5. She drops a glass, falls to the floor and doesn’t manage to slice her wrist on the shards. There is no God. (Amazing Spider-Man #29)

6. “Well, the little co-dependent fool didn’t notice my ‘fainting’ spell two issues ago. Better up the ante a bit and do it again right in front of him. That’ll teach him for thinking about girls his own age.” (Amazing Spider-Man #31)

7. “Can she swing/Listen, bud/She’s now got radioactive blood…” (Amazing Spider-Man #32)

8. Remember back in the ’80s when fans could phone DC and vote on whether Robin lived or died? And they snuffed the little snot by something like 40 votes? Yeah, good times. (Amazing Spider-Man #32)

9. That’s right, May. Just step into the light… your loving Ben is right here to guide you… (Amazing Spider-Man #32)

10. Just a little bit more… aw, dang it. (Amazing Spider-Man #33)

11. “Gosh, I wonder why that masked man with the same general height and build as this woman’s bruised and beaten nephew was so eager to help us get that serum back from the criminals who stole it? Oh well, I’m off to the club.” (Amazing Spider-Man #33)

12. “Kid, don’t look like I just gave you six minutes to live. Have you seen your aunt lately? Only thing keeping her together is dust, fer crissakes. This can’t be news to you.” (Amazing Spider-Man #39)

13. And during those “long, lonely, seemingly endless hours” he sat beside an unconscious woman, Manhattan was airlifted and stolen by Doc Ock. Priorities, man! (Amazing Spider-Man #40)

14. Geez, even her passive-aggressive medicine chest snuffs Peter’s desire to have any kind of fun. Remember, people: it’s all about the details. (Amazing Spider-Man #43)

15. Why does Harry look so shocked here? Q: What do you call it when Peter Parker gets a call about his aunt’s frail health? A: A day ending in ‘y.’ (Amazing Spider-Man #50)

16. No joke: in this issue, Aunt May lets a known super-villain with giant metal arms rent a room in her house, and then faints when she sees Spider-Man and Doc Ock in an all-out fight under her roof. God bless the Silver Age. (Amazing Spider-Man #54)

17. May, have you ever looked into getting a hobby, or joining a bridge club, or pretty much anything that keeps you from worrying about a grown man’s whereabouts? (Amazing Spider-Man #57)

18. Oh, so what the doc is saying it’s mostly just all in her head. Well, I’m sure Peter will be mighty relieved to hear that. (Amazing Spider-Man #57)

19. Yep, still in the hospital, still moaning about Peter. Nothing new here. (Amazing Spider-Man #58)

20. It’s a miracle! All Peter has to do is show up to be at her beck and call, and she’s magically all better! Oh, the unfathomable mysteries of medical science… (Amazing Spider-Man #59)

21. Cripes, now all it takes is a costumed dweeb on the TV to get her “pale and trembling.” Peter, have you ever considered getting her a sensory deprivation tank? Maybe then, when she’s cut off from any sort of sensory input, she’ll get the peace and quiet she desperately needs. Or ship her off to Florida. Same difference. (Amazing Spider-Man #66)

22. Apparently, the doctor has a sideline gig passing judgment on people he barely knows. Then again, he’s probably earned the right; the man visits the Parker house so often, chances are he keeps a toothbrush in the bathroom. (Amazing Spider-Man #67)

23. “Yes, dearies. Go live your life. Don’t worry about me. I’m just an old lady who only gave up everything — her health, her money, any outside interests — so Peter could be happy. No, go on. I couldn’t possibly ask you to stay with me and make what could be my few remaining moments a little less excruciating…” (Amazing Spider-Man #68)

24. Coincidentally, my own mother had the same reaction when she came into my bedroom and lifted the sheets while I wasn’t there. (Amazing Spider-Man #81)

25. Wow. First she breaks down Peter’s will to live independently, and now she’s manipulating poor Anna Watson into wearing a maid’s uniform and waiting on her because she couldn’t possibly be expected to fetch her own damn cookies and milk. Forget the Kingpin or Green Goblin, people — this is arch-villainy at its finest. (Amazing Spider-Man #86)

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