In many respects, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is a teen movie disguised as a superhero movie. Almost as much emphasis is put on Peter Parker’s high school life as there is on his double life as Spidey. In fact, his classmates might seem a little familiar to hardcore Marvel fans. For those who aren’t, here’s who these teens are in the comics … and their surprising pasts. WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
Ned: Peter’s closest buddy is based on a variety of Spider-Man supporting characters, but he is named after Ned Leeds, one of Peter’s co-workers at the Daily Bugle who is brainwashed into becoming the Hobgoblin. In the cartoon “Spectacular Spider-Man,” he is rewritten as a Korean-American Daily Bugle reporter who tries to discover Spider-Man’s identity
“Flash” Thompson: While Flash was a stereotypical bully jock in the comics, he’s reimagined in “Homecoming” as a spoiled rich kid who is Peter’s rival on the academic decathlon team. In the comics, he grows up to become the first person to control the Venom symbiote, taking the name of Agent Venom.
Sally: In the comics, Sally Avril is a member of Flash’s entourage who wants to get closer to Spider-Man. To that end, she takes the mantle of Bluebird, a Hawkeye-style superhero who uses her gymnast skills and special gadgets to keep up with Spidey, much to his chagrin.
Abe: Peter’s academic decathlon teammate was originally one of the three Sons of the Tiger, martial arts experts who could share their strength and abilities with the help of special amulets. One of their adventures saw them team up with Spider-Man to bring down a masked mob boss known as the Crime Master.
Cindy: Not only is Cindy Moon a hero in the comics, she’s also one of the most popular new additions to the Marvel mythos. Bitten by the same radioactive spider that bit Peter, Cindy becomes Silk.
Betty: The name Betty Brant should ring a bell with anyone who loved J.K. Simmons’ portrayal of Jonah Jameson. Yes, that’s a teenage version of Miss Brant, Jameson’s secretary and occasional love interest of Spider-Man.
Liz: Peter’s crush, Liz Allen, didn’t have much of a presence in the comics for many years. But that changed dramatically in the “Ultimate Spider-Man” series in 2008, when she became that universe’s incarnation of Firestar, a member of the X-Men with the ability to fly and summon flames.
Michelle: Yep. Her name might not be Mary Jane, but Michelle is indeed the M.J. of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. No explanation of why that’s a big deal is needed