Peter Parker and his alter ego Spider-Man must be heterosexual and Parker must be Caucasian, according to a legal licensing agreement between Sony Pictures Entertainment and Marvel Entertainment.
The information was disclosed in a massive document release by the whistleblower website WikiLeaks, which released this week 276,394 private files, emails and financial data onto its servers.
Sony Pictures and Marvel reps declined to comment on the licensing agreement, first reported by the Gawker website.
The contract went into effect in September 2011. It lists “mandatory” character traits for both Peter Parker and Spider-Man — and the agreement includes the caveat that Spider-Man is “not a homosexual (unless Marvel has portrayed that alter ego as a homosexual).”
The Peter Parker/Spider-Man character was created in 1962 by writer-editor Stan Lee and writer-artist Steve Ditko. He first appeared in “Amazing Fantasy #15” as an orphan being raised by his Aunt May and Uncle Ben. Parker was portrayed as a teenager dealing with adolescence and being a costumed crime-fighter, complete with super strength and agility, the ability to cling to most surfaces, and to react quickly to danger with his “spider-sense.”
The agreement spells out that mandatory Spider-Man traits must always strictly conform to the following list: male; does not torture; does not kill in defense of self or others; does not use foul language beyond PG-13; does not smoke tobacco; does not sell/distribute illegal drugs; does not abuse alcohol; does not have sex before the age of 16; does not have sex with anyone below the age of 16; and is not a homosexual (unless Marvel has portrayed that alter ego as a homosexual).
The Peter Parker character traits include: his full name is Peter Benjamin Parker; he is Caucasian and heterosexual; his parents become absent from his life during his childhood; from the time his parents become absent he is raised by Aunt May and Uncle Ben in New York City; he gains his powers while attending either middle school or college; he gains his powers from being bitten by a spider; he designs his first red and blue costume; the black costume is a symbiote and not designed by him; he is raised in a middle class household in Queens, New York; he attends or attended high school in Queens, New York; and he attends or attended college in New York City.