|This article's listed sources may not meet Wikipedia's guidelines for reliable sources. (November 2009)|
|First appearance||Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962)|
|Created by||Stan Lee
|Full name||Unknown, possibly Carradine
(Dennis Carradine in the film continuity)
|Partnerships||Flint Marko in the third movie|
"Carjacker" in the first movie
The Burglar is a fictional character in Marvel Comics, left unnamed in most of his appearances. He is best known as the first criminal faced by Spider-Man, and as the killer of the hero's uncle and surrogate father figure, Ben Parker. The Burglar first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962), making him directly responsible for Ben Parker's death and Spider-Man's existence.
The Burglar's name was never revealed in the comics. He was completely unnamed in Amazing Fantasy #15, and it was only in 1996, 15 years after his second and final appearance in the comics, and the introduction of his estranged daughter Jessica, that the possibility arose that he might share her last name of Carradine. However, it remains unconfirmed whether this is the Burglar's surname, as his daughter may be using her mother's maiden name, or that of her adoptive parents.
The name Carradine also appeared on a list of known cat burglars in Marvel's Ultimate Spider-Man series, but not been formally connected to the Burglar character in the Ultimate Marvel continuity. In the first Spider-Man film, the burglar character is replaced by a carjacker, referred to only as Carjacker in the film's credits. In the film Spider-Man 3, Captain Stacy revealed that the carjacker's full name was Dennis Carradine, though this does not necessarily make this full name canonical in the comic's continuity. In the Spider-Man video game based on the first film, he is called "Spike". He also appears in the reboot of the film franchise The Amazing Spider-Man but is slightly different from that of the comic origin.
Fictional character biography
Little of the Burglar's early history is known, but it is mentioned that even in his younger years he was a criminal. Caught at some point in his life, the Burglar became the cellmate of elderly gangster Dutch Mallone. The Burglar learned from Dutch, who talked in his sleep, about a large stash of money the aged gangster had hidden in a suburban home, which the Burglar planned and schemed to get (ironically, the stash had since been devoured by silverfish).
Wanting to find out the location of the home where Mallone's stash was, the Burglar successfully robs a television station for information. Peter Parker, who has become a minor celebrity as Spider-Man, did not bother to stop him despite having the opportunity to do so. Learning that the house where Mallone's money had been hidden was the Parker house, the Burglar breaks into it searching for the money, killing Ben Parker (Peter's uncle) when he tries to interfere. Fleeing the scene, the Burglar is chased by police to a warehouse where Spider-Man, wanting to avenge the death of his Uncle Ben, attacks and knocks out the Burglar. It is then that Spider-Man realizes that the man is the thief he had encountered earlier at the television station. The Burglar was later left to be captured by the authorities by Spider-Man, who, realizing he could have prevented Ben's death by simple humanitarian behavior in the earlier encounter, decided to use his powers more responsibly, never again ignoring a crime if he could help it.
Years later, the Burglar, having served his time in prison, is released, despite being deemed mentally unstable by psychiatrists. Still searching for Mallone's treasure, the Burglar rents the old Parker home, and after tearing it apart and finding nothing, instead decides to interrogate Ben Parker's widow, May Parker, who now resides in a nursing home. The Burglar partners with the nursing home's owner and head doctor Ludwig Rinehart, who is actually the supervillain Mysterio. The two take May captive and fake her death. The partnership later sours and the two criminals turn on each other, with Rinehart revealing his true nature before beating and imprisoning the Burglar. Escaping Mysterio, the Burglar retreats to the warehouse where he was first captured by Spider-Man—and where he has been holding May Parker captive. Spider-Man soon tracks and confronts the Burglar, to whom he reveals his true identity as Ben Parker's nephew. Believing that Spider-Man is about to kill him as revenge for murdering Ben, the Burglar suffers a fear-induced heart attack and dies.
He had a daughter named Jessica Carradine, a photographer who has a brief relationship with Spider-Man's clone, Ben Reilly. She believes the murder her father committed was an accident— that the gun Ben Parker was shot with was his own, which went off by accident during a fight— and that Spider-Man had murdered him to stop him revealing the truth about his 'innocence'. After learning that Ben Reilly is Spider-Man, she first threatens to expose him with a photograph she took of him unmasked, but, having witnessed Ben risk his life to save innocent people in a burning skyscraper, decides against it, and gives him the photograph, later visiting Ben Parker's grave to apologize for her previous poor perception of him.
In Ultimate Spider-Man, a reimagining of the Spider-Man mythos, the origin story from Amazing Fantasy #15 is reinterpreted over the course of seven issues. Ben Parker's death at the hands of the Burglar does not occur until Ultimate Spider-Man #4. The name "Carradine" appears on a list of "known cat burglars," but nothing else is said about it; it is unclear whether Carradine is actually the burglar who killed Uncle Ben in this universe or is simply another criminal. The burglar character reappears in issue #35, but his appearance is drastically changed. Spider-Man has a copy of the Burglar's driver license but the name is always hidden when viewed by the readers. This was done intentionally by the artists.
Various alternate versions of the Burglar appear throughout the What If...? comic line, most often in stories dealing with Spider-Man's origin being reimagined.
- One storyline saw Betty Brant- here Spider-Girl after she was bitten by the spider- failing to stop the burglar, retiring from her career and allowing Peter to synthetically duplicate her powers.
- One storyline features Spider-Man actually stopping the burglar simply for the publicity. In this case, Spidey destroyed the life of J.Jonah Jameson.
- One storyline features Peter throwing the burglar out of a window and killing him after the burglar kills May instead, Ben taking the blame for the crime to spare his nephew.
In this version, the burglar saw Peter leaving his house wearing his costume for the first time and thought that Spider-Man was a fellow burglar after the Parker treasure as well. Confronting him, he offers a partnership with the web-spinner but is instead punched and thrown in jail.
In other media
The Burglar has appeared in almost every animated Spider-Man media adaption there is, in which most of the time he is in flashbacks.
- The Burglar appeared in the 1967 Spider-Man series, in the episode "The Origin of Spider-Man". The animation means that his appearance seems to change.
- The Burglar appeared in a flashback in the 1981 Spider-Man episode "Arsenic and Aunt May". It is also shown that his cousin was recently apprehended by Spider-Man and ended up a cellmate of the Chameleon.
- The Burglar appeared in a flashback in the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends series, in the episode "Along Came Spidey".
- The Burglar appeared in flashback in the Spider-Man: The Animated Series episode "The Menace of Mysterio" and is recurring among any other episodes soon after. There, he is shown robbing the wrestling arena that Spider-Man was in before he began to fight crime.
- The Burglar appears in the theme introduction of Spider-Man Unlimited where the intro shows Spider-Man letting him escape and then shows Spider-Man catching the criminal.
- The Burglar appeared in a flashback in The Spectacular Spider-Man episode "Intervention" with his grunts done by Jim Cummings in the first appearance and voiced by James Remar in the second appearance. This version is an amalgam of Walter Hardy and the burglar that shot Uncle Ben. In a flashback accessed by the symbiote, he is shown robbing Sullivan Edwards. Instead of stopping him, Spider-Man lets him escape in the elevator (like he did in the movie and Amazing Fantasy #15) as revenge on Sullivan Edwards for not paying him. After Peter was told by Aunt May that Uncle Ben has been shot, Spider-Man finds out that the one who did this was chased to an abandoned warehouse. Though the burglar falls out of the window like he did in the movie, Spider-Man saves him and leaves him for the police. In "Opening Night", his identity as the father of the Black Cat was revealed to Spider-Man. Black Cat came to bust him out of the Vault at the time when Spider-Man was testing it out. During the climax of the episode he explains to Felcia (and Spider-Man who's listening) that for years, he took pride in never hurting anyone one during his robberies, never even carrying a gun. But as he got older, he got slower, and he became afraid. He knew he made a horrible mistake when he took Ben Parker's life and believed he had to pay for it. Staying behind as the others escaped, he activated the prison's knockout gas, knocking out the supervillains and himself so they could be recontained.
- The Burglar appears in flashbacks in the Ultimate Spider-Man episodes "Great Power" and "Kraven the Hunter". In this version, Spider-Man corners him in a street after Uncle Ben's death. However he does not finish him and, like all previous versions, he webs him up and leaves him for the police.
- In the film Spider-Man, the burglar is a minor antagonist who is portrayed by Michael Papajohn (credited as "Carjacker"). In this movie, Peter is cheated out of his money at the wrestling ring by a fight promoter. When Peter objects, he is told "I missed the part where that's my problem". Just as he leaves, the burglar enters and steals the promoter's money. Wanting to get even, Peter lets him go despite having the chance to stop him. The burglar later goes on to kill Uncle Ben whilst attempting to steal his car. Overhearing a police radio saying he's heading to a warehouse, Peter chases the burglar and confronts him. As the burglar backs away, he trips and falls from a window to his death.
- In Spider-Man 2, the criminal was mentioned when May expresses that she feels she had caused Ben's death, however this promonts Peter into telling her that he let the criminal escape causing Ben's death. Although Aunt May is shocked by this, she commends Peter on telling the truth.
- In Spider-Man 3, it is revealed that the carjacker (now identified as "Dennis Carradine") is not responsible for Ben Parker's death as assumed. The true killer is Flint Marko (who later becomes the Sandman). Peter begins to feel sympathy for Carradine where he imagined a scene with Carradine attempting in vain to stop Marko from killing Ben. At the climax of the film however, Marko confesses to Peter that he accidentally shot Ben when Carradine distracted him trying to get into the car. Carradine (who was shocked at the murder) stole the car and left Marko behind to take the fall. Marko escaped however and so it was Carradine who died for the crime Marko committed. Marko also admits in the movie that he only wanted the car, since he was desperate for the money he stole to help his sickly daughter. Understanding the importance of forgiveness over revenge, Peter forgives Marko and allows him to escape.
- In The Amazing Spider-Man, a man (portrayed by Leif Gantvoort and credited as "Cash Register Thief") distracts a grocery store clerk after he refuses to let Peter buy himself a drink, and steals money from the till. He gives the drink to Peter, and when the clerk asks Peter for help, he turns him down allowing the thief to escape as a way of seeking revenge against the clerk. While running down the street, the thief trips in front of Ben, and a pistol falls out of his jacket. Ben attempts to grab the gun, but the thief reaches it first and kills Ben. Peter rushes over to Ben's body and swears revenge. After he obtains a police sketch and is told the thief had a tattoo of a star on his left wrist, Peter realizes that it was the thief he let go. Over the next few weeks, Peter designs and builds web-shooters and the Spider-Man suit. He then listens to crime reports and follows any that sound like the cash register thief. He locates and apprehends many criminals who fit the description, but none of them have a tattoo on their wrist. At the end of the film, the wanted poster of him is shown at the part where Peter has a voicemail from Ben. Unlike in the comics, the thief was never found and caught by Spider-Man, but possibly might again meet his match in the sequel.
- The Amazing Spider-Man #200
- Sensational Spider-Man #0
- Ultimate Spider-Man #53 (2004)
- Amazing Fantasy #15
- The Amazing Spider-Man #170
- Sensational Spider-Man #4