Peter Parker was orphaned at the age of six when his parents, were killed in an airplane crash overseas. He went to live with his uncle and aunt, Ben and May Parker, in Forest Hills, New York. Peter was extremely smart and worked his way to become an honors student at Midtown High School. However, Peter's shyness and scholastic interest often made him a social outcast, being overshadowed by the likes of high school bully, Flash Thompson, among other popular kids.
While attending a public exhibition demonstrating the safe handling of nuclear laboratory waste materials, sponsored by the General Techtronics Corporation, Peter was bitten by a radioactive spider that had been irradiated by a particle accelerator used in the demonstration. Making his way home afterwards, Peter discovered he had somehow gained incredible strength, agility, and the ability to cling to walls; spider-like traits that he immediately associated with the spider bite.