As anyone who's watched the Raimi 2002 Spider-Man trilogy may remember, Peter wakes up the morning after the spider bite with a ripped body, standing in stark contrast with the scrawny body we'd seen he had earlier.

Who needs protein? (Image of Peter with muscles)

Now that just begs the question - is that the case too for the mainstream Marvel continuity? It's not mentioned in Amazing Fantasy #15, but in Amazing Spider-Man v1 #4, Seymour O'Reilly touches his arm and remarks that Parker has "muscles like a weight lifter".

That just makes me wonder: were Earth-616 Peter's ripped muscles a result of his super-hero origin? Or by that point, had he simply been web-swinging and wall-crawling enough to get cut naturally?

  • I've added the "b" modifier to the image link just so it doesn't take up as much room in the post, you can still click through to see the full size image though. – TheLethalCarrot Oct 22 '18 at 13:18

While there isn't a definitive answer, it seems likely Peter has developed his physique through his activities as Spider-Man.

Spider-man's origin in the comics is a little different from what's shown in the Raimi movies. His powers kick in minutes after being bitten by the spider, and seem fully functional immediately:

Spider-man's Origin: *Amazing Fantasy* #15, pg 3 Spider-man's Origin: *Amazing Fantasy* #15, pg 4 Spider-man's Origin: *Amazing Fantasy* #15, pg 5

We see Peter with his shirt off in Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #8:

Peter Parker vs. Flash Thompson, from *Amazing Spider-Man* (1963) #8

While Peter doesn't look incredibly puny here, note that he is called "stringbean" by someone who can see him standing there shirtless. Also, it is clear that Flash Thompson does have a more powerful looking body.

So, no, it doesn't appear that the development of Peter's physique occurred purely from the spider bite. Logically, years of swinging around town, jumping, and fighting while using his spider-sense to avoid taking any more damage than necessary lead to further development of his physique, leading to more powerful muscles.

I would be remiss in not noting that a part of this can be attributed to the artists drawing the comic. Clear through his last issue (Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #38), Steve Ditko drew a Peter Parker who looked relatively thin and weak. Here, he doesn't appear to have more bulk than Aunt May!

Peter and Aunt May, from *Amazing Spider-Man* (1963) #38, drawn by Steve Ditko

However, the book's next artist, John Romita, seemed to bulk him up to at least average size almost immediately. In this image from Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #39, Romita's first issue, Peter's upper arm seem larger than the doctor's:

Peter Parker, dranw by John Romita, from *Amazing Spider-Man* (1963) #39

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