Originally posted on my blog, The Comics Cove, not too long ago...
If this article seems hastily written, my apologies. I'm perpetually short on time, and on deadline.
I recently read a pair of articles on ComicVine that make arguments for why Mary Jane Watson and Gwen Stacy are each the best romantic interest for Peter Parker (aka Spider-Man). The MJ article really pissed me off, as I could list off a multitude of reasons why I think she was a lousy match for Peter. Needless to say, I'm none too pleased at the direction the comics are currently taking with them, as they seem to be angling to put them together post-One More Day travesty. The Gwen Stacy article, while I have fewer issues with it, still seems a little too mired in the sentimentality of the past.
Still, the comments section of any article is either a source of great humor or angst, and in reading the replies to both articles, I was inspired by one of the commenters to respond with one of the more hilarious takes on this topic. Namely, why Norman Osborn is Peter Parker's greatest love.
Don't believe me? Step up to the stage, skeptic! :-P
Norman Osborn, in case any of you don't know, is the Green Goblin, one of Spider-Man's most iconic and long-standing foes. It's easy to say that he's obsessed with Spider-Man, in much the same way the Joker is obsessed with Batman (and vice versa). So like MJ and Gwen, he's been in Peter's life for a very long time. And unlike one of these potential true loves, Norman's come back for the dead for him!
He's the father of Peter's best friend, Harry Osborn, and has on multiple occasions lamented how much better a son Peter would have made for him than the unmotivated, underachieving Harry. On more than one occasion, Norman has indicated an obsession with making Peter his surrogate son in Harry's stead, an offer which Peter always refuses. So in that sense at least, you have Peter playing hard to get, and Norman always pursuing him.
Even when he knew Peter's secret identity as Spider-Man (or vice versa), he's never actually spilled the beans to the public, something Peter did himself in the Civil War. Sure, he may have manipulated, threatened, and driven him crazy, but at least he never killed Aunt May or put her in any kind of terminal condition--which Peter essentially did do. So in a warped sense of irony, he knows Peter better than Peter knows himself, and treats Peter better than Peter often treats himself.
Then there's the storyline Sins Past, where we find out that way, way back in the past, Norman Osborn actually slept with Gwen Stacy and fathered children with her. Now clearly, Norman had no real feelings for Gwen--he certainly didn't think twice about killing her--and was much more interested in furthering his obsession with creating a worthy heir, but by this point in their history, he had to realize he wasn't going to get anywhere with his other obsession, Peter Parker. But given Peter's closeness with Gwen, what better way to feel close to the object of your affection (short of killing his girl, which he succeeded at doing) than nailing his love and getting her pregnant with twins?
If he wasn't able to have Peter, he could at least make himself a permanent fixture in his life.
Finally, there's the letter.
You know what I'm talking about. From the story arc The Last Stand. Spidey has just defeated the Goblin after being put through a specially taxing series of gauntlets, managed to rescue his Aunt May, and finally earned himself some rest. And what do we see going in the mail as this happens? A letter, from Norman Osborn to Peter Parker, thanking him for providing challenge, structure, and purpose for his otherwise boring and humdrum life. He wishes him all the best, and hopes for a speedy recovery so they can eventually meet again.
If that's not obsession...
Peter may not love Norman Osborn, but he has in his way obsessed over him just as much as Norman has obsessed over Peter. You can't dispute that he's an enormously important figure in Peter's life, and as time and writing have shown, he'll never leave him the way Gwen did--never mind the technicalities of him killing her, which I would argue is yet another result of his obsession with Spidey. They give each other meaning and purpose, and definitely strive to be at their best when they get together.
I'm not saying it's a perfect love, and I'm not saying it isn't more than a little twisted, but it is for the reasons above that I believe Norman Osborn, more than Gwen and MJ, is the number one love of Peter Parker's life.
This article is, in case anyone freaks out, intended as a joke. I don't really think Norman is Peter's greatest love, though this did arise from a sense of discontent from the ComicVine articles. Comparing Gwen an MJ is really not fair, so I figured another unfair comparison was, ironically, fair game.