Of all of the Marvel characters, the 1990’s were probably the least kind to Spider-Man. A character known for crazy villains, impossible odds, and generally having fun titles, the 90’s saw Spider-Man devolve into convoluted storylines, grim and gritty unnecessary re-imaginings, and two of the most ridiculous plot twists ever. The most well known was the reveal that the Peter Parker we had been reading about for the previous 30 something years was, in fact, a clone, and that the original was back with a horrible costume, horrible super hero name, new identity, and bleached blonde hair. The clone saga nearly killed Spider-Man forever, and became the face of everything that was wrong with Marvel comics at the time.
However, before that mess even began, there was another ridiculous plot twist. Peter’s parents, who had been dead since years before Amazing Fantasy #15 (!!) were, in fact, ALIVE! They had just been in a Russian prison camp this whole time! Derp!
The writers had no idea where this story was going, as it was one of those ‘editorial decisions’ that nobody seemed to have any faith in, or any interest in doing. So after a year or two, the next big reveal came about: they weren’t really his parents, but eeeeeevil robots sent by the Chameleon to discover Spider-Man’s secret identity by getting close to his photographer, Peter Parker! Or something.
I mean, just look at this shit: