Publisher: Marvel Comics
First Appearance: Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962)
Created By: Stan Lee & Steve Ditko
Gorgeous Liz Allan was Peter Parker’s big high school crush, but she was far more interested in her popular jock boyfriend, Flash ‘Douchebag’ Thompson, to pay any serious attention to Midtown High’s brainy wallcrawlerflower. In fact, it was way more fun to tease him along with the rest of the school’s popular crowd.
It wasn’t until he started dating his Daily Bugle colleague Betty Brant that Liz started having second thoughts about her feelings for him. She even began to openly pursue him, though neither ended up winning the hand of fair Peter in the end. Also, the fact that her stepbrother happened to be the Molten Man, one of Spider-Man’s rogues, probably didn’t help.
Liz and Peter lost touch for several years. When she did come back into his life, it was as the girlfriend of his bestie, Harry Osborn; ironically, she’d met him at the wedding of her old rival, Betty. Eventually, she and Harry married and became the loving parents of Normie.
Maybe naming him after Harry’s insane, murderous father, Norman Osborn, aka the Green Goblin, wasn’t the best choice. In time, Harry picked up his late father’s mantle and even tried to get little Normie into the family business. Liz begged her husband to give up the mask for their son’s sake and was horrified to watch Normie idolize Harry more and more. Luckily (?), Harry ended up dying before he could fully sway Normie over to the dark side.
With both Norman and Harry dead, Liz picked up the slack at OsCorp by running the company. After a while, she even found new romance with Foggy Nelson, a partner at Matt Murdock’s law firm, though it ended acrimoniously. (Mysterio made him cheat. You know. As happens.)
‘One More Day,’ the storyline that infamously undid Peter and Mary Jane’s marriage and the worldwide knowledge of his secret identity, also bizarrely resulted in the undeadening of Harry Osborn. It was explained that his death was faked so he could spend time in rehab. Because, um, that’s logical. Liz was not having these shenanigans, and they’ve since divorced.
So What’s So Great About Her?
Peter Parker is just one in a long line of heroes who’s inexplicably with someone who’s a total douchewagon. Sure, Liz was a gorgeous high schooler, but for the most part she varied between not knowing he existed and actively joining in on taunting him. There are pretty girls who are nice, Pete! (Which he eventually found out. Granted, he started dating a nice, pretty, adult woman, but that’s probably better left for Betty’s post.)
Most people experience bullying in school to some degree; if you didn’t, you probably were the bully. (Please don’t swirly me.) These can be really painful experiences, and it’s tempting to read fiction where the mean kid becomes a mean adult and then gets her just desserts by being pantsed in front of dreamy Johnny Storm or getting punched in the face by a hundred angry bonobos.
But sometimes a leopard does change her spots. Liz has never been a central character in the Spider-Man mythos, but she’s one of its most long-lasting, and I’m glad that we get to see her evolve. Distanced from the petty dramas of high school, she eventually matured into a loyal sister, loving spouse, a good mother, and a conscientious boss. Not unlike most comic book women, she happens to have unbelievably bad taste in men — a chronic bully, a struggling drug addict/crazy murderous super-villain, a sad sack (I still love you, Peter!), and Foggy, whose name alone should disqualify him from any sort of lasting relationship. (He also cheated on her, though Mysterio, like, hypnotized him into doing it. Never change, comics.)
And Liz has really suffered through a lot of supremely crappy situations, like dealing with her father-in-law Norman McMurderface, being widowed — not that she remembers — and trying to make marriage to the Green Goblin work. Through the worst of it, she seems to keep Normie’s well-being her number-one priority. I have to respect her for that. Besides, ultimately, I’d really rather the high school jerkwads of the world reform and contribute to society than see them suffer through sweet, sweet revenge. (Except for you, Astrid. You know who you are.)
Liz is still an occasional supporting character is Amazing Spider-Man, which is published twice monthly.
Amazing Fantasy #15
Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 1) #4,10,12-15,17-18, 22, 24-26, 28, 30,139, 156-157, 166, 170
Spectacular Spider-Man (vol. 1) #85
Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 1) #260-261, 263
Web of Spider-Man #69
Spectacular Spider-Man (vol. 1) Annual #14
Spectacular Spider-Man (vol. 1) #177
Spectacular Spider-Man (vol. 1) #189-190
Spectacular Spider-Man (vol. 1) #234
Sensational Spider-Man (vol. 1) #5
Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 1) #412
Daredevil (vol. 1) #358
Sensational Spider-Man (vol. 1) #10
Daredevil (vol. 1) #362, 363, 366
Spectacular Spider-Man (vol. 1) #250
Daredevil (vol. 1) #370
Daredevil (vol. 2) #8
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 2000
Spectacular Spider-Man (vol. 1) #255
Peter Parker: Spider-Man (vol. 2) #18
Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 1) #581