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Betty Brant drawn by Scot Eaton.
|First appearance||The Amazing Spider-Man #4 (September 1963)|
|Created by||Stan Lee
|Full name||Elizabeth Brant Leeds|
|Team affiliations||Daily Bugle|
|Supporting character of||Spider-Man|
Elizabeth "Betty" Brant is a supporting character in Marvel Comics’s Spider-Man series. Created by writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko, she first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #4 (September 1963).
Fictional character biography
Betty Brant was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her mother had originally been the "Girl Friday" of Daily Bugle editor J. Jonah Jameson, and Betty took the position after her mother's death. Peter Parker and she were attracted to each other because Betty wanted a normal, ordinary man, and they were romantically linked. But her brother was accidentally killed during a fight with Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus, she blamed Spider-Man. Later, she forgave Spider-Man when she realized he was trying to protect them.
Betty Brant was Peter's very first love; in issue #142 page 17 of The Amazing Spider-Man Peter tells Mary Jane Watson that Betty was his first. A year later (after their relationship), Betty broke up with Peter due to his inability to commit time to her—the two going on to develop a more sibling-esque relationship—and she eventually married Bugle reporter Ned Leeds. However the marriage proved turbulent as Ned was often posted overseas. When he was stationed in Paris she found the life impossible and left Ned to return to New York. She turned to Peter once more but Ned followed her home and she was caught between the two men. Peter regretted getting involved with Betty again and allowed the affair to break abruptly, driving her back into the arms of Ned.
Later on, it became clear that Ned Leeds was in fact the villain Hobgoblin, although it later turned out that he was a brainwashed pawn of the real Hobgoblin. As Leeds became more hostile, Betty drifted into the arms of old friend Flash Thompson. A jealous Leeds framed Thompson as Hobgoblin after he insulted Hobgoblin in a televised interview, but when the two battled, Hobgoblin's mask slipped, and Betty discovered that Ned and Hobgoblin were one and the same. This revelation, coupled with Ned's murder by the Foreigner, sent Brant over the edge into insanity.
Betty joined the Students of Love cult, led by the Teacher, before being saved by Flash and Spider-Man. Because her house had been sold during her time with the cult, Betty stayed with Flash for a time. During this, the demonic events of Inferno happened, overwhelming much of New York City. Betty and Flash were attacked by demonic duplicates of Spider-Man and Ned. Betty overcame physical and psychological barriers and succeeded in destroying the monsters.
Flash and Betty drifted apart as Betty's recovery continued. She rejoined the staff of the Daily Bugle as an investigative reporter whose newfound courageous assertiveness and investigative skill impressed her colleagues. She finally cleared Ned's name when she revealed that Roderick Kingsley was the real Hobgoblin. She remained a recurring character in the Spider-Man comics; on one occasion she even went on a date with Ben Reilly (Spider-Man's clone) and went on to spend some months dating Flash after he cleaned up his life albeit while working for Norman Osborn.
Currently, she has met up with Debra Whitman during a book signing event for Debra's new book Two-Faced. The book described her relationship with Peter Parker/Spider-Man, which ended in Debra being the victim. However, when it was later revealed that the book was actually altered by the Bugle staff to make Spider-Man look like he ruined Debra's life, Betty secretly leaked information to the Daily Globe, exposing the fraud. Her boss, J. Jonah Jameson, furious with the possible libel suit, ordered Betty to find out who had given the information.
She manages to keep her role even after Jameson's heart attack forced his wife to sell the Bugle to Dexter Bennett, who renamed it The DB. As Dexter is trying to sidestep Betty and make her his "Girl Friday" again, Peter drops hints of a fake family relationship between Betty and the deceased actor Marlon Brando, bolstering her position in Bennett's eye as a gossip reporter.
Recently, she celebrated her birthday and asked Peter to organize for her friends to come over for a dinner, but due to her work at the new DB, nobody feels like befriending her. Betty is initially furious at Peter, angrily accusing him of ruining her night until he tells her the truth. She is sad, but he reassures her that everyone will forgive her soon. Betty realizes that Peter really is her best friend.
Following the DB's destruction she went on to create a successful journalism blog; she is last seen with having gotten back together with Flash.
The Ultimate Marvel incarnation of Betty Brant is once again the loyal secretary of J. Jonah Jameson at the Daily Bugle. She's a headstrong woman, trying to get by in life and having as much fun on dates as she can get. This version has a considerably different personality as she goes as far as making bets about the deaths of missing co-workers. She also lacks her mainstream counterpart's brown bob hairstyle and instead sporting long black hair (but her design was not concrete at the beginning of the series). She worked herself up into a rage while trying to build the Bugle website to which Peter Parker took over from her and got his job at the Bugle as a webdesigner. Jameson rejects her request to find out more about the disappearance of Nick Fury, alleging that a brief affair with Kraven the Hunter before his arrest proves that she is incapable of any reporting assignment beyond covering college fashion shows. Sometime after the original Spider-Man's death, Betty later gets the footage of the new Spider-Man stopping some muggers and presents this to Jameson. The story of a new Spider-Man makes the headlines. Betty is subsequently killed by Venom after trying to expose the new Spider-Man's identity.
In "What If the Radioactive Spider Had Bitten Someone Else?", Betty is one of three candidates - along with Flash Thompson and John Jameson - who is bitten by the radioactive spider which gave Spider-Man his powers. After confiding in Peter, and with his assistance, she begins to fight crime under the name "The Amazing Spider-Girl", with a mask similar to Spider-Man's but a very different costume. One time, she fails to stop a certain crook, who subsequently murders Peter's uncle Ben. The shock over the consequences of her failure makes Betty quit her Spider-Girl identity, although Peter takes up the identity of Spider-Man later on by synthetically recreating and ingesting the irradiated spider's venom.
In other media
- The character has appeared in the 1960s Spider-Man animated series, voiced by Peg Dixon. She was a prominent supporting character much in the manner of Lois Lane in the Superman franchise, being captured by villains like Parafino and trying to support Peter Parker or Spider-Man when J. Jonah Jameson criticises them.
- Betty Brant appears in The Spectacular Spider-Man, voiced by Grey DeLisle. In this version, she is twenty years old and is J. Jonah Jameson's secretary. Despite her age, sixteen-year-old Peter Parker asks her to his Fall Formal and continues after her initial refusal. She eventually almost agreed until Aunt May met with her and explained that she did not think it was appropriate. In a later episode, Ned Lee interviews her on whether or not she believes Peter is Spider-Man and also takes the opportunity to ask her on a date.
- Betty Brant appears in the The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes episode "Along Came a Spider", voiced again by Grey DeLisle. She is a reporter for the Daily Bugle sent out with Peter Parker by J. Jonah Jameson to interview Captain America about his involvement in the recent Skrull Invasion in order to clear his name. During the interview, the prisoner transport that Captain America is overseeing is attacked by the Serpent Society in order to rescue Viper and Cobra.
As Betty Brant receded into the background in the comics in favor of other love interests, particularly Mary Jane Watson, she appears as a much more minor character, such as in the original feature film series, played by Elizabeth Banks. Betty appears in all three films in the series, starting with Spider-Man and reappearing in its sequels, Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3. As one of the Bugle staff and J. Jonah Jameson's secretary, Betty is usually seen either passing on messages to Jonah or receiving curt orders from him. While she never dates Peter Parker, a subtle attraction to him is apparent in the first two films. In Spider-Man 3, Betty seems to have found a way of getting her comeuppance on her boss, by being tasked by his wife to inform him to avoid getting agitated and to remember to take his numerous medications, which she does to comic effect through a loud buzzer/intercom; later, she is hit on by Eddie Brock Junior (with whom she wants nothing to do) and a symbiote-influenced Peter Parker (to whom she is visibly attracted), only to be interrupted by Jameson, who says "That's not the position I hired you for!" Elizabeth Banks stated that she first auditioned for the role of Mary Jane Watson before taking the role of Betty Brant. Banks also admitted that the groundwork of her role as the fictional character's relationship between her and Peter Parker is much closer to the office romance that the two shared in the comics.
- "Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man" #107 (December 1985)
- "Spider-Man Vs. Wolverine" (Feb. 1987)
- "Web Of Spider-Man" #40 (July 1988)
- "Spectacular Spider-Man" #148 (March 1989)
- Mark Waid (w), Barry Kitson (p), Mark Farmer (i). "Platonic" The Amazing Spider-Man 583 (January 2009), Marvel Comics
- Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1 #648
- Ultimate Spider-Man #8
- Ultimate Spider-Man #121
- Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man Vol. 2 #6
- Bendis, Brian Michael (w), Marquez, David (a). Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #16.1. December 2012. Marvel Comics.
- What If? Vol. 1 #7
- "ELIZABETH BANKS PONDERS BETTY BRANT'S FUTURE". Retrieved 22 February 2011.
- "'Spider-Man' Secretary Dishes On Hero's Hookups, Black Suit". Retrieved 22 February 2011.