Trouble (comics)

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Photo cover of Trouble #1
Publication information
Publisher Marvel's Epic imprint
Schedule Monthly
Format limited series
Publication date September 2003 –
January 2004
No. of issues 5
Creative team
Written by Mark Millar
Penciller(s) Terry Dodson
Inker(s) Rachel Dodson

Trouble is a five-issue romance comic book limited series published in 2003 by Marvel Comics as a part of its mature Epic Comics imprint. Written by Mark Millar and illustrated by Terry and Rachel Dodson, the series deals with teen pregnancy. The basic concept was created by Bill Jemas and Joe Quesada.

Trouble was considered by Marvel's editorial group as the possible origin of Spider-Man. It was also meant to re-popularize romance comics (which were very popular in the 1950s, selling millions of copies), but failed.

A trade paperback collecting the five issues was originally scheduled to be published on 18 February 2004, but canceled when Epic was shut down after Bill Jemas, who had been a driving force behind the imprint, resigned as president of Marvel Comics. A hardcover collection was published by Marvel on June 1, 2011.


  • May – A 17-year-old redhead and somewhat of a wildchild.
  • Mary – May's blonde best friend and rather shy.
  • Ben – Richard's older brother, who was often in hospitals as a child.
  • Richard (Richie) – Ben's younger brother and their dad's clear favorite.

Plot summary[edit]

May and her best friend Mary work in a resort in the Hamptons during their summer vacation, looking for some fun away from home. Soon they make friends with fellow service staff members Richard and his brother Ben, and the four of them. After a couple of days of hard work and being bossed about by the guests, May and Mary go to a dance together. After the dance and a round of night swimming, they head back to their rooms; May takes Ben to her room and sleeps with him, while Mary tells Richie it is too fast for her, and she wants to wait before having sex with him. She later reveals to him it is because a palm-reader told her she would become a mom before she was twenty if she had sex in her teens. The same fortune-teller also told May nobody was ever going to call her "mom", which explains why May is so open in her relationships. Richie is not very understanding of her reasons for not sleeping with him, and starts an affair with May. May tells Mary she is cheating on Ben, but not with whom. A while later, she finds out that she is pregnant. Upon realizing the fortune-teller must have been wrong, Mary now finally sleeps with Richie, who then ends the affair with May. When May reveals her pregnancy to Ben, it turns out he's sterile and her affair with Richie, who must be the father, is uncovered. May is thinking about having an abortion, but decides against it. Afraid of going home and facing her dad with an unwanted child, May runs away.

May finds a man to stay with, but does not tell him about her pregnancy. She grows to be disgusted by him. May contacts Mary and meets with her. Mary is still very angry with May for having an affair with Richie, and tells her she deserves all the trouble she is going through, but decides to help her when May tells her she has been thinking about suicide. Mary comes up with the plan to tell everybody the baby is hers, so May will not have to face her fundamentalist parents and Mary can test if she can trust Richie, who is still in love with her and writing her frequent letters, none of which she has answered, yet. Once May gives birth to her healthy baby boy, Peter, Mary takes him to Richie, and they start a family, while May returns home to her parents as if nothing had happened.


All issues of Trouble featured photo covers by French photographer Philippe Bialobos in the style of teen romance novels, which is unusual for an American comic book series, with cover design by Joe Quesada. These covers were to appeal to a female audience (Marvel originally hoped for high sales outside the comic scene, particularly with a collected edition that was to be heavily promoted in many bookstores, but never published after the series did not do well in the direct market).

The second printing of the first issue (Trouble #1: The Second Chances Edition) was the only one to feature a conventional comic book cover, drawn by Frank Cho.[1]


The series' main characters, May, Ben, Mary and Richard, were obviously meant to be Peter Parker's Aunt May and Uncle Ben along with his parents Richard and Mary Parker. Thus, the revelation that Aunt May is actually Peter Parker's mother was highly controversial among Spider-Man fans.[2] May's behavior in Trouble did not match Aunt May's character, nor did the characters' appearances match their corresponding characters' looks in previous Spider-Man comics. Enough of the early lives of Spider-Man's family been established previously that the story contradicted prior continuity. For example, Aunt May and Uncle Ben were much older than Spider-Man's parents,[3] and his parents met while working for the C.I.A.[4] Aunt May was also established as never having had a child.[volume & issue needed]

And, whilst Dodson's art was well liked, Millar's dialogue in Trouble was criticized as not representative of the time it is set in (supposedly the 1970s)[5] and his storytelling failed to grab the audience, with many complaining that the characters were written too similar, and hard to keep apart; "Save for the fact that one of the girls will do it on the first date when the other one won't."[6]


  1. ^ "Trouble (2003) #1 "Trouble: Part One of Five" (Second Chance Variant Edition)". Comic Book DB. Retrieved April 25, 2007.
  2. ^ "Mark Millar & Terry Dodson'S Controversial Trouble to be Collected in 2011?". Web Article. Retrieved October 11, 2016.
  3. ^ Lee, Stan (w), Lieber, Larry (p), Demeo, Mickey (i). "The Parents of Peter Parker!" The Amazing Spider-Man Annual 5: 11/2 (1965), Marvel Comics
  4. ^ Stern, Roger (w), Romita, John (p), Milgrom, Al (i). "The Amazing Parkers" Untold Tales of Spider-Man Flashback -1 (Minus 1): 8/4 (July 1997), Marvel Comics
  5. ^ Review Archived 2005-03-08 at the Wayback Machine. of Trouble #1 by Chris Allen on
  6. ^ Review Archived 2005-09-01 at the Wayback Machine. of Trouble #1 by Paul O'Brien on The X-Axis, 13 July 2003

External links[edit]