Burglar (comics)

Burglar (comics)
Spider-Man burglar.png
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962)
Created by Stan Lee
Steve Ditko
In-story information
Full name Unknown
(Dennis Carradine in the film continuity)
Partnerships Mysterio
Notable aliases

"Carjacker" in the first movie

"Spike" in the video game based on that movie
Abilities None

The Burglar is a fictional character in the Marvel Universe, left unnamed in most of his appearances. He is best known as the first criminal faced by Spider-Man, and as the killer of the hero's uncle and surrogate father figure, Ben Parker. The Burglar first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962).

The Burglar's name was never revealed in the comics. He was completely unnamed in Amazing Fantasy #15, and it was only in 1996, 15 years after his second and final appearance in the comics,[1] and the introduction of his estranged daughter Jessica,[2] that the possibility arose that he might share her last name of Carradine. However, it remains unconfirmed whether this is the Burglar's surname, as his daughter may be using her mother's maiden name, or that of her adoptive parents.

The name Carradine also appeared on a list of known cat burglars in Marvel's Ultimate Spider-Man series, but has yet to be formally connected to the Burglar character in the Ultimate Marvel continuity.[3] In the first Spider-Man film, the burglar character is replaced by a carjacker, referred to only as Carjacker in the film's credits. In the film Spider-Man 3, Captain Stacy revealed that the carjacker's full name was Dennis Carradine, though this does not necessarily make this full name canonical in the comic's continuity. In the Spider-Man video game based on the first film, he is called "Spike".


Fictional character biography

Little of the Burglar's early history is known, but it is mentioned that even in his younger years he was a criminal. Caught at some point in his life, the Burglar became the cellmate of elderly gangster Dutch Mallone. The Burglar learned from Dutch, who talked in his sleep, about a large stash of money the aged gangster had hidden in a suburban home, which the Burglar planned and schemed to get (ironically, the stash had since been devoured by silverfish).[1]

Wanting to find out the location of the home where Mallone's stash was, the Burglar successfully robs a television station for information. Peter Parker, who has become a minor celebrity as Spider-Man, did not bother to stop him despite having the opportunity to do so. Learning that the house where Mallone's money was the Parker house, the Burglar breaks into it searching for the money, killing Ben Parker (Peter's uncle) when he tries to interfere. Fleeing the scene, the Burglar is chased by police to a warehouse where Spider-Man, wanting to avenge the death of his Uncle Ben, attacks and knocks out the Burglar. It is then that Spider-Man realizes that the man is the thief he had encountered earlier at the television station. The Burglar was later left to be captured by the authorities by Spider-Man, who, realizing he could have prevented Ben's death by simple humanitarian behavior in the earlier encounter, decided to use his powers more responsibly, never again ignoring a crime if he could help it.[4]

Years later, the Burglar, having served his time in prison, is released, despite being deemed mentally unstable by psychiatrists.[5] Still searching for Mallone's treasure, the Burglar rents the old Parker home, and after tearing it apart and finding nothing, instead decides to interrogate Ben Parker's widow, May Parker, who now resides in a nursing home. The Burglar partners with the nursing home's owner and head doctor Ludwig Rinehart, who is actually the supervillain Mysterio. The two take May captive and fake her death. The partnership later sours and the two criminals turn on each other, with Rinehart revealing his true nature before beating and imprisoning the Burglar. Escaping Mysterio, the Burglar retreats to the warehouse where he was first captured by Spider-Man—and where he has been holding May Parker captive. Spider-Man soon tracks and confronts the Burglar, to whom he reveals his true identity as Ben Parker's nephew. Believing that Spider-Man is about to kill him as revenge for murdering Ben, the Burglar suffers a fear-induced heart attack and dies.[1]

He had a daughter named Jessica Carradine, a photographer who has a brief relationship with Spider-Man's clone, Ben Reilly. She believes the murder her father committed was an accident— that the gun Ben Parker was shot with was his own, which went off by accident during a fight— and that Spider-Man had murdered him to stop him revealing the truth about his 'innocence'. After learning that Ben Reilly is Spider-Man, she first threatens to expose him with a photograph she took of him unmasked, but, having witnessed Ben risk his life to save innocent people in a burning skyscraper, decides against it, and gives him the photograph, later visiting Ben Parker's grave to apologise for her previous poor perception of him.

It has also been hinted at that he has a brother[6] and nephew[7] as well.

Other versions

Ultimate Burglar

In Ultimate Spider-Man, a reimagining of the Spider-Man mythos, the origin story from Amazing Fantasy #15 is reinterpreted over the course of seven issues. Ben Parker's death at the hands of the Burglar does not occur until Ultimate Spider-Man #4. The name "Carradine" appears on a list of "known cat burglars," but nothing else is said about it;[3] it is unclear whether Carradine is actually the burglar who killed Uncle Ben in this universe or is simply another criminal. The burglar character reappears in issue #35, but his appearance is drastically changed. Spider-Man has a copy of the Burglar's driver license but the name is always hidden when viewed by the readers. This was done intentionally by the artists.

The man named Carradine is also believed in Ultimate Spider-Man #8 to be a part of the Enforcers which work for the Kingpin.

What If...?

Various alternate versions of the Burglar appear throughout the What If...? comic line, most often in stories dealing with Spider-Man's origin being reimagined; one storyline features Spider-Man actually stopping the burglar simply for the publicity, while another features Peter throwing the burglar out of a window and killing him after the burglar kills May instead, Ben taking the blame for the crime to spare his nephew.

Chapter One

In this version, the burglar thought that Spider-Man was a fellow burglar after the Parker treasure as well. Confronting him, he offers a partnership with the web-spinner but is instead punched and thrown in jail.

In other media


The Burglar has appeared in almost every animated Spider-Man media adaption there is. In which most of the time he is in flashbacks.

  • The Burglar appeared in the 1967 Spider-Man series, in the episode "The Origin of Spider-Man". The animation means that his appearance seems to change.
  • The Burglar appeared in a flashback in the 1981 Spider-Man episode "Arsenic and Aunt May". It is also shown that his brother was recently apprehended by Spider-Man and ended up a cellmate of the Chameleon.
  • The Burglar appeared in flashback in the Spider-Man: The Animated Series episode "The Menace of Mysterio" and is recurring among any other episodes soon after. There, he is shown robbing the wrestling arena that Spider-Man was in before he began to fight crime.
  • The Burglar appeared in a flashback in The Spectacular Spider-Man episode "Intervention" with his grunts done by Jim Cummings in the first appearance and voiced by James Remar in the second appearance. This version is an amalgam of Walter Hardy and the burglar that shot Uncle Ben. In a flashback accessed by the symbiote, he is shown robbing Sullivan Edwards and escapes in the elevator like in the movie. After Peter was told by Aunt May that Uncle Ben has been shot, Spider-Man finds out that the one who did this was chased to an abandoned warehouse. Though the burglar falls out of the window like he did in the movie, Spider-Man saves him and leaves him for the police. In "Opening Night", his identity as the father of the Black Cat was revealed to Spider-Man. Black Cat came to bust him out of the Vault at the time when Spider-Man was testing it out. During the climax of the episode he explains to Felcia (and Spider-Man who's listening) that for years, he took pride in never hurting anyone one during his robberies, never even carrying a gun. But as he got older, he got slower, and he became afraid. He knew he made a horrible mistake when he took Ben Parker's life and believed he had to pay for it. Staying behind as the others escaped, he activated the prison's knockout gas, knocking out the supervillains and himself so they could be recontained.


In the film Spider-Man, a robber (portrayed by Michael Papajohn, but credited as "Carjacker") robs a fight promoter of his money after Peter left his office. Peter lets the robber escape as a subtle way of getting revenge against the fight promoter who cheated him out of money, rather than simply stopping him in the comics, telling the promoter, "I missed the part where that's my problem", exactly the same words the promoter said to him. That same robber carjacks and apparently kills Uncle Ben rather than breaking into his house, like in the comics. Peter chases him to a warehouse, where the killer trips and falls from a window to his death, moments after Peter recognizes him.

In Spider-Man 3, it is revealed that the carjacker, now identified as "Dennis Carradine", is not responsible for Ben Parker's death as assumed. The true killer is Flint Marko, who later becomes the Sandman. Peter begins to feel sympathy for Carradine, imagining a scene with Carradine attempting, in vain, to stop Marko from killing Uncle Ben. At the climax of the film, however, Marko confesses to Peter that he accidentally shot Ben when Carradine distracted him trying to get into the car. Carradine, shocked at the murder, stole the car and left Marko behind to take the fall. Marko escaped, however, and so it was Carradine who died for the crime Marko committed. Flint Marko also admits in the movie that he needs the money he stole to help his daughter who is sick. At the end of the movie, Peter/Spider-Man, touched by Marko's noble intentions, forgives Marko and allows him to escape.

Video games

The Burglar, named "Spike", is the first boss in the game based on the 2002 movie, he was also stated in a cut scene to be a member of the "Skulls Gang". After beating him, he trips and falls from a window to his death, similar to the film Peter calls him Murderer.


  1. ^ a b c The Amazing Spider-Man #200
  2. ^ Sensational Spider-Man #0
  3. ^ a b Ultimate Spider-Man #53 (2004)
  4. ^ Amazing Fantasy #15
  5. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #170
  6. ^ Marvel Comics Presents #48-50
  7. ^ Spider-Man #26

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