Art by Scot Eaton.
|First appearance||The Amazing Spider-Man #4 (September 1963)|
|Created by||Stan Lee|
|Full name||Elizabeth "Betty" Brant|
|Place of origin||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
|Team affiliations||Daily Bugle|
|Supporting character of||Spider-Man|
|Notable aliases||Betty Brant-Leeds|
Elizabeth Brant is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. She is the personal secretary (and later reporter) working for J. Jonah Jameson at the Daily Bugle, and thus acting as both a supporting character and love interest for Peter Parker/Spider-Man, and eventually becoming the girlfriend of Flash Thompson/Agent Venom.
Since her inception, the character has been featured in various media adaptations, such as feature films, television series and video games. In film, she was portrayed by Elizabeth Banks in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy, and by Angourie Rice in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home.
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 dropped out of high school to become Jameson's secretary at the Daily Bugle. As Peter Parker's very first love, she met him when he became a freelance photographer for the Bugle. After they had been attacked by the Vulture, Peter had already noticed his attraction to Betty, and was impressed when she stood up to Jameson over publishing slandering articles against Spider-Man. They began dating shortly afterwards, when Betty was impressed by Parker's kindness when taking care of his ill Aunt May.
Her secretarial job at the Bugle was taken to help her brother attorney Bennett Brant pay back his gambling debts, which he had acquired trying to pay for their Mother's medical bills. Bennett had become friendly with Betty's then boyfriend Gordon Savinski. Gordon was into many illegal activities and Bennett eventually took on a gambling debt that he couldn't pay back to a gangster named Blackie Gaxton. When Blackie's thugs came looking for Bennett at the family home, Betty's mother was knocked into a coffee table, resulting in permanent brain damage.
With the help of Doctor Octopus, Blackie Gaxton kidnapped both Bennett and Betty as insurance against anyone preventing him leaving the country. Bennett was double crossed when Glaxton refused to free him of his debts and was fatally shot during a melee between Glaxton's gang, Doctor Octopus and Spider-Man. At first, Betty blamed Spider-Man for the death of her brother and told Spider-Man that she never wanted to see him again, although afterwards she realized she had been wrong and that he had only been trying to help. The blossoming romance between Betty and Peter was cut short, when Betty feared that Peter cared more for his classmate Liz Allan. This misunderstanding led to their relationship finally coming to an end.
Soon after Peter and Betty's break up, she started dating fellow Daily Bugle employee reporter Ned Leeds. Even though he soon left for Europe, they remained in contact, writing each other letters regularly. Upon his return, they began dating again, and Leeds eventually proposed to Betty. There were signs that Betty still loved Peter and Peter did his best to alienate her for her own good. She eventually accepted Leeds' marriage proposal.
After their engagement, J. Jonah Jameson threw an engagement party at his penthouse apartment and their wedding soon followed. Their wedding day was not all smooth sailing as a costumed criminal named Mirage decided to rob all the guests at the top weddings on that day. Spider-Man intervened and Mirage was easily captured. Betty and Ned were married with Mary Jane Watson serving as Betty's maid of honor.
Soon after their wedding, Jameson sent both Betty and Ned off to Paris, France on an all expenses paid working honeymoon. Betty began to notice a change in Ned as he became consumed by work. While Ned covered an insurrection in Cyprus she flew back to New York to the consoling arms of Peter. After discovering Betty's disappearance Ned returned to New York and confronted both Peter and Betty. Ned punched Peter in the jaw and tried to force him to never see Betty again. Peter said he never wanted to see either of them again and that he was only interested in Betty to make Mary Jane jealous, in the hope that this would bring Ned and Betty back together.
Ned's investigative reporting brought an incredible strain on the Leeds' marriage. Following leads on the mysterious new villain named Hobgoblin, Leeds was captured and hypnotized to think that he was the Hobgoblin. During this period Betty turned to her friend Flash Thompson, but he too was framed by the real Hobgoblin and in the process Betty saw Ned dressed as the Hobgoblin threatening Flash. Her mind, already fragile, was pushed over the edge. Meanwhile, a mercenary named Jason Macendale asked the Foreigner for information on who the Hobgoblin was and was given Leeds' name. When Ned followed an espionage story to Berlin, under hypnosis he dressed himself as the Hobgoblin and was assassinated by the Foreigner's men. Macendale after thinking the original Hobgoblin was dead, would later adopt the identity of the Hobgoblin for himself.
Betty suffered a complete mental breakdown after the news of Ned's death by the Foreigner, and believed him to still be alive. In her state a young recruiter from the Cult of Love was able to persuade her to join their faction under a leader called the Teacher where she was programmed in their ways. The Teacher turned out to be a con artist. Flash and Spider-Man figured this out and saved Betty, though she lost everything she owned and had to take up residence with Flash Thompson. 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.
After these difficult times, she returned to work at the Daily Bugle as a secretary under the city editor Kate Cushing. A change in Betty occurred when she became an investigative reporter who successfully tracked down the Foreigner and his assassins and found out the real identity of the Hobgoblin which finally put her mind at rest. She has now become one of the top investigative reporters at the Bugle.
In Deadline, during her time at the Bugle, she became friends with Kat Farrell and pushed her to take on the Judge Hart case in order to get a better job at the Bugle. She kept a spare key to Kat's apartment in her desk, which fellow reporter Paul Swanson used to break into Kat's apartment in an attempt to scare her off the case.
Brand New Day
In Brand New Day's storyline, Betty became a reporter under Dexter Bennett after Jameson's heart attack forced his wife to sell the Daily Bugle to him, and she became the only one of the old circle to remain working at the Bugle. As Dexter was 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. In fact, only Peter showed up at her birthday, because he was the only one of her friends that was not angry with her. Initially, Betty was 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.
In the Ultimate Marvel universe, Betty Brant is 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. This incarnation also appears in the Spider-Verse.
In the alternate reality where Gwen Stacy is Spider-Woman, Brant is the bass player for the high school rock band the Mary Janes. Out of the four musicians (Mary Jane, Glory Grant, and Gwen Stacy), she is shown to have a larger interest in death metal and darker subjects such as horror. She has a cat named Murderface.
In other media
- The character had appeared in the 1960s Spider-Man animated series, voiced by Peg Dixon. This depiction 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 appeared in the 1980s Spider-Man TV series, voiced by Mona Marshall.
- Betty Brant appears in The Spectacular Spider-Man animated series, voiced by Grey DeLisle. This version is twenty years old and is J. Jonah Jameson's secretary at the Daily Bugle. Despite her age, sixteen-year-old Peter Parker asks her to the Fall Formal and continues after her initial refusal. She eventually almost agreed until May Parker met with her and explained it was not appropriate. Ned Leeds later 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 Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, voiced again by Grey DeLisle. In the episode "Along Came a Spider", she is a reporter for the Daily Bugle sent out with Peter Parker by J. Jonah Jameson to interview Captain America about the recent Skrull Invasion. During the interview, the prisoner transport that Captain America is overseeing is attacked by the Serpent Society in order to rescue Viper and Cobra.
- Betty Brant appears in the 2010s Spider-Man animated series. She is first seen in "Take Two" where J. Jonah Jameson had her give Peter Parker a check after he got the Daily Bugle footage of Spider-Man fighting the Wild Pack.
- Betty Brant appears as a minor character in the original feature film series, portrayed 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, Jr. (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.
- Angourie Rice portrays Betty Brant in the films set in Marvel Cinematic Universe. This version of the character is a teenager and, in terms of appearance, has a similarity to Gwen Stacy, having long blonde hair and often wearing a black headband.
- The character made her debut in Spider-Man: Homecoming. In the film, she is a student of Midtown Science High School, and also is Liz Toomes's best friend. Betty hosts the school's news report along with Jason Ionello, whom she disappoints by revealing she has a date to the homecoming dance. She is seen at the end sharing a farewell hug with Liz when she moves away and in a deleted scene interviews Ned Leeds on knowing Spider-Man's identity.
- Despite not appearing in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, Betty was confirmed to have been among Thanos's victims during the Decimation until she was brought back to life by Professor Hulk.
- Betty returned in Spider-Man: Far From Home. She and Ned are a couple in the film. However, they break up near the end of the film and end up as friends.
- Betty Brant appears in the Spider-Man 2 video game, voiced by Bethany Rhoades.
- Betty Brant appears in the Spider-Man 3 video game, voiced by Rachel Kimsey.
- In Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, during the intro, Madame Web shows the images of several alternate universe versions of the Spider-Man, including the Spider-Girl, which is the Earth-78227 version of Betty Brant (who has become the Spider of that universe instead of Peter Parker).
- In Spider-Man: Edge of Time, there's a newspaper of the alternative timeline about Betty Brant and J. Jonah Jameson's father wedding, which in the original timeline was supposed to be May Parker instead of her.
- In Marvel's Spider-Man, her signature appears in a card, found from a collectable backpack.
- Some of the content in this article was copied from Elizabeth Brant (Earth-616) at the Marvel Database Wiki, which is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA 3.0) license.
- Amazing Spider-Man #4
- The Amazing Spider-Man #142
- Amazing Spider-Man #9
- Amazing Spider-Man #11
- Untold Tales of Spider-Man #12
- Amazing Spider-Man #13
- Amazing Spider-Man #17
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