Spider-Man principle n.

the adage ‘with great power comes great responsibility’

Also Peter Parker principle, and with other nouns in place of principle.

The adage is found as a narrative caption in the first comics appearance of Spider-Man (see 1962 quot.), but later came to be associated with the character Uncle Ben. The adage itself existed earlier in various forms; for a thorough discussion see The Quote Investigator essay.

SF Fandom

  • [1962 S. Lee & S. Ditko Spider-Man! in Amazing Fantasy (#15) Aug. 11/panel 8 page image

    And a lean, silent figure slowly fades into the gathering darkness, aware at last in this world, with great power there must also come — great responsibility!]

  • 2003 J. Joffe Round 1 Goes to Mr. Big in N.Y. Times 10 Feb. a23/4

    What the administration fails to appreciate is the Spider-Man principle: ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’

  • 2008 M. J. Allman Who Would Jesus Kill? vi. 262 page image

    In popular culture, it is sometimes called the Spider-Man principle, the name inspired by a scene in the film Spider-Man when Peter Parker’s (Spider-Man’s) uncle declares just before he dies, ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’ As a Christian, I prefer the earlier version of this moral maxim: ‘From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required’ (Luke 12:48, NRSV).

  • 2011 Clearinghouse REVIEW Journal of Poverty Law and Policy Sept.–Oct. 228/1 page image

    Thus communities can organize and successful advocacy can be framed around a much simpler ‘guiding principle’ for corporate behavior, often referred to as the Spiderman principle (although sometimes also attributed to Voltaire): ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’

  • 2015 M. Salo in Examining the Administration’s Approval of Medicaid Demonstration Projects (Subcommittee on Health, Committee on Energy & Commerce) (U.S. House of Representatives, 114th Congress, 1st Session) 24 June page image

    We have to create, you know, with—it is not the Peter Principle, it is the Peter Parker Principle: With great power comes great responsibility. We have a responsibility to be able to ensure that everybody within the system is going to succeed.

  • 2019 International Journal of Humanities & Social Science (vol. 9, no. 12) Dec. 23 page image

    This is likewise the standpoint of the Peter Parker principle ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’

  • 2020 D. Moloney Mercy: What Every Catholic Should Know vii. 71 page image

    In order to justify vigilantism (it seems), Stan Lee, the founder and editor of Marvel Comics, put in the mouth of Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben the famous ‘Spider-Man Moral Principle’: with power comes responsibility, with great power comes great responsibility. [Ibid. vii. 72] I bring up the Spider-Man Principle because I think there is a corollary that is actually very important: that if I have responsibility, I need to acquire the power to exercise it and arrive at good order.

  • 2020 I. Millhiser Supreme Court just held that a border guard who shot a child will face no consequences in Vox 25 Feb. page image

    Bivens [v. Six Unknown Named Agents], in other words, rests on something comic book fans will recognize as the Spider-Man rule—with great power comes great responsibility. If the federal government gives someone a badge and a gun, and that person unconstitutionally abuses that power, then they may be held accountable for their actions and can be ordered by a court to compensate their victim.

  • 2021 D. Lazarus How to Stop Facebook Identity Thieves in Their Tracks in L. A. Times 27 Apr. page image

    As for Facebook, I know it’s unreasonable to expect the company to monitor its nearly 3 billion accounts. But the Spider-Man rule still applies: With great power comes great responsibility.

  • 2021 A. Bubp Tom Holland Promises To Mentor The Next Spider-Man in Looper 12 Nov. page image

    Holland acknowledges that with a great role like Spider-Man comes great responsibility [...] Holland announced that he is prepared to mentor and give some valuable advice to whoever plays Spider-Man after his tenure is done. In the interview, he explained that ‘whether it’s next year or in 5 years, I’ll take it upon myself to teach them about the responsibilities of being Spider-Man.’ The fact that Holland takes the Peter Parker principle to heart is yet another sign that he is truly dedicated to the role.

Research requirements

antedating 2003

Research History
Suggested, and many citations submitted, by Bill Mullins.

Last modified 2021-12-05 21:22:06
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.