Peni Parker’s Age: Unraveling the Mystery Behind the Anime Spider-Girl


Peni Parker is a beloved character in the Spider-Verse, known for her unique and intriguing backstory. As an anime-inspired Spider-Girl, Peni brings a fresh perspective to the world of Spider-Man. However, there has been some confusion regarding her age, as her character differs significantly from the traditional Peter Parker. In this article, we will delve into the origins of Peni Parker and attempt to determine her age within the complex Spider-Verse.

Peni Parker is a superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer and musician Gerard Way and artist Jake Wyatt, she is an alternative version of Spider-Man from an Evangelion-inspired universe. Piloting a psychically-powered mech suit originally piloted by her father Peter known as the SP//dr, partially controlled by a radioactive spider (named SP//dr) that also shares a psychic link with her, the 16 year old Peni has been fighting daily since she was nine years old.

Both Peni Parker and SP//dr have made limited appearances in media, with their most prominent being the animated films Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) and its sequel Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023), with Peni voiced by Kimiko Glenn.

The Creation of Peni Parker

Peni Parker made her first appearance in the Spider-Verse event in the comic book world, specifically in “Edge of Spider-Verse #5,” released in 2014. Created by writer Gerard Way and artist Jake Wyatt, Peni’s character stands out for being a young Japanese girl who pilots a mechanized Spider suit, called SP//dr. Unlike the traditional Spider-Man, Peni’s abilities are intertwined with her technology, emphasizing her connection with the suit.

Age Speculation

Despite her popularity, the actual age of Peni Parker has remained somewhat ambiguous in the comics. The character’s creators did not provide a specific age when she was introduced. Instead, they focused on her abilities, backstory, and personality traits. Peni is portrayed as a brilliant and resourceful young girl who takes on the responsibility of being a Spider-Girl, much like Peter Parker.

In the animated feature film “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” released in 2018, Peni Parker is portrayed as a teenager. Her age is implied by her appearance and interactions with other characters, which aligns with the typical age range of Spider-People. However, it’s worth noting that animated adaptations often make creative decisions that may differ from the source material.

In the Spider-Verse comics, Peni’s age is somewhat open to interpretation, allowing readers to project their own perceptions onto the character. She is often depicted as a teenager, but no specific age is ever mentioned, leaving room for artistic and narrative flexibility.

Publication history

Sometime after completing work on his debut solo album Hesitant Alien, following the hiatus of his band My Chemical Romance, comic writer and musician Gerard Way was contacted by Marvel Comics editor Nick Lowe, asking if he was interested in creating a custom Spider-Man for the then-upcoming Spider-Verse comic series. Lowe, a fan of Way’s prior comics work, had previously approached Way about an X-Men annual series which ultimately never materialized. Enamored by the idea that he could do whatever he wanted without fear of being burdened by any prior continuity, Way ultimately agreed to the offer and began working with comic artist Jake Wyatt on his new creation.

Way “took the basic concepts of Spider-Man and then (…) looked deeper into it” while conceptualizing Peni, recalling in a 2014 interview with Rolling Stone, “I thought about the radioactive spider: ‘What if it was more than just a bite? What if a bite was a psychic link and the spider stayed part of the story?’ That brought up a little girl who loses her dad. Then I drew the spider suit. According to Way, SP//dr “is comprised of three vital components: a pilot, a machine, and a radioactive sentient spider acting as one half of the brain that makes it all work. Way opted to make his character female as he was more interested in creating female characters, stemming from both his past, and his prior work The Umbrella Academy. He also decided to include Daredevil in his story, deciding “If I’m only getting going to get to write one Marvel comic, I’m going to put Daredevil in it as well.

Peni and SP//dr’s comics were largely inspired by mecha anime, with Neon Genesis Evangelion singled out as an influence. As an easter egg, the main characters of Evangelion; Shinji Ikari, Rei Ayanami, Asuka Langley Soryu, and Kaworu Nagisa, make cameo appearances as Peni’s classmates in her premiere issue, along with Simon from Gurren Lagann and Kei from Dirty Pair.

Peni Parker and SP//dr debuted in Edge of Spider-Verse #5, released in October 2014. SP//dr’s story was continued in the Spider-Geddon comic book, Edge of Spider-Geddon #2 by Alberto Albuquerque, released in August 2018.[9] The same year, Peni and SP//dr appeared in the animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Chosen for her unique stature over Cindy Moon / Silk for the film, Peni was given a Sailor Moon inspired redesign after the filmmakers, including director Bob Persichetti, found her initial design “iffy”.

In 2022, Eisner Award winning comic author Ken Niimura created Peni Parker: After School as part of the Spider-Verse Unlimited series exclusive to Marvel Unlimited, Marvel’s digital comic service. The six-part story follows a younger Peni, delving into her relationship with her “Uncle Ben”, how she feels about her father, and her struggles to juggle both school and being a superhero, also going into depth about her struggles to fit in with her fellow students due to her responsibilities as a hero. Niimura largely conceived of the story as an entry point to the character “for veterans and newcomers alike” as “(…) being a relatively new character, there’s still not much published yet.

Fictional character biography

  • Edge of Spider-Verse

Peni’s father Peter acted as the original pilot of the SP//dr mecha, in which he protected New York from crime and other dangers. After her father passed, Peni is approached by her father’s handlers, “Aunt May” and “Uncle Ben”, who force her to become the new pilot of the SP//dr, releasing the sentient spider which controls part of the suit into a room with her to bite and bond with her, a process they describe as being incredibly painful. Soon after being bitten, Peni becomes the new protector of the city, on Earth-14512.

Five years later, a more solemn and matured 14-year-old. Peni battles her universe’s version of Mysterio – an obsessed fanboy of hers, while listening to music to help her focus. Peni eventually teams up with “D” (her universe’s version of Daredevil) – who had known her father, and tells her that she is “too young” to feel “tired” as she says she is – though noting he felt her father’s use of SP//dr caused it so that “even through the machine, you could feel a sadness, like something was missing from him”, although seeming “pretty cool” – to battle a group of criminals given up by Mysterio (a fan of the various numerous “Gene-Pop” magazines about Peni) before being approached by Spider-Ham and Old Man Spider to join the Spider-Army to fight the Inheritors. Agreeing to join them, Peni states: “We’re called SP//dr and we protect the city. Like my father, a soldier––who died in service of his people––we will be this, until terminal failure.”

  • Edge of Spider-Geddon

Three years after the events of “Spider-Verse” in her home reality, a now-15-year-old Peni is approached by a girl named Addy Brock, asking if she was the pilot of SP//dr and her experiences as the SP//dr pilot. Peni ignores her, but Addy follows up by saying she is not as special as she thinks, before clarifying that she doesn’t mean as an insult, and just wants to talk to her. At home, Peni tries to talk to Ben and May about being special, but she has worries get pushed aside which causes her to be annoyed and expresses her feeling of sadness towards the fact she isn’t acknowledged as she should be. While improving the SP//dr’s web shooters, she notices Addy walking in the base and follows her; only to find another mech-suit similar to the SP//dr, but in black and powered by a “sym-engine” called VEN#m, with Addy as its pilot (Addy’s character design having been previously used for one of Ben’s and May’s tech people in Edge of Spider-Verse, retroactively making that her first appearance). Peni becomes furious at Ben and May for not telling her about this. When a kaiju-like creature named M.O.R.B.I.U.S. starts to drain the city’s electrical energy, Peni goes after it as SP//dr, only to be temporarily disabled due to her frustration clouding her judgement. In order to defeat M.O.R.B.I.U.S., Peni’s aunt and uncle send VEN#m to defeat the creature. It is successful, but the SYM Engine inside it, which is shown to not be fully developed and is later revealed to still have unresolved issues, causes VEN#m to malfunction; causing the mech suit to attain sentience and start to consume Addy. When May flies in to fix the problem manually, it consumes her with Addy as well, with her final words berating Ben over their comms for never fixing the problem that had gotten Peni’s father killed testing VEN#m in the first place. SP//dr confronts VEN#m, but the black mech suit overpowers her until she uses her improved web shooters to defeat it. However, as she opens up VEN#m’s cockpit, she realizes it’s too late to save her Aunt May and Addy, who have vanished from inside the suit. 2 hours following the battle, Peni and Ben have a heart-to-heart, but Spider-Ham interrupts this appear once more to recruit Peni to help defeat the Inheritors once more during the events of Spider-Geddon. Peni seems reluctant to go after what had just happened to her Aunt May as she was still grieving her passing but Uncle Ben beckons her to leave anyway.

  • Peni Parker: After School

This arc’s storyline takes place after Peni had bonded with SP//dr, following a much younger Peni, somewhere around 12 years old. It follows Peni as she tries to be a regular teenager, trying to fit with the cool kids like Julia, while facing the responsibility of being a hero against various enemies such as Atomic Lizard or Mecha D.O.O.M. to save the world in a smaller mecha after school, finding herself struggling with the greatest challenge of all: homework. Her assignment consists of writing about a father she barely remembers as he passed when she was 9, but her Uncle Ben helps her understand more about her father and the kind of person he was, affirming her father’s affection and love for Peni, whom was insecure about the fact if her father ever actually loved her, giving her a pink hairpin which her father left behind for her in a moment such as this, though this was true, Uncle Ben lost the original pin but one of the lab assistants had a hairpin identical to it. Her best friend whom is the sentient and Psychic spider which pilots the mech alongside her and Uncle Ben help her understand who she truly was. Throughout the arc, Peni must balance her duties as a superhero with her responsibilities as a student and friend. She also grapples with her insecurities about her abilities and whether she is truly worthy of being a superhero to finally find confidence in her instincts, emerging as a stronger and more determined hero.

  • End of the Spider-Verse

A now-18-year-old Peni returns in End of the Spider-Verse operating her larger SP//dr mecha, alongside Takuya Yamashiro and his mech, Leopardon.


Peni Parker is a fascinating addition to the Spider-Verse, offering a unique take on the traditional Spider-Man narrative. While her age is not explicitly defined in the comics, she is generally portrayed as a teenager, consistent with the age range of other Spider-People. However, her character’s depth goes beyond her age, focusing on her skills, personality, and connection to her mechanized Spider suit.

Ultimately, Peni Parker’s age is a minor detail compared to the impact she has had on fans of the Spider-Verse and her role in expanding the diverse world of Spider-People. As her character continues to evolve and grow in popularity, fans can look forward to seeing more of Peni Parker in various forms of media, enjoying her unique perspective and adventures in the world of Spider-Man.

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