Have you ever written a comicbook character a fan letter? Lots of people have! Could you imagine being on the receiving end of all those marvelous messages? Well, Pamela Parker and her family were – for decades.
It’s actually an ironic story. Pamela grew up in Forest Hills, Queens, the hometown of Peter Parker, America’s favorite web slinger. In the summer of 1989, writer David Michelinie included the hero’s home address in the comics: 20 Ingram Street.
That just so happened to be the home Pamela grew up in with her sister and parents. Though Parker is a relatively common last name, did Michelinie know the family lived there? Did he choose the address based upon that shared fact? It seems like he didn’t, because Peter’s home as drawn in the comics looks nothing like the actual house. (Neither does the dwelling used as a filming location for the first trilogy at 8839 69th Road.)
In a New York Times interview from 2002, Stan Lee stated, “I never pinpointed his address,” so Michelinie must have come up with it himself. Talk about serendipity! “Spidey would have gotten a kick out of the coincidence,” Stan said, “but Peter Parker, he would have loathed all this publicity revealing where he lives.”
According to an interview with Yahoo, Pamela thought all those letters arriving addressed to Spider-Man were “a prank or something, from one of our friends.” Her family had no idea why letters started appearing en masse. In fact, it would take until the release of the first Spider-Man film in 2002 for her family to make the connection, with the help of The Queens Tribune reporter Brendan Browne. Something else Browne uncovered? The Parkers’ neighbors at 19 Ingram Street were the Osborns. (Articles published in 2002 and today spell the name differently, with and without the ‘e,’ so we’re unsure which is correct.) Nevertheless, does that last name sound familiar? It should – it’s the name of Spidey’s nemesis Norman Osborn (the Green Goblin), another crazy coincidence!
This twist of fate was worked into Spider-Man’s media campaign, because how could it not be highlighted? Pamela’s mother and neighbor even appeared on CBS’s Early Show and did interviews with The New York Times! With way more attention on the serendipitous addresses, Pamela remembers the Spidey fan mail growing following the film’s release.
When Pamela’s parents moved out of the home in 2017, they gave the letters to her. She’s donated them to the City Reliquary in Brooklyn, and fans can see the letters on display at the museum until April 2. (If you aren’t close to New York, you can view some of them online HERE.) “They’ve allowed the real-life Parkers to create an archive of appreciation for our hometown superhero,” City Reliquary founder Dave Herman stated. How cool is that? ‘Nuff said!