Elizabeth "Betty" Brant is a supporting character in Marvel Comics’s Spider-Man series. Created by writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko, she first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #4 (September 1963).
Betty Brant was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her mother had originally been the "Girl Friday" of Daily Bugle editor J. Jonah Jameson and Betty took the position after her mother's death. Peter Parker and she were attracted to each other because Betty wanted a normal, ordinary man, and they were romantically linked. But her brother was accidentally killed during a fight with Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus, she blamed Spider-Man.
Later, she forgave Spider-Man when she realized that he was trying to protect them. Betty Brant was Peter's very first love; in issue #142 page 17 of The Amazing Spider-Man Peter tells Mary Jane Watson that Betty was his first. A year later (after their relationship), Betty broke up with Peter due to his inability to commit time to her—the two going on to develop a more sibling-esque relationship—and she eventually married Bugle reporter Ned Leeds. However the marriage proved turbulent as Ned was often posted overseas. When he was stationed in Paris, she found the life impossible and left Ned to return to New York.
She turned to Peter once more but Ned followed her home and she was caught between the two men. Peter regretted getting involved with Betty again and allowed the affair to break abruptly, driving her back into the arms of Ned. Around this time the villain the 'Sin-Eater' marks Betty for death, but she escapes his murder attempt. Later on, it became clear that Ned Leeds was the villain Hobgoblin, although it later turned out that he was a brainwashed pawn of the real Hobgoblin.
As Leeds became more hostile, Betty drifted into the arms of old friend Flash Thompson. A jealous Leeds framed Thompson as Hobgoblin after he insulted Hobgoblin in a televised interview, but when the two battled, Hobgoblin's mask slipped, and Betty discovered that Ned and Hobgoblin were one and the same. This revelation, coupled with Ned's murder by the Foreigner, sent Brant over the edge into insanity. Betty joined the Students of Love cult, led by the Teacher before being saved by Flash and Spider-Man. Because her house had been sold during her time with the cult, Betty stayed with Flash for a time.
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. Flash and Betty drifted apart as Betty's recovery continued. She rejoined the staff of the Daily Bugle as an investigative reporter whose newfound courageous assertiveness and investigative skill impressed her colleagues. She finally cleared Ned's name when she revealed that Roderick Kingsley was the real Hobgoblin.
She remained a recurring character in the Spider-Man comics; on one occasion she even went on a date with Ben Reilly (Spider-Man's clone) and went on to spend some months dating Flash after he cleaned up his life albeit while working for Norman Osborn. Currently, she has met up with Debra Whitman during a book signing event for Debra's new book Two-Faced. The book described her relationship with Peter Parker/Spider-Man, which ended in Debra being the victim.
However, when it was later revealed that the book was actually altered by the Bugle staff to make Spider-Man look like he ruined Debra's life, Betty secretly leaked information to the Daily Globe, exposing the fraud. Her boss, J. Jonah Jameson, furious with the possible libel suit, ordered Betty to find out who had given the information.
She manages to keep her role even after Jameson's heart attack forced his wife to sell the Bugle to Dexter Bennett, who renamed it The DB. As Dexter is 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. Betty is initially 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.
- The character has appeared in the 1960s Spider-Man animated series, voiced by Peg Dixon. She 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 appears in the 1980s Spider-Man TV series, voiced by Mona Marshall.
- Betty Brant appears in The Spectacular Spider-Man, voiced by Grey DeLisle. In this version, she 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 his Fall Formal and continues after her initial refusal. She eventually almost agreed until Aunt May met with her and explained that she did not think it was appropriate. In a later episode, Ned Lee 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 The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes episode "Along Came a Spider", voiced again by Grey DeLisle. She is a reporter for the Daily Bugle sent out with Peter Parker by J. Jonah Jameson to interview Captain America about his involvement in the recent Skrull Invasion in order to clear his name. During the interview, the prisoner transport that Captain America is overseeing is attacked by the Serpent Society in order to rescue Viper and Cobra.
- As Betty Brant receded into the background in the comics in favor of other love interests, particularly Mary Jane Watson. 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 Junior (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.