In 2002's Spider-Man, the following exchange happens:

J. Jonah Jameson: [describing a headline] "Spider-Man, Hero or Menace? Exclusive Daily Bugle Photos".

Peter Parker: Menace? He was protecting that armored truck...

J. Jonah Jameson: Tell you what Atticus, you take the pictures, I'll make up the headlines! Ok? Is that ok with you?

Peter Parker: Yes sir.

J. Jonah Jameson: Goody.


What's the meaning of "Atticus" in this context?

2 Answers 2


He is referring to Atticus Finch from "To Kill a Mockingbird." In that story Atticus Finch was a lawyer who staunchly defended a black man whom everyone in town believed was guilty. Jameson calls Peter that because of Peter's rush to defend Spider Man.

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    Ahh right, right. This seems more plausible than the previous answer. I know of Atticus Finch but I didn't make the defense connection. Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 23:20

It's a reference to the Roman:

Quintus Caecilius Pomponianus (born Titus Pomponius; c. November 110 – 31 March 32 BC),1 better known by his cognomen Atticus, was a celebrated editor, banker, and patron of letters from an old but not strictly noble Roman family of the equestrian class and the gens Pomponia. He is best remembered as the closest friend of orator and philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero as well as other leading contemporaries of upper class Roman society. Cicero's treatise on friendship, De Amicitia was dedicated to him. Their correspondence, often written in subtle code to disguise their political observations, is preserved in Epistulae ad Atticum compiled by Cicero's freedman and personal secretary, Marcus Tullius Tiro. Atticus was known for his elegant taste, sound judgment and financial acumen.

JJ is saying Parker is a sycophant for Spider-Man. A fan boy. A brown-noser. As Atticus was to Cicero.

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    Is it possible that he was making a reference to "To Kill a Mockingbird" ? because Parker was arguing a legal point? Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 22:25
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    @Gandalf Atticus Finch is himself an reference to the Roman Atticus.
    – cde
    Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 22:31
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    But would Jameson be educated enough to know that? Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 22:32
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    @Gandalf JJ is a very well educated man. He's the owner and Editor-in-Chief of one of the largest newspapers in NYC. What makes you think he wouldn't know?
    – cde
    Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 22:39
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    Sorry, but regardless of JJ's education, in the context of this scene, the Finch reference sounds much more reasonable. He's a very famous character in American folklore and became synonymous with a righteous defender of wrongfully accused outcasts. I don't think the Roman Atticus is as synonymous with a sycophant, or why the audience is supposed to guess that.
    – Walt
    Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 23:04

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