I came across a very interesting blog from Marvel editor Tom Brevoort today, which went over a claim that Ditko/Lee recycled characters and ideas through their stories.
When you’re coming out with as many stories as they did, looks, names, ideas get recycled to some degree. It doesn’t make one incarnation less original than any other story or characters, nor does it mean they directly drew from it.
When you write enough, you learn quickly that you run out of names. You’ll start using some of your favorites multiple times and they end up on the page. While there is an “Aunt May and Uncle Ben” in the story referenced above, they do look nothing like the Parker versions we see in Spider-Man, appearing much younger and more full of life.
A lot of my work has a “forbidden love” element to it. Flying Sparks has a hero dating a villain. The Stars Entwined features a human spy in love with an alien captain. Von Monocle gets very interesting in terms of Zaira’s love life in later books (I won’t spoil for new readers). Such a theme is exciting and filled with drama, so I end up going back to that well fairly often.
You’ll note a few characters who share names between series too, if you’re looking hard enough. There’s a name I like to use very often.
I doubt much of the “recycling” Lee/Ditko/Kirby did was intentional, though some of the plot devices may have gotten used more than once for sake of time.