(Warning: contains major spoilers.)
"I was born on Mars."
At age 27, Spike is a down-on-his-luck bounty hunter, scraping together a few woolongs with his partners: Jet Black, Faye Valentine, and Ed. Oh yeah, and the dog: he hates kids, pets, and women with attitude. Born on Mars in 2044, Spike spent a number of years as an up-and-coming figure with the Red Dragon Crime Syndicate, headed by his mentor, Mao Yenrai. His partner in the Dragons was a man named Vicious and for a long time, they were apparently best friends. Although Vicious was by far the more focused of the two, it was Spike rather than Vicious whom Mao hand-picked and was grooming to take over the Syndicate when he was gone. Still, Spike and Vicious maintained at least a working friendship.
Then Julia entered the picture. Details are sketchy canonically, but there was an undeniable triangle; Vicious, Spike, and Julia became a fairly inseparable pack of three. When Vicious went off to serve in the war on Titan, the relationship between Spike and Julia became closer. One night on a job gone horribly wrong, a nearly dead Spike showed up at Julia's door and collapsed. She nursed him back to health and that, as they say, was most likely that. Some time after Vicious's return from Titan Spike decided to stage his own death so he might escape from Syndicate life and take Julia with him, but Julia never showed up the day they were slated to leave. Although he never knew that Julia's reasons were for his own good, he still carried a torch for her and continued to do so for the rest of his days.
Somewhere shortly after faking his death and leaving the Syndicate he teamed up with former ISSP cop Jet Black and for the next three years, the two men hunted bounties together. After the series starts they inherit Faye Valentine (a secretive runaway with more attitude than she needs), Ein (a mysterious "data dog" who might or might not have ticks), and Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV (a thirteen-year-old genius hacker who decides the Bebop is the place to be). Together, they form a ragtag bounty hunting team, encountering moderate success but experience even more disappointment in their search for survival.
Three years later, the shit hit the fan: Vicious killed Mao Yenrai and made his plans to take over the Red Dragons. Shortly thereafter, the Syndicate Elders gave the order to have anyone who was ever associated with Vicious killed... including Spike and Julia. In a dramatic showdown, Vicious murdered the Elders, took over the Syndicate, and waited to finally finish things with Spike. Vicious might have thought he was the only one who could kill Spike and "set him free," but Spike had a similar notion about Vicious. When the two finally clashed -- after one of Vicious's men killed Julia -- the end results were sobering and final all the way around. The dream was finally over.
Canon Character Analysis
Julia: It's all a... dream.
Spike: Yeah, just a dream.
The concept of living in a dream or moving through life as if in a dream is central to understanding Spike's personality. Everything he does, says, and experiences is tainted by the overarching themes of revisiting the past, sleeping, dreaming, dying. During one showdown, Vicious tells him "I'm the only one who can wake you up." When Spike proposes leaving the Syndicate with Julia, she asks what they'll do and he tells her "live. Be free. It'll be like watching a dream." In a flashback, we find out that Spike's right eye is a fake because he lost it in an accident; he tells Julia "my right eye sees the past." And in the final episode when Faye asks him why he's about to go off to die, he tells her "I'm not going there to die. I'm going to find out if I'm really alive."
Despite the illusory nature of his existence, Spike's mundane activities lend other dimensions to his personality. He... smokes (except when Vicious is around). Eats. Sleeps, almost to excess. Kicks ass. Is easily annoyed, rash, reckless, determined. Carries a grudge. Knows how to have fun when it suits him. He's a surprising contrast between laid back and dark and moody. More than anything, Spike... loves Julia, the woman who used to be with Vicious until he stole her away, or until she moved away of her own accord. The quest for Julia defines everything he does: from the words he hears to the things he looks for to the things he dreams about. The mere mention of her name sets him running to find her; her memory sustains him through multiple injuries. His obsession with Julia emerges several times during the series, most notably in Jupiter Jazz, Parts 1 and 2 where he races off to Callisto on the mere mention of the word Julia and in the series finale, Real Folk Blues, Parts 1 and 2 where he and Julia actually reunite in a bittersweet moment.
A student of Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do (the name translates to Bruce Lee's Way of the Intercepting Fist) to which he's added some spectacular high kick moves, Spike is also a skilled pilot (his personal spacecraft, the Swordfish II, is a modified asteroid racer) and ambidextrous with a gun. His superhuman abilities include eating and sleeping a lot and pretending not to care. He's also skilled at sleight-of-hand, which he incorporates seamlessly into his everyday movements.
At the bar
Spike arrived at the end of the universe in (Milliways time) September 2004, just after his final battle with Vicious. Is he alive? Is he dead? It's a battle fandom continues to wage to this day and the answer won't be found here. Like everything else at Milliways, Spike's very existence can be said to be illusory. His first and closest friend there, Joe Manco, was convinced Spike had died. But Spike himself isn't so sure.
And maybe he doesn't really care. Shortly after arriving -- after witnessing and finally accepting the death of his beloved Julia -- he met Beth, a woman from Earth in 2004. While they clicked immediately on a physical level, it took several months before they fell into a deeper relationship emotionally. Often joking that they're the longest-lasting unmarried couple at the bar, their relationship is still going strong nearly four years later. They've been through a lot: Julia's arrival at Milliways, where she died (again) in Spike's arms. Trips from Milliways to the crime-filled world of Mars in 2071 or thereabouts. An unexpected detour to Beth's Earth, where all the men but one have mysteriously died... and Spike survived, thanks to nanotechnology inherited from a former foe named Vincent Volaju. An equally unexpected pregnancy. A separation where Beth was thrown back to her world and Spike back to his, where he had to live through the last several days of his life there yet again before an eventual return to the bar -- battered and bruised and only moments away from death -- weeks before Beth's eventual return. The birth of Beth's daughter, Beth Junior, and a long-term trip to Beth's world in search of the last living man there... who just happens to be Junior's biological father. Yes, his life is complicated... but he wouldn't have it any other way. To say the past four years have matured him would be one way of putting it.
Played by: in_the_blue
AIM: not that spike