Tuesday, April 24, 2018
According to most Spider-Man fans, Mary Jane is Peter Parker's one true love. Sure Gwen Stacy was his first and he had some fun with Black Cat, but he was only married once(technically those 20 years never happened, but that's not what we're here for.) Unfortunately, most Spider-Man comics I've read either treat MJ as a one note character who spends her days modeling and her nights worrying about Peter, or they're from an era after she was sidelined in 2008. Today, I wanted to see if I could find some good Mary Jane stories, or at least stories that give her a little more depth.
Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane(2005)
I remember this comic coming out when I first started reading comics. All of the Spider-Man fan sites were calling it a breath of fresh air in a world where heroes were fighting heroes and everybody had to be the darkest, grittiest version of themselves.
Written from the point of view of Mary Jane, this is a cute high school tale with a decent amount of Archie DNA. Mary Jane has just broken up with Harry. Now she's got a crush on Spider-Man and is getting tutoring from Peter. Flash Thompson declared his love for Mary Jane at Homecoming, even though he was dating Liz, Mary Jane's best friend... You get where this is going.
My favorite thing about this title is that Sean McKeever writes these teenage characters almost like they're in middle school. In a world where high school kids are usually written like they're in their mid twenties, writing kids like they're actually kids is really something special.
The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows(2016)
If you were upset by Peter Parker making a deal with Mephisto to undo his marriage, this book is Marvel's attempt to win you back. Peter and MJ are happily married with a plucky 8 year old daughter. The events of Dan Slott's Secret Wars tie in of the same name set up a family of web slingers. Mary Jane is Spinneret and Anna May Parker is Webling(or something... I forget her name, but it's definitely not Spider-Girl. This is a different universe's Mayday Parker.)
The family dynamic is different in this book than that of Spider-Girl, as Anna is younger and Peter is still out there fighting crime. It reminds me of a Fantastic Four(or Future Foundation) book that balances the grown characters with the children. The first three issues(the first arc is only four) tell the same story from each character's perspective, showing that the whole family matters. Since we're here to talk about MJ, in this incarnation, she's a blogger and entrepreneur. She just comes off as a much more capable character than a lot of her 616 supermodel appearances.
Amazing Spider-Man 42-43(1966)
The last story I decided to read was Mary Jane's first appearance from 1966. I don't have much to say about it, but I thought it was important to bring it up. They talk like they're in the 60s, but MJ is kind of a nothing character, and it's April 24th, so I'm just going to go ahead and post this blog entry now...
Kendall, Molly, and Sarah discuss "The FDR of TRL," ...Baby One More Time by Britney Spears.
Here's The Episode!