Mary Jane Watson

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Mary Jane Watson
Mary Jane Watson.jpg
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance (partial) The Amazing Spider-Man #25 (June 1965)
(full) The Amazing Spider-Man #42 (November 1966)
Created by Stan Lee (writer)
John Romita, Sr. (artist)
Steve Ditko (artist)
In-story information
Full name Mary Jane Watson
Species Human
Place of origin Earth
Team affiliations Stark Industries
Supporting character of Spider-Man
Notable aliases MJ, Red, Red Sonja, Emma Holmes, Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Spider-Woman, Iron Spider
Abilities Experienced hand-to-hand combatant

Mary Jane Watson is a fictional character, a supporting character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by Stan Lee and John Romita, Sr., the character made her first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #25 (June 1965). She is the best friend, love interest, and wife of Peter Parker, the alter ego of Spider-Man.

Publication history[edit]

Mary Jane Watson is first mentioned in The Amazing Spider-Man #15 (Aug. 1964), and is initially used as a running joke of the series, as Peter Parker's Aunt May repeatedly attempts to set her unwilling nephew up on a date with her. Parker (a.k.a. Spider-Man) consistently worms his way out of meeting Mary Jane who, aside from a brief appearance in #25 (June 1965) with her face obscured, is never actually seen until The Amazing Spider-Man #42 (Nov. 1966).[1] Peter David wrote in 2010 that artist John Romita, Sr. "made the definitive statement of his arrival by pulling Mary Jane out from behind the oversized potted plant [that blocked the readers' view of her face in issue #25] and placing her on panel in what would instantly become an iconic moment."[2] Romita has stated that in designing Mary Jane, he "used Ann-Margret from the movie Bye Bye Birdie as a guide, using her coloring, the shape of her face, her red hair and her form-fitting short skirts."[3]

According to co-creator Stan Lee, he and Romita had intended for Gwen Stacy to be Spider-Man's one true love, and introduced Mary Jane "just for fun", but that "somehow, Mary Jane seemed to have all the personality, and much as we tried to make Gwen more attractive, we couldn't! We, ourselves, felt that Mary Jane ended up being not only more attractive but more fun and more interesting, and we finally decided to let Peter end up with her, but it was ... as though the characters had taken over!"[4][5] The names "Mary Jane" and "M.J." are also common slang terms for marijuana. When asked about this, Stan Lee claimed it was purely coincidental, that he knew nothing about drugs and never tried marijuana.[6]

Gerry Conway succeeded Stan Lee as writer of The Amazing Spider-Man in 1972. Conway pushed Mary Jane to the forefront of the cast, and made her a serious love interest for Peter Parker.[7] Like Lee, Conway found Mary Jane to be more compelling than Gwen: "[Mary Jane] hadn't lost the edge that made her an interesting character. Gwen didn't have an edge. She was just a nice person. I don't think she had a mean bone in her body, and wasn't likely to do something that was likely to screw things up for Peter, out of some misguided sense of self-aggrandizement, which Mary Jane was quite capable of doing - which makes her a much more interesting character."[8]

In 1987, the character was married to Spider-Man in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21. As a consequence, writer J. M. DeMatteis made Mary Jane and her marriage to Spider-Man one of the central themes of the critically acclaimed "Kraven's Last Hunt", published the same year as the wedding. DeMatteis commented that "'Kraven’s Last Hunt' has a lot of darkness in it, but the story primarily is about Peter and his journey into the light and the power of simple human love. The reason Peter makes it out is because he has Mary Jane in his life, and that is his salvation."[9]

Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada said that he feels the marriage ages the characters, making them less appealing to young readers, and lessens the dramatic, "soap opera" possibilities, but also stated that "divorcing or widowing, or annulling the marriage...would only be worse."[10] He has also pointed out that the marriage itself was editorially mandated; Stan Lee decided to marry the characters in his daily newspaper strip and, even though the two were not even dating at the time in the comic book series, it was decided to marry them in the regular Marvel Universe as well. In 2007, Quesada presided over the controversial "One More Day" storyline, which he also drew, in which Peter and Mary Jane's marriage is erased from history and everyone's memories by the devil Mephisto. Quesada states he is an avid fan of the Peter and M.J. relationship, and in several interviews has claimed that the alternate MC2 universe, in which Peter and Mary Jane are happily married, is a "natural progression" of the characters.

Fictional character biography[edit]

1965–1987[edit]

Mary Jane is depicted as an extremely beautiful, green-eyed redhead, and has been the primary romantic interest of Peter Parker for the last twenty years, although initially competing with others for his affection, most prominently with Gwen Stacy and the Black Cat. Mary Jane's relatively unknown early life was eventually explored in The Amazing Spider-Man #259.

Early issues of The Amazing Spider-Man featured a running joke about Peter dodging his Aunt May's attempts to set him up with "that nice Watson girl next door", whom Peter had not yet met and assumed would not be his type, since his aunt liked her (in the Parallel Lives graphic novel an identical scenario is shown between Mary Jane and her Aunt Anna). Mary Jane made her first actual appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #25 (June 1965), although her face was obscured. It is not until The Amazing Spider-Man #42 (November 1966) that her face is actually seen. In that issue, on the last page, Peter finally meets her, and he is stunned by her beauty even as she speaks the now-famous line: "Face it, Tiger... you just hit the jackpot!"[11]

Mary Jane's face is shown for the first time, and her famous catchphrase first uttered.
Art by John Romita Sr. From The Amazing Spider-Man #42.

Peter begins to date her, much to the annoyance of Gwen Stacy. However, they eventually become irritated with each other and Peter subsequently chooses to date Gwen. Mary Jane, who becomes Harry Osborn's love interest and girlfriend, remains a close friend to Peter and Gwen.

Despite her enjoyment of life, her friendships, and dating, Mary Jane refuses to be tied down for too long. When her relationship with Harry Osborn comes to an end, it has significant impact on Harry, driving him to a drug overdose.[12] This in turn creates a boomerang effect, driving his father Norman Osborn to the brink of insanity, temporarily restoring his memories as the Green Goblin.[13]

After the Green Goblin murders Gwen in The Amazing Spider-Man #121, Mary Jane attempts to comfort Peter. Peter, who is distraught over the loss of Gwen Stacy, angrily confronts M.J. about her seemingly flighty and carefree attitude. He questions her ability to ever care about people like him and Gwen, and states "You wouldn't be sorry if your own mother died," unaware that her mother had actually died. Mary Jane is hurt by Peter's comments. She attempts to leave, but hesitates as she approaches the door, and ultimately chooses to stay with him.[14] This served as a turning point in their relationship, and over the next couple of years, she and Peter become very close friends. Eventually, upon realizing the feelings that they share for one another, they decide to take their relationship to the next level. Their relationship has a few initial hurdles, such as M.J.'s hot temper and Peter's always dashing off to be Spider-Man.

Despite loving Peter, M.J. does not wish to be tied down, and when she allows the relationship to progress too far, she is left with a difficult decision when Peter proposes to her. After taking a short time to consider, she turns him down. Following a series of traumatic experiences involving Peter's absences and his costumed alter ego endangering his Aunt May, a spiritually exhausted M.J. leaves New York for several months. Peter meanwhile dates other women, most notably Felicia Hardy.[volume & issue needed]

M.J. eventually returns, her behavior showing a marked change with her abandonment of her false front. Following an attack on Peter by Puma, she breaks down and admits her knowledge of Peter's secret identity in The Amazing Spider-Man #257. After learning of her own family history in The Amazing Spider-Man #259, Peter finds a new respect for her and begins to truly understand her. M.J. makes it clear to Peter that knowing his identity changes nothing about her feelings, and that she only loves him as a friend.[15]

Despite the one-shot graphic novel "Parallel Lives" and Untold Tales of Spider-Man #16 revealing that Mary Jane discovered Peter's secret when she noticed Spider-Man climbing out of Peter's bedroom window, many comics published before this revelation claimed that she had simply "figured it out", with the details of how and when left ambiguous to the reader.[volume & issue needed]

After yet another period of reconsidering his priorities in life, Peter contemplates letting go of the Spider-Man mantle, with Mary Jane backing the decision, but his relationship with Felicia Hardy soon resumes. Feeling lost and guilty, Peter visits Mary Jane and apologizes with an awkward kiss before heading to Berlin with Ned Leeds.[volume & issue needed]

Following Ned Leeds' murder at the hands of the Foreigner, a changed and bitter Peter returns to New York, where his lack of direction in life is not helped when Ned is framed as the Hobgoblin, and Felicia elects to leave Peter behind as she is tied to the Foreigner. Mary Jane returns to Peter, presumably to patch things up, but Peter surprises her with a second proposal of marriage, which M.J. again turns down. She returns to her family to settle old debts with her father, with Peter following her. After aiding her sister in having her crooked father arrested, and aiding Peter against a Spider-Slayer, Mary Jane has an epiphany on marriage, and agrees to become Peter's wife.[volume & issue needed]

Marriage[edit]

In spite of Peter and Mary Jane's mutual worry that they were marrying too early, Peter's concern for her safety, and her unwillingness to give up her "party girl" lifestyle, they marry.[16] She attaches Peter's surname to her own, making her Mary Jane Watson-Parker. Spider-Man wears his black costume around this time, but after Mary Jane is frightened by a stalking Venom, she convinces him to change back to his old costume.[17]

Mary Jane continues to model after her marriage, but is stalked by her wealthy landlord, Jonathan Caesar. When she rejects his advances, he kidnaps her, but she manages to escape. While Caesar is briefly incarcerated, he uses his powerful business connections within the city and has her blacklisted as a model. She gets a role on the soap opera "Secret Hospital", but is unhappy with her character's air-headed and mean personality. On top of that, Caesar, who has been released from prison and is still obsessed with Mary Jane, plots to kidnap her again—this time intending to whisk her away to a private island he owns in the Caribbean. After luring Mary Jane to an abandoned studio and threatening to kill her, Caesar is confronted by Officer Goldman, a policeman assigned to Mary Jane's original case against him. Goldman then shoots Caesar dead, saving Mary Jane's life. Although she successfully petitions her boss to adjust her character's personality, a deranged fan tries to kill Mary Jane out of hatred for the actions of her soap opera character. Mary Jane quits her job out of fear for her own safety and returns to modeling. This, along with Peter's role as Spider-Man, triggers a growing divide. She briefly flirts with actor Jason Jerome, who tries to tempt her into a secret affair, kissing her twice. She resists out of faithfulness to Peter, but her weak rebuffs fail to convince Jerome, and she realizes she is enticed by him in spite of herself.[18] However, she eventually realizes that her craving for romance can be filled by her husband as easily as an extramarital affair, and she pointedly rejects Jerome's advances while rebuking his behavior.[19]

Due to this stress, and the seeming return of her husband's parents, Mary Jane begins smoking (a habit she had quit in high school), only increasing the tension between her and Peter. Peter ultimately convinces her to stop smoking when he tricks her into visiting Nick Katzenberg suffering heavily from lung cancer. When his parents are discovered to be fakes, Peter is unable to cope with the knowledge and disappears for a time. Mary Jane visits her sister Gayle and her father for the first time in years, and finally reconciles with them. Meanwhile, Peter overcomes his problems on his own. When she and Peter reunite, both are happier than they had been in a long time.[volume & issue needed]

Pregnancy[edit]

During the 1994–96 "Clone Saga" storyline, Peter's clone, Ben Reilly, appears. Mary Jane discovers that she is pregnant. While she experiences some complications in her pregnancy, Reilly's scientist friend Seward Trainer helps her. Peter and Ben are told by Trainer that Ben is the real Peter Parker, and Peter is the clone. After conducting the tests themselves (tests which Seward rigged) they confirm Seward's story. A disbelieving Peter, while arguing with Ben, accidentally strikes Mary Jane. After this, he decides to quit as Spider-Man, because the stress of his double life is endangering his wife and unborn child. Peter, acting on hypnotic suggestion by the Jackal, attempts to kill Mary Jane, but is prevented by Ben Reilly (as the Scarlet Spider), his teammates the New Warriors, and Kaine. Later, Peter and Mary Jane leave New York and move to Portland, Oregon. They live there peacefully for several months, adapting happily to normal life after an accident causes subtle damage to Peter's genetic structure that disrupts his ability to use his powers. However, they miss New York City and their friends, and move back, a strange illness culminating in the restoration of Peter's powers. During the Onslaught crisis, Mary Jane is scanned by a Sentinel robot, who detects genetic abnormalities in her fetus.[20]

Soon afterward, when Mary Jane's baby is already past due, she is poisoned by Alison Mongrain, an agent of the Green Goblin. Mary Jane's baby is stillborn.[21] Combined with Ben's death in a battle with the reborn Norman Osborn and the revelation that the tests identifying Peter as the clone were actually rigged as part of Osborn's plan to break Peter's spirit, Peter returns to the role of Spider-Man.[22]

Marital problems[edit]

Mary Jane returns to college to major in psychology, but the stress of the ongoing manipulations of Norman Osborn take their toll. After the Gathering of Five incident and the return of Aunt May, Mary Jane begs Peter to quit being Spider-Man.[volume & issue needed]

He is happy to do so for several months, but soon feels the tug of his great power and great responsibility to be a hero. Meanwhile, Mary Jane is offered a new modeling contract and reaches new heights of success. Peter becomes Spider-Man again behind Mary Jane's back, which puts strain on their marriage. At the same time, she begins receiving lewd and threatening phone calls from an anonymous stalker. Mary Jane is flying across America when her airplane explodes in midair in Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #13 (January 2000). Peter is shocked and goes into deep denial over her death. Although he is set up with several other women, and his friends encourage him to move on, he believes she is still alive. Her mysterious stalker, an unnamed, telepathic mutant, has telepathically connected to Peter in some way, and wants to take over his life. He kidnapped Mary Jane as part of his plan and held her hostage for several months. The stalker kills himself after finally gleaning enough of Peter's personality and morality to discover that he had done terrible things. Peter and Mary Jane are reunited in Peter Parker: Spider-Man #29 (June 2001).

The stress of her captivity drives Mary Jane away. She moves to Los Angeles and immerses herself in acting — starring as the doomed love interest in the film Lobster-Man. Although missing Peter after he fails to meet her on a visit back to New York, she refuses to talk to him; Aunt May gets Peter to visit her in Los Angeles,[23] however the two remain separated. Peter's encounter with the supernatural Spider-Wasp Shathra eventually leads to the two of them flying to New York and Los Angeles to see each other. Despite missing each other at their respective homes, they meet in an airport in Denver, Colorado where they reconcile after a brief encounter with Doctor Doom and Latverian terrorists.[24]

"Civil War"[edit]

During the events of the 2006 – 2007 "Civil War" storyline, when Peter and Mary Jane's apartment and Aunt May's house are burned down by Charlie Weiderman, and Spider-Man joins the New Avengers, Mary Jane and Aunt May accompany him to live in Stark Tower. Mary Jane immediately feels at home with the New Avengers and is happy to finally be a part of Spider-Man's world.[volume & issue needed]

The Civil War events forced Peter to stage a secret transfer of Mary Jane out of Stark Mansion, feeling that with the loss of his secret identity and his doubts about Tony Stark's ideas, Mary Jane had become a hostage in a luxurious house. Now residing in a cheap motel, her whole life had been affected, from her increasing difficulties in finding a new job as an actress to her being an easy target and prey, along with Aunt May, for the superpowered foes of Spider-Man.

Peter, Mary Jane, and Aunt May are targeted by an assassin working for Spider-Man's old foe, the Kingpin. When Peter returns to the Parker family's motel hideout, the assassin takes aim at Peter and fires, but hits Aunt May instead.[volume & issue needed] Peter and M.J. scramble to save Aunt May's life, rushing her from hospital to hospital while trying to maintain their fragile cover of anonymity. In trying to keep May alive and hidden from Spider-Man's enemies, they become fugitives on the run.[volume & issue needed]

"One More Day"[edit]

During the 2007 "One More Day" storyline, Peter is forced to decide whether he will accept Mephisto's offer to save Aunt May in return for wiping the knowledge and memory of Peter and M.J.'s life together as husband and wife from the face of reality, which would leave only a single, subconscious piece of their souls to remember, allowing Mephisto to feast on the pain exhibited by those vestiges for eternity.[volume & issue needed]

M.J. accepts Mephisto's offer, but only with the caveat that Mephisto promises to restore Spider-Man's secret identity. She also asks to put his life back as it was and have a chance at happiness. Mephisto accepts these terms, and in the revised timeline, which begins at the end of The Amazing Spider-Man #545, and is further explained in the following issues, M.J. and Peter were never married, but instead "dated seriously for years".[volume & issue needed]

According to interviews conducted with then-Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada, every story prior to this story remains canon (this would later be contradicted as the events of later stories imply M.J. never fell pregnant). Quesada also stated that a gap of undefined duration occurred between pages in "One More Day", during which the couple separated. By the end of that period, M.J. has moved to California to become an actress, but continues to visit New York from time to time. In the epilogue to "One More Day", she attends a "coming home" party held by Harry Osborn during one such visit, with Peter catching a small glimpse of her before she left.[citation needed]

New life[edit]

At the end of The Amazing Spider-Man #560, as part of the "Brand New Day" storyline, Mary Jane makes her return as the girlfriend of actor Bobby Carr. In The Amazing Spider-Man #561, Mary Jane is seen getting into bed with Carr, and is later attacked by Paperdoll. Concealing herself in the panic room, Mary Jane observes a battle between Spider-Man and Paperdoll, and communicates with Spider-Man over the intercom. Mary Jane says that she and Spider-Man made a great team "in another life" and longingly touches a monitor screen showing his face, hinting that she still has strong feelings and misses him.[25]

Peter does not learn that Mary Jane is the girlfriend of Carr nor that she was the voice on the intercom. Mary Jane is seen at the conclusion of the issue contemplating a phone call to Peter, but is hesitant to do so. She is asked for an autograph by Sara Ehret, an associate of Jackpot. Mary Jane tells her she does not know when she will return to New York. She left a message on Peter's machine but it was cut off before she could say anything.[26]

Mary Jane has been living on the West Coast pursuing her acting career. She returns to New York after Carr is found to be taking Mutant Growth Hormone for a movie role, supplied by the White Rabbit. Carr complains that now she would tell them all about his drug use. His shallowness makes M.J. walk away from him and take a TV job, which takes her back to New York.[volume & issue needed]

Mary Jane and Peter agree to meet with each other. Peter does not remember when or where as he had been drunk, and is further delayed due to his activities as Spider-Man. M.J. also was drunk (while waiting for Peter to muster his courage in order to talk to her) and while she recalls their meeting she has overslept it. Issue 605 flashbacks to Mary Jane recalling a fight with Peter while he was dressed as Spider-Man, where she said that she did not care where he was and that he had a responsibility to their relationship. Peter begins to explain about his Uncle Ben, but Mary Jane interrupts him to say that he cannot let a single moment define his life.[volume & issue needed]

In the 2010 "One Moment in Time" storyline, it is revealed that Mary Jane whispered to Mephisto that Peter would not agree to the deal unless Mary Jane tells him to make it, and that Mephisto will leave Peter alone forever when the deal is done. Mephisto replies "Agreed, as far as I'm concerned—this never happened." In present time M.J. shows up at Peter's door. They talk about how they have been acting towards each other lately and both agree they want to be friends. They recall how Peter missed what was supposed to be their wedding day due to his activities as Spider-Man,[27] leading M.J. to demand that he retire from crimefighting. His refusal to do so convinced M.J. that they must remain unmarried, since any children they might have would be endangered by his being a superhero.[28]

Mary Jane goes to check on Anna Watson, just in time to stop a hitman, who goes after her. Spider-Man saves Mary Jane and dispatches the hitman. Spider-Man brings the wounded Mary Jane to Doctor Strange, who performs a healing spell on her. Peter insists that Doctor Strange should make people forget he is Spider-Man.[29] Peter enters a protective shell to shield himself from the changes. At the last moment, he leaps out of the shield and pulls Mary Jane in with him so she will not forget either. Back in the present, Mary Jane explains that, although she still loves him, she is not strong enough to be at his side. She tells him he has to move on and find somebody who can be with him.[30]

Peter soon begins a new relationship with Carlie Cooper. Though initially jealous, M.J. decides to respect their relationship, and encourages Peter to reveal his secret identity to her.[volume & issue needed]

"Spider-Island" and "Ends of the Earth"[edit]

During the "Spider-Island" storyline, much of New York City becomes infected with a virus that gives its inhabitants Peter's Spider-like abilities. M.J. finds herself caught in a series of riots across the city.[31] Saved by the intervening Future Foundation, M.J. later locates Peter and Carlie, the latter having also been granted spider-powers. M.J. encourages Peter to use his civilian disguise when displaying his powers and rally the city against the chaos. She would later attain spider-powers herself and come to the aid of defenseless citizens, her prolonged contact with Peter during their relationship granting her a degree of immunity that protected her from the mutative side-effects of the transformation. Peter successfully cures all of New York.[32][33]

Shortly after, Carlie Cooper breaks up with Peter, having deduced his secret identity. Conflicted over her lingering feelings for Peter, Carlie confides in Mary Jane, and the two begin to bond over their experiences with Peter.[citation needed]

In the 2012 storyline "Ends of the Earth", Mary Jane purchases a nightclub.[34]

"Dying Wish" and The Superior Spider-Man[edit]

Mary Jane remains in the role of best friend and confidant to Peter until he begins to take an interest in her romantically again. They begin dating again. Unknown to M.J., Peter has had his mind swapped by Otto Octavius. The real Peter Parker, trapped in his rival's dying body, breaks out of prison and attempts to switch back, only for his body to eventually give out on him before he can complete the procedure. As a last resort, Peter downloads all of his memories and experiences into Octavius' mind, convincing his foe to develop some sense of responsibility.[35] Octavius, as Peter, continues to date Mary Jane after this, but she begins noticing distinctly different character traits displayed by him, such as a heavy intake of alcohol and his rude behavior towards his loved ones.[36] Octavius intends to become more intimate with her and makes several advances, only to be rebuffed each time. In desperation and frustration, Octavius relives Peter's memories with M.J., which infuriates Peter. After one of Octavius' Spider-Bots detect Mary Jane in trouble and saves her from the Vulture gang, Mary Jane moves to kiss him, but Octavius, who has by now developed genuine feelings for her, rebuffs her, and breaks up with her, though vowing to continue to protect her.[37]

Peter's mind is returned to his body, and informs Mary Jane that it was Octavius' mind in control of Peter's body for the past several months. Mary Jane tells him that she knows Octavius' actions were not Peter's fault, but she cannot let his dual life affect her anymore. She recognizes and admires the choices Peter has made in his life, but now she wants to build her own life, mostly thanks to the successes she has enjoyed with her nightclub and her new relationship with Ollie.[38]

All-New, All-Different Marvel[edit]

As part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel event, Mary Jane Watson is in Chicago, Illinois hosting the opening of her newest nightclub Jackpot. Mary Jane had opened this nightclub after MJ's got destroyed during a superhero battle. When a Belhilio is quickly killed by an energy blast from Madame Masque, people start to run away as Iron Man and Doctor Doom arrive to confront her.[39] Mary Jane witnesses Iron Man and Doctor Doom fight Madame Masque which causes damages to Jackpot. When Madame Masque starts to trap Iron Man, Mary Jane distracts Madame Masque by using a microphone to knock off her mask. As Doctor Doom helps Iron Man to exorcise the demon possession from Madame Masque, Mary Jane gets depressed with Jackpot gets further damaged. Three days later, Iron Man approaches Mary Jane Watson in Grant Park while she is mourning the loss of her club Jackpot and the ruin of her career. She initially mistakes Iron Man's friendliness for flirting, but he clarifies her that he's seeing someone and has decided to approach Mary Jane for another purpose. Iron Man offers Mary Jane to work for him and leaves flying after asking her to consider his offer.[40] Mary Jane Watson is waiting for Tony Stark at Stark Tower where he shows up 40 minutes late. When in the Hall of Armor, Tony tells Mary Jane that he wanted her to work for him to avoid being a "hot mess." Mary Jane thinks that Tony truly wants to be better, but she clarifies he will need to listen to her. Tony additionally reveals to her the way his mind works. Tony had already envisioned the conversation he and Mary Jane just had by making it hard for him to be surprised by human interactions. This way, Mary Jane would understand the type of person she is going to work with. However, Mary Jane surprises Tony by telling him that she had called Pepper Potts, but she would not tell him what they talked about. They are interrupted by Friday who tells them that War Machine is missing. Before Tony becomes Iron Man and flies to Tokyo, Mary Jane gives Tony the emergency number for Peter Parker.[41] It was revealed that Mary Jane declined Tony Stark's offer due to being uncomfortable around Friday.[42] However, Tony sends Friday to plead Mary Jane to help him stop the board of directors from seizing his company while he's off on a mission. Mary Jane claims to the Board of Directors that she is the new executive administrator and she and Friday convince the board that the company in safe hands.[43]

In the Amazing Spider-Man series, it is revealed that she has accepted Tony's employment offer as she and Tony attend a Parker Industry event, making Peter very uncomfortable. Later, she catches up with Betty Brant and Harry Osborn and the three discover that businessman Augustus Roman is actually the powerful being known as Regent who is imprisoning heroes and villains to add to his own strength. Spider-Man and Iron Man try to stop Regent, but are defeated due to Regent's overwhelming power. With few options left, Mary Jane dons Peter's Iron Spider armor and uses her experience in Iron Man's suit and her brief spider powers in Spider-Island to assist Peter and Tony in battling Regent. During the fight, she, Peter, and Regent. Mary Jane and Tony distract Regent long enough for Peter, Harry, and Miles Morales to release the rest of the prisoners. Mary Jane's attitude towards Peter during her time with him reminds Peter not to let his work take priority over his loved ones. Spider-Man warns Tony not to take Mary Jane for granted as Peter did not realize he lost Mary Jane until after she moved on.[44]

Other versions[edit]

In addition to her mainstream incarnation, Mary Jane Watson has been depicted in other fictional universes. In one reality visited by the Exiles, where she was Spider-Woman, she had a relationship with Exiles member Sunfire (Mariko Yashida).

In the Ultimate Spider-Man universe, she dated Harry Osborn before Peter and she learned Peter was Spider-Man in issue #13. She still had cameos in Ultimate Spider-Man comics after Peter had died in "The Death of Spider-Man" storyline in issue #160 and after his subsequent revival (in Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man #7) as well.

"Face it, Tiger, you just hit the jackpot!"[edit]

"Face it, Tiger... you just hit the jackpot!", Mary Jane's first words to Peter.[11] The quotation is duplicated in nearly every continuity in which Mary Jane appears and repeated in nearly every flashback to their first encounter.

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

Spider-Man (1967)[edit]

In the original Spider-Man cartoon, Mary Jane Watson appeared in the episode "The Big Brainwasher" (based on The Amazing Spider-Man #59–61). Unlike her comic book counterpart, she is the niece of police captain Ned Stacy.

Spider-Man (tokusatsu)[edit]

In Tokusatsu Spider-Man, Mary Jane Watson was called Hitomi Sakuma (played by Rika Miura). She is a photographer of a newspaper.

Spider-Man: The Animated Series[edit]

Mary Jane Watson in Spider-Man: The Animated Series, a reference to her original debut in the panel of The Amazing Spider-Man #42.

Mary Jane Watson appeared in Spider-Man: The Animated Series, voiced by Sara Ballantine. She first meets Peter Parker in "The Return of the Spider-Slayers", where May Parker set Peter up on a blind date. At the time, Peter's main love interest was Felicia Hardy and Peter did not look forward to meeting Mary Jane, but is left speechless upon meeting her. In season three's finale, Mary Jane is last seen when the Green Goblin discovers Spider-Man's true identity and takes her to the George Washington Bridge. Spider-Man tries to save her but she falls into a dimensional portal created by the Goblin's stolen time dilation accelerator. In season four, a clone, created by Miles Warren, appears who Peter reveals his secret identity. In season five's premiere. Mary Jane and Peter subsequently marry and she discovers she is a clone that possesses the same powers as Hydro-Man, however, her body disintegrates due to the imperfect cloning process. In the series finale, Madame Web promises Spider-Man the real Mary Jane will be found.

Spider-Man Unlimited[edit]

Mary Jane Watson has a minor appearance in Spider-Man Unlimited, voiced by Jennifer Hale.

Spider-Man: The New Animated Series[edit]

Mary Jane Watson appears in Spider-Man: The New Animated Series voiced by Lisa Loeb. She appears as an on and off girlfriend of Peter Parker. Her hair is shorter here than in any other version. She was going to have long hair but there were difficulties rendering it with animation so it was cut down.

The Spectacular Spider-Man[edit]

Mary Jane Watson in The Spectacular Spider-Man, another reference to her original debut in the panel of The Amazing Spider-Man #42.

Mary Jane Watson appears in The Spectacular Spider-Man, voiced by Vanessa Marshall. Despite May Parker's "wonderful personality" description due to this description given on those who are unattractive, Peter Parker finally meets her, and is stunned by her beauty even as she speaks the famous line: "Face it, Tiger... you just hit the jackpot!" where it is arranged for them to attend a school dance together.[episode needed] Mary Jane later appears to attend the same school as Peter and Gwen Stacy, though she expressed that she has yet to express romantic feelings for Peter or an interest in Spider-Man. She later enters a short romantic relationship with Liz Allen's brother Mark Allen.

Ultimate Spider-Man[edit]

Mary Jane Watson appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon series, voiced by Tara Strong.[citation needed] Like her Ultimate incarnation, she is a childhood friend/best friend of Peter Parker, and an aspiring journalist who dreams of reforming Daily Bugle Communications and rehabilitating Spider-Man's reputation that's attacked by J. Jonah Jameson on a daily basis. During seasons one and two, she is initially thinks that Peter and Spider-Man are two individuals (unaware that both are one and the same), is a student at Midtown High School, and also has Harry Osborn and Flash Thompson as friends/acquaintances. Mary Jane is an occasional target for super-powered characters that Spider-Man encounters: Mary Jane distracted Tundra during the Frightful Four's attack on Midtown High (in "Great Power"), helps Peter and Harry get along despite the Venom symbiote's rampange (in "Venom"), uses her camera to record Spider-Man and the Hulk having a showdown with Zzzax while interviewing the web-crawler (in "Exclusive"), gets disgusted with Wolverine transplanted into Peter's body by Mesmero (in "Freaky"), tries to get an interview with Jameson despite the S.H.I.E.L.D. Trainees fighting with the Beetle in the same building (in "Beetle Mania"),[45] deals with the chaos from Phil Coulson's school play with Flash dressed as Spider-Man and the Trapster crashing the play (in "I Am Spider-Man"), and (Season 2) when she and Harry help a showdown Spider-Man and Stan the Janitor has with the Lizard (in "Stan By Me"). She makes sporadic appearances in Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors consisting of cameo appearances (in "Agent Venom", "S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy") Mary Jane Watson returns in Ultimate Spider-Man vs. The Sinister Six. She has central role in the three-part "Symbiote Saga". She watches over Harry's comatose status even when the Carnage symbiote's hive ran rampant. As Spider-Man with Captain America and S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy dealt with Carnage's hosts and Anti-Venom, Mary Jane goes with Cloak and Dagger to Midtown High to broadcast a message giving a safe route to New York citizens to escape. Mary Jane gets transformed into the Carnage Queen,[46] the leader of the Carnage-enveloped Midtown High hive that has also assimilated elements of the Anti-Venom symbiote. At the 'heart' of Carnage's hive, Spider-Man, the Patrioteer and Agent Venom encounter the Carnage Queen. The Carnage Queen subsequently fights with the three young heroes. Because of Michael Morbius's mind-control device, the Carnage Queen holds Spider-Man for Morbius while Crossbones holds Agent Venom and Patrioteer. When Spider-Man breaks her mind-control device, the Carnage Queen fends off Morbius while Crossbones escapes. Spider-Man, The Patrioteer and Agent Venom were able to free her from the Carnage Queen's possession by revealing their respective secret identities to give her the strength to break free of the Carnage symbiote. While given a check-up by S.H.I.E.L.D., she and Peter appear to realize their hidden feelings for the other, and it's hinted that she still has some of the symbiote inside of her. In "The Spider Slayers" (Part 1) Mary Jane reveals to Peter that thanks to experimentation by Doctor Connors, she can now control the symbiote, and uses it to become Spider-Woman (also referenced as Spider-MJ), and joins Peter's Web Warriors team.

An alternate version based off Mary Jane Watson's Noir iteration appears as Spider-Man Noir's potential love interest. In the episode "The Spider-Verse" [Pt. 3], she is used as bait by the Green Goblin so that the Goblin can steal Spider-Man Noir's DNA, and points out that Spider-Man Noir shouldn't isolate people that care. The episode "Return to the Spider-Verse" [Pt. 2] revealed that Mary Jane was killed as a result of a gang war between Joe Fixit and Hammerhead. The fight caused a building to come crashing down, and she went in to rescue some of the residents. Fixit tried to hold the building up to save Mary Jane but failed.

Films[edit]

In the three Spider-Man feature films directed by Sam Raimi, Mary Jane Watson was portrayed by Kirsten Dunst.

Spider-Man trilogy[edit]

Spider-Man[edit]

In the 2002 feature film Spider-Man, Mary Jane Wearing a New Pink Shirt is Peter Parker's childhood and high school crush, and high school girlfriend to Flash Thompson. Desperate to escape her abusive, alcoholic father, and to pursue a happier future, she breaks up with Flash after they graduate, and an aspiring actress, waiting tables to support herself. She dates Peter's best friend, Harry Osborn, who knows of Peter's interest in her, but notes that Peter has never asked her out. She first develops an attraction to Spider-Man after the latter repeatedly rescues her, first from the Green Goblin (who is secretly Harry's father Norman), and later from thugs in an alley, after which they share a kiss. She also grows closer to Peter, and in response, Harry breaks up with her. When Norman deduces Spider-Man's identity, he kidnaps Mary Jane, and in a recreation of the Goblin's kidnapping of Gwen Stacy from the comics storyline, holds her at the top of a city bridge, but Spider-Man rescues her. Mary Jane and Peter later share a kiss as she tells him that she loves him, but Peter, who fears that a relationship between them would endanger her, rejects her. A heartbroken Mary Jane realizes that her kiss with Peter reminded her of the one she shared with Spider-Man.

Spider-Man 2[edit]

In the 2004 sequel Spider-Man 2, Mary Jane, frustrated at Peter's reluctance to be with her, and his apparent lack of commitment even as a friend (which occurs when his crimefighting keeps him away from shared activities with her), begins a relationship with J. Jonah Jameson's son, John Jameson. Deciding that being without her is too high a cost, Peter resolves to abandon his life as Spider-Man, despite the fact that Mary Jane accepts a marriage proposal from John. However, Mary Jane comes to realize that she does not truly love John. After Doctor Octopus kidnaps Mary Jane, Spider-Man rescues her, and during his struggle with Octopus, he is unmasked in front of Mary Jane, confirming what she suspected. Mary Jane breaks up with John Jameson, and begins a relationship with Peter.

Spider-Man 3[edit]

In the 2007 film Spider-Man 3, Peter decides to propose to Mary Jane, their future is complicated by professional setbacks suffered by Mary Jane, a rivalry for Peter's affections in the form of Gwen Stacy, manipulation by a scheming Harry Osborn (who seeks revenge against Peter, who he believes killed his father), and by behavioral changes in Peter that are brought on by Peter's encounter with the symbiote. Realizing the negative effect the symbiote has on him, he disposes of it, and it falls into the hands of fellow photographer Eddie Brock, who bonds with it to become Venom. Seeking revenge on Peter for ruining his career, Venom kidnaps Mary Jane. Spider-Man defeats Venom, destroys the symbiote, and rescues Mary Jane. In the end Peter and Mary Jane reconcile.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2[edit]

In October 2012, Shailene Woodley was confirmed to be playing Mary Jane Watson in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.[47] Her scenes were later cut from the film, with director Marc Webb explaining this as "a creative decision to streamline the story and focus on Peter and Gwen and their relationship".[48]

Video games[edit]

Mary Jane Watson has appeared in numerous Spider-Man video games.

  • In The Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin, Mary Jane Watson is kidnapped by the Kingpin, and is hung over a tank of acid. She is freed if Kingpin is beaten in a certain amount of time. If the fight takes too long, she falls to her death and, after Kingpin is arrested by the police, Spider-Man vows revenge. If the player is defeated in battle, then both she and Spider-Man die.
  • Mary Jane Watson appears in Spider-Man's endings in Capcom's Marvel Super Heroes and Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter.
  • Mary Jane Watson appears in the Spider-Man game for the Dreamcast, Nintendo 64, and PlayStation, voiced by Jennifer Hale. Venom believes that Spider-Man stole an invention of Dr. Octavius (it is later revealed that Mysterio is the actual thief) and kidnaps Mary Jane in attempt to get revenge. She is held in the sewers and must be rescued by Spider-Man.
  • Mary Jane Watson appears in Spider-Man: Mysterio's Menace. Mary Jane forgets to purchase a fish bowl for fish she won at a carnival, and asks Peter Parker to retrieve one for her at the beginning of the game. In the end, Peter obtains one for her (Mysterio's helmet) and says "You'll never know the trouble I went through for this.".
  • Mary Jane Watson appears in the 2002 Spider-Man game based on the film. Although Kirsten Dunst provided the likeness, she was voiced by Cat O'Conner.
  • Mary Jane Watson appears in Spider-Man 2, where Kirsten Dunst reprised the role. In this game, like the movie, she is unaware of Peter's secret identity until the end. There is a brief additional storyline where Peter is tempted to abandon interest in Mary Jane due to the possibility of a new relationship with the Black Cat, but eventually abandons such a relationship when Peter realizes the importance of civilian life.
  • Mary Jane Watson appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man video game, voiced by Andrea Baker. She appears several times in the game, helping Peter Parker research and discover information on the villains Spider-Man must fight. The game ends with her talking to Peter. In the game's Nintendo DS version, the player must save an unnamed character who has Mary Jane's clothing and hair color.
  • Mary Jane Watson appears in Spider-Man: Battle for New York.
  • Mary Jane Watson appears in Spider-Man 3. Much like in the game based on the first movie, she is not voiced by Kirsten Dunst. Here, she is voiced by Kari Wahlgren.
  • Mary Jane Watson appears in Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, voiced by Dana Seltzer. Unlike most of her appearances in Spider-Man games, she takes an active participation in one of the boss battles, taking out foes with a shotgun while Spider-Man fights a symbiote-possessed Black Cat. In the beginning of the game, she is caught in the crossfire during a fight between Venom and Spider-Man and is put into the hospital. She frequently appeared throughout the game, where her cutscenes are based on the player's choice. In one Red Suit ending, she joins Spider-Man in web slinging across New York. In another Red Suit ending, Spider-Man attempted to call her to apologize for his own actions but she did not pick up and left a message on her phone hoping that she'll one day forgive for what had to be done. In one Black Suit ending, Mary Jane abandons Peter completely for the willingness to use the Black Suit even after promising her otherwise, particularly when using its powers to save Black Cat. In another Black Suit ending, Spider-Man vows to reclaim Mary Jane.
  • Mary Jane Watson is referenced in Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. She is referenced by Deadpool in the Ultimate level as a "redhead" that Spider-Man is always saving. Deadpool accuses Spider-Man of being in a love triangle with her and Kitty Pryde, much to the latter's embarrassment.
  • Mary Jane Watson appears in the video game Spider-Man: Edge of Time voiced by Laura Vandervoort.[49] While temporarily trapped in the year 2099, Spider-Man discovers records of Mary Jane's death back in the 'prime' time in an accident at Alchemax, forcing the future Spider-Man to try and save her. After rescuing Mary Jane from a falling elevator, Mary Jane comments that Miguel O'Hara is just as brave and unselfish as another Spider-Man she knows.
  • Mary Jane Watson appears in Lego Marvel Super Heroes voiced by Tara Strong.
  • Mary Jane Watson appears in Spider-Man Unlimited, voiced again by Tara Strong. She appears in a non-playable situation often appearing in story line dialogues.[50] She has received several playable forms in later updates, including her Spider-Island powers, Spider-Armor, and in a Regent Power suit.
  • Mary Jane Watson appears in Marvel Avengers Academy. She appears as part of the Spider-Man event, and is given the Iron Spider armor to wear similar to the "Power Play" arc in the comics.

Novels[edit]

Romance novelist Judith O'Brien wrote two young adult novels featuring a teenage Mary Jane in 2003 and 2004. They featured illustrations by Mike Mayhew.

The first novel is a basic retelling of the origin story from Mary Jane's point of view. She is depicted as a shy, insecure girl who knew Peter Parker from elementary school. She deals with such problems as anorexia and peer pressure.

At a field trip to Osborn Industries, Peter is bitten by a spider, which grants him powers. It is later revealed that Norman Osborn had injected a super drug known as OZ into the spider, which he later uses as a sports drink which he sells to Mary Jane's classmates. The use of OZ is the only real connection to Ultimate, but even that is drastically different from the way it is portrayed in the original comics, being much closer to Bill Jemas' original concept. As Peter suits up to become Spider-Man (his origin with Uncle Ben is only hinted at), Mary Jane sets out to expose Norman with Peter's help.

The novel was successful with teenage girls who were not familiar with the comics, but was met with criticism from the core fans due to its characterization of some of the characters (most notably Harry Osborn, who is portrayed as manipulating Peter into doing his homework while treating him horribly) and changing continuity.

The second novel, Mary Jane 2, deals with the continuing relationship of Peter and Mary Jane, and the emergence of Gwen Stacy. In this continuity, Gwen is an 'ugly duckling' who Mary Jane gives a 'makeover'. However, Gwen soon has feelings for Peter. Harry Osborn reappears and is made more sympathetic than he was in the previous novel; with his father in jail, he is now poor and has to live without a life of luxury.

References[edit]

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  2. ^ David, Peter; Greenberger, Robert (2010). The Spider-Man Vault: A Museum-in-a-Book with Rare Collectibles Spun from Marvel's Web. Running Press. p. 38. ISBN 0762437723. 
  3. ^ Saffel, Steve (2007). "A Legend Is Born". Spider-Man the Icon: The Life and Times of a Pop Culture Phenomenon. Titan Books. p. 27. ISBN 978-1-84576-324-4. 
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  5. ^ Fisch, Sholly (September 1987). "The Wedding of the Year". Marvel Age (54). Marvel Comics. pp. 12–15. We wanted Gwen to be the heroine of the book, but no matter how we wrote it, Mary Jane always seemed more interesting! We used to joke about it: 'We can't even control our own characters!' 
  6. ^ "Celebrity Stoners". Cannabis Culture. Archived from the original on 2012-09-28. Retrieved 2012-05-27. 
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  9. ^ Johnson, Dan (August 2009). "In Our Sights: Kraven's Last Hunt". Back Issue!. TwoMorrows Publishing (35): 9. 
  10. ^ Quesada, Joe (October 12, 2007). "Joe Fridays: Week 48". Newsarama. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. 
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External links[edit]