Marvel.com is recognizing Mary Jane Watson’s (or as many of us still like to consider her, Mary Jane Watson Parker!) 50th birthday.
Well – the 50th anniversary of her first appearance, anyway. Marvel marks it as this month, though I think that may be a month early.
Gwen Stacy, Felicia Hardy, Carlie Cooper—the Ultimate Universe’s Peter Parker even dated Kitty Pryde. But only one woman has actually called Spider-Man her husband: Mary Jane Watson.
Two quick things:
1.) Carlie Cooper being lumped into the same rank with MJ, Gwen and Felicia is laughable. Hell, Deb Whitman was more impacting and interesting than Carlie Cooper.
2.) Marvel dares to acknowledge the fact that Mary Jane and Peter were married in the not so distant past. But then they’ve been doing that a lot lately since they want you to buy ‘Renew Your Vows.’ After the ‘Renew Your Vows’ collected edition comes out Marvel will probably go back into “try not to mention it” mode again.
For decades, MJ has been Spidey’s partner in crime-fighting, acting as both a supporting and lead character in hundreds of comics. But Mary Jane’s importance and independence has eclipsed her love interest role; her perseverance and determination—not to mention her vivacious attitude—have made her a fascinating character to relate to and root for.
This is another interesting tidbit, as it can be argued that Marvel has actually tried to knock down Mary Jane’s popularity over the years. Having Mary Jane around has often presented a stumbling block from many writers injecting their own romantic foils for Peter. Former Editor in Chief Bob Harras once tried to take her out of the picture permanently in a plane explosion; even that couldn’t keep Mary Jane down.
We’ve seen the character thrive through J. Michael Straczynski Highs and suffer with the Bobby Carr Celebrity Doper Lows. Whether she’s soaring under writers and editors who understand and appreciate the character or sinking from being mishandled, Mary Jane continues to be popular in the hearts of Spider-Fans everywhere.
So Happy 50th, Mary Jane. No – actually, Happy 50th, Mrs. Parker. It may take decades to get back to it but here’s hoping you have a bright future someday. Heaven knows you’re due!