Marvel on Mary Jane’s 50th Birthday 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.

From Marvel:

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!

–George Berryman! 

(24) Comments

  1. ryan3178

    Yeah, I'm tired of the argument, there is plenty you can do with Mary Jane but having her call Peter an idiot and trying to have relationships that aren't like Peter is exactly the problem they just admitted with Peter. They can't be written well if they aren't in that relationship. As they say, a relationship between two people does not define who they are. Yet, they act like it does.

  2. Xander VJ

    @#22 - It's kind of telling that they feel that MJ has to be married to Peter in order to write her properly... I'm pretty tired of people missing the forest for the trees with the whole marriage thing. Sometimes it feels Marvel thinks we only care for seeing Peter and MJ with the wedding ring in their fingers, instead of all the things those rings represent. That being said, I'm pretty sure that "Renew Your Vows" most probably will be nothing but a "What if" story. I mean, are they really marketing it as anything else?

  3. Stillanerd

    @#20 Al -- Exactly! Because If Peter and MJ are a romantic dead-end, then so is every single relationship Peter will get into because Marvel via One More Day and interviews told everyone over and over again how Spider-Man all about "youth" and that marriage makes him "too old." @#21 packersjames90 -- Too be fair, Slott was being tongue-in-cheek, but even so, it does undermine what he said in an interview with the Verge: <blockquote>Whichever Spider-Man you care about is the real Spider-Man.</blockquote>

  4. packersjames90

    and his comments about MC2 Peter shows how much he doesn't get it, "Booo I killed a AU Peter". He asks like will it's not 616 Peter, or Miles so who cares about MC2 Peter. yeah an AU Peter with 100+ issue of history, and thousand of fans. really is just another AU Peter.

  5. Al

    @#16-Don't you see guys we were BORED by the ending of Spider-Island when MJ said she loved him. And Slott knew how boring it was which is why he shipped them from 2011-2013. And during that time we were all thinking "This isn't gonna go anywhere so we might as well see him with someone else". Yes. That is exactly what most people were thinking. Because no one was also thinking "This isn't going to go anywhere and is really boring" about EVERY romantic relationship he has ever obviously

  6. PeterParkerfan

    I wish someone else was writting Renew Your Vows instead of not-so-good old Dan Slott....

  7. DCordo74

    @16 That was sooooo awkward. Lol. It's a shame that he only thinks that Mary Jane has to be written well, if she's in a romantic relationship with Peter. You should still write her in character (and well), even if their romantic relationship isn't going anywhere.

  8. Stillanerd

    Regarding the subject of Marvel's treatment of Mary Jane since One More Day, there was a very interesting and rather revealing statement Dan Slott gave during an interview with Comic Vine when talking about </i>Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows.</i> <blockquote>One of the fun things [about <i>Renew Your Vows</i>] is writing MJ. Because writing MJ in "Brand New Day" and "Big Time" and <i>Superior [Spider-Man]</i>, it's very much the relationship that can't go anywhere. Because we always know that [Peter and MJ are] not getting married. If Marvel went through all this trouble to unmarry them, you, as a fan, know they're not getting married. So whenever they're together, it's kind of like, "Well here's a relationship that's not gonna go anywhere. It's just gonna keep being what it is, and that's not fun. So it could be with anybody else." But now it's like, "Oh my God! Secret Wars has ripped the whole version of reality apart and everything is possible." So it's fun to play in this world where "Okay, bam! Here it is, [Spider-Man's] married." And what's that mean, and what's that like? And it kind of feels like writing Mary Jane without limits, which is something new for me.</blockquote>

  9. RDMacQ

    @#13- So, if that is the precedent, then perhaps Renew Your Vows will lead into the year of MJ!

  10. ac

    I hate to be Mr. Negative, but didn't, they kill Peter and replace him with Doc Ock for Spidey's 50th anniversary?

  11. Frontier

    Happy birthday MJ! Here's hoping that Marvel treats you and your lover right in the years to come.

  12. James Deen

    Don't buy this for a second Marvel are just a month and a half away from pissing us off. Your not fooling me Marvel, just need to be ready though......

  13. Stuart Green

    Happy Birthday, Mrs. Parker. Your marriage deserves more than bad stories from writers who tried for years to split you and Peter up, kill you off in an exploding airplane, separate you after your return from the "dead", undo your marriage in a stupid deal with Mephisto, etc., etc. I am hopeful that "Renew Your Vows" will bring the pair back to happier days and, hopefully, have their marriage PERMANENTLY restored back into continuity. This may be highly unlikely, given the recent stories from Marvel and Mr. Slott, but it could happen and I am being cautiously optimistic. I liked what Marvel said about Mary Jane, especially calling Spider-Man her husband, but on the other hand, it is even more heartbreaking to read that they're suddenly heaping so much praise and celebrating the 50th birthday of a comic character that Marvel and co. have been mishandling, underusing, writing out of character, pushing to one side to get Carlie "Like her fans! SHE is the REAL one for Peter! Like her, we tells ya! LIKE HER!" Cooper some spotlight instead, and generally just poo-pooing for the past several years. I hope that turns around for Peter and Mary Jane. I really do. They have always been my favorite married couple in all of comics and I really, really, REALLY hope that they finally bring the marriage back for good into the non-What If Marvel Universe stories and back to the Spider-Man comics... where it belongs. I hope you all had a great weekend and have a wonderful day, everyone.

  14. Cheesedique

    I'm with George in suspecting that it's all to promote and drum up revenue for Renew Your Vows. They may or may not end up together in some form after Secret Wars, but it sure seems they have no intention whatsoever of restoring the marriage. Not after the lengths they went to dispose of it.

  15. RDMacQ

    Actually, I think it's fairly promising that Marvel is actually acknowledging MJ as "Spider-Man's WIFE." I remember back in 2008 when they were trying to position her as "The one that got away." And they absolutely refused to show ANY images of the marriage after a point, even refusing to show the pair during the mosaic of married Marvel couples that were part of the celebration of Northstar's marriage to his partner in the pages of X-Men. Now images of married Spider-Man and MJ are all over the place, with Marvel itself celebrating MJ's "50th Birthday" and promoting her importance to the narrative overall. This is a far cry from what it used to be over the past several years where she was punted to the side. So, I don't think this is the foreshadowing of something darker on the horizon. If Marvel is expending THIS much effort to promote MJ in a particular way, then it's trying to "coach" the audience into accepting a particular status quo. Much like how they "coached" people on the Guardians of the Galaxy before their big movie, or how they are "coaching" fans now in regards to the Inhumans to prepare people for their big narrative push, I think that the same could be seen for MJ. I don't think this will lead to a "Try not to mention it" mode. I think it will lead into "We acknowledge it and promote it" mode.

  16. ryan3178

    Well written George, it does drive me crazy just how much Marvel has really done their best to put MJ down and say how her and Peter are just not good together. When there was almost 40 years of them being great together. I do hate seeing Carlie in that category because I believe Betty Brant did more to Peter as both a friend, girlfriend and ex than Carlie ever did. Not to mention say what you will about how Betty has been written the last few years with Flash. You at least understood where she was coming from. I do hope one day that Mary Jane will be treated the way she should be and not as an airhead harpy they have done with her for the last decade because it "dates Spider-Man."

  17. herbiepopnecker

    Cheers to my fave comic book marriage....still missed. The marriage is not coming back, so it occurred to me this morning, what we're getting is simply a What If? tale! What If it's good? I'll buy the reprint book. (Carlie Cooper? Really? In there with the great MJ? Ah, it is to barf! I mean, larf. Then again....)

  18. Ertrov

    Even more reason to think the marriage is going to be restored beyond the end of Secret Wars.

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