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Mary Jane Once Helped Carol Danvers Launch a New Comic

In If Her Hair Was Still Red, I take a look at all of Mary Jane Watson's comic book appearances in chronological order (by date of publication). Mary Jane's progression as a character fascinates me.

As you would know if you have been reading these columns long enough, the main figure in the development of Mary Jane Watson as a character was Gerry Conway, the writer who took over regular scripting duties on Amazing Spider-Man after Stan Lee left the title. However, around 1975, Gerry Conway left Marvel Comics to go work as an editor/writer for DC Comics. Oddly enough, though, Conway then RETURNED to Marvel the next year for a brief stint where he became the Editor-in-Chief of the company only to then leave again within a year (less than a year? I'm not sure on the exact dates) to go back to DC Comics where he would remain for the rest of the decade (and well into the 1980s, as well).

In any event, during his brief return to Marvel, Conway, of course, returned to the character that he had developed so well. The first place he did so was in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #1. You see, during this period, Marvel (and DC) had been reducing the size of their comic book stories. They were getting shorter and shorter and naturally, the area that got hit the hardest in terms of editing for space was character based stuff. It is hard to give the supporting cast a lot to do when you're pressed for space. So Marvel decided to launch Spectacular Spider-Man as a sort of counterpart to Amazing Spider-Man where the two books could sort of be one long book each month with Spectacular filling in the details on Spidey's supporting cast.

When we last saw Mary Jane, she had been showing Peter that he shouldn't take her for granted by spending more time with Flash Thompson. In Spectacular Spider-Man #1 (by Conway, Sal Buscema and Mike Esposito), we see that that has developed into the two actually dating each other. Interestingly, though, I thought Mary Jane was also attending college with Peter and Flash, so they wouldn't have had to come up with "Oh, Mary Jane must be here to be with Flash" as a reason for Mary Jane to be on campus when the Tarantula attacks in this issue...

Later, Mary Jane comes to visit Peter and they discuss their relationship a bit, or rather how to be civil to each other now that they're no longer dating...

Honestly, being called away was probably the best result for Peter, as he often says the worst things in scenarios like this.

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