In If Her Hair Was Still Red (a feature of indefinite regularity), 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.
I’m certainly not saying that we’re not going to hit a worse period for Mary Jane any time soon (as, obviously, she actually disappeared from the Spider-Man comics period for a few years in the early 1980s and she also was missing for quite a while during the Brand New Day era), but so far, in the stories that we’ve looked at so far, this is by far the worst point in Mary Jane’s comic book history (as an aside, last installment we should have mentioned MJ’s brief, not particularly meaningful, appearance in Marvel Super Heroes #14. Considered it mentioned now).
Okay, first off, the Spectacular Spider-Man magazine doesn’t fit into continuity, but it comes out right around the time as #62, so I’ll quickly include it here (by Stan Lee, John Romita and Jim Mooney).
MJ and the others are helping to campaign for this fellow named Richard Raleigh, who is running for Mayor of New York City (he is partnered with a villain called Man-Monster who is faking attacks on Raleigh to make Raleigh look good. Raleigh is actually a crook himself).
Is that a masturbation joke there? I love how MJ is totally into the joke.
Later, she is working at a campaign event for Raleigh, while making time to be a jerk to Gwen…
Okay, back to the main title! When we last left off, Gwen hates Peter because she saw Peter laying out her dad. She couldn’t understand why Peter was mean to her dad. She didn’t realize that her father was being brainwashed. What’s weird is that even after she DID learn that he was brainwashed, she still somehow blames Peter for being a jerk to her dad. It’s super dumb on her part.
Anyhow, you know that Mary Jane would hear the news that Peter and Gwen were splitsville, so she makes her move and is shocked to see that Peter is really upset…
Why in the world would this be a surprise to Mary Jane? She’s plainly seen how much Peter is into Gwen, so it’s weird to see her act surprised. It’s one thing to act surprised in public, but this is her own private thoughts. Odd.
Peter, meanwhile, is super depressed about his deal with Gwen, as we see in the next issue (by the way, Don Heck had taken over as the penciler over John Romita’s layouts, with Mike Esposito continuing as the inker)
Amazing Spider-Man #64 is a major turning point, as we first see Mary Jane’s ridiculous new haircut…
AND we see that Captain Stacy now recalls that Peter didn’t do anything wrong, so that ends the whole Peter/Gwen melodrama from the last few issues. That, of course, makes it not a good time to be MJ, as Peter has now re-committed to Gwen.
Mary Jane meets up with Harry Osborn in the next issue, who is freaking out due to his father, Norman Osborn, going missing and also clearly falling apart, mentally. Mary Jane gets major bonus points for making a Dylan reference here!
This leads into the second (and final) issue of Spectacular Spider-Man, now a color magazine. Norman returns for a party at the Osbron residence, and this is the first time that Peter sees Mary Jane’s new hairstyle…
Peter manages to get Norman to agree to leave the party (through some trickery) and the two have a big fight. At the end of it, Peter manages to hypnotize Norman into forgetting Spider-Man’s identity and Osborn’s own Goblin identity. He then drops Norman off at the hospital. Peter then goes and hangs out with Gwen and Mary Jane…
This would be the last issue of Mary Jane with her new hairstyle. That’s good news. The bad news? Well…
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