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.
Today, we look at “Amazing Spider-Man” #47 (by Stan Lee and John Romita), which is perhaps best known today as the issue that Deadpool and Blind Alfred time travel into in the classic Joe Kelly/Pete Woods “Deadpool” #11 (one of the most clever comedic issues in comic book history). In that issue, Deadpool uses an image inducer to take on the role of Peter Parker in the issue and Blind Alfred just tricks everyone into thinking that she’s Aunt May.
Mary Jane comes to help her Aunt Anna move in with Aunt May (you might recall Aunt Anna from my recent list of the kinkiest moments between Peter and Mary Jane. Peter and MJ once got it in inside of a dark room with Aunt Anna just outside the door). She then proceeds, of course, to just start dancing.
There are certain moments early on when Mary Jane just comes off like a moron. Then again, Aunt May is not exactly showing off the ol’ brain there, either. No one could possibly interpret “making the scene” as meaning “make handicrafts.” Come on now.
This issue is a very important one in the history of Gwen Stacy, but what’s funny to me is that while I remembered why this was a big Gwen issue, I thought that it was ALSO a big issue because this issue debuted the first time that John Romita drew “his” take on Gwen Stacy. I even said as much in the last installment of “If Her Hair Was Still Red,” but sure enough, he’s still drawing Gwen basically like Steve Ditko’s depiction of her, at least in the face. The body, of course, was all Romita. And Romita was pushing for the book to have more of a “sexy college kids” vibe, sort of like a more adult “Archie.”
First, though, watch Gwen be a total jerk about Mary Jane…
Then see Romita show off Gwen and Mary Jane’s bodies in their dresses…
Damn, Peter! That’s some cold thinking there about Mary Jane. It is becoming evident which side of the “Mary Jane vs. Gwen” debate that Stan Lee and John Romita stood at this point in time, something that would be made clearer later in the issue.
At the party, Mary Jane is blowing off refreshment duty to dance, which leads to Gwen Stacy’s famous “hey, everyone, I’m hot stuff, too” dance that shows off Romita’s brilliant dynamic body artwork for Gwen (Romita was doing romance comics for DC Comics years before he returned to Marvel, and it sure as heck shows)
In case you weren’t sure which side Lee/Romita were on, check out MJ’s reaction to Gwen’s power move…
Basically, “Harumph.” Clearly, MJ was the “loser” in this dance battle and this issue sort of sealed the deal on MJ’s role as a possible main love interest for Peter, as Lee and Romita devoted their energies fully to Gwen from this point forward, making MJ’s next few years pretty difficult to judge, but hey, we’ll keep on keeping on, although we might have to combine a bunch of issues per entry to make it work! Just quickly looking at the next few issues, not a whole lot of MJ, but what surprises me is how long we actually have to wait until we get to see Romita’s take on Gwen. It’s much longer than I initially thought. For a second there, I was worried that maybe it wouldn’t be until the parade of guest-artists began, but I checked ahead and saw that it was still when Romita was the regular penciler on the book.
Okay, that it’s for this installment! Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any thoughts about Mary Jane’s early appearances and I’ll try to include them in a future installment.
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