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Meta-Messages - Roger Stern Cures J. Jonah Jameson's Mental Problems...

All October long I will be exploring the context behind (using reader danjack's term) "meta-messages." A meta-message is where a comic book creator comments on/references the work of another comic book/comic book creator using the characters in their comic. Each time around, I'll give you the context behind one such "meta-message." Here is an archive of the past installments! If you have a suggestion for a future meta-message, e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com.

Today we examine a little nod Roger Stern made to the Marv Wolfman's take on J. Jonah Jameson...

Late in his run on Amazing Spider-Man, Marv Wolfman had J. Jonah Jameson act increasingly erratic...

To the point where he suffers a nervous breakdown in Amazing #198...

and then escapes custody in #201...

Wolfman left the book before he could finish whatever he had planned for Jameson, so I certainly can't speak to how he would have resolved it all.

However, when Roger Stern came aboard for a fill-in issue (#206) prior to Denny O'Neil taking over the book, Stern explained away Jameson's behavior by saying that a bad guy was manipulating Jameson's mind through a fantastical ray device...

Naturally, at the end of the issue, the device is destroyed and Jameson is back to normal.

So what's the nod? The name of the device that makes Jameson act out of the ordinary? It is the mental attitude-response variator ray....or the MARV ray for short!

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