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Peter and Mary Jane's Relationship Takes a Licking as Len Wein Begins

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.

The conclusion of Gerry Conway's run on Amazing Spider-Man was such a momentous moment in the life of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson that it was hard for me to bring myself to move past it, which is why it's been a while since I last did a If Her Hair Was Still Red. But now it is time to finally move past Gerry Conway and on to just the THIRD regular scripter in the history of Amazing Spider-Man! Stan Lee for 100 or so issues, Gerry Conway for 45 issues or so and now Len Wein!

First, though, Archie Goodwin came in to wrap The Clone Saga up in Amazing Spider-Man #150. One of the more curious things to me is that Goodwin wrapped the Clone Saga up (by having Peter question whether he is the REAL Peter Parker or the clone), which you would presume was a case of him clearings things up so that Wein's run could start fresh, but then Wein opens up his first issue by resolving ANOTHER loose end from the Clone Saga, namely Peter getting rid of the body of his dead clone.

Goodwin's issue, by the way, references Mary Jane in a big way because Peter realizes that since he loves Mary Jane, he must be the real Peter Parker, because the clone of Peter Parker would have been led by the Jackal into being in love with Gwen Stacy. That might not make sense (in fact, it almost certainly doesn't make sense), but that's what we're left with.

Okay, now that the whole "Is Peter in love with Mary Jane or Gwen Stacy's clone?" story arc is over, Peter and Mary Jane are now in a fully committed relationship, but it is interesting to see Wein's take on that idea. He seems to be looking back at the old school sort of superhero secret identity tropes by having Mary Jane soon have problems with Peter's secret identity (which is amusing, of course, since years later we learn that Mary Jane KNOWS he is Spider-Man during all this time).

Before we get to that stuff, though, Wein also brings Harry Osborn back to the group, as Wein tries to establish a new "Pals and Gals" set-up for the series...

Harry is now a lot goofier than he ever was before.

J. Jonah Jameson, for some odd reason, throws Betty Brant and Ned Leeds' engagement party at his own fancy apartment and we get to see Mary Jane interact with some people (like Jonah) that she normally doesn't. We also get a great scene where Mary Jane has a heart-to-heart with her ex-boyfriend, Harry (oh, by the way, all of these issues are drawn by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito, with Frank Giacoia doing some extra inking, as well)...

Peter, of course, has to cut out on the party to go do some superhero stuff.

The next issue, Peter interestingly calls her "his girl" when he returns to the (now finished) party...

Mary Jane gives him the cold shoulder...

Harry, meanwhile, continues to be a bit of a goofball...

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