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Wait, Did Mary Jane Just Go Blonde Out of Nowhere?

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.

When last we saw our dazzling hero, she had gotten a shockingly terrible haircut (so bad that it even inspired Harry Osborn to get a Fu Manchu haircut himself, which mercifully was quickly dropped) and had actually LEFT THE STATE due to the haircut being terrible...okay, it was to help take care of her Aunt Anna Watson, who had moved to Florida, but we all know the SECRET reason, which is that she had to get out of town until her hair grew back.

And sure enough, when Mary Jane returned to the pages of Amazing Spider-Man in Amazing Spider-Man #82 (by Stan Lee, John Romita and Jim Mooney) after a ridiculous SIXTEEN-ISSUE absence, with her Aunt Anna rushing back to New York to help take care of her good buddy, Aunt May, Mary Jane is back to her traditional haircut...

Note that she is also back to her traditional flirtatious self. It continues to be fascinating to see how little regard Peter Parker pays to Mary Jane's feelings. Yes, she is couching her interest in him and the disappointment she receives when he continues to blow her off in flippancy, but if even a tiny percentage of what she says to him are her legitimate feelings, you would think that the guy would toss out a simple, "No, Mary Jane, you're great. I'm just with Gwen now" or something like that. Instead, it's like "Wow, my breath must be bad" and then complete silence from Peter.

Later, at the get together, Peter is all depressed because he doesn't have enough money to pay for Flash's farewell dinner (Flash is heading back to Vietnam).

I'm always fascinated by the group dynamics of this little group of "friends," and the quotes is what amuses me the most. They all just saw awful stuff to each other and then, well, what happens when Peter is not there?

Do they just snipe at each other all night long? Why are these people even FRIENDS? Mary Jane and Gwen seem to outright HATE each other, right? I get putting on a brave face in a larger group setting, or if Peter is there, but Peter is not there and it is a rather small group here, so why do they seek each other out to hang out like this when they then spend the whole time hating each other?

In the next issue (with Romita doing full pencils again, with Mike Esposito on inks), Flash heads back to Vietnam and Mary Jane and Gwen give him quite the send-off...

It's interesting. I always thought that Mary Jane and Harry Osborn dated for more than this, but this is one of the few times we have even seen them go on on what you would call a typical date, as they're headed off to see the very "modern" new film, Easy Rider...

That car almost hitting them leads to Gwen temporarily dumping Peter, because when she came too after the crash (that Peter saved her life in), Peter had turned into Spider-Man and had left to get the driver, so she thinks Peter just abandoned her and she doesn't want anything to do with him.

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