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Peter and MJ Move Forward With Their Relationship (But Not That Far)

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.

First off, I forgot an appearance by Mary Jane that should have been mentioned in the previous issue. In Marvel Team-Up #52 (by Gerry Conway, Sal Buscema and Mike Esposito), the end of the issue shows Peter bemoaning the current poor state of his relationship with Mary Jane, who seems to be dating Flash Thompson now because Peter keeps running out on their dates to go take photographs of Spider-Man (or so she thinks)....

As an aside, let me reiterate that it is pretty fascinating how much Mary Jane's complaints back then work well even if you take into account the retcon that says that she knew about Spider-Man's secret identity during this time, as her complaints about him ditching her to go take photographs is pretty much the same sort of concern that she would have with him ditching her to go be a superhero.

Anyhow, in Amazing Spider-Man #165 (by Len Wein, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito), Peter runs into Flash Thompson and gives him some guff and then Flash comes right back at him and explains that he never would have made a move on Mary Jane if he knew that she and Peter were in the middle of a thing...

I can't say that I'm thrilled by the whole "She's playing games" take on this, as if Mary Jane is some manipulative "tease." She can date whoever she wants, Peter does not "own" her, so Flash owes Peter nothing over any "stake" that Peter has in her. She does not belong to Peter. So the whole exchange, especially Flash ending it by saying he's going to give MJ a piece of his mind, is kind of gross.

But anyhow, at least it led to Peter and Mary Jane having a real heart to heart and it seems like they finally have gotten at least back to not having hard feelings between each other...

It strikes me as Wein wanting to have it both ways. If he doesn't want to pursue a Peter/Mary Jane relationship, he is not bound by anything, but if he does, then the path is clear.

In the next issue (by Wein, Andru and Esposito), Peter begs off for celebrating Christmas with Mary Jane and their friends. This is when Liz and Harry announce their engagement...

Spectacular Spider-Man #5 (by Archie Goodwin, Sal Buscema and Mike Esposito) sees Mary Jane hanging out with Flash Thompson and there is a fun plot where they catch Peter while he is thawing out his clothes...

Funny stuff.

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