Relating to a Married Hero When You’re a Kid

Spider-Man & Mary Jane Watson-PARKER

Spider-Man & Mary Jane Watson-PARKER

FYI-  This may turn into a rant.  Somebody wanted me to talk about this and I said I would.

In 1987, Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson got married.  Spider-Man was no longer a bachelor and a new type of story appeared.  He had to fight crime and put his life on the line while somebody waited for him at home.  MJ had to be strong and help her husband when she could, which even included standing up to the occasional villain.  I grew up with the married Spidey and thought it was awesome that his wife had no powers, but they made it work.

Then came ‘Brand New Day’ and I refuse to go back.  Basically, Spider-Man’s Aunt May was shot and dying.  A deal was made with Mephisto (Marvel’s Satan) to save her and all it cost was Peter and Mary Jane’s marriage.  It was erased from history and all the stories I grew up with no longer felt valid.  See how this rant is going? Anyway, there were plenty of reasons given for why this unpopular decision was made, but this one stuck with me:

Kids couldn’t relate to a married Spider-Man.

Keep in mind that he’s becoming Tony Stark lite in the new comics, but that’s beside the point and I only wanted to see if I could anger people.  Honestly, you can look up YouTube videos and articles on ‘One More Day’ and ‘Brand New Day’ to get an idea of how angry this made people.  Maybe even the comments if I convince a friend of mine to pay the blog a visit.  Where was I?

The idea of a kid not being able to related to a married superhero is . . . well, fucking stupid and missing a point.  We’re always going on about kids needing role models in fiction and this was one of mine.  You had a spouse with no powers and the hero.  He/she could die on any day and they made things work.  There was turmoil and they found a way to see it through to a brighter tomorrow.  Peter and Mary Jane were a couple in the face of incredible challenges.  Then again, who in the real world would be able to relate to a situation where one, or even both, parents have dangerous jobs?

Anybody grow up in a military, police, firefighter, or other life-risking career household?  We have real ‘Peter Parkers’ in this world that have a ‘Mary Jane’ at home. Marvel could have added a kid to the mix, but that was part of another rough story arc.  The thing here is that there are those out there who can relate to this type of character.  Kids don’t automatically hate a hero because they’re married.  Most times it doesn’t even factor into things, so that reasoning really angered me.

Leaving Spider-man alone for the rest, I think having a reader follow a character through familiar stages of life is a great way to create a long-term audience.  New readers will come in at a different stage, but still feel like they’re still along for the ride.  It shows that a hero is human and more than the mask.  Maybe the unending nature of comics makes this a nigh impossible task since new writers want to make their mark and might not like the marriage part.  That still isn’t a good reason to undo stages of a character’s life and say that nobody liked it.  Then again, that might just be me.

What do you think about married characters in fiction?  Are children or even single adults unable to relate?

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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55 Responses to Relating to a Married Hero When You’re a Kid

  1. I think readers can relate to almost anything. It’s the writer’s job to make it so. I haven’t followed seriously since before they got married. Spidey was originally a high school kid with high school kid problems outside his superhero gig. Keeping him in high school risks losing long term readers who have also grown up. There must be a pretty good dance to keep long term readers and still recruit new readers. Undoing history seems like the wrong move though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The thing with Spider-Man is that he’s one of the first superheroes to have real life problems. Superman, Batman, Captain America, Fantastic Four, etc were beyond your average person. Spidey was a normal teen tossed into an abnormal life, which he was trying to keep separate and balanced. I think this aspect has been forgotten by those running the show. Going by that, a wife and kid would make sense for him. He was growing up with his readers. It’s weird that these people thought nobody could relate to him like this while you have Iron Man as a flagship character. And that’s kind of what he’s being turned into. Peter Parker is now a rich businessman working out of the Fantastic Four’s old headquarters and doing international adventures. He’s no longer the street level average guy who is secretly a superhero.

      I’m ranting, but I think he was my favorite as a kid and now he’s unrecognizable. As an author, I find the evolution ridiculous and forced. As for the marriage thing, I’m really disappointed. Not that it happened, but the how and why. Deal with the devil because kids can’t relate to a married superhero? Just sounds so sloppy.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I buy all your points, and it sounds very sloppy. It’s another decision made by the accountants and not the creative types. This is prevalent throughout our society today. Do you read Victo Dolore’s blog? The medical profession is driven by accountants too.

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      • I remember seeing signs of that when I took a few medical coding classes. It wasn’t obvious, but I got the feeling that it was all about nickles and dimes.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I wonder if the hard-to-identify-with was the only reason, though. Charles says it was one of the reasons cited.

        For example, it might something as simple as political correctness running amok. You know, “why is it the dude who has super powers? Are you suggesting that women are less powerful?” or something like that.

        Liked by 1 person

      • There were other reasons such as ‘returning to origins’ and ‘stirring things up’. I doubt there was any PC since you already have Spider-Woman and now you have Silk and Spider-Gwen. All of those could exist with Peter and MJ still being married. The thing about MJ is that she’s proven many times that she might not have powers, but she’s very strong of will. That was part of her appeal to me and many others. Maybe the new writers didn’t know how to do that or never acknowledged that.

        Then again, MJ is set to be in the new Iron Man series as Stark’s new assistant and possible love interest.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Really?? I didn’t know that.

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      • Times are a’changin’ with the comics. As zombie phreak said, the company has stated that they want to shed their ‘dinosaur readers’.

        Liked by 1 person

      • They forgot that dinosaurs are big and dangerous when angry. Just ask those folk at Jurassic Park.

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      • Yeah. Though I don’t think they care about the comics as much as the movies these days. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when the Marvel Cinema Universe becomes old hat and doesn’t bring in the money it used to. That will leave Marvel with the comics, which might not have the same oomph as they used to. I mean, Secret Wars again? Mutants can’t breed again? They seem to be rehashing old story lines while trashing their history. DC is doing odd things, but doesn’t seem to be that bad.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. zombiephreak says:

    The main reason that this happened was because Joe Quesada, the new CEO of Marvel Comics wanted Spidey to be single and be able to sleep around with a bunch of random hot women. If you can read between the lines, yes, Quesada was trying to relive his youth through the character of Spider-Man. At the time that this happened in 2007, he was quoted as saying that readers would quickly get over this and forget about it.

    Well, we haven’t forgotten about it, and it’s now 2015. Joe has been called out on in many times on social media, and at conventions and many times he has thrown temper tantrums about it and had meltdowns on social media because he is essentially a big baby in a man’s body.

    And if Joe Quesada knew anything about continuity, it would have quickly been retconned during Secret Invasion when we find out that the REAL Spider-Man had been kidnapped and was in a Skrull prison at the time the deal with Mephisto was made. But that would mean Quesada would have to admit he doesn’t know jack about writing a story involving a married character or anything about story continuity.

    On top of that, he has said that Marvel needs to shed it’s, “Dinosaur readers,” and get new readers. Well sorry to say this to you Joe, but Marvel’s sales of Amazing Spider-Man have plummeted since the whole One More Day fiasco and they have never fully recovered. And I have been reading Spider-Man going on 11 years now and I can count on 1 hand the number of times I have been at a comic shop and have seen kids reading or buying Spider-Man. The people buying Spider-Man comics are guys in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s because we grew up with this character. That’s right, we GREW UP. So the reader who was once a child, is now an adult, he is married, he has children and has responsibilities. You know what responsibilities are right? It’s what Spider-Man is built on. “With great power, comes great responsibility.” There is no greater responsibility for a man than to get married and raise children. So why can’t Spidey do that? Well he did in the Spider-Girl series, created and written by Tom Defalco, and the sales numbers were terrific! Going back to readers growing up, Marvel knows that mainly adults are reading these comics. That’s why the ads in the comics have gone from bubble gum, bicycles, Nintendo, fruit pies, etc. And they are now car ads, cell phone ads, and credit card ads. You know, things adults buy, and not children.

    And frankly, this new Spidey isn’t very responsible. He’s ducking out of work, missing deadlines, shirking his responsibilities, all so he can go webslinging and deal with every little thing that comes up. Well Anna Maria gave him some good advice once, that when Doc Ock was in his body, that he knew when something wasn’t important and would let the police or the fire department handle it. There was even an issue where he found a cell phone someone lost and instead of running his company that he is the CEO of, he decided to run around NYC looking for the owner instead of just handing it over to the police so they could find the owner. Yes, returning someone’s iPhone ranked higher on Peter Parker’s to-do list than running a company that employed hundreds of people and put food on their tables and roofs over their families heads. Does that sound responsible to you?

    I could go on and on for hours about this, but the moral of this is that this new Swinging Singles Spider-man is not what the readers want, it’s what Joe Quesada wants. The readers do not want him with Carly Cooper or Anna Maria, or some other random girl, we want him with Mary Jane. And the comic is going to continue to bleed readers and lose money until Quesada is no longer in charge and the whole Mephisto deal can be retconned.

    Thank you for listening to my little rant, and thanks for posting about such a great topic 

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  3. Helen Jones says:

    I agree with everything you say, Charles. Though I’m not familiar with the whole ‘Spiderman married’ storyline, I cannot understand how anyone would think kids couldn’t relate to a married superhero. Most of them (the superheroes) have love interests, right? Clark Kent eventually marries Lois Lane, I seem to remember, as does Cyclops to Jean Grey. I think it gives superheroes a more human edge and makes them even more relatable. I did wonder if it was a ‘married = fuddyduddy’ thing, and now I see from zombiephreak’s comment above that this seems to be the case. It’s interesting that the Spiderman movies don’t seem to do as well as the other Marvel ones, too…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Spider-Man married wasn’t so much a storyline as it was a character changing milestone. They ended up undoing Superman/Lois Lane at some point when they rebooted the entire universe, but they didn’t do it in a way that made it impossible to go back. That’s DC though and they seem to leave better openings at times. Marvel ended up killing Jean and had Cyclops man-whoring around for a while. I get that couples break up in real life, but it’s like that’s the only storyline that some comic authors know when it comes to hero couples. It definitely makes them more human.

      The more recent Spider-Man movies were rather ‘meh’ on quality and rushed so that Sony retains the rights. It’ll be interesting to see what happens now that Marvel has the rights to make their own Spider-Man movies. I still think Spider-Man 2 is one of the best comic book movies and helped open the door.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Helen Jones says:

        Which then begs the question, why are female characters and roles seen as so dispensable in these universes? But that’s a whole other rant… 😉

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      • It is, but I don’t believe it’s as bad as people think. I’ve been reading comics since the 90’s and gathered a lot of back issues. I’ve seen a lot of strong female heroes and villains get used, but for some reason people don’t acknowledge this. I never hear people point out that Storm has led the X-Men at times and Mystique had her own team at one point. Wonder Woman is indispensable within the comics. I think one of the big issues now is that they aren’t being transferred to the other mediums like the male heroes.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Helen Jones says:

        Yes, there are some great female heros, I do agree. But they aren’t being transferred to the other mediums as well, I also agree. My daughter thinks Black Widow is very cool, yet Marvel doesn’t seem to think merchandise for her is worth doing (one small example). However, this is a whole other post, I think! 😉

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      • The weird thing is that I remember there being female action figures before the movies and shows kicked in. Especially Wonder Woman and the X-Men heroines. I wonder if this is more Disney and their boy/girl separation that they seem to have. I mean, I do believe there were figures for Storm, Jean Grey, Mystique, and Rogue when the X-Men movies came out. It’s very strange because I don’t remember it being so hard to find heroines when comics were more fringe. So I’m starting to wonder if the reduction is actually more current.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Helen Jones says:

        Yes, it could very well be big marketing taking over, and misjudging the audience. Bringing it neatly around to the original point of your article 🙂

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      • Well Disney has this weird thing with toy marketing that doesn’t sit very well with how Marvel is changing. If you go into a Disney Store, you’ll see it’s cut right down the middle with girls to the left and boys to the right. Girls have the Princesses and Fairies while Boys have Star Wars and Superheroes. You don’t get to the shared area until you hit the back with the plushies. They think their audience is black and white, which means very few risks. Yet they don’t even try to see if the risk is worth it. So it’s kind of the opposite of what Marvel did to Spidey. Disney seems to be holding back while people publicly want heroines figures. Marvel went ahead and told the angry masses that they weren’t wanted any more.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Helen Jones says:

        Yes, I’ve noticed that about their stores too. When my daughter was smaller she was all pink and princesses, but now her interests are broader the division is much more obvious.

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      • I never know what my son is going to do. Sometimes he goes for the superheroes, other times Frozen, or he just walks to the back to look at the plushies. Though now he’s into Peanuts.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Helen Jones says:

        Peanuts is fun for everyone 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Jan Hawke says:

    Talk about needing a re-boot up the bum (I mean arse – I’m British, so sue me 😉 )! lol

    Seriously – kids/readers don’t relate to married heroes? Whether or not they’re playing Happy Families everyone on the planet has parents of some description, even if they don’t stick around or tie the knot. Most kids generally these days have at least 1 if not 2 ‘parents’ who have more than one marital partner. Or their friends will have, if they don’t, so it’s on their radar at least. What’s so strange about a hero having/living with a regular/stable love interest? Doh!

    I do mainly blame Superman for this however – the whole Lois/Lana thing just got soooo old, soooo quickly on the google-box!

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    • The whole thing seems to be a big disaster as far as how they responded to criticism. I think it would have been smarter to say ‘because we want him to be single and go through a long line of girlfriends’. At least that would be honest and more understandable.

      I actually liked the Superman/Lois thing since it was stable. Don’t remember Lana being a big factor. Either way, DC rebooted everything and paired Superman off with Wonder Woman. They did it in a way that they can go back to Lois if need be. Honestly, I like the idea of the strongest being on Earth being with someone that isn’t at that physical level. It makes the dynamic a lot more interesting to me.

      Funny, but I notice that every conversation about comics always gets a ‘I hate Superman’ comment somewhere in there. 🙂

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      • Jan Hawke says:

        I was thinking more of the TV Series New Adventures of Superman & then Smallville – just found it odd that Lana showed up and figured so much, even though it was a prequel of course – 😉

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      • I vaguely remember Lana being from Smallville and a childhood connection for Clark in the comics. That probably made more sense than having Lois be in there from the beginning. She never had the rural vibe that would be needed. I’ve only seen the first 2 or 3 seasons of Smallville though. Not sure what happens in there.

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  5. Came back to check out the comments. I can sense how Ichabod formed from some of this. Why can’t he have a wife and kid? I don’t know if it was the inspiration, or not, but I think your story has a better chance of engaging me.

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    • Yeah. This definitely factored in whether I realized it or not. I think it was also a slew of main characters that had unstable home lives. I still don’t know if I’ll have Ichabod’s family make an appearance given the short story, adventure format, but it’s fun to have the option.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I think heros with families is a great idea. You made a good point about extending the life of a story.

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  7. MishaBurnett says:

    One of the comic characters that made a big impression on me as a kid was Mister Miracle, (aka Scott Free) who was one of the New Gods from the Kirby era. He was an escape artist and circus performer with no real powers as such, just an absurd level of physical training courtesy of growing up being trained as a spy on Apokalypse.

    I thought he was cool because his big schtick was not being where the bag guys were shooting–there would be some massive explosion and everyone would be saying, “He must be dead–no one could have survived that!” and then MM pops up from being the bad guys and wacks them on the head.

    Anyway, Mister Miracle was married, to an Inhuman and circus performer, Big Barda, who did have super-powers–she was super strong and invulnerable. It made for an interesting relationship, but an oddly comfortable one. I never felt that Scott was threatened or felt unmanly because his wife could toss cars around. In fact, I thought that having a super-strong wife would be pretty cool.

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    • I heard about Mister Miracle, but I never read any comics with him in it. I do remember a bit about Barda. For some reason I thought she was one of Darkseid’s Furies, but went rogue. At least that was in one of the animated movies and she was pretty badass teamed up with Wonder Woman. Honestly, it sounds like a combo that should be used more often.

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  8. zariusii says:

    Very well put article that states what I continue to see resonate so many times with like-minded people. The Man-Child billionaire Spider-Man forced down our throats has unfortunately robbed us of the regular joe/everyman appeal of the character. Some argue it’s a natural step up given Peter’s intellect, that he would aspire to hit the “big time”, but the way they’ve went about it with the Doc Ock storyline meant Peter did’nt earn any of it, and, worse, seems to be using his Uncle’s words of wisdom as some kind of commercilist tag-line to sell spider-tracers. He seems uninterested in long-range consequences and keeps people who have sold his tech to terrorists on the payroll. MJ kept him humanized, on-point, and made him feel like a human being, and without that he’s just a very unlikeable person.

    Thankfully, Stan Lee’s creative team have kept the two married in the daily newspaper strip, which despite it’s own problems story wise, is a load of fun and easily the best thing about the franchise even if it’s by default. I look forward to celebrating 30 years of the marriage in 2017 hopefully as a result.

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    • I didn’t actually know about a few of those things. That’s just disturbing and makes me wonder if they’re attempting to ruin Spider-Man. Though there is a possible theory I just thought up. Disney/Marvel is cancelling Fantastic Four and has rules about the X-Men. No new mutants, Quicksilver & Scarlet Witch are no longer mutants or Magneto’s children, Wolverine is dead, and now the Inhumans are being worked into ‘replacing’ mutants as the hated superhuman group. The mist that makes Inhumans will be lethal to mutants and those that survive will be sterilized. The two franchises that have their movie rights owned by FOX are being stomped on. Spider-Man was owned by SONY until they made a deal for the movies. I wonder if Spidey will go back to what he was now that Disney/Marvel can slap him in the Movie Universe.

      Though another idea is that Quesada is in love with Iron Man and wants to make Peter a copy of Stark. After all, you have new Spider-People, new Wolverine, new Cap, new Thor, missing FF, and new Hulk. Why is Iron Man the only big character that is remaining untouched by tragedy for the last couple years?

      Liked by 1 person

      • zariusii says:

        Iron Man’s got his own share of problems. They recently came off a “Superior Iron Man” story which left him in disgrace, and he’s got some money issues in his relaunch, but Marvel have apparently decided to make Stark the flagship character of the brand rather than Spider-Man (hence why they’re distancing Spidey from virtually everything that makes him appealing), Tony, as a result, has been acting a bit cocky and Peter-like in his new book, and as said, they’re even tossing Mary Jane into Iron Man as a supporting character (someone said a love interest, but Bendis has denied this and the rumor is she will turn out to be Tony’s true sister, but don’t hold me to that, it may be bunk). The overabundence of Spidey spin-offs is alarming also, as if they think a lot of them fills the spots Peter ought to fill in our emotional investment. I’ve read Spider-Gwen and it’s an awful, awful book.

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      • Superior Iron Man? Didn’t they do Superior Spider-Man at some point too? I think the writer in me is just annoyed at how Marvel isn’t being very original with things. Though yo have a point with Stark being the new flagship. You can’t really do a lot to the chosen one. (I’m going to pretend I didn’t read the MJ/Tony sister thing.) Odd that Tony is becoming more Peter-like too. It doesn’t make much sense. It’s like all of these characters got brain-swapped.

        It does feel like they’re trying to replace Peter. Funny that you mention Spider-Gwen being awful. I keep hearing people praise it without giving specifics. I can’t bring myself to read it. Gwen was killed by the Green Goblin and that’s how she should have stayed. It’s like everyone whose name isn’t ‘Uncle Ben’ gets to come back.

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  9. A.J. Goode says:

    I was a nerdy college student when Peter Parker married Mary Jane. I still remember the publicity and uproar, even the chance for readers to vote on a real-life designer to create the wedding dress (WilliSmith won).

    I don’t really care for the changes made since then, but my point is that fans were every bit as angy and vocal about the marriage then as they are about the storylines now. If I recall correctly, that was about the same time that DC wanted us to call a 1-800 number to vote on whether or not Robin should die.

    It’s all about exploring trends — or trying to set them. Marvel and DC may be royally pissing off their loyal fans, but we’re all talking about them, aren’t we? It may be negative publicity, but it’s still publicity.

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    • I was only in elementary school, so I didn’t know about that. Very cool that they voted on a designer. Though I did know about Robin and Jason Todd has been back for a while.

      The problem with this is the reasoning and how it was handled. Also the total disdain and disrespect that many fans feel their complaints are being met with. If they really wanted to end the marriage then they could have done a divorce instead of a convoluted deal with the Devil. And the fact that Peter kind of went man-whore afterwards is kind of strange. Many have also pointed out that the whole thing felt out of character for MJ & Peter. After reading pre-marriage comics, I can tell that the wedding was in their character. So many are seeing it as a betrayal of fans, history, and the characters themselves.

      Sadly, too many people don’t know the difference between fame and infamy. Being infamous gets you attention, but not respect and that’s something Quesada lost over this.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Not a regular Spidey fan, but I did hear about the pact with Mephisto. It gives me the same disgust and disappointment as I felt when Jean Grey returned from the dead. Mary Jane has been a fixture, for all the reasons you note. She should have been left alone.

    Comics do have this tendency to shake things up just for the sake of shaking. Sometimes I wish they’d shake up the writing end rather than the character end.

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    • Which time with the Jean Grey resurrection? She kind of has the market on that. The thing with the pact that also irked me was that, if I remember correctly, MJ is the one who made the deal after Peter said no. That makes even less sense to me and this is all to save Aunt May. Can’t we let her pass on and be with Uncle Ben?

      I agree that they should shake things up in another way. A current example that I heard about was Superman. He’s begun losing his powers and something altered his DNA, so he doesn’t come up as Kryptonian any more. So he’s weaker, the Fortress of Solitude won’t let him in, and his secret identity was revealed right before all of this. So he’s having to figure out another way to fight. This also creates an interesting dynamic between him and Wonder Woman who he is dating. He’s no longer her physical equal, so she has to protect him at times. That is a lot more interesting and character building than ‘deal with Mephisto to allow Peter Parker to date multiple women and become Tony Stark light’.

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      • zariusii says:

        Jean’s been brought back twice now, though both in different ways. Her first revival came in the 80s, lasting until the end of Grant Morrison’s run in 2001 where she was killed by someone pretending to be Magneto (!), and the second time she came back, Marvel decided to work around resurrecting and just bring her past self over to the present, where they’ve went and radically altered her character.

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      • The 80’s was the whole Phoenix thing, right? It’s weird, but people make so many jokes about her coming back that I always think it’s more. Almost sounds like Aunt May has beaten death more often.

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      • zariusii says:

        Yeah, actually my favourite Spider-Man canon happens to be the Spider-Girl timeline because they kept Aunt May’s demise from the 400th issue of Amazing canon

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      • Ah, the Spider Clone Saga. I hung in there until the end and my reward was . . . Norman Osborn. I still wonder how he supposedly found a person that ‘looked like him’ and put them in the morgue in his place. I mean, him and Harry are the only two characters to ever have that ridiculous haircut/scalp fungus. He’d need days to get the corpse to look right and I’m sure somebody would notice his body is missing in that time. Totally not worth the confusion of the saga.

        Wonder if Spider-Girl is going to be kept after Secret Wars. Wouldn’t be surprised since Carnage is getting his own series.

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      • zariusii says:

        Mayday is fine, she’s a part of the Web Warriors comic that came out last week, and has a pretty big part .
        Fun Fact: We don’t know for sure if it’s the right Mayday, as during Spider-Verse and Secret Wars, there were little clues left by her creative team that she was wan alternate version of the “original” Mayday because fans (and Ron Frenz) were upset about what had been done to her character in the prologues to Spider-Verse, so there are little take-it-or-leave it “ways out” of accepting that it’s her that don’t distract from the story or the character, it’s just there’s an option there. She also does’nt go by Spider-Girl anymore, just Spider-Woman to avoid confusion with Anya, the 616 Spider-Girl

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      • Got it. Though isn’t there already an unrelated Spider-Woman? Me thinks Marvel needs to get a fumigator for their spider problem.

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      • The first one, in X-Factor. In a way, I gave up on X-men after that. The Dark Phoenix saga was such a powerful story to begin with, it felt like a betrayal to walk it back.

        At the same time, Scott/Cyclops had moved on and married Madeline Pryor. They had a child. When Jean was revived, Scott essentially abandoned his family to go to her. This is a despicable betrayal in any context — actually, an interesting link back to your first topic about the erasure of Spidey and MJ’s marriage — and led to a long plot where X-men writer Chris Claremont had Madeline Summers exact her revenge.

        With the reversal of Jean’s death in X-Factor, it seems like she really became a joke. How many times has she “died?” How many other people have been Phoenix? I know our definitions of life and death in comics are, um, flexible, but it’s impossible to care about Jean any more.

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      • If I remember correctly, Madeline Pryor was a clone of Jean Grey. That was why she looked just like her. I came in long after that, so I had to go hunting for Inferno stories. Phoenix became a ‘I have no idea what I am doing’ tool in the comics. I think their daughter from an alternate timeline had it at one point, which worked. Think Cyclops has been walking around with it lately. They really did a number on Jean by having the Phoenix masquerade as her instead of her having the power.

        I’d have to read the comics because I can’t tell what the motivation was behind the Scott/Madeline/Jean thing was. Some sites make it sound like he couldn’t settle down and Jean returning gave him a way to be a hero again. Others make it sound like pure adultery. The strange thing is that later on he shows grief at Madeline nearly dying and their enemies taking his son. Wondering if a new writer came in and was simply trying to undo the last guy. That tends to be where disaster happen in terms of character development.

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  11. Ryan M. Church says:

    Simply put the writers came up with the WOZ OPTION on the Parkers’ marriage. You know the it was only a dream which only ever works for Wizard of Oz/Alice in Wonderland kind of stories. To readers of Comic Books even though they are science fantasy archetype the character lead normal lives. They have families, jobs, even their religious and political views shape their actions as Superheroes. If the writers hated Mary Jane so much they should have written a story of marital woes leading to divorce. For God’s sakes the 1961 rebranding of Atlas Comics to Marvel first title FANTASTIC FOUR had a married couple, a brother/in-law, and a friend working together as a team.

    As for Mary Jane I always liked her because she was the complete opposite of the stereotypical MARY JANE girl next door. I wasn’t reading SPIDEY during the deal with MEPHISTO Maybe the writers had forgotten that her personality started out as a fiery sexy vamp and wrote her as more of a passive character than she ever was. She was conceived as a love interest that could challenge PETER at every turn. If they had been writing MARY JANE true to her original character, she would be a very active, sporty, entrepreneurial, charitable character with lots of friends and connections. While PETER was the shy one so long as he wore his mask.

    Like

    • Last I heard Mary Jane will be returning to the fiery, social character when she works for Stark. For some reason, I keep feeling like they really want Iron Man and Spider-Man to become the same character.

      As far as the divorce path goes, I was once told that Quesada or somebody high up rejected the idea. They said divorce was a sin or would give the wrong impression to kids. Honestly, every excuse I’ve heard around this idea makes very little sense.

      Liked by 1 person

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