Hey, I grew up with Spider-Man TAS, and very much idolised the character. I also grew up knowing that behind every strong man is a strong woman, this woman being Mary Jane (I am also very fond of Gwen, largely thanks to Spectacular Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man film. I was horrified by One More Day and consequently adore this Tumblr blog. Basically, I want to know what are the best issues for Pete/MJ, preferably in an affordable trade.
Well, here’s my running list of MJ-related Spidey recs from the main Marvel universe, listed by issue number/arc name rather than trades, which go in and out of print very quickly.
Unfortunately You Just Hit the Jackpot!, which is/was a good compilation of issues from across MJ’s history, is now out of print. It is available used on Amazon if you live in the US or are willing to pay shipping prices. A lot of my other favorites are also out of print or have yet to be put into trades — keep an eye out for Essential Spider-Man #12, which if I’ve done my math right should include the story MJ confesses she knows Peter’s secret identity, as well as the one in which she reveals her own. Volume 11 came out last year, so hopefully it won’t be much longer.
Essential Spider-Man #6 and 7 cover all but the first three issues of Gerry Conway’s run, spanning The Death of Gwen Stacy and its aftermath, through Peter and MJ’s burgeoning friendship/romance, into the first Clone Saga. Also by Gerry Conway is Parallel Lives, which is all about the unspooling of MJ and Pete’s romance over the years. (You can buy it on Comixology here. It’s also included in You Just Hit the Jackpot!, and as part of Spider-Man: The Graphic Novels.)
Kraven’s Last Hunt, which takes place right after the honeymoon, is one of my favorite Spidey stories. MJ doesn’t play a huge active part, but her relationship with Pete forms the emotional core of the story, so I feel it’s worth a mention here.
Set some years later in their timeline, J. Michael Straczynski run is one of my favorites with a great takes on Peter, MJ, and their relationship — it’s currently available in five volumes, starting with this one. Sadly, volume 5 wraps up in One More Day, but the trades which include JMS’s penultimate stories without OMD are out of print.
As for other incarnations of the characters: Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane series is, say it with me, sadly out of print, but its various volumes are available used on Amazon — ditto Spider-Girl, up through volume 12 or so. Ultimate Spider-Man remains in print, and that alone should keep you a while.