The Amazing Spider-Man vol. 2 #53
The fact that they had to determine that the ringtone is from Close Encounters makes me laugh
Amazing Spider-Man vol. 2 #54
Here’s some sleepy MJ for you
"Right… absolutely… whatever you said, I support it."
MOVIE EXEC: Tell her I don’t want some bimbo model with delusions of talent in this role! It’s too important!
PETER: So tell me the good news.
MJ: Good news…?
PETER: About the part. They offered it to you, right?
MJ: I… Yes, but…the pay was bad and the part just…it wasn’t right for me. So I turned it down.
PETER: Aw, that bites. But you’re right to say no. Makes ‘em want you all the more later. Are you all right? You sound kinda quiet.
MJ: Oh, I’m just tired. It was a long day.
PETER: I understand. Get some sleep. You’ve got a long day in front of you.
MJ: (a tear falling) I will. See you when I get in, tiger.
MJ flies out to LA for an audition, only to find out in the worst way possible that she’s already lost the part. Humiliated, she can’t bring herself to tell Peter on the phone that night.
Amazing Spider-Man #505 (May 2004).
Story by Fiona Avery and J. Michael Straczynski, script by Fiona Avery, pencils by John Romita, Jr.
CAPTION: At a demonstration on radiation, high school student Peter Parker was bitten by an irradiated spider from which he gained the arachnid’s incredible abilities. When a burglar killed his beloved Uncle Ben, a grief-stricken Peter vowed to use his great powers in the service of his fellow man, because he learned an invaluable lesson: with great power there must also come great responsibility.
[Outside view of an apartment window in a brick facade.]
SFX: RING RING
PETER: Hi, this is Peter. I’m still settling into my new digs, so I’m either working, out foraging for food, or trapped under debris. Leave a message and I’ll get back to you when the dust clears.
[Inside. Boxes strewn everywhere, and parts of the Spider-Man costume sitting on the coffee table next to the answering machine.]
MAY: Peter, this is your Aunt May. I know you’re going through a lot right now, with Mary Jane leaving, and the move, and… well, I just wanted to see if you were okay. I know I shouldn’t be worried, and I’m not, really.
[She continues as Spidey finishes pulling on his mask and gloves.]
MAY: That’s the thing about you, Peter. You’ve always had an inner strength, a will that has gotten you through so much difficulty in your life. This one, too, will pass. Meanwhile, if you need to talk, you know where to find me. Good night, Peter. I’ll talk to you in the morning.
Amazing Spider-Man vol II #30, J. Michael Straczynski and John Romita, Jr.
First part of the story arc that got me into Spidey. It’s been over a decade, and I still marvel, no pun intended, at how smooth the exposition. Between the origin blurb and the simple device of the answering machine, even a reader entirely new to Spider-Man gets a good grasp of (a) who this character is, (b) recent happenings in his life and (c) his relationships with the two (three, counting Ben) most important people in his life (at least for the duration of this run). No recap page necessary.
Off topic, but reblogged as a visual aid to this post.
nineteenninetyonenostalgia asked: Hello. I've been following your blog for the past year now and would like to thank you because its actually prompted me to sign up to tumblr, which i did about...5 minutes ago. I am a lifelong Spider-Man fan and of course love the character of Mary Jane and thier relationship as well; though I don't always agree with your views or interpretations, which happens in any fandom. I'd like to ask how you became a fan of Spidey as well as MJ?
Welcome to Tumblr!
I got into Spidey via the age-old method of stealing my older brother’s comics. It took a couple of tries. I learned to read (comics) on a diet of Asterix, Tintin, Peanuts and kid’s manga — Doraemon is the only one I remember now. When I first started to nibble around the edges of American superhero comics the Clone Saga had just ended. Explorers on the Moon versus part one of “Return of Doctor Octopus”: is that actually a question? I spent the next few years assuming that superhero comics were garish, juvenile (by a twelve-year-old’s standards, mind you!) and chock-a-block with bullet-breasted, mysteriously underdressed women and strange ninja stereotypes.
MJ didn’t make much of an impression in those issues, mostly because she was only in a few panels. She was nice, and pretty, and it didn’t bother me that she was married to Spider-Man because I still lived under the assumption that getting married was what adults did, as a rule. Spider-Man was a grown-up; therefore, he was married. (Duh!)
Fast-forward a few more years. Spider-Man the movie was a few months away, and my brother bought the first trade of J. Michael Straczynski and John Romita, Jr’s run. I can’t remember if he recommended it to me or if I nabbed it off his shelf in a spate of boredom, but I was enthralled from the first page. I fell for Peter pretty hard, the usual relatability schtick. From there, it was easy enough to fall for the woman he’d fallen for, especially once I started delving into back issues and followed her development over the course of decades, hand in hand with Peter’s. These days I’d be hard pressed to say which one’s my favorite, though after running this blog almost three years MJ has to have an edge.
After a spate of re-borrowings, that first JMS/JRjr trade migrated to my shelf, and my brother had to buy another copy. That edition’s long out of print, but you can find it bundled with what was originally the second trade in this collection.
It’s the opening night of MJ’s new play and she’s a little nervous. Luckily, her ever supportive husband, who’s sitting on the front row, knows her really well. She’s delivered a box of roses from Peter before the show starts, with a note that says:
We win the second we decide to try. Just showing up is victory. You’ve already won, so just have fun and knock ‘em out. I love you.
Amazing Spider-Man #521
MJ: Actors are paid to walk and talk and be dramatic. Models are paid to sit still, shut up, and be distant. We’re talking here about two different skill sets. Maybe I don’t have it. Maybe I should just be what I am, do what I’ve done.
MAY: Would you like my opinion?
MJ: Yes. Please.
MAY: The film roles you’ve done so far…in one you were the beautiful girlfriend who was in jeopardy, in another you were the beautiful girl who tempts people to their death…in another you were the beautiful woman who inspires the hero… It seems to me they hire you because they need someone beautiful to fill a niche in the plot, not because they want someone who can act. You haven’t played a character, MJ, you’ve only played things that move the story ahead.
MJ: I know. Which makes me think maybe I’ve been expecting too much…maybe I’m shooting too high. Is that possible?
MAY: Yes, Mary Jane, it is. But it’s just as possible you haven’t shot high enough. I left that paper behind on purpose, incidentally.
[MJ picks up the paper, which May has left folded to the listings for theater auditions.]
Amazing Spider-Man #506, J. Michael Straczynski (writing) and John Romita, Jr (pencils).
Motherhood isn’t always about who you’re related to.
“‘Too pretty’…that’s one I’m not used to hearing.”
Because “she’s too ugly, who wants to see that on screen” and “she’s too pretty, she must be a dumb bimbo who can’t act” are two sides of the same coin.
Amazing Spider-Man #507 & The Many Loves of Spider-Man #1.
In MJ’s case I find the backlash against female characters who are coded as traditionally feminine to be particularly gross since — well, since she’s a favorite character and I’m biased, obviously, but also because Mary Jane struggles in-story against people who objectify her, slut shame her, and make snap judgments about her intelligence, skills, and personal character. Why does she get treated this way? Because she’s a beautiful woman who dares to work in the supposedly frivolous, feminized, and sexualized world of entertainment and fashion, dares to have an active social life with people she may or may not want to have sex with, and not only doesn’t apologize for her choices but actively revels in them.
What makes Mary Jane Watson such a great feminist role model, even if she’s not out there taking down supervillains with a baseball bat (not usually, anyway), and even if she does pose in lingerie for a living on and off, is that she will never apologize for who she is, no matter how many people try and shame her for it. And no matter how many readers sail right past the point.
While cleaning up my meta tag I noticed I’d already written one of the topics on my to-do list as part of a longer conversation, so I decided I’d tweak it a bit and repost solo.
Image from Amazing Spider-Man vol II #45 by J. Michael Straczynski (writer) and John Romita, Jr (pencils).