Characters : Mary Jane Watson-Parker
Professional super-model, actress
Can be irresistable to males
Handy with a vase, knife, baseball bat, or exposed wiring if required
Red Sonja (briefly)
waitress, Go-Go dancer
Spider-Man, the Black Cat
Spider-Man, Aunt May Parker
Peter Parker (husband), Anna May Watson (Aunt), Philip (father), Madeline (mother,deceased), Gayle Watson-Byrnes (sister), Timothy Byrnes (ex-brother-in-law), Kevin and Tommy Byrnes (nephews), Judge Spenser Watson (uncle), Frank Brown (mother's cousin), Kristy (cousin), Lou and Lorraine Watson (uncle and aunt, parents of Kristy)
No criminal record
Jonathan Caesar, the Stalker
Married to Spider-Man
(Born Mary Jane Watson)
Mary Jane is Peter's wife, a relationship which was in doubt for some time, but which appears once more to have at least a fighting chance of surviving. Peter first met Mary Jane in Amazing Spider-Man #42, although we as readers were given hints about her as early as Amazing Spider-Man #25.
Mary Jane was born in Pennsylvania to an unstable home. Philip Watson was abusive, and her mother fled with her and her sister. They moved from home to home of various relatives. Her favorite relative was her Aunt Anna Watson in New York City. When her mother passed away, and her sister left raising two boys on her own, MJ abandoned her sister in Pittsburgh, and moved to New York with her aunt. In the graphic novel Parallel Lives and in Untold Tales of Spider-Man #16, it was revealed that Mary Jane knew of Peter Parker's alter- ego since the day Uncle Ben died. She witnessed Spider-Man crawling out of his window as he pursued the burglar who had murdered his uncle. She didn't meet Peter face-to-face until their aunts finally arranged a successful date (that Peter had been dodging).
On their exciting first date, they rode into Manhattan to catch the action as the Rhino was wrecking havoc. Of course, Peter pulled his first disappearing act in the relationship, giving Mary Jane time to practice her acting skills pretending she didn't know where he went. Unable to deal with the confusing secret life of Peter, she chose to act as if she didn't know, and simply play the part of a party animal.
While Peter was at college, Mary Jane dated Harry Osborn while Peter dated Gwen Stacy. MJ was a relentless flirt with Peter, despite being with Harry. Mary Jane broke up with Harry, shortly before Harry's drug problems in Amazing Spider-Man #96 and following.
After Gwen's death in Amazing Spider-Man #122, Mary Jane finally demonstrated some genuine compassion, as she chose to stay with Peter and grieve together. After some time of healing, Peter and Mary Jane eventually became a regular couple, although his life as Spider-Man often interrupted their plans. (She got into trouble all on her own by witnessing the murder of a woman in her apartment building by Dr. Clifton Shallot, the third Vulture.) MJ even dated Flash Thompson to make Peter jealous. Peter eventually proposed to Mary Jane in Amazing Spider-Man #182; however MJ declined, saying that she wasn't the sort of girl who could be happy with just one man. Shortly after, Mary Jane took a leave of absence from the Spider-Man comics, during which time Peter dated several different women( primarily Deborah Whitman, and The Black Cat).
Mary Jane returned in Amazing Spider-Man #243, after staying with her family in Florida. She and Peter grew very close at this time, as both were having some problems in their lives. After another round of the usual Peter Parker lies following a battle with the Puma, Mary Jane finally told Peter that she knew that he is Spider-Man. Since she knew his greatest secret, Mary Jane decided to open up to Peter and share her secrets. She told her life story to him - growing up in a dysfunctional family wearing emotional masks of the happy-go-lucky party girl to keep herself sane. Peter and Mary Jane denied to themselves and each other that they were in fact, once again, emotionally entangled. In this period of shared honesty, they realized how close they had become.
Peter proposed to her for a second time in Amazing Spider-Man #290. The wedding followed shortly afterward in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21 and the honeymoon in Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #7.
They moved into the Bedford Towers, a luxury apartment on the upper West Side. But their happiness was short lived when Mary Jane was kidnapped by Jonathan Caesar, her landlord and a wealthy admirer. Following her escape and his being sent to jail, Caesar still managed to use his influence to ensure that she was evicted and forced out of the modeling business. MJ managed to find alternate work in the day-time drama "Secret Hospital". Still, she earned more than Peter did with his photography.
Mary Jane's life had become increasingly complicated and miserable. She became sick with "SoHo sickness" after toxic chemicals were leaked into the water supply by Corona. There was the "Maximum Carnage" event where all hell broke loose throughout Manhattan - and her husband was acting like a general in the war. There was her frightening encounter with Venom, who knew Peter's secret identity. She had a brief flirtation with a fellow actor, Jason Jerome, in Spectacular Spider-Man - #166 and took up smoking for a while. Nick Katzenberg tried to black mail her with photos of Peter as Spider-Man. She faced all sorts of super baddies: Doctor Octopus at the Daily Bugle, the Chameleon in her own home, Kraven impersonating Spider-Man. Her teenage cousin Kristy moved in with them, whom MJ helped face her battle with bulimia.
Then there was the clone saga. She had been continually ignored and disregarded by Peter - and had taken a lot more rubbish from him than I would have ever believed possible. Mary Jane became like the "police-man's wife", helplessly waiting by the window for her husband to come home, day after day, while her husband risked his life. Mary Jane's character was a far cry from the bubbly flirty crazy redhead she was as a teenager.
The storyline showed more hope for their marriage, when Mary Jane became pregnant during the Clone Saga. (For those of you living under a rock, the Jackal made clones of Peter and it caused all sorts of chaos in their lives.) The responsibility of being a parent inspired Peter to end his role as Spider-Man, head out to Portland, Oregon to live a "normal life". That didn't end very long. The Green Goblin came back, and there was an apparent "miscarriage" of the baby (though it seems Alison Mongrain may have abducted the child - a plot line left in limbo). Pete and MJ entered therapy together, while she returned to ESU to study psychology.
There, she befriended Jill Stacy, Gwen's cousin. MJ's Aunt Anna was living with the couple in Aunt May's home in Forest Hills until Aunt May was discovered to be alive. MJ accepted an offer to model again, money started to pour in, and the two moved to an expensive apartment in Manhattan along with Aunt May. Peter once again quit being Spider-Man, and life seemed to be going great for the couple. Once again, Pete just couldn't stay out of the webs, and lied to his wife while secretly crime fighting. While MJ's busy modeling schedule was straining their relationship, the truth came out that her husband was still Spider-Man. Their marriage on the rocks, Mary Jane faced further problems as a stalker harassed her constantly on the phone - a secret she withheld from Peter.
In Amazing Spider-Man Vol.2 #13, Mary Jane took off on a plane trip. Pete was supposed to catch up with her and have time away to patch things up. With the stalker on board, the plane was seen exploding mid-air. Peter (and most comic book readers) refused to believe his wife dead, but was eventually convinced of her demise by a box of her belongings sent to him by the airport.
Considering that everyone else who died in his life returns eventually (except Uncle Ben), Peter was right the first time. MJ was held captive by "the Stalker", a man who supernaturally began to become like Peter after absorbing his memories. Spider-Man rescued MJ, but after the mental trauma of her captivity, she was unable to return to the stressful lifestyle of living with a husband who risks his life every day.
After spending time apart from Peter pursuing acting while in California, Peter and Mary Jane longed for each other. While Pete flew to California, she flew to New York. With both planes grounded due to storms, they met in a Denver airport (with Captain America and Doctor Doom!), and reconciled. Mary Jane recognized that Peter needed her in his life. Living a life so large, it had seemed as if she was insignificant. She's the motivation that keeps Spider- Man fighting and relentlessly driven to survive when the odds are against him. She has since moved back to New York, and is interested in showing the world she's more than a pretty face and sexy body - but has real acting talent. Sharing Peter's secret has brought MJ and Aunt May closer as well.
Mary Jane was largely left alone by the super criminal element after Peter revealed his ID on national TV as part of the Superhuman Registration Act, except for a brief run in with Fritz von Meyer, aka Swarm. The peace (if their lives could ever be called "peaceful"), was broken after May was shot by a sniper hired by the Kingpin. Medical science had done all that it could for the elderly woman, but her death was inevitable. In his desperation to save May's life, Peter made a deal with Mephisto.
The demon wasn't interested in Peter's soul, because souls that suffer the torments of the netherworld still feel joy that their sacrifice did some good for someone else. Instead, he wanted Peter and Mary Jane's marriage. He would wipe their memories clean of the fact that they had been married, except for a small part that will remember. This tiny shard will cry out in lonely agony for eternity, bringing great pleasure to Mephisto.
Mary Jane made the deal with the demon, making a side bargain unknown to Peter. As the spell was being cast, Mephisto revealed that since they now had never been married, they never had a daughter. Finally, after 12 years, we had a resolution to the status of baby May. After Peter woke up to the new status quo, he was living with Aunt May again, Harry Osborn was alive and no one remembered that he was Spider-Man. Their new history was that he and MJ had had a long term relationship that had just ended, but had never been married.
Mary Jane had been living on the West Coast pursuing her acting career and seeing another actor (Bobby Carr) since she and Peter "broke up." (MJ apparently has no memory of the deal with Mephisto but remembers breaking up with Peter over all the time he spent as Spider-Man.) They were not on speaking terms and he saw nothing of the red headed stranger until Aunt May married J. Jonah Jameson, Sr. MJ returned to New York after Carr was found to be taking Mutant Growth Hormone (derived from Mattie Franklin's powers) for a movie role, supplied by the White Rabbit. After Peter finally found the courage to talk to her, they agreed to meet the next day at Grand Central Station.
Unfortunately, both of them had quite a bit to drink at the wedding and Mary Jane over slept for the meeting. Switching on the TV, she saw a report that Spider-Man had saved a group of people from a fire. Smiling to herself, she thought "Nice work, Tiger." After a series of awkward incidents, Peter and MJ talked about their relationship together. While neither wanted to get back together, they both cared deeply for each other. They thought back to their wedding day, and how Peter was late for it after catching an escaped criminal from Electro's gang. She demanded that he quit being Spider-Man and he refused. Mary only went back to him on her Aunt Anna's wishes.
They stayed an unmarried couple until after Aunt May was shot by the Kingpin's assassin after Peter unmasked. The shooter also nearly killed Aunt Anna and MJ refused to have anything more to do with Spider-Man. She left for the West Coast and started dating actor Bobby Carr, until she discovered his addiction to Mutant Growth Hormone. She then returned to New York. This brings us up to the current time, where she and Peter are friends.
Its been hard for her to let Peter go, but she has come accept that Carlie Cooper is now his girlfriend. MJ has been supportive of the relationship, even though she would like to be first on Peter list of loved ones when there is trouble. MJ was late in developing spider powers during Spider Island (when the Jackal and the Queen infected the people of Manhattan with a virus that gave them spider powers and then changed them into human spiders) but did so just in time to avoid being made into lunch by a mob of man spiders. She soon arrived at the church where Anti-Venom had been curing citizens of their mutations and protected them from the still transformed human spiders.
She brought them to Horizon Labs, knowing that Peter worked there. (It was hypothesized by Dr Richards that MJ's transformation had been slower than other people's due to she and Peter *a-hem* sharing DNA for years. She had gained an immunity.) Later, she held off the man spiders while Peter mentally controlled Dr Octopuses tiny octobots, who were delivering the "Anti-Venom cure" to the infected. After it was all over, Peter used a last sample of the cure on MJ.
MJ, Glory Grant and her new boyfriend went out dancing at The Wake, not knowing that it was a hideout for Adrian Toomes. Mary Jane got suspicious of the young thuggish teens that seemed to have enhanced strength. She called Peter and inadvertently alerted him to the Vulture's hideout.
|May 1989||App: Spider-Man: Parallel Lives|
|Year 1998||App: Untold Tales: Strange Encounters|
|Jun 1965||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #25|
|Jul 1966||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #38|
|Nov 1966||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #42|
Here is the Full Appearance List (603 Apps) for Mary Jane Watson-Parker.
The assistance of the Marvel Chronology Project is gratefully acknowledged.
Some of the above information is extracted from the various versions of the Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe and the more recent Marvel Encyclopaedias.