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Comic Book: Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane

Mary Jane Watson is a popular, sweet-natured and well-liked teenage girl at Midtown High in Queens, who is part of the popular crowd, along with her best friends: head cheerleader (and queen bitch) Liz Allan, star athlete Flash Thompson and wealthy Harry Osborn, who is clearly interested in Mary Jane in a romantic sense (feelings which Mary Jane is not entirely sure that she shares). Although 'MJ' is apparently happy-go-lucky and cheerful to everyone she encounters, it's all a lie, of course; underneath it all, Mary Jane is unhappy, lonely and insecure, feelings which she keeps bottled up in order to project her cheery facade.

Over recent months, however, she has developed something of a crush on Spider-Man, a charismatic, quick-witted and confident Super Hero with whom she feels a connection, and after he saves her life when the train she is riding is attacked by a super-villain (and inadvertently lets slip a hint that he knows her), Mary Jane makes a resolution — she is going to ask Spider-Man to be her date to the Homecoming Dance. However, she soon finds that following up her crush leads her life in unexpected directions, many of which seem to lead back to her developing friendship with the kind but geeky and strangely behaving Peter Parker...

Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane is, of course, the popular Marvel Comics character Spider-Man told from the point of view of his Love Interest, Mary Jane. It explores Mary Jane's friendships with Flash, Liz and Harry (who are, of course, themselves key members of the Spider-Man cast of characters) and her developing friendships / romantic relationships with both Spider-Man and Peter Parker (whom, although it was strongly implied at times, was never directly revealed to be Spider-Man throughout the course of the book). Although primarily a Teen Drama aimed at teenage girls with little in the way of superhero exploits, it soon developed a following amongst a more diverse collection of fans owing to its clever and interesting writing (by Sean McKeever) and distinctive art (mainly by Takeshi Miyazawa).

Under McKeever's pen, the book lasted for two four-issue mini-series (focusing on the build-up to the Homecoming Dance) and a twenty-issue run, which Miyazawa drew up until issue fifteen (where he was replaced for the last few issues by David Hahn). After McKeever left to work for DC Comics, Marvel started the series again at issue one with Terry Moore (Strangers in Paradise) writing and Craig Rousseau on pencils (it was originally supposed to be Adrian Alphona, but he quit comics).

Yes, that joke's been made already, so has the other one.


Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Alpha Bitch: Subverted; whereas Liz Allan has most of the (negative) character traits associated with the Alpha Bitch, Mary Jane is actually more popular and well-liked.
  • Berserk Button: Pretty much the one time we see Spider-Man lose his temper, it's when a supervillain he's been chasing notices and recognizes Mary Jane, who is present at their battle for an unrelated reason, and approaches her in astonishment as she (not recognizing him) backs away in fear.
    Spider-Man: Hey! You don't go near her!
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Lindsay from the drama club. She acts nice to Mary Jane at first, but when Mary Jane gets the lead role, she starts dating Harry, her ex to get back at her.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: A far less dramatic example occurred after the prom. Due to the argument at the prom, the main cast's friendship is severely strained.
  • Celeb Crush: MJ towards Spidey
  • Chick Magnet: Harry. Probably helps that he has normal hair here.
  • Childhood Friends: MJ, Harry, Flash and Liz in this continuity.
    • Childhood Friend Romance: All over the place, it first starts with Flash and Liz dating, with Flash having a secret crush on Mary Jane. Then Mary Jane starts dating Harry. Then Flash and Liz break up and so do Mary Jane and Harry. After a while Flash falls out of love with MJ and then starts dating Liz again.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: MJ is a reasonable example.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Spider-Man
  • Elseworld: Although not strictly part of the mainstream Marvel Universe continuity, it is essentially set in the universe next door, with things not being that different.
  • Emo Teen: A flashback storyline sees Mary Jane indulge in an Emo Teen period after breaking up with her first boyfriend. It's mercifully brief.
  • Goshdang It To Heck: The relatively common teenage-girl exclamation of "Omigod!" (as in "Oh my God!") has become "Omigosh!"
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In-Universe.
    • Done intentionally where Mary Jane's friend says that she'd "Love to drop Gwen Stacy off a bridge." Mary Jane said that wasn't funny, the readership physically cringed.
    • Also a meta example: Marvel releases this series glorifying Mary Jane and Peter's relationship at the same time the infamous One More Day erases said relationship from the main universe.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Mary Jane and Liz Allen.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Note the title.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: "The _____ Thing" (until vol. 2)
  • Jerk Jock: Flash Thompson, as he is in the mainstream Spider-Man series. Played with in that even his best friends think he's a pretty unreasonable jerk to Peter Parker.
  • Jerkass: Harry Osborn starts off as a fairly decent, if slightly flighty and shallow, guy at the beginning of the series, but gradually begins to become more of a jerk as time goes on.
  • Lighter and Softer: Spider-Man might be a light hearted superhero, but he is still one surrounded by death. Here at least no ones life is on danger.
  • Limited Social Circle: Played with; although the series follows a core cast of about five or six friends, MJ is a popular and well-liked girl so we frequently see her talking to and hanging out with peripheral characters to underline this.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Liz Allan
  • Love Dodecahedron: Take a seat; Mary Jane starts off in a relationship with Harry Osborn. At the same time, Flash Thompson, the boyfriend of Liz Allan, Mary Janes best friend, also has a not-so-secret crush on Mary Jane. Mary Jane also happens to have a crush on Spider-Man, who himself may or may not have a thing for the super heroine Firestar. Overwhelmed by all of this nonsense, Mary Jane swears off boys, only to later develop a crush on Peter Parker. The moment she's ready to confess it turns out she's too late because he's now in relationship with Gwen Stacy. Dejected, Mary Jane kinda-sorta gets back together with Harry Osborn who kinda-sorta may also have feelings for Felicia Hardy. In the end, both Peter and Mary Jane end up single, and everyone can see the inevitable happening, but it ironically never does.
  • Loves My Alter Ego: Mary Jane
  • Memetic Badass: In-universe, Limo Girl.
  • Mythology Gag:
  • New Transfer Student: Felicia Hardy appears as this near the end of the first volume, having expelled from her last school because of her temper and being confrontational.
  • Nice Girl: Mary Jane, Peter being the Nice guy of course.
  • Ordinary High-School Student: Mary Jane, however, actually is an ordinary high school student. The vast amount of the cast is this, the only one that isn't is well Peter.
  • Perspective Flip: Non-villainous example; it's Spider-Man told from the point of view of Mary Jane (and a few other members of the supporting cast) instead of Peter Parker.
  • Plucky Girl: Mary Jane — her life isn't the easiest, but she keeps going anyway.
  • Shipper on Deck: While Liz was against it at first, she does later ship MJ/Peter.
  • Shout-Out: The book is mainly focused around the Spider-Man cast of characters, but allusions are made to characters such as Iron Man, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men.
  • Stepford Smiler: Mary Jane
  • Teen Drama
  • Tsundere: Liz easily qualifies as a Type A.
  • Two-Person Love Triangle: Guess. Go on. Guess. We'll wait.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Still waiting.
  • Wrong Guy First:
    • Harry Osborn.
    • Also, Mary Jane initially pursues a relationship with Spider-Man, but realizes that she's actually in love with Peter Parker. There's an irony here...
  • Younger and Hipper: While putting Mary Jane Watson, Harry Osborn, and Gwen Stacy in high school with Peter isn't a new idea, the Ultimate Spider-Man book and the former two in the first Sam Raimi Spider-Man film having beaten this comic to it, it is the first time Felicia Hardy is also in high school with them. This is notable because Ultimate kept her an adult when she appeared.


Spider-Man 2099Franchise/Spider-ManSpider-Man: Reign
Spider-IslandMarvel Comics SeriesSpider-Men

alternative title(s): Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane
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